mounting network shares in Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) - missing codepage or helper program, or other error

I couldn’t mount a network drive using nfs or smbfs in a terminal session in the usual way with a fresh installation of Ubuntu 8.04.

mount -t nfs /mnt/share
returns the error:
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on …

missing codepage or helper progra, or other error

(for several filesystems….

so it could be a number of things, but it turns out simply that Ubuntu 8.4 doesn’t have nfs-common package installed by default (it’s probably written somewhere but not very obvious)