Realplayer hint

Ken Moffat ken at
Wed Aug 3 06:32:13 PDT 2005

 If how-to-use-a-binary-product is acceptable.

 das eine Mal als Tragödie, das andere Mal als Farce
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AUTHOR: Ken Moffat <ken at>
DATE: 2005-08-03
SYNOPSIS: playing realplayer audio on LFS-6.1.
DESCRIPTION: On a clear day, with the wind in the right direction,
you can do it.  On a bad day it can be akin to disputing the
airspeed velocity of swallows.

PREREQUISITES: i586, i686, or ppc.


 Realplayer is binary, and therefore undesirable.  OTOH, the BBC provide
realplayer audio feeds, and so do Bad Dog Blues.  Depending on what you
want to listen to, it may be useful.  As always,  running binary
software means you can't tell what it will really do.  

 Find the realplay-{i586,powerpc}.bin
In theory, this is the current RealPlay-10.0.5-GOLD release, but to
confirm what I'm downloading I find it easier to go to

(you'll need to go down to the RealPlayer for Unix part of the page).
Earlier versions had a number of vulnerabilities in the (open) helix
part of the code.

 You'll need libstdc++ from gcc-3.3 (follow BLFS for installing
gcc-3.3.4 or use gcc-3.3.5 with suitable modifications. You'll also
need pango, gtk2 and glib2, X11, expat, freetype and fontconfig.
And mozilla or freetype as host for the plugins.  If you want to
run this from x86_64, you'll need 32-bit versions of all of these,
so plan your installation carefully to make sure no 32-bit programs
overwrite 64-bit versions.

 Make a note of where the plugins directory can be found (the BLFS
method of installing in /usr/lib/firefox-1.0.x/ means the installer
can't find it, but it finds /usr/lib/firefox/ ).  Take your life in
your hands, hold onto everything that you hold sacred, and run the
binary installer.  If running as root,  /opt/RealPlayer seems a good
place to put it, and symlink the plugin from /usr.  Installing only
for the current user is an alternative.  After the installer has
completed, run 'realplay' as the user who installed it - you should
get the control window, and from the help check for upgrades: this
should fire up the browser, take you to a helix site, and tell you
it is up to date. 

 At this point you need to make sure other sound applications work -
trying to debug when your amplifier is set to a different source is
not very easy :)  For preference, avoid anything using arts (that
includes kmix!).

 As a normal user, try to play a realplayer station, e.g. one of the
BBC radio stations.  The first time, it may work better if you click
on the BBC's "play with stand-alone realplayer" link instead of using
their funny pop-up player.  If it works, count yourself very lucky!
More likely, it will appear to play (often there is an initial delay
while the station is contacted) but be silent (with the volume
slider at the left and ineffective, or the volume boxes in the BBC
player greyed-out).

 For non-BBC stations, you may have to tell the browser to open with
/usr/bin/realplay (if the installer symlinked it from there). 

 If it is silent, try killing artsd if that is running.  Sometimes,
logging out and then logging in is the key.  Basically, the process
seems random - sometimes it works first time, other times not.
Investigation of a silent system shows udev has not created /dev/adsp
and /dev/dsp, but that is just an indication of a problem elsewhere.
To be fair, I mainly use kmix as my desktop volume control, so arts
could be the main cause of my difficulties.

 Strangely, once you have it working, it should be fine for the rest
of that session.

 I have no idea if it works on video feeds - last time I tried (with
firefox-1.0.5 which had broken the plugin API) a BBC video clip
crashed my X server (and left something running that continued to
crash it - I have graphical logins).  Now, I can't find any real
clips on the BBC website.  



2005-08-03	First public version.

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