Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

A streaming media player for the rest of us

Xine plays popular streaming media formats flawlessly & installs like a dream

After my less than satisfying visit to the land of Linux streaming media viewers just a few weeks ago, I was a little reluctant to try another, in spite of the readers who suggested I look at Xine. I shouldn't have been. I found the Xine experience satisfying in every aspect.

Xine installation is quick, easy, and well documented. On my Red Hat 7.2 desktop box with its 1-GHz Athlon CPU, 512 megabytes of RAM, and a GeForce 2 MX video card, I got video that rivaled anything I've seen, even in full-screen mode.

I downloaded xine-lib-0.9.8.tar.gz and xine-ui-0.9.8.tar.gz source code tar balls from the Xine project page on SourceForge. A perfectly behaved configure script -- I was impressed by the level of detail and information provided by the scripts -- started the normal install process of ./configure; make; make install. Per the README on the Web site, I installed xine-lib first, then xine-ui.

Please note that for a variety of reasons, the installation process I described does not give you a Xine installation capable of handling all media formats that can be viewed on Xine. Some require plug-ins or Win32 DLLs. The most onerous of those reasons are legal.

Warning: Rant about the DMCA ahead

Give me a hand for a second so I can get up on this soapbox. I love America, but our political system has become so corrupt that it isn't uncommon to see bad people make bad laws and good people threatened with prison time as a result. I'm talking about the DMCA, of course. However, the same can be said of UCITA and other spawn of the marriage of unbridled corporate greed and purchased political power.

How can it be a crime for me to go the store and purchase a DVD drive for my computer, purchase a DVD movie at another store, and bring them home and watch the movie? It appears to be one, because I am running Linux and I don't have an "approved" software to decrypt the movie. We need a modern day Boston Tea Party. We need to send the crooks a message. An unencrypted message. We need to send it loud and clear: WE'RE TAKING BACK THE CONSUMER RIGHTS YOU STOLE FROM US IN PASSING THE DMCA! Okay, I'll get off that soapbox now.

Back to our rave about Xine

The Xine homepage lists a number of related sites and projects that can fill in the missing parts. I visited several of them and ended up with a Xine that could play encrypted DVDs as well as AVIs requiring Win32 DLLs. I also grabbed DVDNav. I am not sure that what I did was legal. Such is the dark cloud cast by the DMCA. (Ed. Warning: Back to the soapbox again.) None of us will be sure until the FBI, which should be unmasking bin Laden's myrmidons, makes a midnight raid on our homes, seizes our computers, and misplaces us for days or weeks in a maze of federal jails.

The GUI interface for Xine is skinnable and in fact, version 0.9.8 includes several optional skins you can select from if you don't care for the default. The first skin I chose (xinetic) crashed the GUI when I selected it. I restarted Xine and chose a different one, mp2k. That one didn't crash. Keep in mind this is beta software.

If you like to fiddle with your audio/video options, Xine is there. You can set just about anything, from paths to device names to the "demuxer selection strategy." The Setup menu includes tabs for gui, video, audio, misc, input, mrl, and codec. You don't have to fiddle with these choices, or at least I didn't. Nevertheless, you can if you have an itch that needs scratching.

So how does it play, you ask? I slipped the bought and paid for copy of my only DVD movie ("The Omega Code") into the drive to find out. It played beautifully. It was awesome. The sound was great, too. I don't believe I have ever seen better video on a PC, regardless of platform, and that includes an eye-popping demo on Be OS several years ago. I captured the image below with Xine's built-in snapshot function while watching the movie.

The Omega Code

I found some helpful hands for my Xine install and setup on the #xine channel on the Open Project Network (irc.openproject.net). Those willing to help newbies with their questions include xine developers and project leaders from related projects. As another newbie on the channel remarked while we were there, it's great to be able to get help from folks who really know what they are talking about.

I also had a chance to exchange a couple of e-mails with Guenter Bartsch, who started the Xine project in 2000. Before his formation of the Xine project, it had simply been a part of the Livid/OMS (Linux Video/Open Media System) work. Bartsch had an itch that wasn't getting scratched, or at least not scratched quickly enough, in Livid/OMS. He felt that work on syncing the audio and video portions of streaming media was way behind where it should be, and patches he submitted to help accomplish this never seemed to be accepted. Hence, the Xine project was born.

As you can tell from my soapbox remarks earlier, I'm not too happy about American IP law at present, especially that of the DMCA. I asked Bartsch for his views on the situation. He replied "From a practical standpoint the worst effect of the DMCA on the Xine project is the uncertain legal situation it created -- we just don't know what we are allowed to do. Some courts say source code is protected by free speech so don't worry about the DMCA as long as you only provide sources, others interpret the DMCA in a stricter way."

When I asked Bartsch what he liked most and least about Xine today, he didn't shy away from the question. "I like its architecture which allows it to support many different formats and decoders while maintaining high performance and good a/v synchronization," he wrote. "My biggest concern at the moment is robustness/stability of the video output engine, there are some problems with mpeg streams that contain still images -- but I hope we'll find a good solution for that soon, at least we're heavily working on it."

He did not shy away from questions about "the competition" nor how Xine stacks up to them. Bartsch said he rarely looks at or uses other media players, but he does look at Mplayer occassionally. The number of different formats MPlayer supports impresses him most. As for Xine itself, he believes it provides the best performance, the best synchronization of video and audio, and the best coding style.

Another developer had told me that as a result of my column on Mplayer, a Xine developer decided to create a Xine test script to help resolve some of the most common problems users run into when installing Xine for the first time. I asked Bartsch if this story was true and he acknowledged that it was. However, he also went on to say that he was "surprised" by my column about Mplayer and thought it was unfair, reminding me that it is a free software project. "If you don't like it," Bartsch said, "you're free not to use it."

More Stories By Joe Barr

Joe Barr is a freelance journalist covering Linux, open source and network security. His 'Version Control' column has been a regular feature of Linux.SYS-CON.com since its inception. As far as we know, he is the only living journalist whose works have appeared both in phrack, the legendary underground zine, and IBM Personal Systems Magazine.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager - it's starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...