Getting closer to a solution for playing media files on the home computer, but not quite there. Ignore this if tech talk bores you.
Right. Where were we? As you may remember, I want to be able to play media files (mainly divx and xvid, but I wouldn't mind if I became able to play other types in one fell swoop as well) on my home computer, which runs SuSE linux 9.0. I keep running into trouble getting stuff to work, despite trying a range of things. Installing the core libraries for those formats went succesfully but had no effect on what my media software could and couldn't play. Installing two other media programs, mplayer and videolan, looked promising for different reasons: Mplayer is a widely used program that can handle windows codecs (like Xine/Kaffeine claims to be able to do - more on that later) and Videolan is a cross-platform program that comes with the ability to handle many formats built in. Incidentally, I discovered today that my parents run Videolan on their computer and that it was easier to get DVD subtitles to work in that than in their Windows Media Player.
Installing both these programs led me into rather deep trouble with library dependencies though. Especially Videolan which needed two dozen libraries to install. I still haven't got everything I need to get either of them to run. Reader Squiddharta has been advising me in private email, but his/her latest advice was to force an install and then test for what it really needs. I'm wary of that solution.
I have other options though. I found out in my research that the windows codec now on offer from Mplayer are the same that are already on my system, in the directory that Kaffeine is configured to use for Windows codecs. They should work, but they don't. If someone can figger out why that might be, I might well be able to fix it and at least get Divx working. And Sorenson codec, and even Windows Media! I'd really like that.
Alternatively, I found while playing around with the CD burning program K3b that it offered the option of crating emovix CDs. Emovix, in theory, is a bootable mini-linux with a copy of Mplayer all configured and ready to go that you burn on a CD with your movies. I really like mini-linuxes because they offer some much-needed simplicity and specialisation. Unfortunately, the CD I made to test had trouble booting, and returned a string of error messages:
"Unable to read partition table" (repeated umpteen times) "ide: late registration of driver" "cannot open root device" "please append a correct "root" boot option" "kernel panic: vfs unable to mount fs on 62:00"
So something isn't quite right. Any ideas? email@example.com
Finally, I'm downloading a new Knoppix, which just might have an orderly arrangement of the software that I need. Or it might not. We'll see Update: Blimey, that actually worked.