Installing and Using RealPlayer on Foresight Linux

Last night, I decided to install RealPlayer onto my fresh Foresight Linux 1.4.X install. I’ve replaced my main workstation with Foresight due to convenience (I use it at work) and I use RealPlayer from time to time for videos and music.

No package exists for RealPlayer in the repositories, so head over to Real.com and download the .bin file. After the .bin file has been downloaded, use the following commands to install:

chmod 755 RealPlayer10GOLD.bin && sudo ./RealPlayer10Gold.bin

In the terminal, it will ask you what directory you’d like to install RealPlayer into. I chose /opt/RealPlayer (you’ll have to type it in) because I’d rather have the files installed there than in my home directory, which is where I downloaded the file to. After this, you’ll have a shiny, new shortcut inside Applications >> Sound and Video >> RealPlayer. Click on this to launch the program and follow the wizard.

The wizard will setup the Mozilla (firefox) plugins for you but they still won’t work solidly. This is because mplayer is overtaking the player duties for real media formats. To change this, gedit ~/.mplayer/mplayerplug-in.conf and change these entries as shown below:

enable-rm=0enable-smil=0enable-helix=0

Save and close that document. You’re set :) Restart Firefox and go to real.com and test out the player capabilities.

Mediawiki: Remove External Arrow from Links

My main job here at rPath, Inc. is to document our technologies via the rPath Documentation Wiki. For this wiki, we use a Mediawiki Appliance. For those that don’t know, the “appliance” I refer to here is a software appliance…something rPath technologies make easy to maintain and create. For more information see the definition of a software appliance here.

Moving on, I was ANNOYED by the fact that you have a small arrow “” that appears beside any image that references an external URL or any link that does the same. This is fine to let people know that links will take them to a different page…but what I was trying to do was to make a PDF Icon have the same link as the URL it was sitting beside:

So in the above image, if one clicked on the PDF icon or the “Application to Appliance: A Hands-on Guide (PDF)” the PDF would download.

Mediawiki doesn’t provide a fantastic way for you to do this. However, after some snooping around via google, I found a fairly easy way to make things happen.

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The rPath Forum goes Live!

Here at rPath we use our own Mediawiki appliance for documentation (what is a software appliance?). While this is an excellent way of getting things documented quickly (as wiki’s are) it is NOT a great place for community based questions to influx nor a good place for knowledgebase questions to be stored. Often, the discussion tab on wiki’s go ignored with issue tracking systems replacing problems users have.

The problem with issue tracking systems is they have workflows of their own and often are impartial where they don’t need to be ;). Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place where like users of software could come together to ask questions and help each other reach conclusive answers? Hence, the rPath Forum was born.

Stef created the Simple Machines Forum Appliance, which you can install and run in various formats such as VMWare, Xen, ISO, RAW, and even a LiveCD (in x86 and x86_64 bit flavors!). What a wonderful concept…to be able to quickly download and deploy a forum using nothing but a virtualized environment :)

As some of you know, I’ve chose Simple Machines in the past at MyPCLinuxOS and PCLinuxOS proper to power those communities. Stef and I are excited to power the rPath community with this same wonderful software.

If you are a packager, appliance developer, Foresight Linux user, or are just interested in our products and technologies such as Conary and rMakecome on over to the rPath Forum and register. Drop us a line and say hello :)

gmrun and openbox

My friend Og Maciel and I had a short package session today where we updated some openbox items that we use such as Nitrogen for wallpaper, pypanel, and something we didn’t package before…gmrun. Install it with:

sudo conary update gmrun

I’ve patched the default gmrunrc file so that when it executes, it places itself toward the top right hand side of the desktop. To override this, create a .gmrunrc from the default.

cp /usr/share/gmrun/gmrunrc ~/.gmrunrc

alter the left and top values to move it around on the screen. Width may also be adjusted. You can also use openbox to bind this to Alt-F2 or a key combo of your choosing. Open up ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml and add the following in the <keyboard> section:

<keybind key="A-F2"><action name="execute"><execute>gmrun</execute></action></keybind>

There are also some built in macros for using gmrun that can be found on the homepage here. it’s quite a handy tool and works quite well for openbox 😀 Screenshot showing updated nitrogen and gmrun below:

Foresight KDE Alpha3

NOTE: For clarification purposes…this is not an official release. It is only accessible to developers. It is called Foresight KDE Alpha3 because it is based on the underlying architecture in Foresight Gnome alpha3 release.

