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  #1  
Old 9th December 2006, 07:19 PM
foolish Offline
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Solutions to common issue

This thread is intended for the people on this forum, the heroes, who spend their time providing answers to questions of the masses. You know who you are, and I love you.

We all know the same questions come up over and over. And we all know ways to solve these problems. We also know of several different resources that provide solutions to these, Stanton Finley has his, Fedorafaq is one that I have been involved with, there's imdeemvps posts. All provide solutions that work to solve the common problems. So, here's why I'm creating this post. I want the ones who provide info in here to agree on ONE solution per very common issue. I want us to discuss why we provide the solutions we do, and why we feel it's the right one. The purpose of this discussion could be to create a good resource for new users, but I think the discussion itself will make us all think about the advice we provide, and thinking about and discussing it may cause us to provide even better advice in the future.

See this post: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=140705 for why I think this discussion is needed. The poor fella is provided with so many different solutions and explainations that he's lost. Fedora seems a lot harder and more backwards than it needs to.

So, common issues, what are they? Here's some: Mp3-playback and encoding, video playback and encoding, 3d-drivers, flash plugin. Come up with your own, you're experienced in giving advice, you know what people are asking.

Here's my suggestions for solutions for some of these, along with the rationale behind why I think they are the best solutions. Please do give me feedback on these solutions, as I am in no way certain that they are perfect.

1. Mp3-playback and encoding

Solution:

Mp3 playback and encoding is not included in Fedora because it's a patented technology.

To install mp3 playback and encoding, first enable the rpm.livna.org package repository. Open a terminal and enter the following command, you will be promted for your root (system administrator) password:
Code:
su -c "rpm -ivh http://rpm.livna.org/livna-release-6.rpm"
Then proceed to install the packages providing mp3 playback for the default music players.
Code:
su -c "yum install gstreamer-plugins-ugly"
Other music players such as XMMS and Amarok require you to install other packages to enable mp3 playback:
Code:
su -c "yum install amarok-extras-nonfree xmms-mp3 bmp-mp3"
Rationale:

First, explain WHY mp3 isn't included by default and link to the rationale for this on the Fedora wiki. This to make the user understand that missing the ability to play mp3 files is a choice the Fedora Project has made, not a something we haven't thought about or something we do to make peoples life harder.

Second, use the livna.org repository. It is the only third party repository that mirrors the build system and community profile of Fedora. It's the only third party repository anyone can join and help. It doesn't provide everything, but in theory, with enough packagers, it could provide everything that is legally redistributable, and in the future, it will.

Third, simple instructions that the user can copy and paste into his terminal. To avoid confusing the user, logging in as root and doing the procedure is included in the command the user will paste into his terminal. If the user has followed the previous steps, this solution will always work.

Fourth, assume the user is using a default setup and as such, the music players that are included by default. These are rhythmbox and Totem, both use the gstreamer engine and installing gstreamer-plugins-ugly will enable mp3-playback for both.

Fifth. The user may not be using the default player, but still wants mp3-playback. Provide solutions for common players such as xmms, amarok and bmp.


2. Video playback

Solution:

Playback of certain common non-free video formats such as mpeg, xvid, divx, quicktime and windows media is not included in Fedora because it's patented or otherwise restricted technology.

To enable playback of most of these formats, first enable the rpm.livna.org package repository. Open a terminal and enter the following command, you will be promted for your root (system administrator) password:
Code:
su -c "rpm -ivh http://rpm.livna.org/livna-release-6.rpm"
Then proceed to install the packages providing playback of most of the common video formats for the default video player, called totem.
Code:
su -c "yum install gstreamer-plugins-ugly gstreamer-ffmpeg"
There are other video players available as well, such as mplayer, VideoLAN Client and Xine, all which may provide playback of some video formats that totem does not. You can install these easily:
Code:
su -c "yum install mplayer vlc xine"
Rationale:

See rational for linking to Fedoraproject.org and using livna.org over some other repository from the mp3 question.

