Help and Advice, please - VLC and other video players fail in 12.04LTS

Robert Hyatt rhhyatt at
Sun Feb 19 09:29:39 UTC 2012


I was 'hit' by the recent problem of accessing the libraries during a 'normal' update of my PC, at that time using Ubuntu 11.10 without issues. It appears that the ' internet pipe' into your libraries was restricted and some of the requests for downloads were successful and others failed due to internet access failures (Including the infamous HTTP 404 error).

The problem was furthur compounded when the incomplete set of software that was retrieved was installed. This meant some dependencies were not satisfied...

The result is my PC would not boot after the 'normal update' that failed.

I tried reinstalling 11.10 from the DVD, which seemed to work, but again, the PC would not boot.

>From another PC with Ubuntu, I downloaded the dvd for 12.04 Precise (even though it is in beta testing) and made sure to NOT do a normal update on that PC.

I then installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS from the DVD on or about Feb 7th.

As I was telling the BIOS to boot from the DVD, when I noticed the hard drives had been 'switched'. e.g. what was supposed to be the C: drive for booting, etc purposes was now the 2nd drive on the list. I fixed this and did the installation.

In my installations I pointed the install programmer at the correct drive, but the boot was going to another drive. So SAD.

The installation went ok, until it started downloading 92 packages. The whole reason I downloaded the DVD was to STOP this annoying delay in getting work done. The internet speed I have during the daylight and evening hours in the Philippines is very slow and this downloading of packages takes a very long time.

I have been using Ubuntu 12.04 for a couple of weeks now and have had some aborts, which usually Apport noted and reported. In looking at the bugs and errors reports, the one that killed my system was the 'partial updates', for which it was advised to NOT accept this option.

---- Video Player aborts
I am having some issues, and in particular NO VIDEO Playing software will run correctly. 

Worse, the manner in which they fail means that Apport never has the chance to report the issue.

I have installed about 6 of the video players and they all failed in the same manner.

When I click on a video file, the splash screen for that program will appear, then the screen goes a way for a moment, and I am back at the initial logon screen when powering up.

No Error message. No Apport process collecting data.

VLC, Movie Player, MPlayer, Gnome Media Player, and a few more all did what I just described.

Without an error message, etc I cannot determine how to fix.

About me... I am a retired programmer, systems analyst, dba, systems architect, project architect, and a whole bunch more titles. I worked from 1970 until retirement in 2007.

I used more than 3 dozen programming languages in my career. I worked on 72-bit computer hardware system (Honeywell and Sperry Univac), plus the usual IBM 32 and 64 bit hardware systems. I have worked on different database architectures and some complicated file systems. 

The last 15 years I spent being the systems architect, data architect, project architect, Project mgr, and other titles related to EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) sometimes known as e-Commerce.

I first 'tried' Linux in 1995, for 3 years on my own systems at home. I decided they were 'not ready for prime time' and went back to Windows. I used Suse and RedHat as my test software.

In 2002 I had reason to 'appreciate' my little adventure in Linux as I began working on Unix computers, in addition to the mainframes that was my primary responsibility.

In November 2011, I finally got rid of M S Windows in my home and switched to Edubuntu and Ubuntu. My Netbook has Win XP and it looks like it will remain thus for some time to come.

I am not looking for another 'job', but I might be of service. Unfortunately the issue I am reporting does NOT fit into the "Apport" box you normally want for bug reports.

Help Please?? 
A. Video Player Fix and 'partial updates' process?
Please point me to where I could find instructions to allow me to successfully do 'partial updates', and to fix the Video Player issue.

B. O S backup and restore?
Thanks to my habit of backing up my data, I lost no data files. I did lose all my program settings, etc.

So, I would like to be pointed to where I could do a complete OS backup (not my data) and if I should ever have the need, the process to use that backup to restore.

C. Install without download?
I would like to 'find' or 'have built' a boot dvd containing what I need to do a successful installation without even ONE download! I especially find the 'Language' packages annoying as the downloads for them take a very long time to complete.

This would likely require a 'scan' of my system to determine what packages should be on the install dvd. Since the 'scan' process is well known, I don't see this as a big challenge.

D. I would like to specify an option for 'normal' updates that says: Do NO updating unless ALL downloads have been successful.
My problem that started me on this merry go round was started because of an incomplete update. e.g. some parts were downloaded, and installed, while other parts only got a partial set of the required files - yet still tried to do the installation.

I want to tell the updater to ONLY do updates if each and every file has been successfully downloaded to my PC. Any failures stop any installation.

Next, I want the downloader to know that some files have previously been downloaded. It is very annoying to try to do the same update and see the exact same files downloaded as a few minutes ago, when I am attempting to get only those that failed the prior attempt.

E. Some errors I get cannot be reported by Apport as some bit of software is missing. Whenever they specify the package, I do the Terminal window process to get them and to install, but I am unable to do this in all cases. e.g. I have aborts or 'bad behavior' and no way to report it.

Best regards, Bob Hyatt
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Ubuntu-bugsquad mailing list