PCWorld has written a small article about a smart tool that provides Ubuntu with all the little utilities and programs it's missing – Automatix.
Read it here.
The problem, as I've detailed in previous columns, is that Ubuntu Linux does not come with all its batteries included. For example, the library that makes it possible for an Ubuntu machine to play DVDs is missing when the Ubuntu installation process completes. Ditto for the library that decodes MP3 files. The same deal also applies to video codecs that turn a data stream into a movie trailer in your Web browser. It's up to you to add these capabilities to the system.