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!
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!
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.
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.