Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Graphics Software

JWZ Reviews Video on Linux 872

An anonymous reader writes "The inimitable JWZ goes once again forth and reviews the state of video on Linux. Expect no mercy."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

JWZ Reviews Video on Linux

Comments Filter:
  • by Samus ( 1382 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:01PM (#5151523) Journal
    For his server?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:04PM (#5151536)
    If you look for reasons to be unhappy with ANYTHING, you'll find them. Why not focus on what's good and what needs to be improved? "This is shit and too big of a pain in the ass to screw with" isn't a particularly exacting or insightful analysis.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Why are so many people taking his comments personally? Did you write the video players he critisized? No, so WTF? If you replaced all the names of the Linux media players with Windows Media Player, this forum would be full of "Hurrah!" and "I totally agree!". His points are all valid and are HIS OPINION. Most of them I personally agree with as well. But just because he says some negative things about a Linux app *gasp*, you people are reacting like he killed you mother or something. I really don't get it, but it really strengthens my position that Slashdot has really gone downhill the last couple of years.
      • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 )
        No, he made a lot of errors.

        I'm not saying that the state of video on Linux is perfect (ease of use ain't what it is on Windows), but it's a hell of a lot better than he makes out. Let's break it down:

        I finally found RPMs of mplayer that would consent to install themselves on a Red Hat 7.2 machine, and actually got it to play some videos. Amazing.

        Yup. The mplayer guys also complain about binary distribution, because mplayer really isn't meant to be distributed in binary form. There's a reason.

        But it's a total pain in the ass to use due to rampant "themeing." Why do people do this? They map this stupid shaped window with no titlebar (oh, sorry, your choice of a dozen stupidly-shaped windows without titlebars) all of which use fonts that are way too small to read. But, here's the best part, there's no way to raise the window to the top. So if another window ever gets on top of it, well, sorry, you're out of luck. And half of the themes always map the window at the very bottom of the screen -- conveniently under my panel where I can't reach it.

        Yup. *Exactly* like most Windows media players. I don't like it either. Which is why I use the non-GUI mplayer (granted, then you don't get a draggable progress bar).

        It moves the mouse to the upper left corner of every dialog box it creates! Which is great, because that means that when it gets into this cute little state of popping up a blank dialog that says "Error" five times a second, you can't even move the mouse over to another window to kill the program, you have to log in from another machine.

        This is new to me. I've never seen a program do this.

        Fucking morons.

        Yeah...I was thinking the same thing about JWZ.

        So I gave up on that, and tried to install gstreamer. Get this. Their propose ``solution'' for distributing binaries on Red Hat systems? They point you at an RPM that installs apt, the Debian package system!

        No. apt is just an auto-downloading front end. It works with both dpkg (the Debian packaging system, which is *NOT* apt) and RPM. It also makes Red Hat about ten thousand times more palatable, because up2date (Red Hat's own equivalent of apt) sucks very very very much.

        Well, I found some RPMs for Red Hat 7.2, but apparently they expect you to have already rectally inserted Gnome2 on that 7.2 system first. Uh, no.

        You *couldn't* manage to compile it yourself? Have you ever heard of checkinstall?

        I've seen the horror of Red Hat 8.0, and there's no fucking way I'm putting Gnome2 on any more of my machines for at least another six months, maybe a year.

        I think that you're being a bit silly -- lots of people are very happy with RH 8, but whatever floats your boat.

        Ok, no gstreamer. Let's try Xine. I found RPMs, and it sucks about the same as mplayer, and in about the same ways, though slightly less bad: it doesn't screw the aspect ratio when you resize the window; and at least its stupidly-shaped window is always forced to be on top. I don't like that either, but it's better than never being on top. It took me ten minutes to figure out where the "Open File" dialog was. It's on the button labeled "://" whose tooltip says "MRL Browser". Then you get to select file names from an oh-so-cute window that I guess is supposed to look like a tty, or maybe an LCD screen. It conveniently centers the file names in the list, and truncates them at about 30 characters. The scrollbar is also composed of "characters": it's an underscore.

        Again -- I don't like themed, pixmapped crap interfaces either, but the Windows world is exactly the same. For some reason, people designing media players have it stuck in their heads that anyone who wants to watch a movie wants a non-standard, hard-to-use pixmapped interface.

        Oh, and even though I have libdvdcss installed (as evidenced by the fact that Ogle actually works) Xine won't play the same disc that Ogle will play. It seems to be claiming that the CSS stuff isn't installed, which it clearly is.

        What the hell do your expect? You grab a bunch of random RPMs (not from Red Hat) which you didn't compile yourself (and ignored the fact that there are *two* DVD CSS libraries) and now you're bitching that things don't work. Either get it from RH (or FreshRPMs) or compile it yourself, laddie buck.

    • by sfe_software ( 220870 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @04:19PM (#5153051) Homepage
      If you look for reasons to be unhappy with ANYTHING, you'll find them. Why not focus on what's good and what needs to be improved?

      The thing is, he does make some good points. For example, why does everyone need to reinvent the GUI wheel (as if we didn't have enough widget sets and window managers to deal with on *nix)? Why does everything have to be skinable?

      I use MPlayer extensively -- but I don't touch the GUI, I have a text-based front-end for it. When it comes to playing video files, scaling, utilizing my ATI's TV-Out, etc -- MPlayer kicks all sorts of ass.

      However, it's such a common trend these days to make everything skinable, and to create one's own interface standards. That's one of the things I hate most about WMP for Windows (that, and it periodically just stops functioning).

      It's one thing I hate about Mozilla (why can't they use the native menus and widgets?) -- though I use Mozilla exclusively, I still feel a lot of time was wasted implementing their own text box (that still doesn't work quite right), menus, etc...

      While I personally use MPlayer, I can't say I'd recommend it to someone who doesn't know how to compile software (using a specific gcc version no less), figure out the appropriate command-line options, etc. Tried to walk a semi-linux-literate person through it, and he still has no working MPlayer. As for the GUI, I also wouldn't recommend it, for most of the reasons noted in Jamie's rant.
    • by mixmasta ( 36673 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @06:52PM (#5153955) Homepage Journal
      Just because he is a grumpy asshole, doesn't mean he's not right.

    • by edunbar93 ( 141167 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @08:05PM (#5154347)
      "What a grumpy asshole" is the exact phrase used by everyone that recieves complaints about a product, about which they have their heads so far up their asses as to believe that it's perfect in every way.

