open SUSE Blog

Challenges editing mp4-videos under openSUSE solved

Post date: Jan 8, 2017 6:10:55 PM

About a year ago I inherited my sons Nexus 6 phone, and during this first year I have been quite pleased with it. I can record mp4-videos with excellent sound and picture quality. However the challenge start when I want to edit one of thee videos in openSUSE Leap 42.2. My preferred tools are ffmpeg and openshot. I use ffmpeg for croping, and then openshot for adding an opening picture and ending credits. This has for years worked fine with videos recorded with my Canon EOS 550D camera, which creates mov-videos, that are easily converted to other formats using ffmpeg. This is more abotu knowing your OS and the software installed on it, than anything wrong with the software or the error messages it provides.

Increasing frustration with ffmpeg

No such look with mp4-videeos. Or any other formats, which are containers for mp4. However, I was able to play the mp4-videos in smPlayer. While attempting to solve the issue I tried different output files to ffmpeg, without what demuxing and muxing capabilities my installed version of ffmpeg had. For example the command "ffmpeg -i SK.mp4 SK.flv", gave the error message "[NULL @ 0x798ea0] Unable to find a suitable output format for 'SK.flv' " followed by "SK.flv: Invalid argument". Later inspection of the output from "ffmpeg -formats" reveiled, that ffmpeg was correct. I even googled the message "Unable to find a suitable output format", and discovered that others encountered this message. But I did not find anything pointing towards a solution. So the learning here is: Check that the installed version of the software you are using is able to do, what you want to do!

Since I was pressed for time I turned to VLC. This video player also have some editing capabilities, e.g. specification of cropping parameters before conversion to another format. I chose the ogg-format. This resulted in a playable file, but with somewhat reduced picture quality compared to what I was used to from ffmpeg.

What I should have done in the first place

Turns out the trick is to go to the openSUSE Community webpage at http://opensuse-community.org/ and use the 1-click installer for either KDE or GNOME. If things don't work after installing the codecs, make sure all your multimedia packages are coming from Packman. Go to YaST Software Managment, click "View", click "Repositories", select the Packman Repository, click on "Switch system packages". This will replace already installed packages with packages from the Packman repository and also install any packages your are missing. On our system we were missing 8 packages and 36 packages were replaced. And as usuall with linux no restart is needed. Both in openShot and in ffmpeg.

At first I had followed the instructions at "Unoffical Guide to openSUSE Leap 42.2 13. Multimedia Codecs" at http://opensuse-guide.org/codecs.php but overlloked the small print, which states "Afterwards make sure all your multimedia packages are coming from the Packman Repository: Start "YaST Software Management", then click on "View" and select "Rositories". Then select the Packman Repository and click on the buttom "Switch system packages" at the top of the list, and finally click on "Accept" to install the pacakges from the Packman Repository.

The legal reason for my problems is that openSUSE Leap 42.2 has to comply with the DMCA. I think that in this case the issue is the difference between "free to use" - properly for non-commercial perposes - and "free to distribute".

HP C7280 Ink System failure fixed

Post date: Jul 21, 2015 7:00:00 PM

After investing almost 200 USD in new ink-cartridges for our several years old HP C7280 about six month ago it started up with ink system failure. The failure code was c18a0106, but that turned out not to be really important. We were just about to take the printer to the dump, when we decided to give fixing the problem another try. I simple google HP C7280 ink system failure. And we found a solution at the site fixyourownprinter at http://www.fixyourownprinter.com/forums/printer/54675 . Here are the details of the procedure we used to get our old C7280 working again:

  • Press and hold the ‘*’ key on the keypad on the printer panel, then press the ‘#’ key and release them both
  • Press ‘123’ on the keypad to enter to enter maintenance mode.
  • Press the right arrow (beside the OK button) until System Config menu appear.
  • Press OK to clear any hardware error condition - in my case the ink system failure condition.
  • Power the printer off by removing the power cord, and then insert the power cord again.

When the printer started up again the following step were executed:

  • Select the language for the printer menu (English).
  • Select the location, country, of the printer (Denmark).

Then printer alignment started and a printer alignment pages was printed. This takes several minutes and then you are asked to discard the printed page, and connect the printer to your computer. I connected the USB cable to my Lenovo E520, and started hp-setup, which immediately found the HP C7280. I configured it. Under openSUSE this requires root access, but not a restart of the computer. I asked for a testpage to be printed, and the printing started momentarily.

Before using this procedure we had tried other approaches to ink-system-failure for HP printers found on the internet. None of these other procedures worked, such as pressing a combinations of keys on the keypad while powering on the printer - this was supposed to factory reset the printer. I have attached the scanned output from the printer after entering maintenance mode etc. at detailed above.

Would it be nice if printer manufactures were more open about how their printers can be maintained?

Just a short update. After several days of using the scanner function with XSane on our openSUSE 13.2 desktop, some printer of pictures on photopaper and color printing of labels on an A4-sheet we are very happy that we got the C7280 working again. We still have some small issue with setting the photo paper type etc. But very pleased that one evenings work resulted in a working piece of hardware.

Update December 2017

Close to the end of 2017 this printer finally died after more than 15 years of good service. During it's last month the unit was mainly used for scanning with maybe a couple for pages printed each week. After a shutdown in the beginning of December the printer stopped starting up correctly. It continued to complain about paper jam, but there were none. So it got recycled.