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Finally, VLC 2.0.4

The fifth release in the “TwoFlower” series of the VLC media player is ready. Version 2.0.4 is said to be “a major update that fixes a lot of regressions, issues and security issues in this branch. It introduces Opus support, improves Youtube, Vimeo streams and Blu-Ray dics support. It also fixes many issues in playback, notably on Ogg and MKV playback and audio device selections and a hundred of other bugs.” – quoting the VideoLAN news page.

You can find some additional information on the release notes page. There I saw the new “ogg opus” support mentioned for the first time. OggOpus is a low-latency audio codec optimized for both voice and general-purpose audio. This was new to me so it did not get added to this set of Slackware VLC packages. I promise I will see if I can include it in my next set of packages. The new release also has fixed the playback of Youtube videos. Google changes its Youtube access protocol regularly, probably in an attempt to frustrate non-official ways of watching their videos. Luckily the Youtube video support is implemented as a Lua script so even for the older VLC 2.0.3 package, I was able to fix it without much effort a few weeks ago by downloading an updated youtube.lua file from the source code repository.

Again, it took quite a while to get a new version of VLC stamped and the sources released to the public. Judging from the discussions on IRC, the developer team seem to have a fundamental internal disagreement about how to set goals for a release. It is obvious (if you read between the lines of the release notes) that the focus of the development effort between 2.0.3 and 2.0.4 has been on the Windows and Mac platforms with additional focus on the new Android platform (did you try the Android app yet? I like it). This does not mean that there is nothing new to report for the Linux users. The number of general improvements is equally impressive. There is also talk of “security fixes” but so far I was not able to find a CVE reference.

I have been making preparations for the compilation of new VLC packages a while ago. Remember that I have to create 8 VLC packages when VideoLAN developers release a new version of their player (two Slackware releases, two architectures per release, and then restricted/unrestricted versions of each) so I use tarballs of pre-compiled “contribs” binaries to speed up the process. The contribs (which is how VideoLAN calls them) are actually the set of supporting libraries which provide the real functionality in VLC – playback, encoding, hardware support, etc. I compiled a set of these contribs two weeks ago for Slackware 14, and more than a month ago for Slackware 13.37. Several of those internal supporting libraries were updated with regard to my previous vlc-2.0.3 packages: Shout, aacenc, amrwbenc, amr, lua, upnp, v4l, x264; and for Slackware 14.0 I added two more: ffmpeg and live555.

A further update to the vlc.SlackBuild (only relevant should you attempt to rebuild VLC from source) is the fact that it no longer needs to compile and use an internal Mozilla SDK. Slackware’s own seamonkey package in 14.0 (and the version of seamonkey for Slackware 13.37 which you can install from its/patches/packages directory) is now capable of compiling the Mozilla-compatible webbrowser plugin package “npapi-vlc”. Not having to compile the Mozilla SDK speeds up the total build time a lot.

One remark about npapi-vlc: I still use the 2.0.0 release tarball since that is the most recent one that you can download. However, a version 2.0.2 was tagged in the source repository a few months ago. It’s just that the developer did not create an official tarball for that, and therefore I stick to the older version.

The release notes speak of improved BluRay support in this release. Note that the BluRay support in VLC (at least in my package) works only for unencrypted disks… and I do not think these exist actually. But extracted unencrypted BluRay files on your hard drive should playback just fine.  Playback of encrypted BluRay DVD’s requires that you also install my libaacs package: http://slackware.com/~alien/slackbuilds/libaacs or http://taper.alienbase.nl/mirrors/people/alien/slackbuilds/libaacs/) and find yourself a set of AACS decryption keys (see these comments for some hints on that).

Time to download the new VLC packages:

Rsync acccess is offered by the mirror server: rsync://taper.alienbase.nl/mirrors/people/alien/restricted_slackbuilds/vlc/ .

My usual warning about patents: versions that can not only DEcode but also ENcode mp3 and aac audio can be found in my alternative repository where I keep the packages containing code that might violate stupid US software patents.

Have fun! Eric

Comments

Comment from Alex
Posted: October 19, 2012 at 00:37

Thanks, Eric!
I sincerely hope for Opus support in as many audio players and en-/decoders as possible. The codec was developed for voice communication, but I have read reviews raving about its audio quality. It seems, the ever-lasting dispute, if Ogg Vorbis or MP3 or AAC is the best format to carry music around, could come to an end with Opus. It doesn’t cut high frequencies as rude as AAC, which provides otherwise more natural sound at low to medium frequencies compared to MP3, and it seems to cause less load on the CPU while decompressing than Ogg Vorbis.

So, I am really looking forward to support for this new format in VLC and other packages!

Alex

Comment from jaycee
Posted: October 19, 2012 at 00:51

Thank you very much Eric! As always, your many contributions to Slackware are greatly appreciated!

Comment from Marcelo
Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:19

Sorry my ignorance. But. What this is? “npapi-vlc-2.0.0-x86_64-1alien.txz” =)

In more, thank you very much.

Comment from alienbob
Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:25

$ cat ./slackbuilds/vlc/pkg64/14.0/npapi-vlc-2.0.0-x86_64-1alien.txt
npapi-vlc: npapi-vlc (Videolan plugin for Mozilla browsers)
npapi-vlc:
npapi-vlc: VLC media player is a multimedia player for various audio and
npapi-vlc: video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …)
npapi-vlc: as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.
npapi-vlc:
npapi-vlc: Install this package if you need Videolan plugin for your
npapi-vlc: Mozilla based browsers.
npapi-vlc:
npapi-vlc: vlc home: http://www.videolan.org/
npapi-vlc:

… how difficult was that.

