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Open Source

Set up RPM Fusion with Fedora to shore up multimedia support

Vincent Danen shows you how to get improved support for MP3s, videos, and games in Fedora Core 10 with RPM Fusion.

With the proliferation of music services and downloads, it's easy to forget that many Linux distributions don't provide support for MP3 and other restrictive codecs. These file types are generally encumbered by patents or non-free licenses and, because of this, a number of distributions will not ship these packages. As a result, users end up being unable to do things that they could otherwise do on Windows or Mac OS X. For those "in the know," they turn to alternative third-party repositories.

For Fedora, RPM Fusion is one such third-party repository. This repository supplies packages that provide support for listening to MP3 files and watching DVDs or other video types: programs such as MPlayer, Xine, and others. It also includes closed source drivers for NVidia and ATI video cards.

RPM Fusion provides two repositories: free and non-free. The free repository contains open source software that cannot be included in Fedora due to potential patent issues. The non-free repository contains non-free software: software that is closed source or has publicly available source code with "no commercial use" and similar restrictions.

To set up these two repositories, install the appropriate RPM packages from rpmfusion.org:

# rpm -ivh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm
Retrieving http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm
Preparing...                ########################################### [100%]
   1:rpmfusion-free-release ########################################### [100%]
# rpm -ivh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm
Retrieving http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm
Preparing...                ########################################### [100%]
   1:rpmfusion-nonfree-relea########################################### [100%]
# yum update

You may notice warnings of unknown GPG signatures on these packages. For now it is safe to ignore them as they will be imported later.

When you run yum update, you will be prompted to install new versions of the package that are specific to your Fedora version (in this case version 10-1). It will also import the required GPG keys for each repository, which are used to verify the authenticity of packages that are subsequently downloaded from the repositories.

Once this is done, you can begin installing packages using yum. A GUI tool would make it easier to browse the packages, but you can do the same with yum:

# yum list | grep rpmfusion-free

This will list all packages known to yum in every repository, and filter on those with the name "rpmfusion-free." Once you know the package name you are interested in, install it like you would any official package:

# yum install mplayer

Setting up RPM Fusion may sound like a hassle, but it can be done in minutes, and once it is set up, you can install a number of packages that give you proprietary graphics drivers, DVD and MP3 players and codecs, and even some games (such as various game emulators). RPM Fusion doesn't provide a ridiculous number of packages as Fedora is quite complete, but it definitely complements what you get out of a Fedora install quite nicely.

Get the PDF version of this tip here.

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About

Vincent Danen works on the Red Hat Security Response Team and lives in Canada. He has been writing about and developing on Linux for over 10 years and is a veteran Mac user.

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