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Incredibly easy to install Handbrake in Windows and Mac. Opposite is true for Linux.

Update: Using Synaptic Package Manager (oddly removed from Ubuntu 10.10) all was fine.
Alberto Berretti's profile photoPaul Eubanks's profile photomathew murphy's profile photoMarc Paul Rubin's profile photo
I thought it was once in the repositories? No? #Linux
What ? Took me 2 minutes to install in linux Mint (debian ver.)
So use something else? Plenty of transcoding applications that work just fine in Linux, quite a few usually included in any major distribution's software channels...
As far as i know it's not in the ubuntu official repositories, but there is a ppa. So you just google "handbrake ubuntu" and get plenty of instructions in the first few links. In ubuntu, it's just one command to add the repository, one to update the sources, and one to install. I agree though, it should be in the official repositories or at least in medibuntu. It's such a good program. 
+Alberto Berretti Surprised it's not in the official repositories. There's a link from the Handbrake official page to the Linux version, but not totally clear instructions there. I have it installed now but this would totally frustrate a novice.
+Alberto Berretti - Handbrake isn't in the official Ubuntu repositories, no. There are, however, other transcoders.

Arista Transcoder is one, for example. A good, basic "point-and-click" transcoder that uses a number of (editable) device-based presets with reasonably good defaults.

If you're a "power user" that likes control over virtually every possible parameter, then dvd::rip is another option.

Both programs are in the official repositories...
Finally I got it: it is a DVD converting software.
It's in the repos I use in Mepis 11.0; there doesn't seem to be any strange dependencies, either.
When in the mood of thinking, I use avidemux for transcoding what I've ripped in other ways. Otherwise I've always found handbrake quite good, easy to use and very fast (on a quad core i5 it keeps almost all four cores busy). It's true it should be in the official ubuntu repositories. There must be some reason...
Try to run the vlc equalizer in ubuntu 11.04. You will need to turn off the computer! It is funny.
Ubuntu is fun because you never know what's next.
I lost many files when trying to upgrade to ubuntu 11.10. But I am still using ubuntu 11.04.
A good GUI package manager provides 1-click installation, including the long list of dependencies. For instance I'm using GSlapt which is included with +Salix OS (and is easily installable for any other version of Slackware). On Debian-based distros I prefer the tried-and-true Synaptic Package Manager over all the slick Software Centers.
Marc, and apt-get on the command line is even better!
Sorry Marc I've yet to see the original. My sons watched it. But jokes apart, I've found that often it is simpler to explain to a total novice in computers how to digit a few commands on a terminal than how to click through an over complicated or baroque gui (like the slick software centers that you mention). On a different level, though, when my second son (thirteen today) saw me typing on a terminal to fix some mess he did on his imac, he told me "dad, you write to the computer and he answers?
What's so difficult with terminal and an google search for handbrake+ubuntu?
Yeah +Alberto Berretti, that feeling of communicating with something / someone was what got me hooked on computers back in the mid '70s, using an old ASR-33 Teletype to timeshare into an HP-2000F minicomputer which ran BASIC as the user-level OS. And I've also spent the past decade providing computer support to normal people ;-> On a rainy day, please do watch Tron and then let me know whether it changes your view about Users.
+Dan Gillmor I clicked on the download link and ran the downloaded installer. How is that harder than windows or mac?
I opened up the laptop, switched jumpers 1,4,6 and 7 and dropped to command line and typed in the code to install the installer. I then synced with my Ham radio which resulted in successful loading of handbrake.arc. How is that harder than windows or mac?
+Jeff Jennings you don't need to do that any more. Use
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-hams-updates/ppa
and you'll get the latest fldigi, chirp, etc.
Likely Canonical is trying to stave off legal issues with using LibDVDCSS libraries. Although VLC packages them, so.....?
I'm not sure how various countries' copyright laws work in tandem with each other, but I do know VLC is avoided like the plague by some companies due to the libdvdcss legal ambiguity.
To be fair, VLC could use a UI makeover, particularly the menus. Also in the past I've had problems with the EQ on a Mac. Aside from that, VLC runs most anywhere and tends to be reliable and play almost anything. As far as businesses acting conservatively, well, that's their business -- perhaps they enjoy Windows Media Player.
I think they enjoy not being sued more than they enjoy using non-essential software.
Good to read your Update in the OP,+Dan Gillmor. Canonical replaced Synaptic with the Software Center (or whatever it's called this week) for obvious commercial reasons. As to anyone being sued for using VLC, not even the Micro$oft minions who spread that FUD believe a word of it. Besides, the talking points currently call for playing Good Cop.
The first three linked stories all refer to programs which explicitly simplify copying / ripping DVDs. None refer to VLC which is geared toward viewing. Also the 3rd story weakens the DMCA: "Judge suggests DMCA allows DVD ripping if you own the DVD," and "A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit charging UCLA with violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act." Most importantly, none of these stories involve businesses (nor end users) being sued for using a program such as VLC.
+Marc Paul Rubin They all make use of libdvdcss which is what caused the lawsuits. VLC includes this library in it's install, and as such, is subject to the same issues. I know you really love your VLC, but there's much legal grey area there which you can't get around without recompiling the program to NOT use this library -
"Firstly, let’s clarify why this problem arises. VLC contains libdvdcss, a CSS library that allows protected DVDs to be read. Handbrake, rather than containing its own version of libdvdcss requires you to have VLC installed instead. This is a great solution and allows Handbrake to avoid a few legal issues."

