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July 26, 2016

Codec support for openSUSE Leap 42.1

Do you use openSUSE Leap 42.1? Do you want Twitter to stop displaying "This browser does not support video playback." when you're looking at it in Firefox? Do you want support for stuff like watching DVDs and H.264/ACC in an mp4 container in gstreamer (used by the GNOME Videos application (Totem), Parole and others)? Do you want to do these things without polluting your install by adding third party repositories and replacing packages provided by openSUSE? Do you want to do that stuff on a machine you don't have root on? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, keep reading.

For some years I used to maintain machines running SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and rolled my own solution for adding codec support to them by way of a single package that doesn't conflict with anything provided by SUSE. (The last iteration can be found at Having installed openSUSE Leap 42.1 I found that the recommend method for adding codec support was a page which said something like "this isn't available for technical reasons try this other place" and that other place talked about the phonon backend with no mention of gstreamer. Then I decided to build my own solution for openSUSE too. You can get it by clicking Stuff to add codec support to openSUSE Leap 42.1

You need to read the README.txt file for full details, but to give you an idea of what’s involved, the build process is as follows:

$ ./build

It'll tell you if there are packages you need to install. Install those, then run the script again. By default the plugins will be built to live in /opt/multimedia If you want them to live somewhere else then change the line


to reflect where you want to put them. E.g if you want them in your home directory you could use


By default an rpm will be built but if you set the prefix to something in your home directory the rpm won’t be built as it’s assumed you’re specifying your home directory as the prefix because you don’t have root and hence can’t install an rpm.

What the script basically does is build a bunch of gstreamer plugins, stick them somewhere they don't clash with what's in openSUSE packages, and put something in place so gstreamer can find them. Making Firefox play videos in Twitter rather than display the "This browser does not support video playback." is done by including ffmpeg, which Firefox will use for video playback if it's installed. (Far as I can tell, the significant file is The ffmpeg binaries like ffmpeg, ffserver etc are also included.)

There's nothing for hardware decoding of H.264 included. I have an Nvidia card and use the propriety Nvidia drivers. I can get hardware acceleration for H.264 by installing gstreamer-plugins-vaapi which is in the standard Leap 42.1 repos. Unfortunately installing it renders Totem unable to play H.264 video. It displays black for a few seconds than borks. The version of gstreamer-plugins-vaapi included in Leap 42.1 is 0.5.10. I found that 0.7.0 is the latest version that will build with gstreamer 1.4.5 that's included in Leap, but that didn't work any better for me. (Seems it did for this guy though ). Parole, the XFCE video application, works though. It uses GTK and gstreamer and works fine in GNOME. If you want to get minimalist about it, you could also use gst-play-1.0

$ gst-play-1.0 --interactive video.mp4

January 03, 2013

Handbrake on SLED 11 SP2 revisited

Follow-up to Handbrake on SLED 11 SP2 from Mike's blag

I decided to figure out what needed to be done to build the currently current version of Handbrake, 0.9.8, on SLED 11 SP2.

If you don't already have it, get the SLE-SDK from and use YaST to add it as an Add on Product.

Install these packages: doxygen yasm patch autoconf automake libbz2-devel libwebkit-devel libnotify-devel libgudev-1_0-devel gstreamer-0_10-plugins-base-devel dbus-1-glib-devel libtool gcc gcc-c++ intltool gtk2-devel glib2-devel zlib-devel libogg-devel

Then run the following commands. hbinstdir is where Handbrake gets installed to, change the value if you want. You can omit the lines relating to libdvdcss if you already have that installed somewhere Handbrake will find it, or if you don't want to be able to rip any DVDs that use CSS.

