Sunday, December 31, 2006

Suse 10.2, part 8: Multimedia support updated

A comment from The Diabetic Geek about part 7 pointed me towards "Hacking openSUSE 10.2" and a laundry list of things to do to 10.2 in order to enhance its basic capabilities. I read Hacking several times, paying particular attention to the sections dealing with multimedia playback support. I'd already installed libdvdcss, so I followed two other steps: I added to my repository sources and then I installed the win32 codecs from packman. But the act of adding the packman repository triggered the software updater, and informed me I needed to update what appears to be the core of the multimedia system on openSuse. What follows are two side-by-side screen shots of all the packages that I eventually upgraded.

While in the process of performing its dependency checks, the following little dialog popped up on the screen.

Note the removal of xine-lib. After all was said and done by the updater, I was able to play movies with Kaffeine as you can see below.

Other Types of Media

Experimenting a bit more, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could play back Quicktime movies, specifically a collection of clips I've picked up over the last 18 months. Simply clicking on them invoked Totem, which played them back without any issues.

I then went searching for other types of media available on the web. I discovered that even though Totem will play back a Quicktime file if its local, it does no good to go to Apple's Trailer page and try to play back Quicktime clips directly. I then when to two sites that provide flash video, YouTube and John Stewart's "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central. YouTube videos played fine, but The Daily Show refused to play any content, informing me I needed to upgrade my Flash plugin to Version 7. Note that Version 7 is installed by default during the initial DVD installation.

Final Thoughts

I've messed with this enough. I've finally got what I really wanted, which is decent automatic DVD playback along with music CDs and MP3s. By adding the packman repository I got additional support for local Quicktime files, which I consider icing on the cake. But it took far more effort than I feel was necessary.

All this effort violates an unspoken need on my part; I want it to work as soon as the initial installation is finished. All this running around and adding additional repositories to get decent multimedia support is what turns the average Windows user off. This is the kind of annoyance that keeps Linux off the average Jane and Joe desktop computer.


  1. xine-lib was removed but libxine was installed. just different names for the same thing.

  2. I completely agree : all this googling to find the right repositories for the right linux distribution (I change all the time...) is annoying. Each time you have to get to know a different updating system, various softwares and terminology, just because you wish to read a .avi file ASAP...


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