Don’t cross the river for water: XMMS .deb for Intrepid

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In some foreign language there is an expression that goes, more or less, like this: “Don’t cross the river for water“, since often times you can find what you’re looking for, if you could only see the wood for all the tress, in a different manner of speaking, as it were. So what’s the point of all of this?

Well, I went to great length to compile XMMS in Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex – which was a total nightmare finding all the needed libraries – and then I ended up with a seemingly functional XMMS instance, happy bunny I was; only today I discovered that it had no .OGG output plugin. So I went wandering again – and came to: – which has XMMS packages for Debian and Ubuntu.

However, there isn’t one for Intrepid yet, but for me the one compiled for Hardy works just fine – direct link to the .deb here.

This, however, will still leave you without a FLAC (and a wma) plugin, as far as I am aware, so you need to follow the second (updated) part of the instructions of this how-to in order to play FLAC tunes.

Should that be all too much to deal with, then you could try to use AT YOUR OWN RISK the one that I have compiled according to the how-to linked to above. The generated plugin file is called, but it isn’t really that big a deal to do it yourself and probably a better choice (you might learn something :), but feel free to check it out.

This is the icon I have added to the tool bar in Ubuntu. Download it, if you like it, and then rename it so that it gets the file extension: .xpm and place it in folder: /usr/share/pixmaps/ – so that it looks like:


I added the “_b”, because I already had one icon called xmms.xpm in that folder. You need to copy the file with sudo (super user privileges), since the /usr directory and its subdirectories are owned by root.

Should you wonder why I bother with XMMS, outdated as it is, well the answer is quite simple: none of the other media players available and known to me can handle my music collection, none of the them; I have tried: Banshee, Audacity, Exaile, mpd (with a variety of front ends), Rhythmbox, vlc (first choice for video), XMMS2, BMPx, Beep Media Player, Amarok and they all failed miserably when importing the collection.

All this still leaves you without an .wma output plugin, which is some sort of black-box technology from the Evil Empire. Either you convert your .wma files (if you are unlucky enough to have any) or you can experiment with some of the xmms_wma.rpm binaries that are easy to google and then use alien to convert it. In the past this has made XMMS crash for me, another and much better way to solve the wma shite codec issue is to go here and get the source code for the plug-in: xmms-wma_1.0.5.orig.tar.gz. Download it to somewhere where you can find it again (I use a subdirectory in /opt with my username and with my user privileges: /usr/me for all of this “optional” stuff) and then extract it and follow the instructions in README (see the how-tos for the FLAC plugin if this makes no sense to you), which are basically:


make install-home – which sends your plugin straight to: ~/.xmms/Plugins (better shut down XMMS while doing this).

You can presumably do the same with regards to xmms-mp4: – but I haven’t tried that yet. Whatever you do, always read the README files (good name for that kind of file, really).  Happy listening!

20 thoughts on “Don’t cross the river for water: XMMS .deb for Intrepid

    XMMS .deb para Intrepid « Ubuntu Life said:
    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 16:21 (723)

    […] Visto en | colonos […]

    Article Directory said:
    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 22:09 (964)

    Very good info!

    I’ve bookmarked this site!


    colono responded:
    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 22:47 (991)

    Most welcome, I am uploading a zipped collection of all that is needed to get xmms up and running in Intrepid (or Hardy or Feisty for that matter), with FLAC, OGG, WMA and Pulseaudio. Should come in the blog very soon….

    colono responded:
    Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 22:50 (993)

    This zip file has it all:

    XMMS in Intrepid: All you need in a .zip file « colonos said:
    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 11:09 (506)

    […] you need information about how to use it, look here, here, and […]

    SomGNU » Blog Archive » xmms en paquets deb per a Ubuntu said:
    Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 12:01 (542)

    […] d’aquests usuaris s’ha dedicat a crear un paquet precompilat .deb que funcione sota intrepid i l’ha posat a disposició de tots (us deixem l’enllaç […]

    The XMMS in GNU/Linux Manifesto v.0.1 « colonos said:
    Friday, November 14, 2008 at 00:11 (049)

    […] posted about it three times (1,2,3) when installing Intrepid and there have been close to two thousand hits by now, including […]

    colono responded:
    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 10:01 (459)

    At the end of this post there is a fairly detailed outline of all you need to get XMMS up and running:

    pasted here:

    Ubuntu specific information on how to best get XMMS up and running:

    First go to KnutA’s site:

    …where he kindly hosts an XMMS repository that allows you to add it to your apt-get system and it will pull the dependencies. Set up for Lenny, Hardy and Intrepid (which is just a copy of the Hardy repo, but it works). If you don’t know how to add a third-party software source (or repository) then look here.