Eric

Comment from Marcelo
Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:03

Can I delete this comment? =)
I wrote hastily.
I’m a little anxious.
Sorry again.
I will be more careful in the comments.
Thanks again.

Comment from escaflown
Posted: October 19, 2012 at 05:49

Thanks Eric!

Comment from Mike Langdon (mlangdn)
Posted: October 19, 2012 at 08:59

Nice! Thanks for all you do. :)

Comment from tim
Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:54

it looks like it will be another 5yrs before mp3 encoding will be patent free in US. http://www.tunequest.org/a-big-list-of-mp3-patents/20070226/
it’s ironic that a german research organisation is using the us patent system.
thanks eric for the good work.

Comment from Gabriel Yong
Posted: October 20, 2012 at 18:02

I couldn’t hear the sound while playback, and my web browser(Firefox) also no sound in Youtube even i had set the volume to high?

Comment from Gabriel Yong
Posted: October 20, 2012 at 18:29

but i have sound with XMMS, only not in firefox,konqueror and seamonkey when i play youtube.

Comment from alienbob
Posted: October 20, 2012 at 22:29

Hi Gabriel

When I open a Youtube URL, the video gets played in an embedded HTML5 video element (apparently this is being chosen automatically because of my use of Firefox). Sound plays OK here, it does not use VLC.
Usually you would get an embedded Flash player, and that too, does not need VLC at all.
What happens if you open the Youtube URL directly using “Media > Open Network Stream” in VLC?

Eric

Comment from Gabriel Yong
Posted: October 21, 2012 at 16:02

Sorry if there are more than one similar previous comments. I thought it didn’t Submit after i click the Submit tab, it didn’t show up my comment.

Comment from Luke
Posted: October 21, 2012 at 19:21

Hi Eric,

I was excited to try out your newest VLC because the developers have been focused on improved ogg playback and I have been watching a lot of ogg videos lately. However, it seems that most of my files play with the same quality as with previous 2.0.x releases, but the ogg videos look much worse! Everything looks choppier, like the framerate is lower than it should be, and talking people look out of sync with their words. Do you have any suggestions as to how I might fix this? Or is there a place your old packages are stored so I can revert to the old version? On the machine in question I am on Slackware64-13.37.

Thanks,
Luke

Comment from alienbob
Posted: October 21, 2012 at 19:58

Hi Luke

I have no idea how I should troubleshoot that. My package is using the same libtheora-1.1.1 as the VLC developers do, and I am linking dynamically to Slackware’s vorbis library.
I am not a VLC developer myself so I can not comment on the player function-wise. I think perhaps you should open a thread on the VLC discussion forum.

My old packages can no longer be downloaded.

Eric

Comment from Luke
Posted: October 21, 2012 at 20:46

Thanks, Eric.

I’ll send the message along to the developers. Fortunately, I didn’t get around to upgrading my Slackware64-14 machine yet, so I still have that player working.

Luke

Comment from Gabriel Yong
Posted: October 22, 2012 at 00:19

By the way, is the npapi-vlc same function with “flashplayer-plugin, is it good if i install both? Thanks again :)

Comment from alienbob
Posted: October 22, 2012 at 00:44

Hi gabriel

The flashplayer-plugin and the npapi-vlc plugin are completely different. The flashplayer-plugin is only used when there is an embedded flash object in a web page. The npapi-vlc plugin is used when there is an embedded video object in a web page or if you open a URL to a media file such as http://clips.vorwaerts-gmbh.de/big_buck_bunny.mp4

Eric

Comment from Gabriel Yong
Posted: October 22, 2012 at 02:30

I see, for that i got both installed. After few trial and error it is OK now,I think it is due to the audio output device setting.

Comment from Mike Langdon (mlangdn)
Posted: November 4, 2012 at 19:50

Hello Eric,
If I open a dvd movie with vlc, it plays the movie (plus all the ads, coming attractions, etc…) but the sound is nothing but static. If I rip a title using handbrakecli to an mp4, it plays that title and the sound is just fine. However, if I re-author the mp4 to dvd, sound again is nothing but static. MPlayer does fine with either. Is there something simple I’m missing?

Comment from alienbob
Posted: November 4, 2012 at 20:52

No idea Mike… I would have to find a DVD and try it out.

Eric

Comment from Mike Langdon (mlangdn)
Posted: November 13, 2012 at 20:37

Well, its not VLC’s fault about the sound. I still don’t know what the problem is in my main install. I did install Slackware 14 on another partition and set it up for multilib to try out the steam client. I went ahead and installed your latest vlc pkg with libdvdcss and the dvd played just fine. I’ve been running -current so long that its probably time for a new install. I’m bound to have some crap in there orphaned somewhere. :)

Comment from Edith
Posted: February 2, 2013 at 11:08

Hi, Eric…I am newbie in here…
I just want to ask how to use the packages for my Toshiba notebook with ATI Radeon X1200 and my OS is win vista 32 bit? I just want to improve my vlc to play my HD video…
~thanks~

Comment from alienbob
Posted: February 2, 2013 at 13:22

Edith,

This blog is about Slackware Linux. If your Toshiba is running MS Vista then I can not help you, unless you format your hard disk first, and then install Linux on it…

Cheers, Eric

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