Saturday, January 10, 2004

Entering the Helix -- and getting your toe stuck in the door

The Helix Community is Real Networks attempt to build an open source content production/player for Windows, Macs, and, of course Linux. Though they have taken quite a bit of flack for past practices (which didn't appear in the Linux version), this is in a Good Thing (TM) IMHO.

So let's get the Helix "DNA" player, called hxplay, and run it. Fortunately, FedoraNEWS.ORG has an excellent article which walks you through the steps of building and installing a Helix Player RPM. You'll need to yourself up to do non-root RPM installs, which is the subject of the previous post. Everything else is quite easy.

OK, so we have the RPM installed. Now let's test it. First, do "about:plugins" in MozillaFirebird. No Helix plugins there. Go back and see that the RPM installs links in /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins. Go back and do the same for /usr/lib/MozillaFirebird/plugins/. While we're at it, edit /etc/pluggerrc-5.0 to remove all references to Real plugins from plugger, and delete the ~/.phoenix/pluginreg.dat file so that Firebird will generate a new one. Now "about:plugins" gives me what I want.

Go to and click on one of the set programs. I'm going to look at the 512K RealVideo 9 Sample Clip. Click, tell Firebird we want to use hxplay to see the clip, and go:

The Helix player comes up, but there is also an error box, which says Unexpected error code (0x800400C9) /tmp/realvideo9_512.ram.

OK, somethings a bit fishy. Let's look around: $ cat /tmp/realvideo9_512.ram rtsp:// (with no return character at the end of the line). OK, try
$ hxplay rtsp:// That works. Try
$ hxplay That works, too. But it doesn't work from the browser.

More research is obviously in order.