VLC and a refusal to play DVDs in openSUSE 13.1

Forum: LinuxTotal Replies: 21
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Ridcully

Feb 05, 2017
9:52 PM EST
When I first loaded openSUSE 13.1 onto this laptop, I installed VLC from Packman and it ran perfectly. Played dvds, mp4 files, etc. etc. Couldn't wish for better......Then suddenly around middle of last year (I think) it wouldn't. Everything worked (playing all the files other than those on a dvd), except it would NOT play any dvd and said that it could not read the first block. I think I may even have some sort of discussion on this fact with LXer.......I'm getting forgetful. LOL.

I tried everything. I went into terminal mode and ran VLC from the terminal to try to get some sort of indication and the message I got consistently was that a file called: libdvdnav-plugin.so was corrupted. You cannot find a file of that name on the internet, so instead I began last night to search for sites where problems with VLC were encountered. The thing that began to stand out was that if files from VLC came from two or more different locations, it would refuse to operate and also that the best source for a non-crippled version of VLC was the Packman site. (Readers should remember that openSUSE's version of VLC is crippled for copyright reasons).

That gave me an idea......and it is at this point that I bless YaST, the system manager in openSUSE. First of all, I opened up YaST and went to the repository listings........and found that Packman was an active repository. Then I closed that function and went to Software Manager. You can insert the name of the file you are looking for and the Manager will find all examples of the file, so with "vlc" fed in, I got all the various combinations. Once you have that, you can see which are or are not installed, but more importantly, in a lower window there are a series of tabs which you can open and one of those tabs tells you where the software came from as well as other locations where the software is known to exist. All the vlc listings came from Packman, so that was okay.

Next, I called up "libdvdnav" and that was where the fun started. All of its variations had "openSUSE" tagged as the source. So, I unchecked openSUSE and checked Packman, and then checked "Accept". There was the usual pause while the software did its stuff and finally said "all done".

My next step was to insert a dvd and see if it could be played. This time, it didn't whinge about "being unable to read the first block", instead it just sat there. So, something else needed to be done. Once more I went into terminal mode and got the impression that VLC was unable to decode the dvd.........and that meant only one thing, "libdvdcss".

So, it was back onto the net and looking for the latest version of libdvdcss. I found what I wanted on "RPM resource" and grabbed an rpm of the latest version in 64bit (1.4.0) and downloaded and installed.....while removing the older version of libdvdcss2.

Then inserted a dvd and it played almost instantly.

This might be old hat to many readers, but it was a darn good lesson in frustration management for me. - I've been trying all sorts of solutions for months. When the experts say that you MUST not mix your file versions, they mean it, but I offer the above as a solution for one sort of VLC problem for any reader who might be struggling with the software. It is also a huge feather in the cap (as far as I am concerned) for SUSE and the excellent capabilities of YaST.

PS.....I think the reason VLC was corrupted was due to a little piece of software called "Apper" which tries to be helpful and put up for installation the latest copies of some of the already installed software, and I accepted without realising the openSUSE versions would be installed. SIlly me.......Apper is about to be disabled.
dotmatrix

Feb 06, 2017
8:15 AM EST
libdvdcss:

How is it even legal to sell commercial DVDs with an extra and unlisted but mandatory license purchase?

DRM:

Broken by design.

***********

It seems that the VLC woes listed may have been related to the reuse of system-wide installed libraries.

***********

Come to think of it, there are many things of interest in your post:
  1. DRM is unnecessary trouble, which doesn't even work as intended.
  2. System-wide libraries can cause trouble sometimes, and can be difficult to work around.
  3. Software Politics can lead to user pain.
  4. Broken software installations can be fixed by the user with time, patience, and perseverance.
  5. As much as I am loathe to admit, Snappy Packages would probably have fixed your problem easily and in a single step.
  6. I'm a Software Politics Idealist. However, idealism doesn't necessarily work for everyone.
jdixon

Feb 06, 2017
9:45 AM EST
> It seems that the VLC woes listed may have been related to the reuse of system-wide installed libraries.

Yes. One of the advantages of a system like Slackware is the ability to compile something like VLC and the supporting libraries from the source if you want to do so. You can actually do that with any Linux system, but some of them make it harder than it should be. Being able to compile fro source makes it much easier to fix problems like this. It shouldn't be necessary, of course, but some distro's will make stupid choices.
Ridcully

Feb 06, 2017
5:05 PM EST
Don't get me started, dotmatrix. What is so annoying is that the "stable door has been wideopen now for years and the horse is out somewhere enjoying itself." DVD copyright protections are seriously broken. It doesn't matter where you look on the web, you'll find "illegal software packages" being advertised that can copy even the latest attempts at preventing copying of dvds. I can think of at least two or three main packages, one of which has even been recommended by a well-known journalist writing for a major website. I think DRM is utterly pointless.

