My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

Watching multimedia in Slackware’s browser

While I was sitting in my chair with little room for escape (I sprained my lower back yesterday when trying to lift something and can barely move) I thought, I need to do something useful while being constrained.

So, I created some new packages and wrote a few blog posts – this one being the last, because sitting in this chair is becoming equally painful.

What packages? You can already find them in my repository or its mirrors. They are dconf (new package altogether) and updates to gnome-mplayer as well as gecko-mediaplayer for which I did not yet have Slackware 13.37 packages.

And why exactly these three?

I was not too satisfied with the state of viewing embedding media clips in a web browser on Slackware. In the past, I used to check out the new movie trailers on, In Slackware, that has never been possible I think. The VLC browser plugin crashes more than that it works, and the mplayerplug-in program which uses MPlayer to show the embedded video did not work reliably. I had built the gecko-mediaplayer browser plugin for earlier versions of Slackware – it uses gnome-mplayer to display embeeded media – but that too never worked with the Apple trailers and it had some of the same quirks that mplayerplug-in also had (all too natural since gnome-mplayer is a continuation of the abandoned mplayerplug-in by the same author).

But today, I grabbed the latest sources and built packages. And lo and behold! I can view Apple’s trailers!

Now, why did I mention that dconf package? Well, it turns out that gnome-mplayer which should not depend on any Gnome library, in fact does depend on an “application settings storage backend” – which is Gnome’s gconf… which is not part of Slackware. So, my Slackware package has gconf support disabled, but that only lead me to the next issue – my firefox kept crashing after installing the gecko-mediaplayer & gnome-mplayer packages.

Easy to spot the cause: you only need to run either firefox or gnome-mplayer from the console and you’ll see the following error message:

GLib-GIO-ERROR **: Settings schema ‘apps.gnome-mplayer.preferences’ is not installed

That error was fixed by adding the following command to gnome-mplayer’s post-installation script.

glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas

But we are not there yet. Without a settings backend to store the app’s preferences (your preferences), many of the preference settings that you change do not survive an application restart. Running gnome-mplayer from the commandline shows why:

GLib-GIO-Message: Using the ‘memory’ GSettings backend.  Your settings will not be saved or shared with other applications.

This is where the dconf package enters. Let me quote: “Dconf’s main purpose is to provide a backend to GSettings on platforms that don’t already have configuration storage systems.” It’s a small and efficient program without dependencies, and after installing dconf, our gnome-mplayer no longer complains. All its preferences are now being stored on disk.

Looking back on the weekend which is almost over now, I have performed a number of related plumbing activities: I upgraded my MPlayer package to a recent snapshot – you can grab that and use it to upgrade Slackware’s version of MPlayer with mine. Plus, I have not one, but two graphical front-ends for the mplayer binary: my repository now has the entirely new UMPlayer (universal multimedia player) which has a Qt4 interface, and an updated gnome-mplayer whose GUI is based on the GTK widget set. The choice is yours! But you should definitely give UMPlayer a trial run if you are a regular YouTube visitor – it has an awesome YouTube search & play feature that does not require a webbrowser.



  1. John

    my sympathies on the back. I to suffer from lower back problems and regularly get steroid epidural injections. My back is able to produce the most sever of pains.
    Hope you recover soon

  2. Chris Abela

    Get Well Soon!

  3. GArik

    What about mplayer2 and smplayer? I switced to mplayer2 just yesterday and it seems that it works just fine. And it much lighter than mplayer:
    909K mplayer2-20110627-i686-1ga.txz
    3,4M ffmpeg-0.8-native-1ga.txz
    8,2M MPlayer-20101218-i486-1.txz

  4. alienbob

    @GArik –

    UMPlayer is a fork of SMPlayer with some additional features (youtube and shoutcast integration).
    Mplayer2 is what I already wrote about – my plan is to create a package for it with ffmpeg/libass/libdvdnav/libdvdread integrated.


  5. Widya Walesa

    UMPlayer right? It seems worth a try 😀

  6. specialized

    i see the gecko-player in my browser, but nothing happens, the download bar doesnt star

  7. alienbob

    @specialized –

    What happens if you run “gnome-mplayer” from the commandline? Do you see any errors?
    What is the URL where your video download won’t start?


  8. Kevin DeKorte

    Why didn’t you just build with the –with-gconf configure flags for gnome-mplayer and gecko-mediaplayer.