      THIS IS A CUSTOMER COMPLAINT! The louder, noisier, and more obnoxious the complaint, the more the person wants it fixed. If he wanted the product to please die quietly, he wouldn't even bother to complain. He would merely go away. He would let the product die in its own feces like he thinks it ought to. He wouldn't complain, because he doesn't want the product to improve and heave itself out of the pool of shit that it currently sleeps in.

      And you know what? In order for this to happen, especially when the producers of said product honestly believe there's nothing wrong, the people making the product in question need to have their egos adjusted, probably in a brutal manner which will leave them lying on the floor in a fetal position, crying for their mommy. I have personally been through this before, so shut up, take the man's advice, and do it right. Stop fucking complaining that he's a mean old man, because believe it or not, he IS helping. He DOES give a damn. And if you're too weak minded to see this and adjust your own damn attitude, you deserve to die by choking on your own shit.
    • by jackbox ( 398140 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @08:27PM (#5154445)
      "This is shit and too big of a pain in the ass to screw with" isn't a particularly exacting or insightful analysis.

      True. But it's exactly the same analysis that every "normal" (non-techno geek) user will give. And that makes it extremely valuable.
  • by mrseigen ( 518390 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:05PM (#5151542) Homepage Journal
    ...command-line MPlayer works perfectly for me. Aside from that, he certainly lets people know what's wrong with the projects they've spent most of their lives on.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I wonder how much effort was wasted on themes
      that only make video players terribly hard to
      use. I'v got good eyesight, and I can't even
      make out what is what with those damn crapplets.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:26PM (#5151735)
      command-line ... works perfectly for me

      Everytime that phrase comes to your mind I want you to take a deep breath and think whether you would say that to your non-technical mother/father/granny/whatever. This is a great review in that it takes it from a true end user perspective. This is the experience that a regular joe would have. This is the battle that we must fight and the answer is not "command-line ... works perfectly for me."
      • by Dave_bsr ( 520621 ) <> on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:22PM (#5152263) Homepage Journal
        Ok, I struggled with getting every supposedly great media player for windows to work right, including iterations of WiMP and Quicktime. Don't talk to me about Realplayer. A different media player for every media.

        So here ya go. Mplayer is just a media player. It opens every media you can think of - mplayer [file] and it just works. Period. Set it up to be the default media player in your pretty GUI file manager and you'll never think about it again.

        Interaction is a bit different than usual, i'll admit, but it's intuitive and easy once you get used to it. Different != bad. Key-presses are faster than grabbing the mouse and pointing it at something, especially if you're watching a DVD and just want to reach over and slap the spacebar to pause, or hit an arrow key repeatedly to skip forward or back. Mplayer's key mappings are easy to remember and logical - q for quit, f for fullscreen, space for pause, and arrow keys to skip forward and back. You can even adjust audio playback sync to the video, if you learn a bit about it. I'd argue that the average "idiot*" user could learn it and love it just fine - especially since it's one media player, and one interface, for every video (even audio) file on his or her system.

        Mplayer GUI's aren't that bad either, whiners...

        : )

        *Very few are idiots, and many learn fast...don't think that just because you and I can program that means everyone else is retarded.
        • by njdj ( 458173 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @05:12PM (#5153400)
          Different != bad.

          I disagree. When it comes to user interface conventions, Different=Bad.

          Just imagine walking into a car showroom to buy a car, and the sales guy shows you this neat-looking model. It has 2 pedals, one of them turns on the windshield wipers, the other turns on the heated rear window. The brake is operated by a stalk on the left of the steering column ... need I continue?

          A lot of user-interface conventions are pretty arbitrary. If we were starting from nothing, maybe something else would have been better. But we're not starting from nothing. We've all gotten used to a bunch of conventions. Products which conform to the conventions we know are easier to use than products which do not.
        • by seanellis ( 302682 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @06:48PM (#5153938) Homepage Journal

          Sorry to disagree, but the original author is right, and you even point it out yourself:

          Interaction is a bit different than usual, i'll admit, but it's intuitive and easy once you get used to it.

          There's the problem right there, staring you in the face.

          Why should I have to "get used to it"? I have already spent time and effort gaining knowledge about how to deal with scroll bars, file selectors, bringing windows to the top, minimizing windows, etc. If I can't apply that to this app, and have to learn all those things all over again just for this app then I lose.

          I haven't got the time to "get used to" every app's idea of a pretty UI. I want something that works the way everything else works, thanks.

          For some reason, it's media stuff that tends to sport these kinds of interfaces. Non-standard windows. Controls I can't see, or that don't work the way I expect, or that don't do anything because they are cruft that just looks like a control. More pixels dedicated to the skin than to the movie. Favorites bars. Channel bars. Media bars. Quicklaunch bars. For all I know or care, topless bars.


          What I want from a media player is simple: a rectangular window with a standard title and menu bar. Controls: play, stop, and a horizontal scroll bar for fast forward/rewind - and it had better be a proper UI standard scrollbar too. Maximise widget for full screen video. Standard menus for everything else.

          Of course, Linux isn't the only OS that has this problem. Windows Media Player is another execrable pile of "cool" skins and stuff. I selected the "classic" skin as soon as the thing installed, and turned every UI option off. And Quicktime player's UI rightly has its own page in the UI hall of shame []. You don't even get a choice with this one.

          No wonder users these days get confused. And when users get confused, they leave.

      • This is the experience that a regular joe would have. This is the battle that we must fight

        Why must we fight this "battle"? Who cares if Grandma can use Linux or not? As long as enough geeks are using Linux to keep the platform viable, this geek will be happy, and perfectly content.

        The Penguin cares not for market share.

      • Everytime that phrase comes to your mind I want you to take a deep breath and think whether you would say that to your non-technical mother/father/granny/whatever.

        I do say that to my non-technical wife, to which she responds "Fuck you, I'm not doing that!". That prompts me to write a script which I link to an icon on her desktop with a simple name like "play_dvd" (which would be a simple one-liner if it weren't for one stupid Powerpuff Girls DVD where Title 1 is one of the extras with a character voice over).

        Granted, this approach won't work for households that don't include a Unix geek, but it will have to suffice until I can get mplayer to compile with a GUI.

    • by DrMaurer ( 64120 ) <danlowlite@gmail. c o m> on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:56PM (#5152015) Homepage
      Yeah, it works fine for you, but it shouldn't be the only way, should it?

      I like the concept of themes, really, I do, but most people who do them have no concept of user-interface-design. If you're distributing a product, you should endevor to create a professional appearance once the work's been done behind the scenes.

