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Re: Round two mPlayer -- basic UNIX/Linux (and MacOS) approaches

On Sat, 2005-10-15 at 03:58 -0500, Brian Keefe wrote:
> My latest was that mplayer would not permit me to eject the dvd tray
> to change movies.

That's not MPlayer, but the Linux kernel.  If any file is in use, the
filesystem is busy and the Linux kernel will prevent ejection.  While
this is not as crucial with read-only media, if you've mounted something
like DVD-RAM or DVD+RW, let alone a EEPROM "thumbdrive", you quickly get
to appreciate the "UNIX way of things."

Furthermore, if you mounted the media as another user than the one
running MPlayer, that will also prevent ejection.  *UNLIKE* Windows,
where any user can mount/umount media, Linux _never_ compromises
security for ease-of-use.  With Windows servers, stupid users have taken
down servers by merely ejecting the CD/DVD.

> Pushing the hardware button on the tray hand no effect.

Of course not!  Linux, like MacOS, will _refuse_ a digital eject if the
media is in use or mounted.  Linux further enforces security on who
mounted it, and someone who presses the eject button is _not_ someone
who can be authenticated as the owning user.

Frankly, I wish Linux systems had MacOS-like floppy drives with a
digital eject as well, instead of a physical button.  And EEPROM
"thumbdrives" would be much safer if there were clamps on the USB port.
God I've had too many users just "yank out" them and seen them
corrupted, and the "safely remove" toolbar icon is _not_ as perfected as
the 30+ year-old UNIX "umount" command to ensure synchronization.

This has been a recurring theme

> I could not find an eject function on the gui.

There are _tons_ of ways.

First off, in GNOME (at least on Red Hat systems), the mounted device is
on the desktop, just like MacOS.  If you right click and tell it to
unmount, then it should eject.

Secondly, also in GNOME, you can add an "applet" to manage various
drives.  You simply click it to mount/unmount as that user.  No fuss, no
issues -- *UNLESS* some application is using that device.

>From the age-old Red Hat Linux 6.1 manual (yes, it's been around 6+

Understand the "in use" and "security" aspects of mounting devices (and
preventing their unmount) in UNIX/Linux is a _major_feature_ compared to
Windows.  It might seem like a PITA for read-only media, but for
read/write optical, EEPROM "thumbdrives" and other details, it is a

> It wasn't until I thought of opening the terminal and issuing 'eject'
> from the prompt that I could eject the tray,

Again, this is _for_your_protection_.  UNIX/Linux takes mounting media
seriously, _unlike_ Windows, which will let you corrupt read/write media
without any warning.  The same issues that resulted in a $2B lawsuit
against Toshiba (was it?) in the '90s -- a fault of _Microsoft_, not
Toshiba -- for floppy drives is seeing a repeat with EEPROM devices.

It's the way the OS works, _not_ the device.

Now as far as the GUI, use the GUI facilities.  GNOME should have an
icon on the desktop _just_ like MacOS.  It's clear that you're assuming
UNIX/Linux (let alone MacOS) should act _poorly_ just like Windows, and
you're _never_ going to see that.

Additionally, the GNOME Drive Applet is very nice.

> that or a restart.

Never do that.  There is _rarely_ a reason to reboot Linux -- hardware
errors are the _only_ reason.

> I am having to relearn the idea of the terminal as the court of last
> resort.  I am constantly having to have an internal dialog along the
> lines of "You're just learning the system.  Don't be comparing with the
> ease of Windows.  It is just that you KNOW Windows that it seems
> better." A lot of times I'm not convincing myself.

_Very_bad_ approaches in Windows will _never_ be mirrored in UNIX/Linux.
Again, if you think UNIX/Linux is "wrong," then you must agree that
MacOS is also "wrong" too.

Again, I was professional appualed with Microsoft's _horrendous_ OS
design resulted in the $2B floppy drive settlement, because it was the
OS, not the drive (from what I read from the filings).  It really goes
back to the fact that a digital eject is what was needed on a PC floppy,
which the Mac has.

That's why CD/DVD drives also have a digital eject.  In UNIX/Linux, like
MacOS, the digital eject _never_ overrides the OS' safety/security.  But
in Windows, it'll let you screw up read/write media, and screw up your
services with even read-only media (e.g., in the case of SMB shares).

> I don't understand the concept of supplying all these redundant
> partially working programs.

What is "redundant"?  There is but *1* command/control for
mount/unmount.  GUI programs then use that command/control.

In Windows, you actually have far _more_ redundancy.  Different programs
use different -- and sometimes _conflicting_ -- methods.  Take firewalls
for instance (don't get me started ;-).  And when it comes to scanners,
printers, etc... -- different, conflicting subsystems at times.

Windows is a _darth_ of standards.  Most people don't see it because
they just choose *1* piece of software as standard.  But load more than
one version of MS Office, or two firewalls, or two TWAIN devices (like a
camera and scanner -- especially from different vendors), or two
Postscript printers (especially if you use the vendor's installer -- let
alone if the printers are networked!) and see what happens.

If you understand how an OS _properly_ mounts/unmounts -- whether it is
UNIX/Linux or even legacy MacOS -- that will address your issue nicely.
There are damn good reasons why you just can't press the eject button --
and I can take you through a number of "crash the system" examples in
Windows to show you why (even the "Please insert CD EEAD123A into the CD
drive" super-circle-jerk is bad enough ;-).

> I think that maybe Fedora Core was a bad choice.

First off, Fedora Core and not even Fedora Extras provides MPlayer.
Heck, Debian does not either!  You cannot blame Fedora Core or Debian
for issues with MPlayer, it is provided by 3rd parties.

And you can't blame Fedora Core or Debian for legal issues on why
MPlayer is not included.  Just like you can't blame Fedora Core or
Debian for not including nVidia's drivers -- or even nVidia or ATI these
days for the patent-infested 3D world of closed source drivers (blame
Intel, Microsoft, etc... -- yes, Intel, they leave stuff out of their
own drivers too).

I think your problem is that UNIX/Linux, or even MacOS, doesn't work
like Windows.  Windows will let you do rather stupid things in the name
of "ease-of-use."  That includes ejecting a device in the middle of a
buffer flush or other read/write operation.

> I was reading somewhere that FC was supposed to be the bleeding edge.

So was Red Hat Linux before it compared to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Red Hat Linux and Fedora Core are released every 6-9 months, and some
versions adopt the latest stuff whereas other releases are more mature.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is then a 18-month release after a few of the
Red Hat Linux/Fedora Core releases.

But your issues have *0* to do with this.

> If I would have known that I would have chosen something else.  
> I had Mandrake.  It seemed better, more stable, a little cleaner. But,
> Mandriva??  What's up with that?   I think that I will try Ubuntu next
> if I reformat this system.  

This has _nothing_ to do with distribution choice.

Both Red Hat and Debian have _excellent_ release models.  Red Hat is
heavily respected for the quality of their distributions -- although if
you adopt a "new" release of Red Hat Linux / Fedora Core with brand new
versions (e.g., kernel, GCC, GLibC, etc...) you can expect to have
compatibility issues.  Same deal with Debian Sid and even Testing at

The "safest" choice in the Red Hat world is Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or
rebuilds like CentOS if you don't want to pay for the services/SLAs of
RHEL.  But then you're now using _older_ versions, and you'll find
yourself wishing for features.

Bryan J. Smith     b.j.smith@ieee.org     http://thebs413.blogspot.com
The best things in life are NOT free - which is why life is easiest if
you save all the bills until you can share them with the perfect woman

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