    As for dconf it is a valid GSettings backend, and again is not part of gnome.

  9. alienbob


    Slackware does not have GConf:

    checking for GCONF… no
    configure: Using keystore for preferences

    I added the explicit “–without-gconf” to remind people of its absense. If you run Gnome, you can change the SlackBuild if you wish. In a future update I could leave that bit out of the script.

    And about dconf, did I write somewhere that it does depend on Gnome? I created the package for it precicely _because_ it has no further dependencies.


  10. specialized

    gnome-mplayer without erros, and i try to see the trailers in

  11. Ole

    Hey thanks a lot for providing those media players. I can now enjoy media feeds that i used to believe where only accessible from a Windows machine! Much obliged 😀

    And cheers to a speedy recovery!

  12. lunarvalleys

    how about gconf from /extra/google-chrome?

    PS: Hope you get better soon!

  13. Phillip


    Did you use the SW 13.1 seamonkey to build gecko-mediaplayer with? I was never able to build it with the missing headers in the 13.37 seamonkey package.

    Hope you are feeling better soon!

    For those wanting to use gconf, just make sure your configure includes –with-gconf.

  14. Phillip


    Did you use the SW 13.1 seamonkey to build gecko-mediaplayer with? I was never able to build it with the missing headers in the 13.37 seamonkey package. I’d like to resolve that issue before submitting the SlackBuilds to SBo for 1.0.4 (just released). Perhaps a note in the README to build using the older seamonkey would suffice?

    Hope you are feeling better soon!

    For those wanting to use gconf instead of dconf, just make sure your configure includes –with-gconf.

  15. Phillip

    Heh looks like messages post here regardless of whether or not the security code is correct!

  16. alienbob


    It’s documented in the SlackBuild what it needs to build the package – just like I always do. Check the “Needs: ” line, it goes like this:

    # Needs: xulrunner (compile-time), this does not build against seamonkey.


  17. Phillip


    Thanks for the reply! Ah, I should have RTFS! I skipped over that section somehow.

    So, it looks like this is the route to go then. I avoided requiring xulrunner before since it is such a large package compared to gecko-mediaplayer.

  18. Andrey

    Hi. Thanks a lot for new packages. One thing about Mplayer, it’s work nice with every thing but matroska (mkv) files, because you packaged Mplayer without vdpau support. Are you planing include vdpau support in future Mplayer packges. Hope you recover soon.

  19. alienbob

    Hi Andrey

    I checked several MKV files that I have here, and they all play with the MPlayer package I uploaded.
    Did you previously have a version of MPlayer installed that was built with vdpau support? It may be that your “~/.mplayer/config” file has a leftover vdpau parameter.


  20. Andrey

    Hi Eric
    Thanks for the reply.
    Yes I had version of MPlayer installed that was built with vdpau support but my “~/.mplayer/config” is ok, problem occurs when i try to play Hi res mkv with the MPlayer package you uploaded, it’s plays but with very noticeable slowdowns. I had not this problem with MPlayer that was built with vdpau support. I figured out that it is because my cpu is to slow to decode hi res mkv, so when i choose xv, or gl, video output, it is slow in mkv, but with vdpau is just fine even with very hi resolution mkv.


  21. Lawrence

    HI there Eric
    Hope your back is better soon .
    I installed everything for 13.37 but have the same problem as -specialized – no errors but the apple trailers dont start playing just stand there waiting for somthing

  22. Lawrence

    Ok i forced the URL in the player and get his error

    ** (gnome-mplayer:8577): CRITICAL **: dbus_g_proxy_disconnect_signal: assertion !DBUS_G_PROXY_DESTROYED (proxy)’ failed
    in media state change with state = 0

  23. Phillip

    For those who don’t see videos play in FF4/5 try scrolling down the screen after clicking the “Automatic” button. The video might be popping up near the bottom. I didn’t have this issue in Chrome.

  24. Robert

    Just to mention, I had to remove vlc-mozplugin as well to get the Apple trailers to play.