    That should be your first step. Install XMMS that way:

    sudo apt-get install xmms (or search in Synaptic).

    Then you have to add various encoding and decoding tools if you need them.

    Pulseaudio, the new system:

    I do not use that. Choosing ALSA as output in XMMS works better for me. With Pulseaudio there were funny issues with other channels, losing sound for a half a second every now and then.

    There is still an mp4 .deb here, which also works in Intrepid:

    To get FLAC follow the second part of this how-to (you don’t need to compile XMMS as outlined in the first part of the how-to, since you can get the .deb with apt-get from KnutA):

    More relevant compile info here:

    You might also want .wma (but much better is to convert your files), but if you need it, then you have to compile it (or google for an .rpm and use alien to convert it):

    More relevant information here:

    However, if you trust me you can also just download this file, Plugins.tar.gz and unzip to your:

    /home/user/.xmms/Plugins folder (shut down XMMS, of course, for good measure):

    That file contains the Flac and .wma plugins that should work in Intrepid and possibly Hardy, but why not go ahead and do it yourself, you might just learn something in the process?! 🙂

    Maybe you also need Shorten (shn) for XMMS:

    – about which you can find useful information here:

    Anything else that anyone’s uses or maintains?

    If you have a virtual machine or an extra box to play around with it might be a good idea to compile your things somewhere else then your production system, but a similar environment, since it most likely will send you in dependency hell, chasing packages discerned from compiler output and with the aid of the higher spirits of telepathy. I just couldn’t be bothered to keep track of them. I know, I should have extracted it from the Apt logs and and and …

    Anyway, in the end you have a system with a load of stuff that you don’t need and I ended up doing a fresh install, but I mostly do that when a new distro comes out, – first install it to check it out, stress it and try different things, before settling for a plan for the final, hopefully, install. NOTE: If you do it this way do remember to use checkinstall, which generates .debs that you can use the second time around. That is also how you should do it in a virtual or other machine, so that you can transfer it to your favourite stable machine where you just want to play music while you work on something else.

    Anushi said:
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 21:25 (934)

    thank you for the information. Helped me alot. I agree that XMMS is still the best. Very lightweight and simple.

    colono responded:
    Monday, January 5, 2009 at 00:03 (043)

    You are very welcome! 🙂

    The XMMS related posts have had something like 7000 visits by now…

    nanoite said:
    Sunday, February 1, 2009 at 22:56 (997)

    Any ideas on how to compile old xmms-mad plugin?

    xmms-mad.c: In function ‘xmmsmad_is_our_file’:
    xmms-mad.c:193: error: ignoring return value of ‘read’, declared with attribute warn_unused_result

    colono responded:
    Friday, February 6, 2009 at 11:28 (520)

    Sorry, I cannot help you with that, but the XMMS binary linked to (KnutA repo) has mp3 compiled with it, so you shouldn’t really need it!

    zewsk said:
    Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 17:40 (777)

    Beautiful, thanks. I don’t want a comprehensive system to organize every music file I own. I just want a lightweight player. When I want music I drop a file on it. It’s about simplicity and usability.

    Note to newbies: install as root user!

    I just clicked on the .deb package when I got it and it crapped out. Disappointment. Then I thought to try it as root. I opened a terminal window, did “sudo nautilus”, that opened nautilus as root user. I navigated to the .deb package, clicked on it. Installed perfectly.

    to run:
    open a terminal window and type xmms at the prompt.

    colono responded:
    Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 17:52 (786)

    Yes, most installations must be done as root. However, normally you will be asked for your SUDO password when clicking on the file, I should think.

    However, I always install from the terminal:

    dpkg -i /home/me/xmms.deb

    To run it more easily: ALT+F2, then type xmms in the little window and press enter.

    XMMS in Jaunty Jackalope 9.04: How to install with codecs. « colonos said:
    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 16:35 (733)

    […] icon as a “Custom Application” short-cut to the Gnome top panel, as explained in an earlier post. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Don’t cross the river for water: XMMS .deb […]

    nuszerstefan said:
    Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 17:31 (772)

    thx colono,great job!!!!

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