      A lot of folks seem to think that if it works for them, it works for everyone. Look at the plethora of shitty themes on or winamp skins at or whatever it is that mac users do . . . my mac doesn't work right now. (iBook's yo-yo power supply is busted.) Anyhow, they're mostly just bad, cluttered, and really not that cohesive. I'm sure there are a couple, but I end up just getting the background pictures mostly.

      For chrissakes, if you spend your whole life on a project, is 8 hours to make a theme unadorned with pictures of Heidi Klum wearing a Tux baby-T too much to ask?

      "Gentlemen, BEHOLD! This thing!"

      You should be able to use command lines, if you want, but it shouldn't be required.
  • by ejaytee ( 186527 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:08PM (#5151578)

    I used to think JWZ was cool. Lucid EMACS, the whole RMS techno-tension thing, his general sense of mightiness.

    Now I think he mostly likes to complain about stuff and run his nightclub.

    It's probably fun to make lists of things that suck all day long, but why not use some of that talent and nervous energy to join in and help?

    • by Raul Acevedo ( 15878 ) <raul.cantara@com> on Friday January 24, 2003 @06:00PM (#5153679) Homepage
      It's probably fun to make lists of things that suck all day long, but why not use some of that talent and nervous energy to join in and help?
      Because part of his point [] is that at this point in the history of the computer, being able to use a simple app to view video under Linux should not require one to have to do it oneself from scratch to do it right.

      This gets mentioned a lot on slashdot; "if you don't like it, stop complaining and YOU do it right!" While there's a lot of validity to that, there are many times when the issue is that by now, certain basic things of using a computer have been solved 10000 times over.

      I mean come on, "://", or the "MRL browser", to open a file dialog? WTF? I went through the same frustration with Xine, it took forever to figure how to do something as simple as open friggin' files.

      Innovation is one thing. But coming up with a hard to use interface, ignoring some really, really basic UI guidelines that have been around for what 30 years is another. At that point, "if you don't like it, do it yourself" becomes an excuse, not a valid response.

  • OS X + Fink = bliss (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IvyMike ( 178408 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:09PM (#5151589)

    I know he poo-poos this idea, but he really should go to OS X. JWZ highly prizes usability, and so do most Mac developers (quicktime viewer aside), so it seems like a good match. He wants xemacs; he can get xemacs with fink and run it on a rootless X server, and thus get the best of both worlds. All the video stuff is likely trivial on a Mac.

    And admit it, any time you see someone with hair like his, you immediately think, "Mac user".

    • he can get xemacs with fink and run it on a rootless X server

      What the fuck? And struggle with two fucking competing packaging systems, AND two fucking different fucking display systems? Yeah, THAT'S A COCK-SHAPED GOOD IDEA. You seem to expect me to install MacOS as well. Uh, no.

      Fucking hell. I think Windows is looking more and more attractive. At least on Windows everything looks equally crap.

      note: that was meant to be sarcasm. i don't actually talk like that :)

  • JWZ should STFU (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enahs ( 1606 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:13PM (#5151614) Journal
    Really. We know he's got the know-how to change the situation, and instead he just sits around bitching and calls other developers "fucktards."

    Dammit, when you worked at Netscape, JWZ, Navigator sucked ass. Sorry, dude, but Communicator has improved since you had a hissy fit and left.

    What, I'm not allowed to criticize the great JWZ?

    So do it, JWZ; either put together something that works the way you think it should work, or give up and buy a fucking Mac already.

  • Huzzah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:14PM (#5151623) Homepage Journal
    Finally, somebody who else who is unafraid to point out the stupidity of the interfaces being foisted upon us!

    Look, folks - your program is NOT a physical device I can stack in my equipment rack - DON'T MAKE IT LOOK LIKE ONE! It is a PROGRAM! Make it look like a program! I want a simple menu bar across the top of the window. I want that menu bar to follow accepted standard practice - File, Options, Help. I want a minimum of BS - just play the DAMN FILE!

    • Re:Huzzah! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by athakur999 ( 44340 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:26PM (#5151729) Journal
      Amen! The number of software DVD players that try to look my hardware DVD players is amazing. I mean, who actually uses the front panel of their hardware DVD player, other than the "eject" button?

      At the very least, if you feel the need to make your software look like hardware, make it look like a hardware DVD player remote control, which people actually use...

      • Re:Huzzah! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:25PM (#5152286)
        > Amen! The number of software DVD players that try to look my hardware DVD players is amazing. I mean, who actually uses the front panel of their hardware DVD player, other than the "eject" button?
        > At the very least, if you feel the need to make your software look like hardware, make it look like a hardware DVD player remote control, which people actually use...

        "I did that for TackLinux-TV-Tuner, and these stupid users complain that they want to use the numbers on their keyboard when trying to select Channel 112, rather than mousing to the '1', '2', '3', ... '0' icons! Stupid users!

        So I made a new sk1n for the keyboard. Put a real keyboard on the scanner and made a 1600x400 bitmap of it! It looks just like an IBM keyboard, you can mouse over and click on the '1', through '0' keys, or the numeric keypad, provided you mouse over and click on the NumLock icon first! And the stupid users still didn't like my UI! One of them even complained because he was building a home theater with an LCD projector, and at 1280x1024 as his screen resolution and my image of the keyboard was too wide for his screen!

        "Stupid user! Like duh he should have just gotten a bigger screen! (Like, doesn't everyone watch movies at 1600x1200?) I mean, what did he want me to do, scan in a Sinclair ZX-80 so the image of the keyboard sk1n would fit in his dinky 1280x1024 layout or what?

        I told him I was sorry, but if he couldn't stay current with hardware, he should just go fuck himself and use Windows or something. Stupid ungrateful users! Sometimes I don't know why I bother to code for them!"

    • Apple's DVD Player (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aftk2 ( 556992 )
      Completely agree. However, to me, the biggest problem with these devices isn't skinning necessarily, it's that they don't take full advantage of the fact that they're computer applications, rather than hardware ones - a point made rather well by Andy Ihnatko, back-page columnist at MacWorld []. This was in his latest column, not yet available online, which I will re-post here, as a clear and flagrant violation of copyright:

      Let's go back to DVD Player. In many ways, it's the weakest program Apple gives away...How about letting me insert my own bookmarks, so I can always zip straight to the line where Chief Marge tells Lou that she's not sure if she agrees with his police work? How about if every time I eject a disc, the program remembers where I left off and takes me right there the next time I insert it, even if that's months later?

      How about if a single menu item took me to a Sherlock 3 DVD tool that assembled production information from the IMDB, reviews from, and related movies from the same filmmakers-all in one window? What if the player could silently extract subtitles during playback and index a time-coded transcript?

