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Old 9th December 2006, 08:19 PM
foolish Offline
Retired Community Manager
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Aalesund, Norway
Age: 30
Posts: 1,888
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


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:
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.
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:
su -c "yum install amarok-extras-nonfree xmms-mp3 bmp-mp3"

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


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:
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.
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:
su -c "yum install mplayer vlc xine"

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:

 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.
Sindre Pedersen Bjørdal || http://www.fedorasolved.org || Hardware Profile
- Please adhere to the FedoraForum Guidelines.

Last edited by foolish; 9th December 2006 at 08:42 PM.
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