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Old 8th June 2003, 15:40   #1  |  Link
jggimi
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Linux Audo/Video FAQ Development

Doom9's Linux forum needs a FAQ. Do you agree? Are you willing to help craft it?

I've been the moderator of Doom9's Linux forum for several months -- and while I may have been involved with XFree86 development in the days when the Intel 286 was king -- I've been out of the Linux world for many years, and I'm certainly a newbie when it comes to A/V transcoding/encoding in the Linux environment. Therefore I am soliciting your involvement.

A top-down approach -- beginning with a structure, first -- might be the best way to get started. Here's my take on one possible structure for a FAQ:
  • The world of Linux and Linux distributions.
  • Installing a Linux distribution on a Windows PC, and managing a dual-boot environment.
  • Tarballs, packages, and source distributions -- installing applications on your Linux system.
  • A/V players
  • MPEG-1/2 video tools.
  • MPEG-4 video tools
  • Audio transcoding tools
  • Using Windows emulation, and managing wine
  • Web resources and links
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Complaints?
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Old 8th June 2003, 17:26   #2  |  Link
Anacondo
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Hmm, such a faq will be a nice thing to do, but maybe you should focus in the "media" part insted of explaining so many things about Linux in general. I believe there are many tutorials, faqs and guides out there about linux principles and basics, so you could just point to them. I think you could avoid a lot of hard work that way.

I myself am planning to write a complete guide about ripping in Linux, but my knowledge is very limited at the moment. I plan to try all available solutions and find the one that suits me best. Right now I'm pretty out of time, but by the end of this month I'll be plenty of time (if things go well with my exams). But if I can help in any way just let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Cheers.
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Old 8th June 2003, 17:33   #3  |  Link
Joe_Bloggs
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Linux Faq

What about Java ? Many linux users use ds.jar instead of the WINE /PVAstrumento combo to correct errors related to Digital Video Broadcasting. It works for me using w2k. I leave it up to you to explain why it can work in several operating systems irespective of hardware.
It would be nice if Linux users had access to avisynth. This appears to be a Visual C++ 6 project.
In addition VirtualDub for Linux would also be a winner as it is a springboard for numerous projects and addons.
------------------------------------------------------
Regards Joe_Bloggs
W2K,Redhat9
------------------------------------------------------
PS I got mplayer to compile and run and play a DVD. Unfortunately It required a path to fonts for its gui and I had no idea where to point it to. However it played perfectly.
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Old 8th June 2003, 17:35   #4  |  Link
avih
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Re: Linux Faq

Quote:
Originally posted by Joe_Bloggs
PS I got mplayer to compile and run and play a DVD. Unfortunately It required a path to fonts for its gui and I had no idea where to point it to. However it played perfectly.
what OS?
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Old 8th June 2003, 20:19   #5  |  Link
Joe_Bloggs
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in response to avih

I should have said mplayer under Redhat9. Mplayer is of course listed in AVI&DVD players section in the doom9 forum. As are its ports to the windows environment.
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Old 9th June 2003, 01:30   #6  |  Link
jggimi
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Shortly after I started this thread, before any replies appeared, TactX and I had a PM conversation. As it elaborates on my thinking, and, specifically addresses Anacondo's concerns, TactX has given me permission to share our conversation:
Quote:
T:
--
If you need some help for the FAQ, I could help you on these topics:

- Debian/GNU Linux FAQ
- MPlyayer/MEncoder FAQ

and maybe some other topics.

As for the Debian FAQ I don't want to write an installation and setup FAQ, but just give some good links on how to setup ALSA and such stuff.
The main part of the debian FAQ should imho be about apt and especially its unofficial packages (which you will need to do proper DVD-ripping).

But note! My time will be highly limited...

J:
--
...I wasn't thinking of getting too complicated. I'm hoping a FAQ would be: 1) brief, 2) easy to keep up-to-date, 3) mainly pointers to other resources.

This is to be a FAQ for newbie Linux A/V folks, as I don't want to replace the many Linux FAQs all over the web. I'd rather just point to them.