      And it goes on like this...
  • by dannycim ( 442761 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:14PM (#5151625)
    Instead of bitching about OpenSource and free (as in beer) products which have not even reached 1.0 stable release, be nice to the project developpers and make constructive suggestions.

    Man! People are such a***oles nowadays. They expect everything for free and delivered on a gold plate. Pffft!
  • by Maeryk ( 87865 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:16PM (#5151633) Journal
    Mainly because he limited himself to RPM's and didnt specify what WM he was using.

    I use both mplayer and gmplayer on Mandrake just fine. It doesnt have resize problems, has resize ability, etc. That _may_ be because Im using windowmaker and/or blackbox, but it seems to work fine in KDE as well. Course, I installed the source for them, and compiled from scratch, after doing all the enable/disable flags the right way for my system.

    The only issue Im having with Mplayer right now is it has a tendency to put some .viv files upside down when it plays them.. not sure, and not really bothered by it, but it was something i noticed.

    Xine hasnt worked for me since day one.. but i have never tweaked it.. I just think it doesnt like my DVD drive.. as soon as it comes up and tries to hit the drive it locks the system hard.

    I dont know what the problem is for this guy, other than the fact that he seems to be RPM happy and he uses RedHat. (which is certainly his prerogative)

    • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:41PM (#5151874)
      > Mainly because he limited himself to RPM's and didnt specify what WM he was using.
      > I use both mplayer and gmplayer on Mandrake just fine. It doesnt have resize problems, has resize ability, etc. That _may_ be because Im using windowmaker and/or blackbox, but it seems to work fine in KDE as well. Course, I installed the source for them, and compiled from scratch, after doing all the enable/disable flags the right way for my system.


      So write up an FAQ. Tell us:

      1) What WMs work with what video programs.
      2) What libraries are required.
      3) What version of gcc you used *G*
      4) What flags are set, where to set them, and what's "right" for a wide range of systems, say, a few nVIDIA and ATI systems on AMD and Intel chips, and/or any specific motherboard-related issues.
      5) All the other variables I've overlooked, but that you didn't, that make the difference between "It Works" and "It Doesn't".

      The problem JWZ is ranting about is usability, not functionality. You don't have a usability problem, because you already have a large base of knowledge, because you've made a large investment in time and energy to figure out how to make it work.

      I made a similar comment the other day - and I've seen the same flames today, which pretty muchn boil down to "Hey, asshole, we code for the fun of it, not because we want to save the world from Microsoft! We code because we like to, and couldn't care less if anyone other than us ever uses our code!"

      (The rest of this comment isn't addressed at you per se, it's addressed to the readership who've flamed JWZ for being a clueless and ungrateful twit - you've seen 'em - "hey, asshole, what have you coded for us lately", and "hey, be thankful you have any code at all, just 'cuz you're not 31337 enough to run it!")

      Well, that's fine. Good to have you guys out of the closet. Billgatus will take over the world - and hey, that's fine, since it won't stop you from coding.

      But if your code compiles in a forest where there are only 100 systems that can execute it (because those 100 systems all belong to the developers working on the project, as opposed to those of us who develop other things don't have time to keep up with the developments in every open source/free software video project), can you really be said to have created something useful in the first place? If code compiles on no machines, can it really be said to be code? And if you don't give a shit about your code running on a wide variety of platforms ("What, our code only runs on Distro X! You wanna run his app that needs Distro Y, and my app, you gotta dual-boot, or choose between his app and my app! Choose my app, 'cuz I'm cooler!") why should I give a shit about your code in the first place?

      If that's how you want it, hey, it's your code, but under that scenario, what value does open source/free software offer me?

      "Well", you say, "if you haven't coded anything for us, why should we give a fuck what you? It's open source, take it or fuckin' leave it."

      Fair enough - but then why should any of us give a rat's fried patoot about freeing that DeCSS guy, or that Ogg Theora stuff, when it's plain as day that I'll never view a video with code based on it anyways?

      The difference between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs offering me closed-source binaries on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, and you offering me code that I can't necessarily compile or use on a take-it-or-leave-it basis -- is that at least the frickin' movie plays on Windows and OS X.

      • So write up an FAQ. Tell us:

        1) What WMs work with what video programs.
        2) What libraries are required.
        3) What version of gcc you used *G*
        4) What flags are set, where to set them, and what's "right" for a wide range of systems, say, a few nVIDIA and ATI systems on AMD and Intel chips, and/or any specific motherboard-related issues.
        5) All the other variables I've overlooked, but that you didn't, that make the difference between "It Works" and "It Doesn't".

        One working example.

        First, install Debian. Use this in your /etc/apt/sources/list
        deb unstable main

        To install, run
        apt-get install mplayer-686
        apt-get install ffmpeg

        Also, grab the extra binary codecs from the Mplayer site and throw them in /usr/lib/win32

        That site is here []

        To play a vid, download it first. IF you get a stupid quicktime page thingy, load the page source, use "wget" to grab the vid, and play it.

        If you get a windows streaming site, use mplayer -dumpstream to dump the stream to an ASF file on disk, and then play it. I usually use the options -vo xv and -xy 2 (or 3) to enlarge, and ensure usage of the XVideo extension.

        So much for playing vids. To record digital vids, do the following

        1) grab a cheap Firewire card. If you pay more than $20 you paid too much.

        2) Build Firewire options into kernel and load the modules (or reboot if you build them in)

        3) Use kino [] to grab digital video. Again, from Debian, apt-get install kino. Edit in kino, export to a type 2 AVI file.

        4) Use ffmpeg to make a divx file. I like to use these options
        -f avi
        -vcodec mpeg4
        -s 360x240
        -b 200
        -g 300
        -bf 2
        -acodec mp3
        -ab 128

        If you have a lot of motion consider also using -4mv and -me FULL. If you have an IDE drive make sure dma transfer is enabled.

        Again, just one working example.
  • by Rayban ( 13436 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:16PM (#5151634) Homepage
    First of all, installing apt on RedHat doesn't compete to install packages - it uses apt to install RPMs, rather than debs. This means that it will automatically locate RPM dependencies and install them, exactly as a Debian system would. It just adds missing functionality to the RPM system.

    It all comes down to people complaining and complaining that they can't do something right away. Why not build a package for mplayer that installs it the way you want? These people are writing software in their free time. You don't have to use it.

    "Uh, no. I've seen the horror of Red Hat 8.0, and there's no fucking way I'm putting Gnome2 on any more of my machines for at least another six months, maybe a year."

