I really dislike RealPlayer. This dislike stems from the Windows version of the application, which seems (to me) to install unwanted components and generally act in an intrusive manner; unfortunately the BBC’s streaming audio service uses RealAudio formats (although some content is available for Windows Media) so if I want to listen to BBC radio over the Internet then I need to install this objectionable piece of software – that’s what I’ve spent the last 2 and a bit hours trying to do on my Linux (Fedora Core 5) system here in my hotel room…
Getting hold of the software is easy enough – just download the RealPlayer for Linux from the Real Networks website (there’s even an RPM package). Alternatively there’s a Mozilla-compatible plug-in for access to RealAudio and RealVideo content from within a browser, although I couldn’t seem to get it to work with my Firefox installation (having said that, I have a feeling that some of the later troubleshooting steps I followed to get the RealPlayer working might have worked for the plug-in too).
After downloading RealPlayer 10 for Linux, I opened a terminal session, and entered the following commands:
rpm -ivh RealPlayer10GOLD.rpm
I had hoped that this would be all I needed to do, but I still couldn’t access audio from the BBC website. Following advice from a tutorial that includes information on Mozilla plugins I ran yum -y install mozplugger; however this didn’t seem to help – each time I accessed RealAudio content from the web, the Helix Player (upon which RealPlayer for Linux is based) launched and displayed the following message:
The player does not have the capabilities to play back this content.
This content is supported by RealPlayer.
Clicking on the details button highlighted that the player was looking for the protocol_rtsp_rdt component but googling didn’t turn up much on this. I also checked out the BBC’s audio help advice for Linux/Unix users without too much luck. One tip that may have helped (from a Linux Questions forum post) was to create a symbolic link to the RealPlayer plugins for Firefox:
ln -s /usr/local/RealPlayer/mozilla/* /usr/lib/firefox-220.127.116.11/plugins
I finally got a break when I noticed that the Real Player 10 shortcut on the Applications menu didn’t seem to do anything. Looking at the properties for the shortcut (using smeg) highlighted the command as realplay so I issued the same command from a terminal. This gave me a useful message:
/usr/local/RealPlayer/realplay.bin: error while loading shared libraries: libstdc++.so.5: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory.
Following Stanton Finley’s Fedora Core 5 installation notes, I ran yum -y install compat-libstdc++-33 after which the realplay command launched the RealPlayer Setup Assistant and I successfully played RealAudio and RealVideo test clips directly in the RealPlayer; however accessing RealAudio content from within Firefox still launched the Helix Player, complete with the Component Missing error. Not really knowing how to use MozPlugger (other than to view about:plugins), I checked the version numbers for the two players and found that Helix Player reported its version number as v18.104.22.1688 (experimental) whereas RealPlayer was v10.0.8.805 (gold). Rather than upgrading Helix Player, I removed it using yum -e HelixPlayer and found that, although this also removed the RealPlayer 10 application shortcut, I could still call realplay from a shell and RealMedia content from NPR and the BBC ran successfully both within RealPlayer and Firefox.
So, that’s RealPlayer working on Fedora Core 5… not exactly painless, and probably not the best way of doing it (some of these steps may well be unnecessary) – hopefully writing these notes up will save someone else a load of time.