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Linux Multimedia Hacks
By Kyle Rankin
November 2005
More Info

How do these hacks stand up? Comment on a hack from the book by choosing the associated "Discuss" link below. You can also view the code from any of the hacks by clicking on the "Listing" or "Code" links. A number of hacks have been selected to be featured online in their entirety; you may view those hacks by clicking on the hack titles that are linked.

Jump to: Images  | Audio  | Video  | Broadcast Media  | Web

Images

HACK
#1

Take a Screenshot
Use command-line or GUI tools to take screenshots in a variety of formats
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#2

Convert from One Image Format to Another
Use the ImageMagick convert tool to change between image formats
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#3

Make Image Thumbnails
Use a simple script to create thumbnails from any number of images
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#4

Animate Images
Pass arguments to the convert tool to turn a directory of images into an animated GIF—all without opening a GUI tool
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#5

Leave a Watermark
Use the composite tool from ImageMagick to add custom watermarks to your images
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#6

Pull Images from a Digital Camera
Get the images from your camera with either standard USB storage device support or gphoto
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#7

Manage Photos with f-spot
Install f-spot and get an iPhoto-like photo organization tool under Linux
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#8

Edit Images
Use the GIMP to crop, scale, and otherwise edit your photos
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#9

Remove Red Eye from Photos
Follow a few basic steps with the GIMP to remove red eye from photos
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#10

Create a Slideshow
Use Kuickshow or gThumb to turn a directory of photos into a slideshow
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#11

Automatically Synchronize Your Camera and Computer
With a custom script, you can automatically synchronize your computer and USB storage device camera just by plugging in the camera
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#12

Make a Screen-Capture Movie
Create animated screen-capture movies as the ultimate aid in a presentation or tutorial
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

Audio

HACK
#13

Mix Your Audio for Perfect Sound
Use the mixer to understand and tweak the different volume levels your sound card provides
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#14

Surround Yourself with Sound
Get theater-quality sound out of your multi-speaker setup
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#15

Play Multiple Sounds at the Same Time
Play audio from multiple sources—even if your sound card doesn't support it
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#16

Get MP3 Libraries for Red Hat–Based Distributions
Enable MP3 support on Red Hat–based distributions with a simple addition to yum
[Discuss (2) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#17

Configure Network Sound
Set up local sound to play across the network
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#18

Manage Your Audio with XMMS
XMMS is a classic Linux audio player you can use to easily play a number of different audio file types
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#19

Shuffle Your Music the Smart Way
Use IMMS to weight your music collection based on your listening habits
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#20

Try Rhythmbox
Use Rhythmbox to manage your audio collection much like the iTunes audio player
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#21

Let amaroK Rock Your Music Collection
Use amaroK to integrate great music features such as album art, Audioscrobbler, Musicbrainz, song lyrics, and great playlist management into one application
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#22

Store amaroK Data in MySQL
amaroK has the option to store its collection data in a remote MySQL database. Use this feature to create a centralized database of your listening habits so they follow you from computer to computer
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#23

Enable Your Multimedia Keyboard
LinEAK turbo charges the whole concept of customizing how your Internet/ multimedia keyboard works
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#24

Rip CDs from the Command Line
Use command-line tools to rip CDs the old-school way
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#25

Rip CDs Straight from Konqueror
The Konqueror file manager provides an incredibly easy-to-use CD-ripping program—just drag and drop files from the CD to convert them on the fly to MP3, Ogg, or FLAC
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#26

Get a Grip on CD Ripping
Use the Grip program to automate all of your CD ripping tasks
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#27

Edit ID3v2 Tags from the Command Line
Use the id3v2 tool to update your music tags either manually on the command line or through shell scripts
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#28

Add Album Art to ID3 Tags
Many MP3 players can display album art for a track if the art is embedded in the ID3 tag. Use the Album Cover Art Downloader tool to automate the process of adding cover art to your MP3s
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#29

Automate Music File Tagging
Why tag your music files one by one? Use the EasyTag program to automate the naming and tagging of your music
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#30

Correct Music Metadata with MusicBrainz
Learn about MusicBrainz and how to use and contribute to the project
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#31