Clearly Handbrake is using VLC as a proxy to use libdvdcss in order to pawn off their potential legal culpability on the developers of VLC.

Also, here's why it doesn't come pre-installed
Micro$oft and SCO attempted to use FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) to suppress the use of Linux and other free open source software (FOSS). To imply that end users, or businesses which own their employees' PCs, are in danger of lawsuits for using VLC, also serves to spread FUD.
+Marc Paul Rubin First of all, look at the whole thread. This was a discussion about Handbrake. The reason VLC was mentioned is that Handbrake uses VLC for DVD decoding on OS X, because VLC includes libdvdcss.

But even ignoring that, your objection is still wrong, because VLC is a DVD ripper as well as a playback tool.

The fact that some of the cases were dismissed doesn't make any difference; you still have to pay lawyers to go to court and fight the cases, and MPEG-LA, DVDCCA and the MPAA are all organizations which exist mainly to litigate, and have very deep pockets. That's why Linux distributors generally prefer not to annoy them—they figure it's not worth spending a million dollars fighting a lawsuit just so they can maybe distribute VLC and Handbrake.

Yes, none of the stories involve businesses or end users being sued for using a DVD ripper. But that's irrelevant too, because that wasn't what was being discussed. The question I was answering was why Linux distributions don't distribute DVD rippers from their main repositories, hence making them comparatively hard to install. That's why I cited lawsuits against companies who distributed DVD rippers.
(Note that from the point of view of Canonical, they are "using" Handbrake if they opt to include its code in their distribution. It's not their code, so they are using it to add value to their distribution, just like they use X11, LibreOffice and so on. In other words, you went off on a tangent because of a different definition of "use". Nobody was claiming that anyone would be sued for operating the Handbrake software and ripping a DVD.)
I'll stand by what I wrote, +mathew murphy, as the appropriate way to discuss remarks is in their proper context:

Paul Eubanks Yesterday 6:35 PM
I'm not sure how various countries' copyright laws work in tandem with each other, but I do know VLC is avoided like the plague by some companies due to the libdvdcss legal ambiguity.

Marc Paul Rubin Yesterday 6:57 PM
...As far as businesses acting conservatively, well, that's their business -- perhaps they enjoy Windows Media Player.

Paul Eubanks Yesterday 7:23 PM
I think they enjoy not being sued more than they enjoy using non-essential software.

Marc Paul Rubin Yesterday 9:56 PM
...As to anyone being sued for using VLC, not even the Micro$oft minions who spread that FUD believe a word of it.
+Marc Paul Rubin I'm confused why you keep bringing up MS? What does it matter what MS thinks? MS doesn't have a dog in this battle at all and isn't part of the legal proceedings in question. What DOES matter is what MPAA thinks about it since they're the ones filing the lawsuits against people using libdvdcss. And lawsuits suck, so people tend to try and avoid things which make them targets of lawsuits. Why is this so difficult for you to comprehend?
Which specific businesses (or end users) are getting sued for using VLC, and what relevant legal proceedings are ongoing, or even threatened? As to Micro$soft, despite token participation in some projects, they continue to treat FOSS as a competitive threat to their business model, so they attempt to limit its use via FUD. Through that technique, for example, they currently collect royalties on every Android phone sold, from all but one handset manufacturer.
So long as we all now understand that Canonical do not distribute DVD rippers because of the risk of being sued for distributing DVD rippers, I'm not really interested in discussing whether anyone might get sued for executing the software.
There may be a subtle difference between choosing to respect the laws of the countries where many developers, servers, and corporate offices are located; versus acting primarily out of fear of being sued. It's a matter of focus: building acceptance by being a team player / good citizen. Also the distro's popularity is best served by facilitating end users to abide by their own local copyright laws. So yes, while coming from differing viewpoints, we may share some common ground.
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