Computer Help for the New and Veteran User of Linux

Tips and Tricks

  1. MPlayer installation guide for Linux.

    Answer: I am really impressed with this Player! You can play it within a window or change the size. Playing full screen still retains pretty good resolution, if you have tried XMovie you will appreciate this. I have a few picture of different GUI's to show you before I get to much into this tutorial. Here are a couple just to see how different you can make MPlayer look. One thing to remember is that MPlayer doesn't come with it's own GUI. You have to install at least one Skin in order to use a GUI and need to configure it during build time to compile with GUI support. There may be one Skin there called Default, that doesn't mean it is included though. Don't forget that or you will probably want to start over.

    Proton_gui Plastic_gui

    I read the installation notes, but it is kind of buried in there and you have to read between the lines a little bit if you have Mandrake. The ISO did not come with libpng-devel. You will have to go get one or will run into configure problems saying that you don't have PNG support. You'll look and see that you do. I ran into this and I found an additional program that I needed the devel for. I wish the configure would be a little more specific on what it wants. I have never made a configure script so maybe it is harder than I think, but I think it should know that you just don't have the devel.

    Note: I am not an expert on this and this is based on my experiences. If I am able to get another harddrive and can further test out other distro's and beta's then I will be able to test even more. If anyone has some hints I missed or they know about, if I can confirm them then I will include them in this tutorial.

    Basics : 1st you have to get MPlayer, you can get latest CVS packaged or get the CVS uncompressed via the cvs commands on the MPlayer site. I chose the CVS package. I am using version 20020218 for this tutorial, later used version 20020628 and still works with this. You can get them from: MPlayer Download.   Instructions for getting the CVS instead of the package are at the bottom of the page. 2nd, while at the page I would get these other 3 items also: A) Get the Win32 Codecs(the one that says'This package is unusable for windows' ). There is other codecs you might want, depending on your system. I will show you where to get them in a bit. B) Get one of the font packages, I got the (ISO 8859-1) one. C) Skim thru the Skins packages and choose at least one. They may or may not look the same when you get them, so far all of them have for me except AlienMind, it doesn't look like the picture, the whole gui controller leans right diagonally on my computer. Don't know why, so pick several that you might like to use.

    So you have MPlayer in your home directory, font package, a few Skins and modified Win32 Codecs.

    Don't go trying to install yet. The font and skins will be put in place after you install MPlayer, the Win32 Codecs need to be put in place first. So make a directory in /usr/lib called win32, extract the package (either right click on it and say extract or use the bunzip2 command and then tar), copy the contents of the folder to the new /usr/lib/win32 folder. Now for other codecs. First extract the MPlayer package. There is a folder in there called DOCS in there you will find valuable up-to-date information, that might supersede parts of this tutorial in the future. It will tell you where to get and information about some different codecs. If you know what is on your system then you can get what you want. If you don't know what is on your system, then continue to next section and we will run the MPlayer configure script to find out.

    Open a console (ie. Terminal) go to Root (ie. SuperUser). Then change directory to where you have the MPlayer folder. Run the configure script. ./configure . This is going to tell you what you have missing on your system. And this is where it gets tricky with MPlayer. Let's go aside for a minute and discuss some possibilities.

    Skipping the Codecs for a minute. The configure script might tell you that you don't have PNG support. If you do a search for libpng you will probably find it. The script doesn't diff between the libpng and libpng-devel. So check if you have libpng-devel ( rpm -q libpng-devel ). Mandrake doesn't make a devel package for this so you will have to find one from another distro. Go to some place like and get one. I found a lot of them broken and wouldn't install. I haven't had this problem since first writing this. Seems that it has been fixed in either MPlayer or the distro. Finally got one, so I recommend: Upgrade (if have older: to libpng-1.0.12-2 and libpng-devel-1.0.12-2) if you find a few broken ones keep trying, I got these to install. Then this one didn't show up until I tried to actually compile MPlayer: Got a vo_svga.o error1. This might have been because I enabled svga during the configure routine. So if you don't do that you probably won't have the problem. I just enabled it cause I didn't know if I would need it and figured I better. If that is the case with you also, then check that you have the libvorbis0-devel . I had the libvorbis0 but not the devel. I got the libvorbis0-devel-1.0-0.rc3.1mdk.i586.rpm . Before that I also installed libsvgalib1 and libsvgalib1-devel. Again the choice is up to you if you install those. The only one I can say for sure that you need to install is the libpng-devel package. The others depend on what you want to use MPlayer for and will need to read the DOCS.

    One other issue with MPlayer is the choice of Compiler you use. Read the DOCS in MPlayer faq.html for more information. Appears there is a problem with gcc-2.96. I never seemed to have one, but seems like some programs might. It also doesn't recommend the compiler I actually did used. I used gcc3.0 version 3.0.1-1mdk. It says if you want to use gcc3.0 to start with version 3.0.2. I got version 3.0.4 and ran into compatibility problems with the old gcc-2.96 and during ended up crashing the system. Go here if you want more info on that - Choose Gcc - and how to switch between versions of GCC to compile with and what not to remove then reboot or you will run into the same problem. So if you run into problems compiling read the faq.html . I was able to compile with gcc3.0 version 3.0.1-1mdk. You might not be able to. This was just a warning to you, so if you run into problems you know where to go for information on which to use.

    On with the Codecs. To find out which other codecs (and software packages) you might be missing and want you need to change to the MPlayer folder in a console and run the configure script. There are options that you can use when running the configue script, just look at the configure file or type in ./configure --help for the options. I don't use tv and like I said in the beginning it doesn't automatically compile with GUI support and I didn't know about the svga so I used these options: (at least use the --enable-gui)

    ./configure --enable-gui --disable-tv --enable-svga

    I made a window to pop-up to show the configuration options available that are not automatically detected. Get it here: Enable/Disable Configure Options.