  25. Rob

    Hi, Thanks for all the packaging. I tried this multimedia set and playing YouTube directly from UMPlayer worked great until I tried yesterday and although youtube files were found they were not loaded into the player from the search-results window. When choosing (upon right-click) the option ‘Watch on YouTube’ the video played fine within firefox. (For more info, I have pasted the mplayer-log below)

    The same file did not play in VLC either: VLC cuts out with: “VLC can’t recognize the input’s format:
    The format of ‘’ cannot be detected.”
    On the vlc-forum ( this problem is linked the /lua/playlist/youtube.lua file. Apparently the YouTube site has changed affecting the functioning of this lua file. Still it’s only a wild guess that something similar is underlying the UMPlayer problem to play youtube files

    Did is the mplayer-log output:
    /usr/bin/mplayer -noquiet -v -nofs -nomouseinput -lavdopts threads=2 -sub-fuzziness 1 -identify -slave -vo x11 -ao alsa -zoom -nokeepaspect -framedrop -nodr -double -input conf=/usr/share/umplayer/input.conf -stop-xscreensaver -wid 46139828 -monitorpixelaspect 1 -ass -msglevel ass=6 -embeddedfonts -ass-line-spacing 0 -ass-font-scale 1 -ass-styles /home/rob/.config/umplayer/styles.ass -fontconfig -font Arial -subfont-autoscale 0 -subfont-osd-scale 20 -subfont-text-scale 20 -subcp UTF-8 -subpos 100 -cache 500 -osdlevel 0 -prefer-ipv4 -vf-add screenshot -noslices -channels 2 -af equalizer=0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0 -softvol -softvol-max 110