Totem with gstreamer is the default player available from a default installation of Fedora. Making Totem with gstreamer play most video files by installing gstreamer-ffmpeg is therefor the first solution I provide. This will be sufficient for most people. (where most people IE: my mom and my brother)

Mplayer, vlc and xine provide more playback. Making these players and how to install them known to the user is benifitial. I will not however recommend totem-xine, as in my experience totem-gstreamer with gstreamer-ffmpeg installed provides the same feature set as does totem-xine with regards to playback and replacing a file from Core is NEVER a good thing.

Win32-codecs are not included here, mostly because I don't know if they do any good. Can anyone confirm to me that they can play something with this installed that they couldn't without? I sure can't find anything. Besides, installing these are complicated. So far I've come up with this command:

Code:
 su -c "mkdir /usr/local/lib/codecs/ && cd /usr/local/lib/codecs/ && wget http://www2.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/all-20061022.tar.bz2 && tar -xvjf all* && mv all*/ . && ln -s /usr/local/lib/codecs/ /usr/lib/win32/"
This is of course nasty and I don't want to give this advice to new users.


I hope this will promt at least some discussion on the solutions that we provide to the users of FedoraForum.org and why. Discussion is always healthy. Thanks for reading.
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Last edited by foolish; 9th December 2006 at 07:42 PM.
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  #2  
Old 9th December 2006, 07:41 PM
Herli Menezes Offline
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Hi, thanks for ur suggestions. Im a newbie on using Linux/Fedora6, and I think consulting foruns is a good way to learn Linux in the practice.

Herli Menezes.
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  #3  
Old 9th December 2006, 07:43 PM
bob Online
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Sindre, it looks as if Stan's happy with Ubuntu and I really don't think there will be an update to his notes for FC-6 and beyond. He's been a great resource but we can't really expect him to spend time working on such things if his interest in the distro has diminished.

Perhaps you could open discussions with this group: http://easylinux.info/wiki/Fedora_fc5 to suggest a change to Livna instead of the RPMForge group ? I've also been referring new members to this site: http://www.mjmwired.net/resources/mjm-fedora-fc6.html and this: http://easylinux.info/wiki/Fedora_frog but, as you can see, we're back to the old Livna vs. RPMForge situation again. If these primary 'how-to' sites could agree on the repository situation, it would be a lot simpler for all concerned.
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  #4  
Old 9th December 2006, 08:04 PM
u-noneinc-s Offline
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This is a very good idea. I would like to see all the repos play nice so we can install all of them without issues, but I don't think this is going to happen. Freshrpms (my current choice btw) will undoubtedly come out with some package update that will break a livna package dependency and visa versa. and atrpms just seems to mess up a lot of things (unless you intend to use ONLY them) but they are "the" source for mythtv, and people that want mythtv are going to go there. It would be great if atrpms would put a disclaimer on their website that the use of atrpms may render your other repos useless (and in some circumstances your system) Note: I have never used them, and only know what I've read including many recent dependency hell threads after installing mythtv suite.

That said, I may wind up switching to livna in future installs simply because it seems to be the most recommended. I have livna installed but disabled now.

I think another problem is too many chiefs (and I am very guilty of this). This is along the line of your remark about "confusing the OP" with too many repos or too many methods. Case in point. http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showth...248#post701248 The OP is trying to upgrade from FC5 to FC6 and the disk upgrade failed so (s)he wants to try yum. Slowjet recommended the OP yum update yum then yum update (to make sure (S)he had the latest kernel) and reboot.
I mentioned that the release packages also needed to be updated and they must be done at the same time (fedora-release-6x and release-notes-6x) My intention was "additional info, but I am afraid the OP may have done the release update and not done the fc5 update first and now yum update with fc6 release says nothing to do
I for one am going to do my best to keep from complicating things in the future. Unfortunately it won't be easy since this is my nature (every job I've had I ended up getting my hands into someone elses work).
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  #5  
Old 9th December 2006, 08:17 PM
bob Online
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Mark, you're right about the repositories not coming to an understanding. I was hopeful that the main FAQ sites could reach that understanding about recommending one repository across the board.
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  #6  
Old 9th December 2006, 11:19 PM
leigh123linux
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Hi, nice howto

"Win32-codecs are not included here, mostly because I don't know if they do any good. Can anyone confirm to me that they can play something with this installed that they couldn't without? I sure can't find anything. Besides, installing these are complicated. So far I've come up with this command:"

On other distros xine has not been able to play avi files without these codecs, I can't comment on fedora as I install them as routine setup and have not tried without.

