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Jim Carter's Bugfixes

Xine-Based Multimedia Players Crash on Initialization

James F. Carter

I tried Xine itself, Amarok, Kaffeine and Xfmedia. All of them crashed (with useless error messages, if any) either immediately on startup or when starting to play an audio or video file.

What's going on:

I have an ATI Radeon Mobility X1400 video card in my laptop, and I'm using the fglrx (FireGL) proprietary driver. It turns out that the crash occurs when the Xine library tries to initialize a graphics window -- in the audio case it's going to show sound-derived random artwork, or for XFmedia the initialization takes place before it realizes that it is not going to show a video. According to the xine-bugreport script that comes with Xine, the XVideo extension on a number of X-Windows drivers is broken and causes this crash.

How to fix:

Xine-lib uses the xv video driver by default. Make it use a different one. Assuming that you have the xine-ui package installed (i.e. the player GUI), do xine --help | more and see the list of available drivers given with the help for the -V switch. The xine-bugreport script suggests using xshm, which is CPU-intensive but works in the most contexts. I just tried all the drivers, and I found that opengl also works on my Radeon, so that's the one I use.

Use the players' --help feature to discover the command line switch to force a video driver -- it's -V for xine. For those players which crash on startup, that will get you a GUI. From there you need to use the settings or preferences dialog to make a permanent change in the video driver.

Since crashes are sometimes exploitable to run arbitrary code as the user executing xine-lib, I've filed a bug report with Xine on this issue.

GStreamer's xvimagesink does not seem to have any problems with the XVideo extension in fglrx.

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