RealPlayer under Linux to get my Nick Danger!

9 10 2004

Could it be? Could Real have actually embraced the Linux world and decided “Hey, these schmucks aren’t so bad, lets try and support them!” These are the trial and tribulations of me, a poor slob on the street, to get RealPlayer running on a Debian Testing laptop. Read on, if you dare!

The Download

Okay, first off, Real, Inc actually sensed my browser version and platform correctly, and handed me the option of downloading RealPlayer 10 plugin for Linux in Firefox. Would you like to continue sir?

Sure, sez I, hoping against hope it could be this easy. Real downloaded a ‘.bin’ file to my machine, a 7.1 meg file called ‘RealPlayer10GOLD.bin’. Being the cautious type, I sniffed at it. Looked okay:

dbs@jboat:~/tmp/rp$ file RealPlayer10GOLD.bin
RealPlayer10GOLD.bin: ELF 32-bit LSB executable, Intel 80386, version 1
(SYSV), for GNU/Linux 2.2.5, dynamically linked (uses shared libs), not stripped

Might even work. I clicked on the Real ‘Installation Instructions’ link on the Real site, expecting to see “After downloading the file, click ‘My Computer…'”, but in fact the instructions were about Linux installations. Quelle surprise! They were in fact useful:

Installation Instructions
- Ensure that the .bin file you downloaded is executable. You can make the .bin
file executable by running the "chmod a+x RealPlayer10GOLD.bin" command
from a terminal window.
- Run the .bin file by typing "./RealPlayer10GOLD.bin". Follow the prompts
provided to finish installing the player.
- When you launch the player for the first time, a set-up assistant will take you
through configuring your player.
- Enjoy your RealPlayer10 for Linux!

The Installation

“Can’t be this easy. Sure, lets try it”. ‘chmod +x ./RealPlayer10GOLD.bin’ ‘./RealPlayer10GOLD.bin’

WHAMMO! Screen full o crud! Hmm, seems to just be file permissions stuff, maybe we can get past this. The final screens start copying files to wherever you want them (I said install rp in ~/rp), and off it went. A few seconds later, I got a nice happy ‘Installation complete’ screen, and lo, in fact, I now have a nice ~/rp/ dir with what appears to be realplayer in it.

The Test

Time to test it out! The whole reason I wanted to do this was I was referred by Nathan Mehl to an interesting set of radio shorts by that were apparently done in the spirit of Nick Danger, one of my favorite series of skits from Firesign Theatre. XM Radio apparently hired the Firesign guys to do a radio show based around the characters of Nick Danger, including all the other characters, and let the firesign folks publish the shows. The shows are shown as video and audio, with the video being a somewhat grainy black and white, but the audio was fine. The guys have aged a bunch, but they still work togehter well, and the shows are a lot of fun.

>Going to the Firesign site, I clicked on the first video/audio feed, and lo! I got a dialog in Firefox asking if I wanted to open this in RealPlayer. I clicked a shaky finger on the mouse button, and in a few seconds, I had a perfectly good video window showing the RealPlayer feed. It worked!

It turns out that the Realplayer for Linux was based on the opensource player from Helix Player. So far I’m very impressed, and I’ll dig through some other oher sites, but it appears to work just fine, imagine my surprise!

Conclusions / Thoughts

A couple things really impressed me about this installation. I’m not running Firefox in a ‘normal’ location – it’s actually in a ~/firefox/ dir in my home directory. Nevertheless, the realplayer installer figured out where my plugins dir was, and installed it appropriately.

I also wasn’t bombarded with Real’s tendency to do just about anything to get you to download the ‘Pay-for’ version of the player. That tendency at Real has been one of the reasons I’ve been slow to use / set up Realplayers.

This has been a solidly good experience, with an end result within 10 minutes of identifying the need (“I want to view that video”). Linux needs more businesses and services that cater to the community, and this is a great step forward.




6 responses

11 10 2004

Good job. It wouldn’t run mpeg files for me so I canned it. It also wouldn’t show my encrypted DVDs either. I wish there was something of equality in the linux world compared to *sigh* mediaplayer. I installed xine but it won’t display the DVDs either. I wish I could remember where I got the plugins. Xine can run with w32 and real support. And is a pluggable module for mozilla. But like I said, I could even get Realplayer working so… it is a good article, and it was alot easier setup than before. I tried installing it awhile back and I had to hunt down the libs that it didn’t list on their site that were needed to run. Then you had to know the path of the plugins directory which wasn’t too bad but it seemed to take forever to install. This setup is quick to get running and I’m glad to see more and more linux support from mainstream vendors.

11 10 2004

Thanks for the comments, Andrew – It’s nice to see things actually improving as time goes on 🙂

12 10 2004
Stephen Pinker

Great Review! That is awsome. I think I’ll download and try it out myself.

12 10 2004

>It also wouldn’t show my encrypted DVDs either.
Well, I think it don’t have to, because it’s just a web viewing app.
>I wish there was something of equality in the linux world compared to *sigh* mediaplayer. I installed xine but it won’t display the DVDs either.
The Windows Media Player isn’t able to display encrypted DVDs by default. You must have a valid (normally purchased) decoder installed, for this feature to work. The same happens with Xine. Once you have installed libdecss any DVD can be viewed with Xine/MPlayer. And the best is: Recently this software has been rated legal!!!

12 10 2004

the css libs for linux – if you happen to run Mandrake, go to . For any other distro, try the videolan client homepage, I know they’ve got copies.
a little more history for the author – the helix player is one of the results of Real’s decision a few years back to open-source its transport protocols. Other nice things to come from this are the Helix project’s open source streaming server, and versions of the Helix and Helix-derived Real player for cellphones. RP10 for Linux isn’t just “based” on the Helix Player – it’s identical to it, with a little extra Real branding and the inclusion of the non-free Real codecs. Helixplayer is completely open source; some distributions will be packaging it in future. RP10 is the same player with the Real codecs included under a non-free license.
as the author did, I find RP10 for Linux an excellent, fast and clean player – leagues ahead of the crusty ad-spamming junk that is RP10 for Windows. it had some fairly annoying ongoing problems in beta, but the final version is a cracker. I wouldn’t use it as a general-purpose media player, that’s what Totem is for, but it does a great job with any and all Real content I’ve thrown at it, including the holy grail of Real content so far as I’m concerned, – which used to require a convoluted sequence of html-source copy/pasting and multiple launches of totem or mplayer, followed by a relaunch every half hour when the audio started to get corrupted. With RP10, it just works. ahh…refreshing.

6 11 2004

RP10 (Linux) did not play the clips at as it considered them as outdated. It states:
“The content you are trying to play uses an audio codec that is obsolete and no longer supported. Please contact the content provider about using a supported codec.” The windows version does not have this flaw. I can play these with version 8 however.

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