Thursday Sep 03, 2009

If You Build It, They Will Come

The best way to judge the success of any project, open source or not, is the strength of the development community supporting it. Thats why I was happy to come across Murray Blakeman's site today, Solaris Multimedia. Murry runs his own IPS repository with much of the popular multimedia tools the community's been clamoring for. I was hesitant to advertise it here for a couple of reasons. First, Murray only has a 384 kbps link so I'm not sure how much more publicity his site could handle. Second, I don't want to see Murray to suffer the same fate as the the Life with Solaris guys. Ultimately, I decided since he's already out there promoting his site, a little cross-promotion was acceptable. Plus, as I've said, I'm really thankful to the contribution he's making to the OpenSolaris community.

If you decided to try the repository, read his 2009.06 Multimedia Repository post first on how to most effectively use it.

Wednesday Jul 01, 2009


Codeina's an application from Fluendo that points applications such as Totem or Rhythmbox to Fluendo's web shop if you are missing the codec for the file you are trying to play.[Read More]

Saturday Mar 28, 2009

Compiling MPlayer on OpenSolaris

OpenSolaris comes with several basic multimedia players, however they miss important codecs, so after installation you can't really use OpenSolaris to play many types of videos (avi, mpeg, wmv, rm, etc.). Until recently you could get multimedia packages from, but the site doesn't provide these packages anymore. The other solution that exists is to use Fluendo codecs (the mp3 codec is available for free but video codes are not free) which provide decoding functionality for media players distributed with OpenSolaris. For more details see this blog entry.

For those who prefer a free solution for playing video and audio files, this blog provides instructions on how to build and install MPlayer on OpenSolaris 2008.11. In case you don't know MPlayer, it's a great open source multimedia player that can play basically any video or audio files.

\* First of all, you need the source code. Get it from here. Unzip the source in your home directory and switch to the MPlayer directory: cd MPlayer-1.0rc2

\* Install GCC and gmake by running: pfexec pkg install SUNWgcc SUNWgmake

\* Replace the configure script with an updated script (two small changes were necessary for OpenSolaris - the original configure script won't work). The new configure script can be downloaded from here.

\* Run configure: ./configure --prefix=/opt/mplayer

\* Run gmake: gmake

\* Run install (as root): gmake install

Supposing everything went well (it should), mplayer is now available and can be ran from /opt/mplayer/bin/mplayer [video_file].

You can right click on video files and define associations to provide an easy playback for different video types. It may be also useful to add MPlayer to your PATH using the .profile script in your home directory. It is also possible to compile MPlayer with a GUI, but I prefer the command line version, so these steps just describe the non-GUI version. In case of the GUI version you need to get various additional header files from the IPS repository, otherwise MPlayer won't build.

Monday Feb 23, 2009


I first learned about Ekiga back in December while reading Dave Stewart's Favorite OpenSolaris 2008.11 features blog entry. One application I really miss since switching to OpenSolaris is Skype, so I was excited to learn that there was a potential open source replacement. It took some tinkering to get it working correctly, but I believe I'm now there. If you want to try it yourself, here are some pointers that might help.[Read More]

Thursday Sep 11, 2008

More Multimedia

I used the blog entry Brian wrote to get Songbird up and running.  There are, however, additional multimedia options for OpenSolaris.  On a forum thread over on, Calum Benson pointed out that Real Player is available.

I tried it out - it is an older version, but it works great so far. 

[Read More]

Monday Sep 08, 2008

Playing Your mp3s with Songbird

Songbird is the open source equivalent to iTunes. It's built on top of Mozilla, giving it the same extendability as Firefox. However, OpenSolaris doesn't ship with an mp3 codec, so before you can enjoy your music with Songbird, you first need to solve the missing codec problem. In this blog entry I'll walk you through both steps.

[Read More]

Tuesday Aug 12, 2008

Sound in VirtualBox from MacOS X Host

Earlier today Gregg pointed me to New OSS Drivers Fix Sound Issues in OpenSolaris on Mac OS X - and lo and behold - they do - at least in VirtualBox

[Read More]

The Observatory is a blog for users of Oracle Solaris. Tune in here for tips, tricks and more as we explore the Solaris operating system from Oracle.


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