$ hbinstdir=/local/myapps/handbrake/
$ mkdir handbrakebuild
$ cd handbrakebuild
$ curl | tar xvfz -
$ cd automake-1.12/
$ ./configure --prefix="${hbinstdir}" && make && make install
$ cd "${hbinstdir}"share/aclocal
$ for i in /usr/share/aclocal/*;do ln -s $i;done
$ cd -
$ cd ..
$ curl | tar xvfj -
$ cd fribidi-0.19.5/
$ ./configure --prefix="${hbinstdir}" && make && make install
$ cd ..
$ curl | tar xvfj -
$ cd libdvdcss-1.2.12/
$ ./configure --prefix="${hbinstdir}" && make && make install
$ cd ..
$ export PATH="${hbinstdir}bin:${PATH}"
$ export FRIBIDI_LIBS="-L${hbinstdir}lib/ -lfribidi"
$ export FRIBIDI_CFLAGS="-I${hbinstdir}include/"
$ export LDFLAGS="-L${hbinstdir}lib/ -lfribidi"
$ curl -L "" | tar xvfj -
$ cd HandBrake-0.9.8
$ sed -i 's/autoreconf -I m4 -fiv/sh' contrib/libvorbis/module.defs
$ ./configure --prefix="${hbinstdir}" --launch --launch-jobs=0 --verbose

Assuming the build process finishes without errors then install

$ cd build && make install

The binaries have been compiled against fribidi-0.19.5 but they're dynamically linked. So if you have the version of fribidi that's included with SLED installed the binaries will find and use that by default. If you don't have fribidi installed, they'll be looking for something that doesn't exist. So to make the binaries look at the right version of fribidi they need to be run in a wrapper

$ cd "${hbinstdir}/bin"
$ mv ghb ghb.real
$ mv HandBrakeCLI HandBrakeCLI.real
$ cat > ghb << EOF
dir="\$(dirname "\$( cd "\$( dirname "\$0" )" && pwd )")"
$ chmod u+x ghb
$ cat > HandBrakeCLI << EOF
dir="\$(dirname "\$( cd "\$( dirname "\$0" )" && pwd )")"
$ chmod u+x HandBrakeCLI

Run Handbrake with

$ /replace_with_whatever_you_set_hbinstdir_to/bin/ghb

The tweak to libvorbis/module.defs comes from

Initially I used LIBRARY_PATH=${hbinstdir}lib/ instead of LDFLAGS but system locations are searched before anything specified in LIBRARY_PATH and if you have fribidi-devel installed that's found first and the Handbrake build fails.

I also initially used export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="${hbinstdir}/lib/pkgconfig/" instead of FRIBIDI_CFLAGS and FRIBIDI_LIBS but the Handbrake build process was still finding the system version. I eventually realised the Handbrake build process sets it's own value for PKG_CONFIG_PATH which overwrites anything you've set.

April 10, 2012

Handbrake on SLED 11 SP2

The recently released Handbrake 0.9.6 doesn't build on SLED 11 SP2, which is a shame. It's probably possible to make it build if you have more patience and knowledge of such things than I have, but 0.9.5 builds fine.

Get HandBrake-0.9.5.tar.bz2 from

If you don't already have it, get the SLE-SDK from and use YaST to add it as an Add on Product.

Become root and install the packages you need

$ zypper in -y -l yasm patch autoconf automake libbz2-devel libwebkit-devel libnotify-devel libgudev-1_0-devel fribidi-devel  gstreamer-0_10-plugins-base-devel dbus-1-glib-devel libtool gcc gcc-c++ intltool gtk2-devel glib2-devel zlib-devel

Then as your your regular usercode you can do

$ cd /tmp
$ tar xf ~/HandBrake-0.9.5.tar.bz2
$ cd HandBrake-0.9.5
$ ./configure --prefix=/local/handbrake --launch --launch-jobs=0 && cd build && make install

--launch-jobs=0 causes the build process to make use of however many cores/cpus your machine has. On a machine with an Intel Core i7-2600 @ 3.40GHz it took under two minutes. Assuming all goes well, run it with

$ /local/handbrake/bin/ghb

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