    MPlayer 20110624-4.5.2 (C) 2000-2011 MPlayer Team
    CPU vendor name: GenuineIntel max cpuid level: 10
    CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU P8400 @ 2.26GHz (Family: 6, Model: 23, Stepping: 6)
    extended cpuid-level: 8
    extended cache-info: 201351232
    Detected cache-line size is 64 bytes
    CPUflags: MMX: 1 MMX2: 1 3DNow: 0 3DNowExt: 0 SSE: 1 SSE2: 1 SSSE3: 1
    Compiled with runtime CPU detection.
    get_path(‘codecs.conf’) -> ‘/home/rob/.mplayer/codecs.conf’
    Reading /home/rob/.mplayer/codecs.conf: Can’t open ‘/home/rob/.mplayer/codecs.conf’: No such file or directory
    Reading /etc/mplayer/codecs.conf: Can’t open ‘/etc/mplayer/codecs.conf’: No such file or directory
    Using built-in default codecs.conf.
    Using MMX (with tiny bit MMX2) Optimized OnScreenDisplay
    get_path(‘fonts’) -> ‘/home/rob/.mplayer/fonts’
    Configuration: –prefix=/usr –mandir=/usr/man –confdir=/etc/mplayer –enable-gui –enable-menu –disable-arts –disable-bitmap-font –codecsdir=/usr/lib64/codecs –language=all –enable-runtime-cpudetection
    CommandLine: ‘-noquiet’ ‘-v’ ‘-nofs’ ‘-nomouseinput’ ‘-lavdopts’ ‘threads=2’ ‘-sub-fuzziness’ ‘1’ ‘-identify’ ‘-slave’ ‘-vo’ ‘x11’ ‘-ao’ ‘alsa’ ‘-zoom’ ‘-nokeepaspect’ ‘-framedrop’ ‘-nodr’ ‘-double’ ‘-input’ ‘conf=/usr/share/umplayer/input.conf’ ‘-stop-xscreensaver’ ‘-wid’ ‘46139828’ ‘-monitorpixelaspect’ ‘1’ ‘-ass’ ‘-msglevel’ ‘ass=6’ ‘-embeddedfonts’ ‘-ass-line-spacing’ ‘0’ ‘-ass-font-scale’ ‘1’ ‘-ass-styles’ ‘/home/rob/.config/umplayer/styles.ass’ ‘-fontconfig’ ‘-font’ ‘Arial’ ‘-subfont-autoscale’ ‘0’ ‘-subfont-osd-scale’ ’20’ ‘-subfont-text-scale’ ’20’ ‘-subcp’ ‘UTF-8’ ‘-subpos’ ‘100’ ‘-cache’ ‘500’ ‘-osdlevel’ ‘0’ ‘-prefer-ipv4’ ‘-vf-add’ ‘screenshot’ ‘-noslices’ ‘-channels’ ‘2’ ‘-af’ ‘equalizer=0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0’ ‘-softvol’ ‘-softvol-max’ ‘110’ ‘’
    Using nanosleep() timing
    Parsing input config file /usr/share/umplayer/input.conf
    Input config file /usr/share/umplayer/input.conf parsed: 67 binds
    get_path(‘watch?v=9LRrYSXo_Ec.conf’) -> ‘/home/rob/.mplayer/watch?v=9LRrYSXo_Ec.conf’
    get_path(‘sub/’) -> ‘/home/rob/.mplayer/sub/’
    Filename for url is now
    Filename for url is now
    Resolving for AF_INET…
    Connecting to server[]: 80…
    protocol: [HTTP/1.0]
    http minor version: [0]
    uri: [(null)]
    method: [(null)]
    status code: [200]
    reason phrase: [OK]
    body size: [1260]
    0 – Date: Sun, 07 Aug 2011 14:46:58 GMT
    1 – Server: wiseguy/0.6.10
    2 – X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
    3 – Set-Cookie: use_hitbox=72c46ff6cbcdb7c5585c36411b6b334edAEAAAAw; path=/;
    4 – Set-Cookie: VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=P8AgWybE0Gc; path=/;; expires=Tue, 03-Apr-2012 14:46:58 GMT
    5 – Set-Cookie: recently_watched_video_id_list=e376f61915029496d7ecf8a784841e7fWwEAAABzCwAAADlMUnJZU1hvX0Vj; path=/;
    6 – Set-Cookie: PREF=f1=50000000; path=/;; expires=Wed, 04-Aug-2021 14:46:58 GMT
    7 – Set-Cookie: GEO=e2705ff1e2864a8609f0544f13741f04cwsAAAAzR0KA8FgUTj6lYg==; path=/;
    8 – Expires: Tue, 27 Apr 1971 19:44:06 EST
    9 – Cache-Control: no-cache
    10 – X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
    11 – Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
    Content-Type: [text/html; charset=utf-8]
    Cache size set to 500 KBytes
    STREAM: [null]
    STREAM: Description: http streaming
    STREAM: Author: Bertrand, Albeau, Reimar Doeffinger, Arpi?
    STREAM: Comment: plain http
    CACHE_PRE_INIT: 0 [0] 0 pre:102400 eof:0
    Cache fill: 0.00% (0 bytes) Stream not seekable!
    Cache fill: 18.78% (96146 bytes)
    LAVF_check: no clue about this gibberish!
    Checking for YUV4MPEG2
    ASF_check: not ASF guid!
    Checking for REAL
    Checking for SMJPEG
    SUB: opened iconv descriptor.
    SUB: closed iconv descriptor.
    Searching demuxer type for filename ext: .com/watch?v=9LRrYSXo_Ec
    Checking for Nullsoft Streaming Video
    Checking for MOV
    Checking for VIVO
    header block 1 size: 33
    Checking for PVA
    Checking for MPEG-TS…
    TRIED UP TO POSITION 71898, FOUND 47, packet_size= 0, SEEMS A TS? 0
    Checking for LMLM4 Stream Format
    Invalid packet in LMLM4 stream: ch=15393 size=1129601352
    LMLM4 Stream Format not found
    MPEG Stream reached EOF
    ds_fill_buffer: EOF reached (stream: video)
    MPEG packet stats: p100: 0 p101: 0 p1B6: 0 p12x: 0 sli: 0 a: 0 b: 0 c: 0 idr: 0 sps: 0 pps: 0 PES: 0 MP3: 0, synced: 0
    Not MPEG System Stream format… (maybe Transport Stream?)
    MPEG Stream reached EOF
    ds_fill_buffer: EOF reached (stream: video)
    MPEG packet stats: p100: 0 p101: 0 p1B6: 0 p12x: 0 sli: 0 a: 0 b: 0 c: 0 idr: 0 sps: 0 pps: 0 PES: 0 MP3: 0, synced: 3
    Not MPEG System Stream format… (maybe Transport Stream?)
    Invalid seek to negative position ffffffffffffffff!
    ds_fill_buffer: EOF reached (stream: video)
    LAVF_check: no clue about this gibberish!
    demux_aac_probe, failed to detect an AAC stream
    vo: x11 uninit called but X11 not initialized..
    Exiting… (End of file)

  26. alienbob

    Yes, Youtube changed their web site layout again, so both VLC and UMPlayer are broken. I saw a patch in git already for VLC 1.1:;a=commit;h=9cb117783bb9dc4e361facf4d6da2378f07a759e and I am sure that UMPlayer will update their software too, soon.


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