I thought I'd just add that installing the typical proprietary stuff average users may want (RealPlayer, Adobe Reader) is totally easy using the binary file you download from real.com or adobe.com. Just read the directions.
I've been installing these things for years and have never had a problem using the binary installer. Same for Opera. Except for whatever version may come on VL, I've never used a package, just downloaded the static tar.gz file from opera.com.
I was also surprised to find that installing the proprietary ATI driver was a no-brainer. Just follow the directions, but think it through first.
The advantage of packages is that they're easy to remove and upgrade. But with these proprietary things, usually it's enough to delete whatever directories of the software's name you find and if you're a clean freak, delete the executable, which may be in a /bin somewhere. Or just leave 'em. Hard drives are cheap these days. I just bought a 500-gig internal Seagate to replace the 200-gig internal I have now (plus a 100-gig SATA on that system). I was running out of elbow room on the 200 gig.<g>