Sunday, August 28, 2005

mplayer Plugin Location

mplayer is one of those things you can't do without. It plays various audio and video files that aren't available on the default Fedora system: MP3s, Quicktime, various Microsoft formats, etc., pretty much everything except RealPlayer streaming video. It performs this trick by using a set of Codecs (Coder-decoders) for all of the various file types.

Some of the needed Codecs aren't in the standard distribution. For example, today I discovered that I needed the avisynth codec, which I had to download from sourceforge.

Getting the names of missing codecs is an art, itself. Basically, if you have trouble viewing a URL, run

$ mplayer URL

in an xterm and look for error messages.

Now for the main trouble with MPlayer on Fedora. If you look in the README file for the downloaded codecs you'll find that the codecs are supposed to go into the location /usr/local/lib/codecs/, or maybe /usr/lib/codecs/, or /usr/lib/win32 or even /usr/local/lib/win32. I started by putting the codecs in /usr/local/lib/codecs/, and that mostly works. But some formats, particularly QuickTime, gave me problems: either sound without windows, or windows without sound. Then I looked at the RPM provided from The documentation (rpm -qi mplayer) says that the codecs should be in /usr/lib/win32/. So I did this:

$ su -
Password: xyzzyxyz
$ cd /usr/lib
$ mkdir win32
$ cd win32
$ ln /usr/local/lib/codecs/* .

which links all the files in /usr/local/lib/codecs/ to /usr/lib/win32/. (Possibly a soft link to the directory is better, but let's not go there now.)

With this fix mplayer works on files I had trouble with. Let's see if that's a complete fix or not.