As we build it, we may not want to get down to the level of, for example, discriminating between different distributions, or discriminating between X11 GUIs. I was thinking of simple questions and simple answers -- and, using Debian as an example ...

Q: What links should I bookmark for Debian installation and support?
A: We recommend starting with link, link, link, and link.

So other than a brief discription of Debian and a few links ... the FAQ probably shouldn't need any more Debian info. I think that meshes with what you'd like to contribute ... and the limits on your time.

Now, the mplayer / mencoder parts of the FAQ ... these should, obviously, have more depth ... while still trying to keep both the questions and the answers simple. Using mplayer as an example:

Q: My distribution came with an mplayer that doesn't play my files. Why? What should I do?
A: Distributors must pay for licensed codecs, and free distributions remove such licensed codecs from the players. If you obtain the current source distribution from www.mplayerhq.hu you may enable features and include your licensed codecs that were disabled in the distribution's version.

T:
--
But how do you want to post the FAQ?
Send all the Questions and answers to you, so you can post them?
Or allow anyone to post in a FAQ-thread?

Both ways have pros and cons...

J:
--
They do. I've seen it both ways. It's a personal preference, of course, but I prefer two sticky threads. The FAQ should be a single post, that cannot be replied to, but can be edited by me or another moderator. I'd also like a separate sticky for all the updates / questions / clarifications / comments. This way, both threads are at the top for easy access, but the newbie doesn't have to wade through a discussion thread to get their question answered. This avoids that pitfall, and with having both "sticky" -- it's easy for members to suggest changes.
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Old 10th June 2003, 21:48   #7  |  Link
wnowak1
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willing to help

I am pretty good with linux and do some c programming on the side. (nothing advanced). I'm also a novice w/ the ripping process under windows. Like many others, I'm looking for linux solutions to this method. So, If you would like, I can offer help and maybe we can form some sort "community" and get linux ripping/encoding to be a little more under way...

Anyone interested can contact me on icq: 5843358
or drop an email to : wnowak1@linkwall.com
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Old 12th June 2003, 01:12   #8  |  Link
jggimi
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Thanks, wnowak1.

A few days ago, madluther and I had a PM conversation about the FAQ which others may be interested in seeing. He's given me permission to share it with the forum.

I've been travelling, and didn't manage to get around to excerpting it until today.

M:
--
I would like be involved with this, I have been thinking of writing a Wine setup HOWTO for the following set of applications ( all of which I currently use under wine)...

[Note: Madluther has since published it in this forum as a thread called A better wine vintage.]

J:
--
Thank you for the very kind offer! I would love to exploit your wine experience, and I look forward to it eagerly.

If -- as I currently envision it, this is a relatively short, simple document containing common questions and answers ... a HOWTO -- well, a guide -- will probably be overkill. If the FAQ is too long, it will become difficult to read through. A post in the forum does not have the flexibility of a web page.

However, a Q&A with a link to a HOWTO would be perfect!

I haven't given a whole lot of thought to the kinds of Qs and As that would be needed for a wine section. OK, I haven't given it any consideration before now. (My wine experience has been very limited.) Here's the only question I can come up with at the moment:

Q: I delete my .wine directory and rebuild it every time I try to use a new Windows app. I still struggle with figuring out what works and what doesn't. What wine settings should I use for <list of applications>?

A: Here are recommended starting settings. You should be able to get reasonable results with these: <followed by a table of apps and settings.>

I know there should be more questions ... and I'd be interested in what you think of this sort of "short form" FAQ, perhaps with a link to a guide, rather than having it included in the text.

M:
--
I agree that a complete HOWTO would be overkill, and its really not neccessary. Most of the setup is documented here on this forum. All it needs is an update which I could post in the same thread. The setup is very simple so I dont anticipate too many problems / FAQ's there.

Some FAQ's I think that would be helpful are:- "A Dialog box in application X doesnt draw properly how do I make it work or workaround this". or "I have Codec X on my windows partition, how do I use it in Wine". Basically tips and tricks I've discovered or read about.
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Old 16th June 2003, 03:13   #9  |  Link
Joe999
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First, I have to say this is a great idea. Media capture and encoding was the single most difficult part of my transition to Linux, simply because I could never find much information on any subject in one place.

