Did You Know there was a Fork of MPlayer?

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 22, 2011

One of the inherent advantages of Open Source software is the ability to modify the original source as you see fit. This sometimes results in forks and derivatives. Some of the more commonly known are Mageia and LibreOffice. But one you may not have heard of is mplayer2.

The mplayer2 Website says, "mplayer2 is an advanced general-purpose video player. A fork of the original MPlayer project, it contains significant further development and supports a number of features not available in other Unix players." But no reason was found to indicate why a fork was desired. Perhaps a hint or two can be gleaned by the difference.

Some improvements to MPlayer include:

» Better pause handling - mplayer2 allows adjustments of settings, seeking, or running of files without unpausing the player.

» Easy to use multithreading support - easier multithreading inclusion, could provide performance boost.

» Better Matroska support - adds ordered chapter and editions and other improvements to the Matroska file handling.

» Better support for VDPAU on NVIDIA cards - eliminates some frame dropping or breaking with low res monitors. Improved performance with better buffer handling. Improved deinterlacing.

» Precise seeks - seeks are no longer limited to keyframes.

» Support for gettext-based translations - Runtime-switchable translations with gettext are now supported.

» Does not depend on embedded FFmpeg library - mplayer2 can use FFmpeg public API which ease maintenance and upgrades.

» Improvements in audio/video sync handling

» Cleaned up and improved terminal output messages

» Improved responsiveness / reduced latency

» Fullscreen retention between files.

» MEncoder removed, to be replaced.

The project looks small with probably only a few participants. It's been up and running for a short time, but they're already on a release candidate of version 2. It has a bug tracker, Git repository, source code, and plans for upcoming translations. User and developer documentation is non-existent, but in the works. Mailing lists are running, but participation is low, as is the IRC channel.

There are no binaries available, but folks can get a source tarball or download the build directory from their Git repo. There is also no GUI included as of yet, but one is planned for little later on.

It's kinda reassuring to hear of these forks from time to time because it gives those that enjoy the parent product a backup should the original project implode or disintegrate. Often, forks can bring improvements not found in the original.

I haven't been able to get mplayer2 to build as of yet, but I haven't given up.