    I can't understand why you would complain about installing dependencies for a product that is still in development. How is software supposed to advance if we're always using v1 of libraries instead of v2?

    "What are these fucktards thinking???"

    Why do people get off on putting other people's work down? Just because you made a quick buck in an IPO doesn't give you the right to rant about whatever you want and expect people to bow down. Why not write up a bug report or a quick suggestion? Isn't that what we do if something bugs us? That's the beauty of having each access to the application developers! Your riches don't elevate you above the rest of us, my friend.

    Don't whine that something doesn't work unless you are willing to fix it or willing switch to an environment that satisfies your needs. I should know better than to read JWZ's blog.
    • by siphoncolder ( 533004 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:39PM (#5151858) Homepage
      Why do people get off on putting other people's work down? Just because you made a quick buck in an IPO doesn't give you the right to rant about whatever you want and expect people to bow down.

      1) People don't get off doing that. They're actually saying something about what they don't like. Progress, as you should remember, is not about sitting silently and taking whatever is handed to you. Progress is made by telling someone what's wrong with what they've done. So what if his tone is nasty? His words are what's important, and his words equate to: "Why is this so hard. Make it consistant, make it easy."

      2) He has the right to say whatever he wants. Just like you. Besides, attacking his position or money doesn't invalidate or make less important anything he says unless he can be proven to be wrong. Opinions can be tough to validate or invalidate, but in this case, he makes some very specific points about what he thinks is good and what's not. At no point does he say "I have a lot of money, which makes my point more imporant." He has a WEBSITE which makes his voice simply HEARD.

    • Debunking JWZ (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fw3 ( 523647 )
      He has some points, however:

      Aside from throwing a tantrum and jumping Netscape to go run a nightclub he's perhaps best known for having written 'xscreensaver'. On his blog he brags at length about it's elegant / modular design whilst bashing the design of X11, and declaiming any possibility that his vaunted code could ever be responsible for problems.

      Now I've used xlock for a freaking decade on Unix/Linux/BSD and I've yet to have an x-session crash because of it. By comparison I've never run a video card/Xserver version which some module of xscreensaver wouldn't crash. Now I'm accustomed to running my x-sessions for upwards of 6 months. Yes, this has always been marginally more stable on vendor-Unix than Linux.

      So along comes jwz armed with his superior(sic) screensaver which has a couple of modules that will happily crash every linux X-server I've ever used -- what's up with this? My best guess is he's got a hair across his butt about not liking the X architecture and he's stuck in code that he knows will hit on known bugs.

      Now this just antisocial imo. GUI's are the achilles heel of every os I've ever run, they do lots of memory copies, pointer ops and try to deal with async input from multiple sources.

      And then go look at his Linux [] gripes on his blog -- 2weeks to get X to display at bettter than 640x480??! I'm sorry but this just indicate the brightest bulb on the tree. Neither am I and I managed to get linux +x up in '96 in a couple of days, and since then I've run linux or *BSD on a dozen different systems. I agree with him that vendor-unix is more stable and better behaved as a gui -- big surprise -- the vendor has complete control of devices and has a reasonable shot at doing solid regression testing. Obviously OSS can't achieve that.

  • by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:16PM (#5151637) Journal
    From the article:

    > Nor does running an X server on the Mac: if I
    > were going to switch, why in the world would I
    > continue inflicting the X Windows Disaster on
    > myself? Wouldn't getting away from that be the
    > whole point?)

    Does this guy like talking out of his ass? The new public beta of X11 for OSX is awesome. Shit, it even "takes advantage of the Mac OS X Quartz graphics system to deliver hardware-accelerated 2D and 3D graphics". []

    What gives? My guess is he's trolling for page views, with threats like - instead of upgrading to Redhat 8, he says he's getting a Mac. The article was pure garbage. I thought it would at least deal with Linux non-linear video editing [], not playing a video file, which Linux clearly already does.

    • by Melantha_Bacchae ( 232402 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:07PM (#5152127)

      Not only is Apple's X server a thing of beauty and a joy forever, but there is also a Carbon version of Emacs [] for Jaguar. It has many packages including LaTeX, and is as simple to install as the Mac gets. "Enhanced Carbon Emacs" does not require an X server or the Terminal app, as it is a fully native Mac program.

      You are not the only one who expected a video editing review. However, I do think the reviewer had some valid points. Some Linux application GUIs and themes can be very hard to use, even if they are cool looking. And Linux application installs still need work if Linux is to be on the desktop of ordinary people. Joe User wouldn't know the difference between apt and RPM.

      Such issues need to be brought up and discussed if Linux is to move forward. They could be brought up much more professionally, though...

      "The path of peace is yours to discover for eternity."
      Japanese version of "Mothra" (1961)

  • by Bollie ( 152363 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:18PM (#5151657)
    Every single person I know who has played video on Linux (except DVDs) with MPlayer fell in love with it. Really, there are only six shortcut keys you need:

    right, up : ffd ffffd
    left, down : rev rrev
    f : fullscreen
    space : pause

    That's 99.9% of what I do when I when I play movies and MPlayer does it REALLY well. No smegging around with codecs, plays broken .avi's as easily as non-broken ones AND now features Sorenson SVQ4 playback! Hint: keyboard is faster than mouse!

    I'd really like to see this guy giving constructive criticisms. No, don't ask him to criticize my post, NO NO NO!
    • But what's the key to change NOW to a previously defined educational movie, for when you unexpectedly hear your spouse, GF|BF|SO, parent, etc. opening up the door of your bedroom/Office while you're watching the latest download of "Debbie Does Dobies!"?

    • by PetiePooo ( 606423 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:46PM (#5151921)
      Ok, here's some constructive criticism:

      From his article (and FWIW, I am in total agreement):
      ... it's a total pain in the ass to use due to rampant "themeing." Why do people do this? They map this stupid shaped window with no titlebar (oh, sorry, your choice of a dozen stupidly-shaped windows without titlebars) all of which use fonts that are way too small to read.

      One of the reasons M$ Windows has done so well is that it looks the same from one machine to another and from one program to another. If I have Windows on my computer, I know how to use your Windows computer. If you know how to use Word, you know how to use Excel. The menus are in the same order and have largely the same items. The active titlebar is a different color from the inactive ones, and clicking on it raises that window to the top. Standard, default appearances and actions! How WinXP is turning it into a Fischer-Price toy is a rant for a different day..

      One of the most well liked "themed" programs for Windows is WinAMP. I submit to you that one of the reasons it was so well accepted is that the default skin looked like a normal window! Only the color and size were different. That meant that my mom (BTW, she still can't spell WWW..) knew how to resize it, move it and close it.. Instead of having a round volume control, like a home audio componenet, it had a slider bar, like a *gasp* PROGRAM! (Clue for those that need one: WinAMP is a program.)

