VLC and Amarok and Ubuntu

October 18, 2007 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

I’ve been reading some of the feedback and comments about Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon. As usual- lots of Linux newbies, and lots of the same old problems.

Two applications that I recommend everyone install before trying to play any media: VLC and Amarok.

VLC will play literally anything, including DVDs and ISOs of DVDs. I don’t think I have ever found a media file (at least not corrupted with DRM) it won’t play. I’ll note that VLC is also available for Windoze, and is my favorite media player for both platforms.

Amarok is the closest thing I know of to a Linux iTunes music player replacement. Of course- maybe some day Apple will get its head out of its ass and roll out iTunes for Linux. This always seemed rediculous to me- since OS-X is FreeBSD with a fancy X interface- so it would probably take very little effort to code a Linux version.

Also- install the “Ubuntu Restricted Extras” package, which includes MP3 and other drivers Ubuntu can’t legally distribute. These three things should solve all of your media playing woes.

Another thing I highly recommend for both Ubuntu and Windows- 7zip. It’s a FREE GUI zip utility that supports all of the commonly used compression algorithms, along with its own open-source one. It’s faster and a lot more versatile than any other I’ve found, and especially the one built-in to Windows.

A couple other notes:

I think I commented on this already, but if so- it bears repeating: Broadcom wireless support is FINALLY fixed in Gutsy, or at least it works on my Dell laptop now. I’ve tried for months to get my wireless radio to work, including all of the advice to use NDISWrapper- and was never successful. With Gutsy- the wireless card works just as I would expect it too. The wireless network configuration tool built-in even takes care of all that nasty WPA supplicant configuration so WPA works seamlessly.

Also- Compiz works! With my ATI card!! This requires more exclamation points!!! No, really- this is exciting!!!!! It works on both my laptop and desktop, both with ATI cards. It also hasn’t crashed yet, which is more than I can say for Vista, which still doesn’t like my laptop’s video card.

Finally- before giving up- PLEASE use Ubuntu’s Help system and search the Ubuntu forums. Or- always remember- Google is your friend. Chances are REALLY good someone else has had the same problem and there are several solutions to it.

Small Rant:

I’ve seen tirades from people because Ubuntu doesn’t support some cryptic high-end/specialty video card or (insert odd hardware here) less than 200 people in the world use. Hey- guess what- I’ll bet Vista doesn’t support it either. Ubuntu is a “people’s” Linux- designed to work well for the vast majority of hardware out there. If you have something bleeding edge, or very proprietary- I’m sorry, chances are pretty good it isn’t going to work right.

If it is a piece of hardware from a major vendor that still exists- ask them for a Linux driver, and complain to them if one isn’t available. Eventually (cough – ATI) they will either release a driver or provide enough details of their architecture for someone to write an OSS driver for it. If it becomes popular enough- someone out there will reverse-engineer the sucker and write a driver for it anyway.

The good news is- you can post your problems (constructively!!!) in Ubuntu’s technical support forums, or any of the thousands of other Linux sites, and there is a very good chance someone either already has or can develop a solution. What won’t get it fixed is posting “Linux sucks!” messages all over the Internet, as I’ve seen several people do today. Of course- this all happens every time there is a new major release.

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Entry filed under: Linux.

Zend.com Forums: Zend Studio => ZDE + linux : Blank Window Taking a Whack Against Comcast – washingtonpost.com

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