A tale of debuggery as told by an idiot, or how I got DVD playback working on openSUSE 11.1

The Solution
  1. If you haven't already then install the "restricted" multimedia formats. Then, using YaST2, install VLC. That's because trying to play back DVDs with Kaffeine results in an annoying popup dialog that says: "This version of Xine (used by Kaffeine) has only a reduced set of supported codecs. It is not able to play DVDs. Read http://en.opensuse.org/XINE for further details." Which, if you do go to the site, says you should install the "restricted" codecs. The problem is that the version of Kaffeine that is installed with the public LiveCD is hard coded to display the dialog and ignore the codecs you install. Thus installing the codecs still won't allow you to play back DVDs with Kaffeine.
  2. Start YaST (on Kickstart's Computer tab at the very top).
  3. When the 'Run as root...' dialog asks for root's password give it your login password. That's right, openSUSE 11.1 behaves like Ubuntu with regards to rootly powers. There is no root, only you.
  4. Click on 'Security and Users' (on the left) and start 'User and Group Management' (on the right).
  5. On your entry in the Users tab, click Edit at the bottom.
  6. On the new screen set click the Details tab.
  7. In the Additional Groups window on the right check the disk group checkbox. That's right, you need to be a part of group 'disk' to access the DVD device. Or at least that's how it is on my system.
  8. Once selected click the OK button, and exit all of YaST.
  9. Then logout and log back in again.
  10. Start VLC and select the drive to play. Sit back and enjoy.

Don't Do This
Because of the Kaffeine dialog I went off and downloaded libxine and a xine UI, and then built both. I installed both under /opt/xine and then attempted to play my movies back via Xine. Why? Kaffeine is a front-end to libxine, and I figured I could rebuild the libraries myself (that and the fact I don't like Kaffeine). So after spending time installing all the developer packages for all the other libraries that libxine depends on, I got it built and installed only to run into the permissions problem. If I'd installed VLC first and then tried to run VLC, I'd have seen nearly the same error message and fixed my problem a lot quicker.

Sometimes trying to be too clever can make you look real dumb.


  1. I believe there is an unmolested version of the xine library in the Packman respository. I have not checked in 11.1 (will probably install it tonight or tomorrow), but this is the case for previous versions of openSUSE. Or maybe I have missed something?

    Merry Christmas blogbeebe!


  2. I'll go back and look on Pacman, but I didn't see it the first (or second) time through. Regardless, the permission problem would plague a properly working Xine/Kaffeine or VLC. Or any application depending on /dev/sr0. But thanks for the tip, and Merry Christmas to you too.

  3. I've not had nearly as good a time of openSUSE 11.1 as you have. I'm really disappointed in it. If you're interested, you can read about my experience here.


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