      Developers, if you want to give your interface themes and skins and other "fluff", by all means, knock yourself out. However, the default skin should be one that implements the interface as it would appear without a skin. Please! For everyone out there how likes to make their computer look like Fantasia, there are probably more of us who like it to look like a computer.

      </rant> Call me old fashioned...
  • I fully concur (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GMFTatsujin ( 239569 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:21PM (#5151681) Homepage
    With his gripe about custome interfaces. Xine is a desktop nightmare. Ditto with most of the other multimedia players I've encountered. They sacrifice high-tech intuitive controls for some made-up high-tech LOOK.

    I'd rather just be able to find the play button and get the damn thing out of the way.

    When I set up a theme on my desktop, I expect it to be constant, even if it's just the default. I understand this means making an app work with KDE or Gnome or whatever, but it seems to me that that's less work that scraping a graphic interface together from scratch. Skins are for the desktop manager, not the apps themselves, IMHO.

    Then there's the issue of the half-completed custom interface that jars from one look to another. For instance - why does the XMMS "browse/open" window look so awful? The rest of the app looks very nice, or is at least non-intrusive to my eyeballs. It's small, it's tight, and it looks like other players I'm familiar with. But when I try to open an MP3, I get this horrific, generic, huge freaking window to browse around in. Yuck. XMMS is the #1 recommended playing app, too, but it doesn't seem to fit in with any window manager beyond generic X.

    If someone can recommend an MP3 player that just fits my desktop, I'd be ever so grateful.
    • by GMFTatsujin ( 239569 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:28PM (#5151760) Homepage
      I just looked at his web page With an index page like that, who the hell is he to gripe?
      • by Pii ( 1955 ) <`jedi' `at' `'> on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:19PM (#5152233) Journal
        This [].

        I must admit, I'm a bit of a jwz fanboy. I enjoy a good rant, and he's got a certain gift for it.

        Getting back on-topic, I don't know why everybody is so pissed about what he's written. As others have pointed out, it's not like he set out to write "A Comprehensive Review of Video on Linux." The linked "article" was written for his own amusement. Somebody else thought it would be a good idea to submit it to Slashdot. He's merely pointing out that the current state of affairs is pertty sad, and for those of you in the audience with the integrity to state the plain truth, he's correct.

        There's not a single Linux video viewer (DVD/or otherwise) that approaches what you'd expect to find in so-called "Commercial software." (That's not to say that all commercial software is good either, but non-intuitive interfaces aside, they generally all work better than most of what's out there for Linux today.)

        Other have also ridiculed the tendancy of the developers to make the applications look and feel like A/V equipment. Hard to argue with that. There's no reason a video player needs to look like a physical DVD player. A real DVD player looks the way it does because we operate it here, in the meatspace. It's design is simplistic and somewhat elegant because of the way we interact with it, in 3 dimensions. When this functionality sits on a 2 dimensional screen, it should look and feel like all of the other programs that we're used to using. That's a legitimate gripe.

    • Re:I fully concur (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:37PM (#5151848) Homepage
      [I fully concur]...with his gripe about custom interfaces. Xine is a desktop nightmare. Ditto with most of the other multimedia players I've encountered. They sacrifice high-tech intuitive controls for some made-up high-tech LOOK.

      Absolutely. Sadly, this follows you around by platform too. The Linux apps tend to have it, Windows apps certainly do (there are some terrible offenders bundled with sound cards), and Apple with its Quicktime player does as well.

      Apple in particular ought to know better. Standards are standards for good reason, and a consistent user-interface is key. The writer of The Apple Human Interface Guidelines, which was written years ago for System 7 and which I still retain my copy of even though I'm no longer on a Mac, has many relevant things to say about such nonsense.


  • by Avumede ( 111087 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:21PM (#5151684) Homepage
    I've been saying the same things about skinnable interfaces for a while now. I've never found one that is acceptable. Look at xmms and winamp skins. I'd say 70% are just plain ugly, 30% are good to beautify, and 100% (as far as I've seen) are unusable. When they have text at all, they have tiny unreadable fonts. They have buttons that don't look like buttons, and they are bitmapped so you can't resize it like a normal app.

    When I got a Mac and started using iTunes, I was a much happier person.
  • Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:28PM (#5151761) Homepage Journal
    Is he using the same mplayer I use? Lemme see. It does change aspect ratio when you resize, which is strange at best, so I'll give him that, however it does not change the aspect ratio when you go fullscreen. Most of my videos have little black bars at the top and bottom because my screen (1280x1024) isn't 4:3. No titlebars on windows? The main video window has a titlebar, the control panel doesn't. Because I use Windowmaker, I move windows around with an alt-click, but I can't give mplayer credit for that. Lousy skinned interface: yeah, but I hope he wasn't planning on using any media player for Windows, or Mac. Everybody does these stupid skins (if they havn't then it's because the product isn't finished yet it seems). The default skin is not too bad, my only major complaint being lack of DVD controls when in DVD mode. The mouse zoom thing doesn't happen for me, and mplayer rarely complains anyway.

    As for complaining about the console, these program are still under development. A lot of that is debugging information. The 1.0 version will hopefully have no output unless you specify a command line switch.
    • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swordgeek ( 112599 )
      these program are still under development...

      Therein lies a major problem with Linux as a whole. It is always and continually under development. The kernel and most distros have official production-ready milestones, but most (almost all, in fact) of the apps out there are in a continual beta release cycle. Nothing ever gets finished. Nothing ever gets documented. Nothing turns into a 'final' release, with development moved onto the next version.

      Nothing? OK, not quite nothing, but even Mozilla (one of the finest examples of recently complete software) is still being released 'for testing purposes only.'
  • mplayer rocks! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Zero ( 3370 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:32PM (#5151801)
    This is a fact: mplayer just rocks!

    It can play just about ANY video file. And it does hell of a job playing! You can switch to fullscreen/back in an instant, even do panning-resizing on the fly (good for viewing 9:16 videos on 3:4 screen), adjust audio/video sync with a key, etc.

    Ever tried using windows players? How about playing "bad" avi files, containing no indexes? Media Player, RealOne player all failed on those (well, they do play it, but you can't really seek, or if you can, it's fkkin slow).

    Oh, and check that QuickTime player for Windows. It's slow, it's lame, it flickers, you can't resize it or do fullscreen.