For those of you with developer status or above on the Foresight Linux project, there is a KDE build available for testing (along with XFCE if you really have ambitions). Login to rBuilder Online, Click on the Foresight Linux Project, go to Manage Builds and search for Foresight Linux KDE Alpha3 and click it (DVD only). I downloaded and tested this build release to see how things are going.

Foresight KDE inherits all the goodness from the Foresight Linux project. This means the install is tar based and completes in less than 7 minutes. It also means Syslinux, Compiz Fusion, and more from the Release Notes. If you are interested in helping us develop further, please visit us in freenode #foresight-kde.

Findings

I found 3 major issues during testing. First, updateall fails with glibc errors. I worked over 6 hours on getting a solution and enlisted many in the community on helping me get past it. So far, no one has been able to provide a solution. The second issue is that pango is causing odd text to display on various applications: Pic1, Pic2. No solution to this as of the time of this writing. I’m assuming that an update to pango will cure this.

Third, gtk-qt-engine wasn’t installed by default so gtk applications looked quite nasty. A quick sudo conary update gtk-qt-engine got me rolling.

Observations

Things don’t look great. While the performance of the desktop was fine (no crashes, quite speedy) the default font/text looks horrible. The installed Theme is the default KDE one…no customization. My resolution/Monitor wasn’t detected so I was at 800×600 for resolution. Menu’s are chock full of junk (default applications) and have little organization.

Looking at this, one can tell it truly is based on an alpha release but I have to say that I’m still a bit disappointed. All of these observations were made during the last alpha release as well. At the time of that alpha release, I did not have enough Conary-foo™ (OK, so it’s not trademarked…) to make anything happen. Since I now have alpha3 up and running on my main system at home and am a bit further in my conary knowledge…you can bet I’ll be working on the aesthetics of Foresight KDE. Sure, the innards are more important than the shell…but the shell is the first thing seen by the user.

Hopefully, if there is an alpha4 (or beta1 for that matter) we’ll have the aesthetics worked out by then to give the user a pleasant “Foresight” experience.

KDE4 Status

KDE4 can be installed as well. It is still pulling in from SVN snapshots though so it is not as stable as I’d like it to be. Do this at your own risk! I do not have it permanently installed on my system. To install:

sudo conary update group-kde4=/kde.rpath.org@fl:2-kde4-devel

One of the benefits of conary is show above…installing KDE4 is as simple as one command :) I like to compare that with the Ubuntu/Debian way of doing it. Since there is no sources.list, you don’t have to mess with it. Conary remembers the branch the software came from inherently so it goes to those same places for that software unless you tell it not too explicitly. Imagine that! A package manager that is smart and allows you to maintain less! It also allows you to have both KDE3 and KDE4 installed side by side…but remember, both KDE4 and this build release of Foresight KDE are not production releases so things WILL change. In other words, don’t put this on a system you intend to keep.

It is my understanding that the KDE4 branch for Foresight KDE will soon be reverting out of SVN checkout builds to push stability as application portage continues.

Empowering the Linux Community

From a Linux Developer point of view, when users are no longer developing with you…you’ve lost. Empowerment is key to a successful community in Linux. The day the community is no longer empowered to improve is the day the distribution dies. What kills empowerment? Helplessness. Despair. Inability.

As an example, a user might not like it if you tell them their bug will not be fixed for the next release. This is normal practice in many major distributions. But if you tell a user that their bug won’t be fixed through 4 releases, you may have a problem. Unfortunately, this also is becoming a normal practice for some major distributions.

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