ASX streams not always working on Ubuntu
Now that the Audio-Video Zone has converted to Flash for its interface (over a month ago, actually, following repeated attacks from the Linux/open-source community), I can use this superb multimedia delivery tool on Linux. I tried it on my desktop, which runs an up-to-date version of Ubuntu Feisty, yesterday, using Firefox and the mplayer plug-in (with the appropriate codecs), and I was able to stream audio and video.
However, when I tried with Ubuntu Gutsy, which is still in development, and only to be released in late October, the video or audio clip would load, but then mysteriously stop. I've yet to figure out how to get debugging messages. When I saved the stopped clip, and tried playing it, I noticed that I could play the URL contained in the asx, with mplayer and the "-playlist" option. Then, I thought that something was wrong with the plug-in, so went to download a previous Ubuntu package of mozilla-mplayer with the Feisty (3.31) and installed it over the current Gutsy one (3.40). It did not help, as the error stayed the same. I also tried downgrading mplayer as well, and it did not work either.
I did not take more time to investigate this, but I venture a guess that it could be Firefox. There might also be something wrong with my install also, since I tweaked a number of things, custom-installed programs, etc (doubtful, since it worked fine with Feisty, to the best of my memory). But, if there are bugs to be reported, it should be on Launchpad. I thought it was bug #112055 (with fix), but it does not solve the problem for me.
It wasn't only Radio-Canada's Audio-Video zone that was problematic on Gutsy, but also on BBC News (see one of the video streams links, lower on the page). Since the streams were working alright on Feisty, it is hopeful that it will be repaired by release day (or that it is totally an idiosyncratic problem).
Multimedia has definitely been Linux's Achilles Heel, but it surely wasn't helped by the fact that it has been developed in a proprietary way by the industry and arguably because multimedia is (still) something too complex for the open-source world to handle.
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