    I can't say much about mplayer's GUI, because I don't use it, but even that shouldn't be THAT bad. Just compare it to QuickTime or Media Player, which has all that unneccessary crap around the small movie.

  • by Meowfaceman ( 637882 ) <mike@ossipag[ ]et ['o.n' in gap]> on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:34PM (#5151818)
    I honestly think this is a good review.

    Let me start by saying that I use Windows. I've tried Linux several times in the past. I have several thousand reasons why I think Linux is a decade or two from becoming a desktop OS. This review more or less demonstrates that.

    There are seldom times when I feel like trying to get a program working for more than 10 or 20 minutes. Linux, while powerful, does not help much in this department. When I'm in a bad mood (much like JWZ is) there's no way I want to fuck around with Linux. Period.

    My main problem with Linux, however, is the UIs of both the programs and the desktops. I will refuse to use a program because of the UI. Mplayer may be powerful, but as far as I'm concerned, if it doesn't have a UI, I won't use it. I don't care if there is a command line option, I didn't install KDE or Gnome to make the console look pretty.

    I know a lot of you have said, "He can develop his own UI for it." Well, that's not why he installed Linux, and it's not why I did, either. I didn't try it expecting to have to write my own code to get things to run acceptably, I did it because it's an alternative to windows. One of the things that will keep (and has kept) Linux from being a desktop OS are things like this.

    This is probably going to be an unpopular post, but oh well.
  • by Captain Large Face ( 559804 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:40PM (#5151865) Homepage

    Forget the linked article "rant" -- by far the most accurate text on is the following:

    "I have yet to come across so much self-righteous bullshit as when I gaze upon the massive heap of crap that is the jwz web experience."

    FYI, the above quote, which can be found here [], is attributed to "an anonymous poster to". If there is any justice in this world, that comment was modded to "5, Insightful".

  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:41PM (#5151879) Homepage Journal
    A few years ago, JWZ used to say that using Linux was OK "as long as your time was worthless"... It's on his web site, you can actually look for it and it's probably there.

    So he has made progress! Now he even admits to using Linux! =)
  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:42PM (#5151886)
    Yeah, I'd be similarly distraught if I were installing RPM's on RedHat 7.2; therefore, I'm pretty happy that I made the switch to Gentoo.

    mplayer is all I use for video playback, and this is all almost anyone needs to know... type mplayer followed by a space and the filename, and hit Enter.

    What happens on my system? Glorious full-screen video with sound. Sure, there are other keys and options and GUIs and crap, but I don't want or need 99% of it... mostly I just want something that'll play video, and mplayer does a great job of that. (And mencoder looks pretty sweet too...)

    As for video editing, I haven't done it, but if I wanted to, I'd probably start here [] -- ignore the gimpy-looking page, I've used some of this software in the past, and it struck me as being very usable and well-written; maybe not enough to please jwz, but what is? He bitches about Unix too. In fact, I propose that jwz bitching is just a fact of life. If he ever stops bitching, worry.
    • Gentoo is not for everyone.
      Debian is not for everyone.

      This goes on to prove that the Linux folk have to do lot of work in the standartisation department. "Hard to install apps ? Install Gentoo/Debian !" Riiight...nevermind the fact that a newbie will be scared shitless the moment he realises there is no hardware autoconfiguration whatsoever, he has to create his own XF86Config and compile stuff from source.
      • JWZ is perfectly capable of installing Gentoo, Debian, etc., etc., although he probably likes RedHat's ease of installation better. And he is by no means a newbie. Also, remember that "the newbie" in general never has to install an OS; newbies buy computers with pre-installed Operating Systems.

        Now, I don't really count, since I've been installing the OS myself, starting with DOS. And I have to say that Gentoo was less painful than some other installations, just because it has excellent documentation.

        Obviously Gentoo can be more work for the user initially, but in the end it's far less work. And if something breaks, you might have a chance in hell of fixing it yourself! Also, although Gentoo tends to compile stuff from source, I never have to do it by hand--the system does all the work!

        I agree with you, though, in that a Gentoo-based distribution geared to newbies that has a friendly installer, does hardware autoconfiguration, helps with package selection, and perhaps has a nice selection of binary packages as well, would be a very nice thing for some people.

        Or there's Debian, which I hear also has very sane package management. Or RedHat could get their act together and make their package management system handle dependencies properly -- because that's why RedHat is not for me.
  • Cruft (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @01:46PM (#5151917) Homepage
    What Jamie is really complaining about is cruft. Playing a video isn't a big deal, yet all the apps for doing it carry with them excess baggage. This seems to be a generic problem with entertainment applications, regardless of platform. It's not enough just to open a window and do the job. The application has to look like a tacky consumer electronics product.

    And no, you shouldn't have to rebuild from source just to run something. The Linux world needs to get that straight.

  • switching distros (Score:3, Interesting)

    by biostatman ( 105993 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:00PM (#5152063)
    I would normally agree that switching distributions just to get an app (or class of apps) to work is a little nutty, but if you *REALLY* want to play videos, the plf rpms for Mandrake make installing quite a bit of video software for linux super easy (though I imagine there are apt-get repositories that do the same). All you need to do is go here [] to configure and add a urpmi source from one of the plf mirror sites, and it is literally as easy as "urpmi.update -a && urpmi mplayer".

    Side note on what a kick ass program mplayer is: plays DVDs, mpg, wmv, mov (sorenson!), divx, xvid, on and on and on. Moreover, the low CPU usage is really quite incredible and makes it possible to watch DivX movies on my laptop that absolutely crawl on winders. Good stuff.

    It seems like the UI annoyances Jamie Zawinski complains about with Mplayer are really quite trivial when you consider the immense benefits. I'm sure that there is a skin out there that would conform to the UI principles he wants (if not, how hard could it be to roll your own mplayer skin, especially for someone with his skills?). Find it. Use it. Stop complaining.

    (OT: can we please cut the "JWZ" crap? Though I admire the things he has done for Linux, I think he seems to take himself a little too seriously, so when I see "JWZ" I'll think shortcut for "gee wiz", not that whining diva)
  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:06PM (#5152120) Journal
    OK, is this a wild, psychotic, venomous, incoherent, and possible drug-induced rant? Well of course it is!

    But the problem he brings up is still a real one, and most of the invective directed at him competely misses it.

    Video on Linux (and many MANY other aspects of Linux in general) sucks from the end user point of view. If I have to compile it to make it work properly, then Linux is nothing more than a hobbyist OS. If I have to write my own bloody software, then it's nothing better than a hardcore geek toy OS.

