Thursday, March 20, 2008

totem-mozilla vs. mozilla-mplayer

Debian comes with totem as the default media player, and totem-mozilla provides plugins for iceweasel and its ilk, to view video clips embedded in web pages.

I prefer mplayer (from the Debian multimedia package repository) and mozilla-mplayer - while, in my opinion, mplayer itself is just marginally better than totem (my old laptop is challenged by both), the mplayer browser plugin is much better: embedded video clips look very similar to what you see on Window$ (with an added bonus of full-screen display), you can control the percentage of the clip that has to be downloaded before playback starts (I set it to 100% - I hate the stalls), and you can save the clip, copy its URL and more.

The totem plugin supports some mime-types that the mplayer plugin doesn't, so I keep it installed, just in case. The problem here is that when totem-mozilla is upgraded, it overrides the mplayer plugin. This can be verified in the browser via the about:plugins page - the totem plugin shows up on the top of the list - and I want mplayer to be first. But, unlike extensions and themes, there doesn't seem to be a way to manage plugins in iceweasel.

The seemingly obvious solution is to reinstall the package:
aptitude reinstall mozilla-mplayer
but this doesn't help.

I used
dpkg -L mozilla-mplayer
to list the files that are installed by this package, and found that the plugin files (.so and .xpt files) are installed at /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins.

My guess was that iceweasel sorts the plugins by the modification date of these files, so I updated their modification date (as root) like this:
touch /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/mplayerplug-in*

I was probably right - it fixed the ordering of the plugins, and mplayer is again the default multimedia plugin.

Back to my favorite pastime activity: watching movie trailers.


  1. Touch me, touch me now! (c)

    This is depressing. Here we have the latest and greatest graphical, self-updating, extensible software, the flagship product of the FOSS world, and you end up hacking around its problems using weapons from the dark and stinky world of Unix futilities like make and its ilk.


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