Leigh
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  #7  
Old 11th December 2006, 09:09 PM
leigh123linux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh123
Hi, nice howto

"Win32-codecs are not included here, mostly because I don't know if they do any good. Can anyone confirm to me that they can play something with this installed that they couldn't without? I sure can't find anything. Besides, installing these are complicated. So far I've come up with this command:"

On other distros xine has not been able to play avi files without these codecs, I can't comment on fedora as I install them as routine setup and have not tried without.

Leigh
You got me thinking so I renamed the codec folders and tried xine with a few different media files, It seems to work ok without these codecs.

leigh
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  #8  
Old 10th December 2006, 12:05 AM
Dies Offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foolish
We all know the same questions come up over and over. And we all know ways to solve these problems. We also know of several different resources that provide solutions to these, Stanton Finley has his, Fedorafaq is one that I have been involved with, there's imdeemvps posts. All provide solutions that work to solve the common problems. So, here's why I'm creating this post. I want the ones who provide info in here to agree on ONE solution per very common issue. I want us to discuss why we provide the solutions we do, and why we feel it's the right one. The purpose of this discussion could be to create a good resource for new users, but I think the discussion itself will make us all think about the advice we provide, and thinking about and discussing it may cause us to provide even better advice in the future.
I agree and I believe that most of this is caused by people who just joined and simply start asking questions without looking through the How-to section or using the search function. But I guess that's to be expected because of the way the forum is laid out.

So it seems to me that a good solution would be to have a section dedicated for newbs call it "Start Here" and make it front and center, bigger than the rest so you can't miss it, link to it in the e-mail that is sent to new users and make that link big too so you can't miss it.

OK great so now what? Well no one except for the moderators would be able to post there. Now you outline everything in simple terms, for example one post could deal with "Playing MP3's in FC", "Video in FC" in which you could outline the more popular player's for Linux maybe include screenshots or links to the homepage so they can see which one they like then explain how to install each one, another post could deal with repos and how to add them why not to use certain ones, etc, etc.

Most of this work is already done so it wouldn't be too bad, so now it just needs to be placed in one place where it follows a logical order and it's easy to find what you're looking for without wading through post after post.
And I'm sure people would rather spend their time making this section the best it can be than answering the same question over and over.

There seems to be too many "FAQ's" around which just causes more confusion because they all vary in recommendations, this forum should be the place to have the definitive "Fedora FAQ's".

Edit - And we all know who the moderators should be because you see their name all the time and they always seem to have the answer or an even better way to do things or yet another great tutorial.

OK I'm done now.

Last edited by Dies; 10th December 2006 at 12:10 AM.
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  #9  
Old 10th December 2006, 12:27 AM
u-noneinc-s Offline
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Quote:
So it seems to me that a good solution would be to have a section dedicated for newbs call it "Start Here" and make it front and center, bigger than the rest so you can't miss it, link to it in the e-mail that is sent to new users and make that link big too so you can't miss it.
Excellent. You could (just a suggestion) provide a "Start Here" link with the subscription confirmation. Sort of a first login since you email us our passwords anyway, we would need to login to the start page to begin No bypass.
Quote:
There seems to be too many "FAQ's" around which just causes more confusion because they all vary in recommendations, this forum should be the place to have the definitive "Fedora FAQ's".
I Usually don't refer to the fedora faq ONLY because I'm familiar with Stans, but this is, after all, Fedora, so again, Excellent.