    Read the results. If it says something about make and make install at the end then you could go ahead and try to compile. Take a look though first and see if you might be missing some support for codecs you want. If you get other errors then you will need to read the docs to see if you can figure out what the problem might be. I wanted one more Codec, so I got the divx4linux location in the codecs I pointed out earlier in DOCS. I got version 20011010_4. Untarred it and read the RELNOTES.linux. All I had to do was run . / as root and it was installed. Reran the configure script for MPlayer and was ready to compile.

    Problems with configure: If you have any problems, read above and read the faq.html in DOCS. Any problem I had was covered above and others might be covered in the docs. One thing you might try is to make sure that the system knows where your files you've updated are. So run updatedb then rpm --rebuilddb then ldconfig as root. If anyone has a specific problem and how they solved it then let me know and I will include it in here. Let me know which step the problem occurred and what the fix was. If you know you have a library that is says is missing. But it just doesn't seem to find the location of the folder during configure, then look thru the configure list of options and add that line to your options during compile. For example, if it cannot find your win32 codecs even though you put them in the right place you would add to ./configure the option: --with-win32libdir=DIR where the DIR is in this example: /usr/lib/win32 .

    On with Compiling. If you have the compiler you want to use ready, hopefully you read the information in the DOCS and are prepared. I switched to the Gcc3.0 compiler (check which version by typing in: gcc -v). To do it just run:

    make      in the MPlayer folder from the console.

    If everything goes smooth, you should have completed with no errors. Hopefully you didn't have any errors and are ready to run the next step. If you did then check out the faq.html . I only had the one problem I mentioned and installed the libvorbis0-devel to correct that issue. I would still look thru the list of results from configure in the terminal and check that it has configured in everything you wanted. There will be things you don't know about, just check for the obvious, like above, did it see your win32 codecs library?

    Finish Compiling.    Run the make install      command next and it will install the components.

    If you didn't change the default folder than it should be installed in the /usr/local/bin folder. Also make sure it made a /home/username/.mplayer folder. If not then make one in your home folder. Now let's place the codecs.conf in place, the Skins and fonts. When I first started MPlayer in a counsle I remember it having a little trouble locating my Codecs and Skins and I didn't have Fonts installed correctly (there is no information on this (ie. fonts choosing)). I put everything in my User ./mplayer folder to fix it. It may have been because I started MPlayer as User, but who is going to run this as root?

    Codecs: You don't need to move your actual codecs, just the codecs.conf go to your /usr/local/share/mplayer/codecs.conf folder and copy the codecs.conf file to your /home/username/.mplayer folder.

    Skins: It wouldn't load my skins when I tried to start the gui even though they were in the correct folder. Again, might have been a permissions thing. Much easier to just move them also. I copied /usr/local/share/mplayer/Skin folder to my user .mplayer folder also. Each Skin should be in it's own folder in the Skin folder. And they need to be unpacked, so extract them if you didn't already.

    Fonts: Looking at the fonts I am not sure if you can install more than one at at time. If someone knows more about this let me know. I only downloaded one: package, but it contains more than one size. Make a new folder in your User .mplayer folder called font . Unzip the package there. It will put a folder called iso-8859-1. In that folder is a README file. It seems to confirm my suspicsion that you can only use one. So take one of the folders in there and copy the contents to the folder you choose to the font folder and out of the folder in the font folder. It needs to be out of any other folder except for the font folder. I chose the arial-14 font, but may choose another later. So, in my /home/~user/.mplayer/font folder I have a folder called arial-14 and one called iso-8859-1.

    That wraps up the Install Process, but what good is it if you cannot make it work. The best way to test it is to just download a few movies. Start MPlayer like this: mplayer -gui -skin nameofskin   moviename.extension

    I am having you start it in the console first cause you can see if there are any errors before you get too involve. Remember: for newbies: starting things in the console is a great way to help troubleshoot a problem.

    If you know how to associate programs with MIME types then go ahead and do it. I changed all my MIME types for video to MPlayer, Works in my Browser Great. Now I can watch a video without having to download it and start a player. Just remember until then that if you don't want to open a console all the time to start it, just associate it to the MIME types you want and add the options like above and it will start right up for you.

    Well, I finally finished my own Gui for MPlayer! Some of the Gui's that I have seen lack as much detail as I tried to incorporate into this one. I also made sure that the script files were laid out well so you can figure out what I did if you want to make a Gui yourself. I have also tried to locate the controls together in a good manner. The video (stop, play, pause,... open file) together, preferences, and the other settings are together, mute is by the balance control, which is above the volume. You can see all that from the pictures.

    CarvedWood Screen MPlayer Gui CarvedWood Layout


    I also tried to make the menu (right click) pretty unique. The handles on the balance and movie postion light up when you move them and the volume lights move as you adjust the volume. I also tried to be fairly descriptive on the screen. Note though, that some of the controls do not work! That is not the Gui fault, the controls just are not implemented yet, but they are there so when they are implemented. The controls that do not work are: mute, balance, equalizer (well, it sort of does, but only in the console), movie length or remaining time. If you would like to download this Gui for your Mplayer feel free! I haven't seen a place to submit it to MPlayer yet, so for now you can only get it here.

    Download Gui

    Other tutorials in this Section:

  2. How to Rip and Burn Custom CD's from your CD Collection.LM 7.2, LM 8.0, LM 8.1
  3. The Gnome Applet Collection: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.LM 7.2, LM 8.0


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