I understand that one can play videos on one's computer. I understand these videos come in many different formats. Every now and then I try to figure out what the Done Thing is, as far as playing movies on one's Linux machine.
I finally found RPMs of mplayer that would consent to install themselves on a Red Hat 7.2 machine, and actually got it to play some videos. Amazing. But it's a total pain in the ass to use due to rampant "themeing." Why do people do this? They map this stupid shaped window with no titlebar (oh, sorry, your choice of a dozen stupidly-shaped windows without titlebars) all of which use fonts that are way too small to read. But, here's the best part, there's no way to raise the window to the top. So if another window ever gets on top of it, well, sorry, you're out of luck. And half of the themes always map the window at the very bottom of the
Resizing the window changes the aspect ratio of the video! Yeah, I'm sure someone has ever wanted that.
It moves the mouse to the upper left corner of every dialog box it creates! Which is great, because that means that when it gets into this cute little state of popping up a blank dialog that says "Error" five times a second, you can't even move the mouse over to another window to kill the program, you have to log in from another machine.
So I gave up on that, and tried to install gstreamer. Get this. Their propose "solution" for distributing binaries on Red Hat systems? They point you at an RPM that installs apt, the Debian package system! Yeah, that's a good idea, I want to struggle with two competing packaging systems on my machine just to install a single app. Well, I found some RPMs for Red Hat 7.2, but apparently they expect you to have already rectally inserted Gnome2 on that 7.2 system first. Uh, no. I've seen the horror of Red Hat 8.0, and there's no fucking way I'm putting Gnome2 on any more of my machines for at least another six months, maybe a year.
Ok, no gstreamer. Let's try Xine. I found RPMs, and it sucks about the same as mplayer, and in about the same ways, though slightly less bad: it doesn't screw the aspect ratio when you resize the window; and at least it's stupidly-shaped window is always forced to be on top. I don't like that either, but it's better than never being on top. It took me ten minutes to figure out where the "Open File" dialog was. It's on the button labeled "://" whose tooltip says "MRL Browser". Then you get to select file names from an oh-so-cute window that I guess is supposed to look like a tty, or maybe an LCD screen. It conveniently centers the file names in the list, and truncates them at about 30 characters. The scrollbar is also composed of "characters": it's an underscore.
What are these fucktards thinking???
Then I checked out Ogle again, and it hasn't been updated since the last time I tried, six months ago. It's a pretty decent DVD player, if you have the physical DVD. It does on-screen menus, and you can click on them with the mouse. But I don't need a DVD player (I have a hardware DVD player that works just fine.) It can't, as far as I can tell, play anything but actual discs.
Oh, and even though I have libdvdcss installed (as evidenced by the fact that Ogle actually works) Xine won't play the same disc that Ogle will play. It seems to be claiming that the CSS stuff isn't installed, which it clearly is.
A common idiocy that all of these programs have in common is that, in addition to opening a window for the movie, and a window for the control panel, they also spray a constant spatter of curses crud on the terminal they were started from. I imagine at some point, there was some user who said, "this program is pretty nice, but you know what it's missing? It's missing a lot of pointless chatter about what plugins and fonts have been loaded!"