Multimedia on Ubuntu, but proprietary software is bad for your skin

Well, last weekend, I finally "figured" multimedia out. It was, uh, downloading the Win32 binary codecs off the Mplayer website, which you un-targz and place in a directory called /usr/lib/win32 created as root. C'est simple comme bonjour. Because I like to keep my non-package stuff in /usr/local, I just made a symlink from there to /usr/lib/. I think that by default, a self-compiled version of mplayer looks in /usr/local/lib/codecs. However, the precompiled version of Mplayer in Ubuntu (Edgy Eft) looks in /usr/lib/win32, as seen when I tried to load a video w/o the codecs in the right place.

Typically, media players on Linux seem to use open-source and reversed-engineered codecs, but Mplayer is special, in that it may use native DLL files from Windows . You have to run a x86 operating system, which is the case of everyone. Formerly, I'd have so much trouble watching the simplest thing as Windows Media Player streams; for instance, Radio-Canada.ca and NHL.com streams would come out audio-only, and they now play as normally as it gets.

Totally defeats the purpose of using a free in the freedom sense operating system (if it's not free, write it yourself). To make it worse, I even installed RealPlayer and Flash Player on my system. At least, in the process, I'm not giving a cent to MS (which goes to Seattle, which garnishes Starbucks' coffers, and everyone knows that coffee is bad for your complexion). Playing videos while swirling your desktop cube, however, is so absolutely g33ky.

Now that I switched on the hardware support for virtualization (in the BIOS - they disabled it by default), I'd love to reinstall VMWare when I have some time, to see whether it was that which kept on making my system crash while booting up WinXP inside of Linux.

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This page contains a single entry by Cedric published on December 4, 2006 10:34 PM.

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