Configuring Multimedia Apps

Configuring Multimedia Applications

Believe it or not, I can remember when vinyl LPs were the standard for music. I even owned a half-speed mastered, virgin vinyl copy of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” put out by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Even harder to believe is the fact that, in a lot of ways, vinyl sounded better than some of today’s CDs. And the ritual will be forever burned into my memory: slide the album out of the rice paper sleeve, carefully grasping it only by the edges; drop it ever so softly on the turntable; break out the Disc Washer, removing any dust from the surface; then carefully drop the needle into the groove, sit back, and enjoy the greatest of Britain’s “Art Rock” bands.

OK. Enough with the ramblings of an ancient music-saur. CDs really are a far better, more convenient, and infinitely more durable medium. I’ve got a few in my collection that I listen to regularly. You probably do, too. So, we’re going to look today to how to play those shiny little discs ‘o aural heaven in Linux.

Today’s GnomeCORE assumes, of course, that you followed along yesterday and configured your sound card. No sound card, no CDs – it’s pretty simple. With that said, today may actually be a no-brainer, as many of the current distributions set up your CD player for use without user configuration. However, in case you’ve run into a problem, we’ve got you covered.

The first item to note is that, like any other device in Linux, the permissions on your CD-ROM drive may prevent anyone other than root from accessing it. To allow all users access, you’ll need to issue the following command as root:

    chmod o+r /dev/cdrom

You’ll remember that this command literally means [ch]hange the [mod]e of the device /dev/cdrom to allow [o]thers to [r]ead from it. Er, something close to that. Now, everyone who has physical access to your machine will have the ability to use the CD-ROM drive. The usual disclaimer applies: if your Linux box is at home, you’re probably safe in setting these permissions. In a work or shared environment, consider the convenience benefits against the security risks.

If you’re using the Gnome DE, you’ll find the CD player in Main Menu/Programs/Multimedia/CD Player. Fire it up and have a look. The interface is actually quite intuitive and easy to use. It uses the graphical conventions we’ve become used to with other CD players: arrow and line buttons to indicate the action we’d like the CD player to take. If you’ve got a constant-on Internet connection, you’ll notice, too, that the CD player queries the CDDB database for information about your CD; artist, title and song list. If you’re on a dial-up, your system will obviously have to dial out to access the database, or you can set the options to prevent the player from checking.

If you’re using the KDE desktop, you’ll find the CD player application located at K/Multimedia/Cd Player. Couldn’t be easier.

Ahh. There’s still nothing quite like “Money.”