The other aspect of DVDs is zoning. This is now irrelevant but the makers still persist in it. Instant access to films via paid downloads makes the original reasons for zoning so stupid that you can only sit back and wince cynically. "They continue to do it because they have always done it" seems to be the only reason I can see.

jdixon, I hear you loud and clear....My "problem" is that I love openSUSE......I took it up as an OS well over 10 years ago and most of the time, I know exactly what it does and how to fix it. This was an odd one and as dotmatrix indicated, involved conflicting system libraries. May I say in mitigation that VLC is the ONLY software package where this has occurred on my system. Oh well......I come back to it: I fixed it and I'm still gloating over the fact that I did it.
the_doctor

Feb 06, 2017
7:01 PM EST
Quoting:I think DRM is utterly pointless.


You're not alone:

https://www.defectivebydesign.org/
jdixon

Feb 06, 2017
7:18 PM EST
> My "problem" is that I love openSUSE

I wonder how compatible Slackbuilds would be with OpenSuSE? Slackbuilds are the scripts for compiling Slackware packages from source code: http://slackbuilds.org/
mbaehrlxer

Feb 07, 2017
3:33 AM EST
zoning. ugh. even youtube supports it. :-(
Ridcully

Feb 07, 2017
5:03 AM EST
@mbaehrixer.........BUT WHY ? For heaven's sakes, youtube is just clips from goodness knows where and I should have thought zoning is only "relevant/irrelevant" where a movie is released in the USA but not simultaneously in Australia or elsewhere.....This is no longer the case as far as I know.......the films are being released simultaneously or nearly so all over the world......So why zoning ? It was intended to "screw as much cash out of the stupid public as possible" before the film finally reached the various parts of the world.....or that's my understanding. As I said, zoning is now irrelevant and should be removed.

You'd be amazed at some of zoning's effects in Australia. You almost cannot get a zone free DVD player unless you opt for an "el-cheapo" brand of player. The big boys in player manufacture have all bowed down to the zoning boys in the US of A and you can only get really good brand name players if they are locked down to Australia's zone 4. We have a 10 year old Toshiba HDD player with superb rendering, it plays normal DVDs, and it is multizone......We wouldn't part with it for anything. Even more interesting is that second hand sets of this player are STILL selling on eBay in Australia for over $150 a set....it is really that good.

In my opinion, zoning of DVDs is just an example of the on-going corruption within the movie studio empires.
jdixon

Feb 07, 2017
5:44 AM EST
> BUT WHY

Because the "copyright holders" (most of which are now maintained by a bought and paid for legislature), demand it.
Ridcully

Feb 07, 2017
6:10 AM EST
So what you are saying, jdixon, is that there is corruption at the highest levels of lawmaking in the USA ? I'd better not go any further.....LXer is supposed to be apolitical........but what you have said appalls me...Honesty, truth and justice seem to go out the window where profit is leering in through it.
nmset

Feb 07, 2017
6:56 AM EST
>corruption at the highest levels of lawmaking in the USA ?

It's not corruption, rather misrepresentation. Industries write laws, via their elected servants. It's only the people who get fooled in the game. This is true anywhere, even in kingdoms. Business rules, it has been so since the beginning of civilisation. Do you really dream of an ideal world ? I guess not.
mbaehrlxer

Feb 07, 2017
7:58 AM EST
i am with you ridcully. here are two examples where regionlocking comes into effect and which also demonstrate how ridiculous it is:

1) a few days ago someone shared a skit from the US tv show saturday-night-live. now SNL posts their skits on youtube on their own channel, but, when i wanted to view it, i was told that "The uploader has not made this video available in your country."

of course, it was trivial to just search for the title of the skit and find at least half a dozend other uploads of the same skit that were not region locked.

2) RIAA has a deal with google for music on youtube.

their german counterpart GEMA does not (or didn't until recently *), because they could not come to an agreement. (presumably GEMA wanted to much money)

the problem is that, GEMA does not only handle german music, but they apparently also collect in germany on behalf of RIAA and other organizations because american music that is available on youtube in other countries is blocked in germany by GEMA. GEMA even blocks music that authors upload with permission of their publisher.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blocking_of_YouTube_videos_in_...

(* aparently GEMA and google solved their differences a few months ago and the blocking should stop)

greetings, eMBee.
jdixon

Feb 07, 2017
8:13 AM EST
> So what you are saying, jdixon, is that there is corruption at the highest levels of lawmaking in the USA ?

