Why Amarok doesn’t play MP3 files in Slackware 14 and how to solve the problem ?

gstreamer logo

Amarok one of the best music players for the Gnu\Linux world and I have been a loyal fan of it ever since I started using it.

Back to the point now !! 🙂 . After installing Slackware 14 I was hugely disappointed, I wasn’t able to play MP3 files using Amarok. I tried changing the backend by going to

-> Settings 
  -> Configure Amarok 
    -> Playback 
      -> Sound System Configuration
        -> Backend tab

and that didn’t help me. But after a google search I was able to spot the problem. Amarok uses phonon in the backend and which in-turn depends on GStreamer to work. The problem revealed to be the missing of some GStreamer plugins which were used to play the mp3 files. GStreamer plugins are grouped into several packages: base, good, bad and ugly. Slackware 14 was not giving ugly group ( This package contains plug-ins from the “ugly” set, a set of good-quality plug-ins that might pose distribution problems.) of plugins out of the box, probably because of its license. I installed ugly plugins, i.e, gst-plugins-ugly, but I didn’t know if it was enough so Installed gst-plugins-bad and gst-plugins-ffmpeg also. It was a blind shot but it worked. And I am happily hearing to some music now,  Amaroking by the way ;).

waiting for your comments, cheers 🙂

How to install Thunderbird in slackware

Mozilla ThunderbirdMozilla Thunderbird is one of the best FOSS mail clients out there and I prefer it over the other mail clients. In Slackware 14 we already have three mail clients out of the box, which are Mail, KMail and Seamonkey Mail respectively. But Thunderbird is not preinstalled with the distro so I had to install that first.

System : Slackware 14 on a Dell Vostro 1015n laptop.
Software version : Thunderbird-17.0.6

  1. Ensure that you have all the required libraries.
    • GTK+ 2.18 or higher
    • GLib 2.22 or higher
    • Pango 1.14 or higher
    • X.Org 1.0 or higher (1.7 or higher is recommended)
    • libstdc++ 4.3 or higher

    Mozilla recommends that a Linux system also have the following libraries or packages installed:

    • NetworkManager 0.7 or higher
    • DBus 1.0 or higher
    • HAL 0.5.8 or higher
    • GNOME 2.16 or higher

    Luckily Slackware 14 is coming with all the necessary libraries so don’t have to worry about that.

  2. Download the correct file.
    This is very important since in a 64 bit system a 32 bit software will not work without some necessary libraries. So if yours is a 32 bit system download the 32 bit version of Thunderbird else get the 64 bit version.
    To get the 64 bit version go here.
  3. login as root.
    login as root
  4. Change directory to /opt.
    I chose this directory as this installation is a custom one.

    change directory to /opt

  5. Copy to tar ball to /opt.
    copy the tar ball to the directory /opt/
  6. Extract the file.
    uncompressing the thunderbird tar ball
  7. Create an entry in /usr/bincreate link in /usr/bin
  8. Create shortcuts to launch Thunderbird (in menu + desktop).
    menu entry Right click on the KDE menu and select the option ‘Edit Application’. Using that utility we can add or edit the application details. To create a desktop shortcut just drag and drop the Menu entry to the desktop (after unlocking the widgets).
  9. To update Thunderbird we will have to launch it as administrator:   #thunderbird
  10. To remove/uninstall Thunderbird, enter:
    #rm -rf /opt/thunderbird /usr/bin/thunderbird
    and remove the thunderbird directory under /opt/.


Make your firefox faster

To speed up Firefox , you can follow the steps shown below:

1. Open Firefox and in the address bar, type in ‘about:config‘.

2. Click on the button: ‘I’ll be careful, I promise’.

3. Use the search bar located on the page to look for  ‘network.http.pipelining‘ and double click on it to set its value  to ‘True‘.

4. Create a new Boolean value named ‘network.http.pipelining.firstrequest‘ and set that to ‘True‘, as well.

5. Find ‘network.http.pipelining.maxrequests‘ and double click on it. Then change its value to ‘8‘.

6. Look for ‘network.http.proxy.pipelining‘ and set it ‘True‘.

7. Create two new integers named ‘nglayout.initialpaint.delay‘ and ‘content.notify.interval‘; set them to ‘0‘.

8. Now restart your browser to experience the difference, if yours is a fast internet you can feel the difference easily.

There are certain other things that causes the Firefox to work to slow, especially certain addons, so always install only those addons that are really necessary for you.

Sometimes you will see that Firefox is taking some time to load, this may be because the auto-update option is checked. This will make Firefox to check for updates causing the delay.

So make

Directory structure : A comparison between Windows and Gnu/Linux

Here is a comparison of the default directory structures of  Windows and Gnu/Linux.
Directory On Gnu/Linux Explanation Equivalent on Windows (Default installation)
/ Root Directory No real equivalent. Each storage medium has a separate root directory
/bin, /usr/bin and /usr/local Program executable files Program files
/sbin and /usr/sbin Important executable files Windows and Windows\System32
/boot Files required to start the system C:\
/etc Configuration files, services, etc. Windows, Windows\System32 and Registry
/var System Logs , etc. Windows and Windows\System32
/usr/lib Libraries Program Files\Common Files, Windows and Windows\System32
/root Files of default administrator (called root user) document and Settings\ for administrator
/home Files of each non-root user documents and settings
/media and /mnt Extra storage devices and file systems mounted here My computer virtual folder
/usr/include and /usr/src Source code N/A
/dev Device files (hardware is represented by files) N/A
/proc Virtual files representing data such as running tasks, free memory, etc. Updated in real time N/A
Gnu/Linux Directory Structure

Gnu/Linux Directory Structure

I got this from an article by Saurav Sengupta, “Windows and Gnu/Linux what is the difference?” published in Linux For You magazine August 2008. I found it really helpful for those who are newly migrated to Gnu/Linux from Windows.