Clean Music Metadata at the Command Line
Use Lucene-based tagging in MusicBrainz to automagically scan and tag all your MP3s from the command line
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#32

Clean Music Metadata with a GUI
Use the Picard GUI tool to access the MusicBrainz functionality for cleaning up your music files
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#33

Pass the Mic and Record Audio
You don't need a fancy GUI tool to record audio under Linux. Use SoX's rec utility to record audio from your microphone—and do it all from the command line
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#34

Edit Audio with Audacity
Record, crop, rearrange, and save audio with the cross-platform Audacity tool
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#35

Convert from One Audio Format to Another
Use command-line tools to convert between audio formats
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#36

Normalize the Volume of Your Audio Files
Use the normalize tool to adjust the volume of audio files so they all have the same volume
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#37

Make Your Computer Talk to You
Install Festival on a computer to convert text to speech
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#38

Search Audio for Hidden Messages
Use a simple effect from the SoX play tool to check audio for hidden messages
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#39

Burn Audio CDs from the Command Line
Use cdrecord directly from the command line to create your own audio CDs
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#40

Automate Audio CD Burning with K3b
Use K3b to burn your own custom audio CD in just a few clicks
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#41

Turn Your Computer into a Turntable
Use terminatorX to scratch on multiple MP3 tracks as if they were playing on a physical turntable
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#42

Use an iPod with Linux
You don't need a Windows PC or a Mac to use an iPod
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#43

Sync Your iRiver with Linux
Use Linux to copy your songs and create the iRiver database
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#44

Use Other Portable Audio Players
Access other USB storage device audio players under Linux and automatically sync them when you plug them in
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#45

Use a Bluetooth Headset with Linux
Use a Bluetooth-enabled headset to make VoIP calls or listen to music while wirelessly roaming throughout your house
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#46

Find All Your Media Files
Use standard command-line tools to track down all of the media files scattered around your computer
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Video

HACK
#47

Master Video Output Options
Most video players support a number of output options. Understanding the difference between X11, xv, SVGA, and other output settings can help you make the most of your video playback
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#48

Use MPlayer
MPlayer is a great video player that can play just about any format. This introduction shows the basics you need to get up and running
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#49

Advanced MPlayer Tweaks
There are a number of advanced tweaks you can use to get the most out of MPlayer. You can even store many of these tweaks to the MPlayer configuration file and save yourself from tons of command-line arguments
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#50

Create Family-Friendly Edits of Movies
Use the Edit Decision Lists option in MPlayer to create a special list of video edits to perform on a file to mute or skip entire sections of a video during playback
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#51

Crop Video During Playback
Get rid of those annoying black bars at the top and bottom of movies using special features from MPlayer
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#52

Add Custom Subtitles to Video
Use MPlayer's subtitle format to add your own commentary to your favorite movies
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#53

Play Restricted Media Formats
For licensing reasons, not all distributions come preconfigured to play several popular media formats, but setting this up is not difficult
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#54

Watch Videos in ASCII Art
Use MPlayer's AAlib support to convert any movie into ASCII art
[Discuss (2) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#55

Try xine-Based Video Players
Use xine and xine-based players to view a number of video formats
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#56

View VLC, the Cross-Platform Video Player
Learn how to watch multimedia content with VLC, a video player you can use on Linux, Windows, and Mac
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#57

Probe Video Settings
The tcprobe utility included with transcode provides an easy way to get specifications on a video using the command line
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#58

Rip a VCD
Use vcdxrip from the VCDImager tool suite to extract MPEG video out of VCDs and SVCDs
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#59

Rip a DVD
Use dvdbackup to create a backup copy of your DVD to your hard drive for later encoding or burning to blank media
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#60

Encode a DVD to MPEG4 from the Command Line
Use mencoder 2-pass encoding to encode VOB files to MPEG4 files (and other formats), all from the command line
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#61

Rip and Encode DVDs with a mencoder Frontend
The utility gives you access to many of the common functions that rip and encode a DVD in a GUI
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#62

Rip and Encode DVDs with K3b
Use K3b as an easy-to-use frontend to rip and encode DVDs without touching a command line
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#63

Convert from One Video Format to Another
With transcode you can convert to and from many popular video formats and perform other video manipulation all from the command line
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#64