How can it be called corruption when it's the standard way of doing business? But yes, corporations are the ones responsible for the copyright laws in the US, most particularly Disney.
dotmatrix

Feb 07, 2017
10:11 AM EST
On Copyright:

The USA had decent copyrights laws... until they were adjusted, retroactively, to reflect European copyright laws. Retroactive copyright protection is wholly inane. The entire idea of copyright is that the entity creating the work is willing to create the work and share it because the current law provides enough payment. Retroactive copyright makes no sense whatsoever, since the work has already been completed under a previous social contract.

However, one of the problems of today's world is that copyright laws are not consistent across international boundaries. The region codings as well as other DRM-like protections are an attempt at remaining within the law across international boundaries...

Life would be much better if all reputable nations could agree on a single set of rules. The changes in US copyright law in the 1970s represented an attempt at normalization of the rules. Unfortunately, they were adjusted by the wrong party.

Other related insane and inane laws and rules are those that define the words public performance for transmission of copyrighted material.
CFWhitman

Feb 07, 2017
10:12 AM EST
Zoning for DVD's is about distribution rights. That is, in one region the copyright distribution license is sold to a certain distributor. In another region, it's sold to a completely different distributor. This makes it so that is illegal for the distributor in the first region to distribute the title in the second region. If that distributor does so, it's a violation of copyright law because they are profiting instead of the distributor that actually owns the rights in the second region. To prevent this from happening even inadvertently (for example due to different release dates or pricing), they decided to region lock discs and players. Of course, this is all for the benefit of distributors and ignores the inconvenience of the consumer.

The YouTube rules are for similar reasons, but it ends up being even sillier on YouTube because of the global nature of the Internet. It's difficult to stop a distribution of any kind of media from being a worldwide distribution because if you don't make it worldwide, someone on the Internet will.

Of course, corruption at the highest levels of government is nothing new anywhere in the world.
penguinist

Feb 07, 2017
11:09 AM EST
Quoting:if you don't make it worldwide, someone on the Internet will.


Of course. This is the part that people hesitate to mention publicly, but essentially DRM (and zoning) is null and void in practice.
jdixon

Feb 07, 2017
11:30 AM EST
> Of course, this is all for the benefit of distributors and ignores the inconvenience of the consumer.

Perhaps ironically, the last I heard almost no porn DVD's were region locked.

My understanding is that Bluray discs are worse in almost every respect. :(
patrokov

Feb 07, 2017
3:53 PM EST
Part of the reason for region codes is that they often change movies for different markets. For example, China has very strict censor laws.
CFWhitman

Feb 07, 2017
3:55 PM EST
Quoting: Retroactive copyright makes no sense whatsoever, since the work has already been completed under a previous social contract.


I submit that retroactive copyright changes are technically illegal, and that it should be possible to bring a suit challenging their validity. I've got my doubts that such an action would get anywhere, but technically everything should be released under its original terms.

Of course, the people in favor of longer, stricter copyright law don't seem to realize that this pushing of copyright law to unreasonable terms contributes to people's disregard for copyright law.
jdixon

Feb 07, 2017
8:33 PM EST
> Of course, the people in favor of longer, stricter copyright law don't seem to realize that this pushing of copyright law to unreasonable terms contributes to people's disregard for copyright law.

Yep. I consider current copyright law in the US illegitimate, and I don't care if people break it or not.
Ridcully

Feb 08, 2017
12:38 AM EST
I rest my case m'Lud. The existence of the link below is precisely what I indicated in a comment above. I don't take the position of advocating any of what is shown on the link below, but I'd agree with jdixon completely: "this pushing of copyright law to unreasonable terms contributes to people's disregard for copyright law." It's happened in Australia too - Foxtel has been badly caught.

http://www.toptenreviews.com/software/multimedia/best-dvd-co...

I'm not a Google search whiz, but even with my "faulty input" this link turned up within 3 seconds, and that includes my time to type it into the search text entry window.. I am somewhat amazed; there is another very large software package that has been recommended by a writer for ZDNet (I think) and it didn't turn up here.

DVD protection is "kaput".....all it does is make things harder for legitimate users who frequently like to backup treasured disks. It doesn't matter what the movie houses and their minions try, the new attempt is quickly broken, often in about 48 hours......And on that matter of Disney, try opening a Disney DVD in your file manager.........You'd be amazed. Normally a DVD has about 5-15 film files to contain perhaps 2 hours of viewing.......an equivalent Disney disk will have anything up to 80 of them.......And I know for a fact that that particular attempt to prevent copying has already been broken: a writeup on one of the package sites.
Ridcully

Feb 18, 2017
5:57 AM EST
Here's a last little bit of information that has only just become evident with respect to the VLC software. Since I ensured that all its files were ONLY linked to the Packman repository (see my first posting), a very annoying little updating item has disappeared from my menu bar. I am no longer being told that the files associated with VLC require updating; one can logically assume that the "update notifications" were coming from the openSUSE repository. It's a last and very nice outcome.

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