32-Bit Graphics Driver
Although 32-bit distributions mostly play Silverlight videos smoothly, you might experience dropouts in the playback with a 64-bit Linux. The problems with 64-bit support are caused by the fact that the 32-bit Silverlight requires a 32-bit graphics card driver.
The setup routines for installing of most distributions will not install this 32-bit driver out the box. You can tell that the driver is missing from the error messages of the Pipelight plugin when you start the browser in a terminal. Listing 7 shows the output for a system with an Intel graphics card.
Driver Problems on 64-Bit Systems
01 nonumber 02 [...] 03 libGL error: dlopen /usr/lib32/xorg/modules/dri/i965_dri.so failed 04 (/usr/lib32/xorg/modules/dri/i965_dri.so: Cannot open the shared 05 object file: File or directory not found) 06 libGL error: unable to load driver: i965_dri.so 07 libGL error: driver pointer missing 08 libGL error: failed to load driver: i965 09 [...]
On Debian and Ubuntu, you can configure the 32-bit drivers by installing the
libgl1-mesa-dri:i386 package. On Ubuntu 12.04, install libgl1-mesa-dri-lts-saucy:i386 (Listing 8). Although the libgl1-mesa-dri:i386 package is available on Ubuntu 12.04, it removes the entire X server – so do be careful. Under Arch Linux, you need to specifically install the driver required for your system (Listing 9). Look online for additional information on 32-bit drivers with Pipelight .
32-Bit Drivers in Ubuntu
01 nonumber 02 $ sudo apt-get install libgl1-mesa-dri:i386 # Ubuntu 12.10+ 03 $ sudo apt-get install libgl1-mesa-dri-lts-saucy:i386 # Ubuntu 12.04
32-Bit Drivers in Arch
01 nonumber 02 # pacman -S lib32-intel-dri # Intel 03 # pacman -S lib32-nouveau-dri # Nouveau 04 # pacman -S lib32-ati-dri # AMD
The PulseAudio sound server used in many Linux distributions can also cause problems with services that require Pipelight and Silverlight.
Misfires occur if the sound server fails to keep up with the sound. This problem is not limited to older systems with slow CPUs: I simulated the problem on a computer with a recent Core i7 quad-core CPU (3GHz).
You can usually solve these PulseAudio problems with a smaller packet size. To change the packet size, open the PulseAudio configuration file,
/etc/pulse/daemon.conf, as root in your favorite editor, and edit the following
default-fragment-size-msec (Listing 10).
01 nonumber 02 [...] 03 ; default-fragments = 4 04 ; default-fragment-size-msec = 25 05 default-fragment-size-msec = 5 06 [...]
The default value is 25; I changed this value to 5, and a Silverlight-based video ran at 25 fps without any jerkiness in the image and sound. To enable the new settings, you should save the configuration file and restart PulseAudio using the
pulseaudio -k command.
In my tests, I was able to successfully use several popular video-on-demand services in Linux. Only Sky Go turned out to be really awkward because I had to change the configuration to force the system to use Silverlight 5.0. Future versions of Pipelight will do a better job of supporting the more advanced encryption in Silverlight Version 5.1. Note that some of the hurdles are legal, because many of the problems with Silverlight 5.1 support are related to DRM. The Magine and Watchever services turned out to be particularly Linux friendly and did not even force me to spoof a Windows user agent.
I discovered one annoying limitation with Amazon Prime Instant Video: Amazon's online video library only plays movies in SD quality with Pipelight under Linux; the Amazon player refuses to play HD videos, claiming that the monitor lacks HDCP support . (See the "HDCP" box.) The reason for this problem is that the Linux graphics drivers do not support functions for restricting the user, but Amazon's service requires mandatory digital rights restrictions. The Pipelight team is working on an appropriate workaround.
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) is a copy protection scheme used to prevent tapping of video and audio data on the (mandatory digital) connection between the sender and receiver. If the output device does not support HDCP, the player reduces the resolution or completely refuses to play back.
Many Rasp Pi fans use the tiny computer as a media center. Raspbmc and OpenELEC are two distributions that specialize in optimizing XBMC for the capabilities of the Rasp Pi. In theory, a Raspberry Pi media center would be an ideal use for Pipelight; however, Silverlight is only available for x86 instruction sets, so the Silverlight plugin won't work with the ARM-based Raspberry Pi.
- Microsoft Silverlight: http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/
- Moonlight: http://mono-project.com/Moonlight
- Pipelight: http://fds-team.de/cms/articles/2013-08/pipelight-using-silverlight-in-linux-browsers.html
- Pipelight install: http://fds-team.de/cms/pipelight-installation.html
- Pipelight-Stable-PPA: https://launchpad.net/~pipelight/+archive/stable
- Silverlight Balls animation test: http://bubblemark.com/silverlight2.html
- Experience IIS Smooth Streaming: http://www.iis.net/media/experiencesmoothstreaming
- Experience IIS Smooth Streaming 1080p: http://www.iis.net/media/experiencesmoothstreaming1080p
- User agent switcher for Chrome/Chromium:https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/user-agent-switcher-for-c/djflhoibgkdhkhhcedjiklpkjnoahfmg
- User agent overrider for Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/user-agent-overrider
- User agent switcher for Opera: https://addons.opera.com/de/extensions/details/user-agent-switcher
- Gnome 3 full-screen bug: https://bugs.launchpad.net/pipelight/+bug/1277972
- Installing 32-bit graphics drivers: https://answers.launchpad.net/pipelight/+faq/2485
- Status of HDCP support: https://answers.launchpad.net/pipelight/+question/244793
Buy this article as PDF
The bug was introduced back in 2009 and has been lurking around all this time.
The new release deprecates the sshd_config UsePrivilegeSeparation option.
Lives on as a community project
Five new systems join Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition that come with Ubuntu pre-installed.
The Skype Linux client now has almost the same capabilities that it enjoys on other platforms.
At CeBIT 2017, OpenStack Day will offer a wide range of lectures and discussions.
A major setback for the Linux desktop.
Improved support for GPU in virtualization.
News site for the openSUSE community falls victim to a Wordpress exploit.
The source code is available online.