I like the idea of adding debian apt repositories, but would it be possible to add mandrake urpmi as well? I havn't used mandrake for a while, but I think adding PLF, contribs, and Texstar's should cover the majority of what's out there compiled for mandrake.
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Old 19th June 2003, 18:33   #10  |  Link
jggimi
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Here's a cut at the opening few questions in the FAQ. I've only written 3 brief Q&As, but I think that with this brief section, I managed to encompass the first three sections of the proposed outline:
  1. The world of Linux and Linux distributions.
  2. Installing a Linux distribution on a Windows PC, and managing a dual-boot environment.
  3. Tarballs, packages, and source distributions -- installing applications on your Linux system.
Let me know what you think!

---------------------------------------------------------------
Sample FAQ (Release 0.0.0.0.1 Alpha)

Last update: (xx June 2003) All comments, corrections, and criticisms should be made in <link TBD>.

1) What is the absolute minimum I need to know?

Linux is a public domain "clone" of Unix. It looks and acts like Unix, though there is no Unix software built into it. Various commercial companies and non-commercial organizations produce packaged, installable versions of Linux. These various versions of Linux are called distributions.

The commercial companies make revenue from support and maintenance contracts, and from retail sales of packaged CD/DVD-ROMs. If you have a broadband internet connection, and need no support beyond the distributor's web site, then Linux can be free. Otherwise, expect to pay a fee for retail packaging.

A fairly comprehensive description of the most popular distributions for PCs, with links to download and install them, can be found at LinuxISO.org. They also have a fairly good intro to Linux at that site.

2) Windows is too complicated for me. Will Linux be worse? Do I need to be a technical wizard?

With most popular Linux distributions, you do not need a great deal of knowledge to install and use the packaged applications available from your distributor. However, if you wish to install Linux applications from other sources, or you wish to alter the capabilities of a prepackaged application, then new skills will be needed.

Applications you install are available in several forms, and different skills are needed with each type, such as
  • Packages - designed for your distribution, similar skill level as needed to install software in Windows.
  • Binary archives - containing executable programs and other files requiring a manual installation.
  • Source distributions - often require significant configuration, compiling, and installation tasks.
The web is a great resource for picking up the knowledge needed. You might try starting with http://www.ctssn.com, http://www.linux-tutorial.info, http://linuxsurvival.com, or tutorials and other education available from your distributor.

3) Can I keep Windows?

All major distributions for PCs are Windows-aware, and will set up your PC to be dual-boot. You just need to ensure you have sufficient disk space for a Linux partition. There are even distributions designed to run from CD-ROM, that use no disk space at all.

If your Windows partition(s) are FAT32, then your distribution will be able to write files there, if you desire. Windows NTFS partitions can be read, but not written to. For more information, check with your distributor.
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Old 20th June 2003, 22:33   #11  |  Link
Joe_Bloggs
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Dear Jggimi.
How about recomending a good book/distribution combo.
Especially one that caters for the uninitiated.

I myself would advise new users to buy a small hard disk
(no more than 40Mb) to experiment with a new operating system.
This way by installing to this and not involving a fully
working operating system ,you can afford to mess up big time
with no lasting effects to your original operating system.

In my experience disk partitioning is tricky for new users and
the slightest mistake could trash a working windows system unless
one takes precautions of trying stuff out on a different HD.
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Old 20th June 2003, 23:07   #12  |  Link
jggimi
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Thank you Joe; I appreciate the comments!

What if I were to make a stronger recommendation for newbies to start with a cd-based distribution (such as Knoppix), and then acquire an additional hard drive to avoid partitioning problems? In this way, they can get their feet wet without making a larger committment of capital that a burned CD, and at low risk of doing something that might damage their Windows system.