EDIT: Initially I was unable to play windows media without the w32codecs but I don't know if this is still the case. I started with FC3 and needed the codecs. I upgraded to FC5 and the codecs are still in there. (I don't want to remove them to find out)
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Last edited by u-noneinc-s; 10th December 2006 at 12:32 AM.
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  #10  
Old 10th December 2006, 01:27 AM
JN4OldSchool Offline
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Quote:
So it seems to me that a good solution would be to have a section dedicated for newbs call it "Start Here" and make it front and center, bigger than the rest so you can't miss it, link to it in the e-mail that is sent to new users and make that link big too so you can't miss it.
I have mentioned this before in another thread of this nature. But it seems to me it shouldnt be an "open" thread for people to post in. Instead it should be set sticky and in a place of prominance at the very top of this forum in a section all it's own. I dont think we need another MJMwired guide or anything like Stanton had provided in the past. I think just a simple post presenting a series of noted explaining the codec thing and a link to MJMWired (or wherever the managers decide). Then we take every MAIN issue FC (version) has and add to this thread. For instance the kernel issue (i586 instead of i686) was a HUGE problem everyone should have been notified about immediatly! I would propose a small team of interested members to sift through this forum on a daily basis taking note of these problems and their solution. Then one community manager to post in this thread. Nick is doing something sililar in his most frequently asked thread, Firewing has some great How-to's, it seems Dan and I are great at regurgitating everyone elses solutions all over the place...Yeah, the info is already here, now. We just need to provide a better roadmap for new converts to find it. If I hear that stupid "how do i multi-boot" question again I am going to blow a hole in my monitor. And it's not the noob's fault, they dont know this question is asked almost daily. Instead of chewing them out it would be nice if we could direct them to the how-to or the answer.

Anyway, I like it here, as I get better I am trying to help more without trying to muddy the water or stepping on anyone elses toes. I have nothing to prove and I always try to defer the question to someone who may know more than me. I think things run fine as they are and I see most questions are delt with promptly and correctly. But there is always room for improvement and this is my 2 cent worth.
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  #11  
Old 10th December 2006, 01:53 AM
Seve Offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JN4OldSchool
But it seems to me it shouldnt be an "open" thread for people to post in. Instead it should be set sticky and in a place of prominance at the very top of this forum in a section all it's own. .
Hello:
I agree with the premise of it not being an open thread, more along the lines of the FAQ pages.
Just an obvious observation;
FC6 has been in release going on 2 months now and there is no FC6 FAQ. A third of it's shelf life has expired.
There are tons of great how-to's which have both pro's and con's to using them. Some are impervious to time, whereas others should be archived as they present more problems than solutions for new users.

At the end of the day no matter what format is chosen and how much effort is put into making it idiot-proof someone always comes along and invents a better idiot. [like me ]

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  #12  
Old 10th December 2006, 04:18 AM
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I like the idea, as some of you may know me and tangled are working on a webpage for the how-tos and a couple others that are in my thread. I would most definitely change the how-tos to reflect what we decide on here. As far as mp3 I think foolish's how-to is great. As for video, I know it is the default player in FC, but i cant bring myself to recommend totem, I suggest reccomending things for the users needs. ie if a user needs a video plugin for firefox, or a player for mythtv, I recomend mplayer. If they want to play dvd's and watch videos from their harddrive I recommend XINE. etc, its not that hard to teach people how to install these players and they are at least imho on an entirely different and better level of quality than anything totem has ever offered. I think a yum remove totem, at the begining of an install is going to provide the new user with less problems in the long run. ie we wont here "why cant i play divx files" 10,000 times
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Old 10th December 2006, 04:27 AM
nick.stumpos Offline
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also what do we want to say for the *official* flash answer, I've not run into any bugs that would suggest against advising flash 9 beta,opinions anyone?
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  #14  
Old 10th December 2006, 04:34 AM
Dan Offline
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Flash 9 is a solid performer here. Although I think eureka has a point about putting it in the user directory for security sake.
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  #15  
Old 10th December 2006, 04:45 AM
nick.stumpos Offline
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i agree, mine is in my users directory
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