Sound and Video on Linux.

Preparing and presenting video for the web...

Recently, I've had to convert a 15 minute infomercial for, a non-profit organization. I was provided with a dvd, that cycled the infomercial twice during playback. Besides, the phone number and address shown on the original infomercial was old and that information needed to be updated. Below are highlights of the whole conversion process.

Flash Player 9 released for linux

Adobes' Flash Player 9 is now public ready and can be downloaded from

Quick install on Fedora using yum repository:

  1. Create the yum repo file as below:
    # cat << EOF > /etc/yum.repos.d/macromedia.repo
    name=Macromedia for i386 Linux

  2. Install the flash-plugin via yum:
    # yum --enablerepo=macromedia -y install flash-plugin

Download Actions preference in Firefox

I was having a hard time getting m3u (MP3 audio -- streamed) files open up in my external xmms audio player instead of the the default mplayerplug-in and found out that firefox by default hides the plugins without any extensions, as the mp3 playlist was being created dynamically with php and the mime-type fed via the header.

The work-around was to disable the default firefox config settings and change the option for streamed mp3 audio to be opened with xmms instead.

The steps are outlined below:

  1. Type "about:config" on the address bar to get to firefox config settings.
  2. Do a filter search for "hide_plugins" and double click on "" to change the settings value to "false".
  3. Open up "Edit > Preferences", go to the "Downloads" area and click on "View & Edit Actions".
  4. It should now list all the "File Type". Do a search for audio and change the "MP3 audio (streamed)" to open up in the external xmms player.

See other posts on Firefox.

DVD Shrink on Linux -- Fedora Core 5

If you are using Widows only to back-up your DVD videos... there is good news. You can install DVD Shrink on Linux using wine and do the same.

I have outlined the steps taken to do so on FC5:

  1. Use yum to install wine if you don't have it installed already:
    # yum --enablerepo=extras install wine
  2. Configure wine as a user:
    $ winecfg

    Select "Applications -> Windows Version -> Windows XP"

    This is the tricky part, as FC5 mounts the DVD automatically with the title of the DVD instead of using the same mount point, so you will need to map the drive manually each time for a different DVD.

    • Insert DVD Video.
    • Go to the Drives tab of the "Wine Configuration" window.
    • Click on the "Add" button and "Browse" to the mounted DVD in the "/media" path.
    • Click on "OK" button at the bottom once finished.
    • When listing the contents of the "dosdevices" you should see something like below:
        $ ls -l ~/.wine/dosdevices
        lrwxrwxrwx 1 sandip sandip 10 Jun  8 22:58 c: -> ../drive_c
        lrwxrwxrwx 1 sandip sandip 17 Jun  8 23:06 d: -> /media/DVD_VIDEO/
        lrwxrwxrwx 1 sandip sandip  1 Jun  8 22:58 z: -> /

      You could also manually create a symlink instead:

        $ ln -s /media/DVD_VIDEO ~/.wine/dosdevices/d:  
  3. Download and install DVD Shrink.
    $ wget
    $ unzip
    $ wine dvdshrink32setup.exe
  4. Launch and configure DVD Shrink Preferences as below:
    $ wine 'C:\Program Files\DVD Shrink\DVD Shrink 3.2.exe'
    • Select "Edit -> Preferences..."
    • Disable audio and video preview.
    • Disable burining with nero.
    • Click on "OK" once finished.
  5. Create ISO with DVDShrink and write the ISO to your DVD using cdrecord or Nautilus CD/DVD creator.
    Check out for help with using DVD Shrink.

Make free calls with Linux and Skype

Skype currently offers free calls within the US and Canada. I was able to seemlessly install and use it on Fedora Core 5 using the dynamic binary which requires Qt3.2 or greater.

Below is a quick install process:

Download and install the dynamic binary as below:

$ wget
# tar -C /opt -xvjf /path/to/skype-
# ln -s /opt/skype- /opt/skype
# ln -s /opt/skype/skype /usr/bin/skype
$ cp /opt/skype/skype.desktop ~/Desktop

Once installed, you should be able to click on the desktop launcher icon and run Skype.

Enjoy the free calls!!

Quick and Easy Mplayer Installation on Fedora Core 5 via Yum...

Mplayer is a movie player that plays most multimedia formats supported by many native and binary codecs. You can watch Video CD, SVCD, DVD, 3ivx, DivX 3/4/5 and even WMV and QuickTime movies on Linux.

  1. FC5 rpms for mplayer are available at
  2. Set up yum to use greysector repository:
    # cat <<EOF > /etc/yum.repos.d/greysector.repo
    name=Grey Sector RPMs for Fedora Core $releasever - $basearch
    name=Grey Sector RPMs for all Fedora Core releases - $basearch
  3. Import the GPG Key:
    # rpm --import
  4. Use yum to install or update the current rpms:
    # yum --enablerepo=greysector* install mplayer*
  5. You can selectively list the mplayer rpms and install the ones you want:
    # yum --enablerepo=greysector* list mplayer*
    # yum --enablerepo=greysector* install mplayer mplayer-gui mplayerplug-in mplayer-codecs mplayer-codecs-extra
  6. The required ones are mplayer, mplayerplug-in and mplayer-codecs.

mp3 support in RhythmBox for Redhat/Fedora

Redhat/Fedora does not come with mp3 support enabled by default. Follow the below directions to install the mp3 plugin for RhythmBox:

  1. As root setup the livna repo for yum.
    # rpm --import
    # cat <<EOF > /etc/yum.repo.d/livna.repo
    [livna] Fedora Compatible Packages
  2. Setup the fedora extras repo for yum. FC4 should come with a default setup for extras.

Listen to mp3 songs using XMMS in Redhat/Fedora

MP3 support is not included in Redhat or Fedora due to licensing concerns. You will need to first install MP3 support for XMMS in order to play files in that format.

The necessary RPM file (xmms-mp3) is available from .

Here's what I did on FC3 to download and install the plugin:

$ wget
# rpm -ivh

While you're at it, you may also want to install the skins rpm and check out some additional XMMS tips at the LinuxDevCenter .

ogg to mp3 audio file format conversion

"SoX" (Sound eXchange) is a command line program that can convert most popular audio files to most other popular audio file formats. It can optionally change the audio sample data type and apply one or more sound effects to the file during this translation.

Fedora 3 does not come with "sox" compiled with mp3 support. You will need to download the source and recompile for mp3 support and install it. Else you can grab a prebuilt rpm if you are looking for a quick and easy way out. Download mp3 and lame enabled sox via and install it:

iPod Shuffle with Linux Fedora Core 3

  1. FC3 automagically recognizes the iPod and mounts it to "/media/IPOD". Alternately, you could create a mount point and mount it manually:
    # mkdir /mnt/ipod
    # mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/ipod

    or automate it in the next reboot via the fstab entry:

    /dev/sda1    /mnt/ipod    vfat    sync,user,noauto,umask=000    0 0
  2. For a friendly and graphical environment download and install GTKpod.
  3. For Command Line Interface download and install GNUpod which is covered in the notes below.

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