And if you (or anyone else) has a book/distribution combo recommendation, I would be happy to add them to this section of the FAQ.
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Old 20th June 2003, 23:39   #13  |  Link
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processing...
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Old 21st June 2003, 00:28   #14  |  Link
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Knoppix looks good! On a bad day I could trash my own operating system without the help of another OS. Hence in my opinion it is probably better to advocate a seperate hard disk in the event that you would wish to try out a new operating system. Some people are very litigeous and will sue if anything happens to their precious files.
It is alway a good Idea to back up valued data to a medium that cannot be accidently trashed.
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Old 21st June 2003, 23:14   #15  |  Link
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A good book that I've purchased and reffered to many a time while getting used to Linux is:

Linux & Windows Interoperability Guide by Ed Bradford & Lou Mauget.
ISBN: 0-13-032477-9

It cover all aspects of using windows and linux together, Dual boot issues, Samba etc. I think it uses Redhat in its discussions and cover all Windows versions including XP.

I would that knoppix looks good as a safe way to introduce yourself to linux, but would reccomnd Mandrake as a good version to start with for a first time user who want a fully functioning linux, as the nice built in scripts that come with it just make things like setting up you internet, sharing your internet connection, accessing windows partitions etc so easy.

Although as you get more used to linux you'll probably want to move on to another distro such as Debian, Slackware etc.

Anyway thats my 2c. When I get some time later I'll be happy to contribute more

Chris
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Old 23rd June 2003, 22:34   #16  |  Link
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What is the overall difference between the confusing distributions of
linux. What do they have in common and in what way do the differ?
Eg. RedHat V Mandrake V Knopppix V Debian V SUSE V Allcomers I can't
remember or am in ignorance of.

There has been some good news on the nvidia graphics front as gart
drivers have been released. This may taint my kernel even more.

Consider this post as fuel to the dimly glowing embers of Linux/Audio
Video FAQ Development.

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Old 12th July 2003, 16:09   #17  |  Link
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Hi !

I have read the thread allmost. Some recommantations:

- Building the FAQ using a wiki ? Maybe with write access just for some people.
- NO distro recommendation. It will leadto a distro war. There are several site out there that explain which, how and the like
- main point should be video editing and preferable native linux solutions
- another section is wine and encoding chains, preferable mpeg2encoding, as this is the weakest point under linux (alltough there is an mpeg2 encoder

How can I contribute ?

About me: I'm a vdr user. Using Linux since '98 I'm familiar with it for dayly usage. Win gotted kicked a year ago. My main interest is to convert vdr recordings, not so much converting dvd's.
OS: Mandrake (currently 9.1)

Regards

Steffen
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Old 12th July 2003, 16:27   #18  |  Link
jggimi
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Thank you, Steffen. I appreciate your input -- especially about distributions!

I've not had any time recently to work on this, and won't for another few weeks, yet.

By vdr, I suppose you mean Video Disk Recorder (such as http://www.cadsoft.de/people/kls/vdr/ ) ??
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Old 12th July 2003, 16:35   #19  |  Link
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Yep exactly. I meant the Video Disk Recorder by klaus schmiedinger et all.

No need to hurry. Just remember me if I can contribute something I guess I have enought to do myself too the next days.

Steffen
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Old 9th August 2003, 23:22   #20  |  Link
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I think that going into discussion about linux distros and pros/cons discussion of linux vs other OS's is a bit out of the reasonable scope of a linux video processing readme. Perhaps a brief paragraph or two discussint the pros of linux as it relates to a/v work and some references to some of the other good documents out there to help newbs cut their teeth on open source.

I would suggest that such a guide would be better overall if it kept to the more a/v related items you listed: A/V players, MPEG-1/2 video tools, MPEG-4 video tools, Audio transcoding tools, Using Windows emulation, and managing wine, Web resources and links. That way we can focus on adding our a/v knowledge and experience to the linux documentation thats already out there without reinventing the wheel with install guides that have been around for quite some time now.

I'm not trying to say we shouldn't help newcomers to linux at all. I just think we could save some effort and use the extra space in the document to provide better or more useful information about the actual a/v stuff.
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