Linux Blog

Whats your take on proprietary software?

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — TheLinuxBlog.com at 11:57 am on Monday, August 4, 2008

Using proprietary software to some Linux users is considered a sin, right up there with not reading the manual. Not everyone that runs Linux feels this way. I for one don’t mind using a commercial / propriety product if the product serves the purpose well, and perhaps better than an open source implementation.

Take VMWare server for example. Although it does have its problems, it works very well for virtualization. Its pretty stable, has a good interface, works well and most of all is free. I have no problem installing and using this as long as it works.  I’ve been using it for a while, its what I’m used to and I have no problems with it. The moment VMWare Server stops working, I’ll try to find another alternative. Be it open source or not.

I don’t get why some people are so into the open source movement. Not tainting a system to me has no clear advantages. If I were to not install any proprietary software I would hardly be able to use my Linux box. Think about it, no Java (ok, I’d have the IcedTea runtime and GCJ), but no supported Java for Tomcat / Eclipse, I’d have no Flash, hardly any video codecs and no 3D accelerated graphics. My virtualization, may or may not work depending on what day of the week it was or if I had supported hardware. There is probably a whole lot more that I am missing that I don’t even know about.

So, I’m just interested to know what is every one else’s take on using proprietary software? Am I alone in being “fine” with installing closed source / proprietary software? Is my computer going to go to robot hell and sing with Bender for eternity? Please let me know your thoughts.

Rotating Videos in Linux

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — TheLinuxBlog.com at 11:17 pm on Friday, August 24, 2007

Like many people I receive video media from family members and friends on line. Sometimes for I receive videos that are shot in portrait mode instead of landscape. I used to find this quite annoying until I figured out how to rotate a video under Linux. All that is needed to rotate the video is mencoder. It comes bundled with the king of media players MPlayer.

Command to rotate a video is:

mencoder -ovc lavc -vop rotate=1 -oac copy input.mpg -o output.mpg

The rotate=1 can be replaced with whatever option best suits your needs. Rotating video options are below:

0    Rotate by 90 degrees clockwise and flip (default).
1    Rotate by 90 degrees clockwise.
2    Rotate by 90 degrees counterclockwise.
3    Rotate by 90 degrees counterclockwise and flip.

I have broken down the command and options below for those that are interested.

-ovc Output Video Codec. This is what codec mencoder should use when creating the video. The command above uses the libavcodec. This is known for quality. “mencoder -ovc help” will display all of the video codecs available

-vop still works but has been replaced with -vf. It is used to setup a chain of video filters in our case it is used to rotate each frame. See the above table to find out what rotate mode you need. Up-side-down videos can be rotated by doing rotate=1 twice.

-oac Output Audio Codec. If you would like to specify an audio codec to use this is where it should be done. “mencoder -oac help” will show all of the available audio codecs. Choosing an audio time adds encoding time but it can greatly reduce or increase file size. I use the copy codec to copy the exact sound from the original first. Then if I wish to reduce file size I can reduce the quality or change the codec afterwards.

input.mpg is the input file and will have to be changed for the file that you wish to rotate. The -o option is used to specify the output file. This must not be left out or mencoder will give an error and your file will not be written.

Now that your done reading all about how to rotate a video with Linux you can give it a try. By having a command line application rotating a whole directory of images can be done in minimal time without human interaction. Try rotating a hundred movies without user interaction in Windows Movie Maker!