    Why isn't Linux taking over the desktop market? It's not MS bullshit (of which there's certainly a lot), it's Linux bullshit. The fundamental problem is that it is not a useful generic-end-user capable OS, and telling people to go write their own software if they don't like it...DOESN'T HELP!!!

    JWZ doesn't have to use Linux. I don't have to use Linux. Countering with confrontation (i.e. JWZ) with abuse isn't going to win any converts.
  • by tungwaiyip ( 608795 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:14PM (#5152179) Homepage

    That Linux is flooded with low quality apps.

    1. Many apps can't get basic thing done easily (or at all). E.g. Nautilus (a file manager) could crash when copying files.

    2. Many GUI are badly designed. They have complex interaction and fail to guide new users to do basic things. Think how many steps are needed to use xcdroast to duplicate a CD. How intimidating it would be to a new user. And how many opportunities for user to do wrong things.

    3. Many GUI apps look amateurish. And when some window doesn't fit in a 1024x768 screen this just drive you mad.

    4. When an app exhaust my patience I go for a different app. Only to find it have its own set of problem or sucks even more. And then I still can't even get my basic work done.

    The enthusiastic crowd of Linux would insist the app works would great if only you do this configure and/or use a different version and/or recompile from source code. We need to get real and have a objective evaluation on the state of art. If we oversold on Linux and it doesn't meet the quality standard for average user it would only damage Linux's image.

    Note that after 2 months of frustrating experience and I still in a quixotic attempt to get Linux to work for me. It is only because I'm serious in finding an alternative to MS. If any windoze app give me this kind of crap it will be uninstalled and will never be seen again. (But I think my next machine is going to be a Mac).

    Wai Yip Tung

  • by Space Coyote ( 413320 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:16PM (#5152201) Homepage
    If I brought home a hardware DV DVD player, set it up on top of my TV, plugged it in and turned it on to find a command prompt and no way to play movies without me going out on the Internet, finding the proper program, in the proper packaging format, compiled for the proper architecture, installing it, then realizing my video hardware isn't configured properly. Having to upgrade my X-windows, and subsequently patch my 'kernel' with some kind of library.. and so on and so on. Well, the girl I brought home to watch a movie with me will have gone off to find something more interesting to do long ago. And said video player would have been thrown out the window.

    When I can buy a computer with linux on it and have stuff just work, I'll say it has a chance of being useful for someone rather than a giant time-sucking virus.

    Until then, I'll use a Mac.
    • You don't have to patch your kernel or upgrade X-windows to watch dvd's or videos using Linux. Just install a modern Linux distribution like RedHat or SuSe, download a couple rpms, install them and you're set. Many people have written guides to playing dvd's and videos from a freshly installed RedHat, I know theres a webpage on the RedHat website on how to play dvd's/mp3s. Just search for google for more information....
  • Die RPM Die (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Screaming Lunatic ( 526975 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:25PM (#5152288) Homepage
    I don't know why people still put up with RPM.

    # emerge -p mplayer

    These are the packages that I would merge, in order:

    Calculating dependencies ...done!
    [ebuild N ] media-libs/libdv-0.98
    [ebuild N ] media-libs/win32codecs-0.90.1-r1
    [ebuild N ] media-libs/divx4linux-20020418-r2
    [ebuild N ] media-video/mplayer-0.90_rc3

    # emerge -p gstreamer

    These are the packages that I would merge, in order:

    Calculating dependencies ...done!
    [ebuild N ] media-libs/gstreamer-0.4.2-r1

    How difficult is that? Debian and Gentoo have installers that are more difficult than Redhat and Mandrake. But the reason Linux is not ready for the desktop is because of RPM.


  • I thought his rant seemed somewhat insightful as to the state of media players on linux (not that I know anything about it). However, in his last paragraph, he makes a fatal error:

    By the way, the suggestion to switch Linux distrubutions in order to get a single app to work might sound absurd at first. And that's because it is. But I've been saturated with Unix-peanut-gallery effluvia for so long that it no longer even surprises me when every question -- no matter how simple -- results in someone suggesting that you either A) patch your kernel or B) change distros. It's inevitable and inescapable, like Hitler.

    He automatically triggers Goodwin's Law [] and therefore he must concede the debate and the discussion is closed.

    (yes, I'm just poking fun)
  • by nrc ( 112633 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:32PM (#5152330) Homepage

    Like it or not, the whiney little bitch is right. The state of Linux video is pretty dismal. Unfortunately when you rely on geeks scratching an itch to supply your applications you sometimes end up with software only suitble for use by itchy geeks.
  • I wish... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:42PM (#5152401)
    that Jamie would stop beating around the bush and tell us how he really feels!

  • by panda ( 10044 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @02:50PM (#5152453) Homepage Journal
    I love JWZ's site. He doesn't hold anything back and whether I agree with him or not, he always makes me laugh.

    He certainly got you guys talking one way or the other. Seems he's one of those whom you either love or hate.

    As for dissing on his skills, I don't think you guys realize just how much he's done. And you damned well better be Bill Joy or Paul Vixie before you say JWZ is a no-talent hack!

    If he wants to run his nightclub, who cares?
  • by lanner ( 107308 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @03:52PM (#5152858)

    So, this guy is bitching about usability?

    Let's take a little look at his website...

    Holy shit, what is this supposed to be? It looks like he was trying to do some Matrix look with a bunch of green code and a black background in a hex editor mode kind of thing. I had to scroll down a page just to find the first link. Apparently he is putting presentation ahead of content in his web design.

    I think he needs a little lesson in human interfaces and usability -- maybe he should read this; dex_fra me.html?cp=dev01mmgz&content=archive/archivelist.h tml#humaninterface

    Now, having slandered this guy up and down the street, I thought his rant was great and he is completely right about these stupid interfaces. I like this guy, even if I think his home page sucks.
  • JWZ quotes: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SimHacker ( 180785 ) on Friday January 24, 2003 @04:21PM (#5153066) Homepage Journal
    "Using these toolkits is like trying to make a bookshelf out of mashed potatoes."

    "Consider whether chewing on glass might have more of a payoff than what you're about to go through."

    - Jamie Zawinski, quoted in The X-Windows Disaster []

  • by Fizzlewhiff ( 256410 ) <jeffshannon&hotmail,com> on Friday January 24, 2003 @05:11PM (#5153397) Homepage
    With the number of apps trying so hard to look like their Windows or OS X counterparts, why hasn't someone done a GUI for these video players to make them look like Media Player or Quicktime?

    I guess once the developers get their players to where it will play their latest pr0n downloads it becomes too hard to code using one hand?

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.