Create Archos-Compatible Video
Use to convert video files so that they work with the Archos line of video players
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#65

Convert Dual-Layer DVD to Single-Layer DVD
Use command-line and graphical tools to shrink a dual-layer DVD to fit on a single-layer disk
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#66

Use a Digital Video Camcorder with Linux
With and Kino, you can pull video directly from your DV Camcorder and edit it
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#67

Edit Video
Cut and edit video from a number of formats with avidemux
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#68

Resize a Video
Use the powerful transcode utility to resize videos completely from the command line
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#69

Create a VCD
Use the tovid scripts to automate the conversion of many video formats to VCD and SVCD
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#70

Create a DVD
How to create your own DVD under Linux with the tovid suite and a host of other utilities
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#71

Customize a DVD Menu
Create your own custom DVD menus graphically with DVDStyler
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#72

Create Self-Booting Movies
Make a video that will boot and play directly from CD
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Broadcast Media

HACK
#73

Install a TV Tuner
Turn your Linux computer into a television set
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#74

Watch TV on Your Computer
Choose from a variety of Linux programs to watch TV from your desktop
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#75

Output to a TV with NVIDIA Cards
Use two different methods to output your video to a TV. One method uses NVIDIA's special drivers and the other doesn't
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#76

Cut Commercials
Use avidemux to quickly and easily cut commercials out of your recorded TV shows
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#77

Create a DVR with MythTV
Turn any reasonably modern computer it into an open-source digital video recorder that rivals and even surpasses a TiVo in features
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#78

MythTV as a Digital Hub
MythTV can do more than just show TV—it can be a complete digital hub for your home. Learn about MythTV's various plug-ins that extend its capabilities
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#79

Take (Remote) Control
A keyboard and a mouse aren't the only way to control your computer
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#80

Browse Streaming Radio Stations
Install streamtuner and browse through a large directory of public streaming radio stations
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#81

Rip Streaming Audio
Streamripper lets you rip the live streaming audio station of your choice directly to MP3 for later listening
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#82

Rip Streaming Video
Use MPlayer to rip streaming video feeds directly to a file for later viewing
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#83

Command-Line Streaming MP3 Player
Use basic command-line tools to create your own streaming MP3 player
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#84

Build a Linux Jukebox with Jinzora
Sharing your music collection with friends has never been easier
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#85

Stream Video with VLC
VLC provides the ability to stream video to and from any platform it runs on
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#86

Grab Podcasts from the Command Line
A simple shell script is all it takes to pull down your favorite podcasts from the command line
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#87

Get Podcasts with a GUI
Use Monopod to pull down podcasts with a simple GUI interface
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#88

Broadcast Sound to AM with a Monitor
Use the TEMPEST surveillance technology to broadcast sound from your monitor to an AM radio
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Web

HACK
#89

Install the Macromedia Plug-in in a Flash
Add Flash and Shockwave support to Mozilla-based browsers and Konqueror
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#90

Use the Real RealPlayer
Install the official RealPlayer to enable streaming multimedia apps from your Mozilla-based or Konqueror browser
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#91

Watch Videos Within Firefox
Use mplayerplug-in to view video embedded into web pages
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#92

Kaffeinate Konqueror
Use the Kaffeine video player to watch videos embedded into the Konqueror browser
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#93

Install the Acrobat Reader Plug-in
View PDFs within your web browser with the official Acrobat Reader plug-in
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#94

Control Your Media Player with Firefox
Use the FoxyTunes plug-in as a remote control for your media player without leaving Firefox
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#95

Grab Color Profiles from Other Web Sites
Use the ColorZilla Firefox extension to sample colors from any web site you visit with a simple eyedropper interface
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#96

Browse Graphical Sites from an xterm
Install the w3m-img extension and view web sites and their images from within a regular xterm
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#97

Star in Your Own Reality TV Show
Install and use common USB webcams under Linux
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#98

Make Internet Phone Calls with Skype
Use the cross-platform Skype tool to call friends and family over your Internet connection
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#99

Turn Your Linux Box into a PBX
Install and test the Asterisk open source telephony server on your Linux PC
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#100

Host a Photo Gallery
Use Gallery to easily thumbnail, label, and organize your photos into galleries—all from a web interface
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]


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