back to article Open source VideoLAN media player asks why it's blocked in India

Developers of the open source VideoLAN media player have started sniping at India's government over an apparent block on the project's website. VideoLAN, aka VLC, develops a media player and transcriber famed for playing and transcoding almost any media format, and doing so quickly through a pleasant interface. The project …

  1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
    Joke

    Cones

    Perhaps a knee-jerking minister thought the VideoLan "construction-cone" icon was slang for some deviant sexual act.

    (Errrm ... but if it is, I don't want to know those details.)

    1. Ozan
      Joke

      Re: Cones

      Err, if it is, I want to hear about it.

      1. b0llchit Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Cones

        Do you really want goatse to return?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cones

          It was less idiotic than Twitter.

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: Cones

            > It was less idiotic than Twitter.

            There’s a joke in there somewhere about one being a giant gaping festering inflamed anus trying to get the world’s attention through the shock value of the vilest imagery…and the other being goatse.

            …but I are not smart enough to make it.

    2. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Cones

      Oh my, you haven’t lived until you and your partner have tried “coning”!! Just make sure that the crème fraiche is properly chilled and the bunch of daffodils have been checked for caterpillars, is all I’ll say. Oh and DO NOT cheap out - you need a scissor-lift that will go to AT LEAST 15’.

  2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    VLC is awesome.

    (That is all.)

    1. badflorist Bronze badge

      Re: VLC is awesome.

      The new UI in 4.0 is horrible. It looks like when you'd hide everything but the detached queue in Winamp 2.

      Basically, it looks like something Microsoft will design next year.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: VLC is awesome.

      VLC is dreadful. It's the only media player I have used on which it is constantly necessary to advance or delay the soundtrack to sync with the video. When it goes working under Linux it takes a kill -9 to bring it to heel. Under ChromeOS you have to nominate one media folder on the first run and can never change it (without reinstalling) or play videos located elsewhere. Its sole advantage is built in support for subtitles. Otherwise it's a classic example of FOSS feature bloat, doing too many things badly.

      1. ske1fr
        Holmes

        Re: VLC is awesome.

        That's...more the kind of thing I've had to do on mobile, on occasion, the synching, but that stopped when I dumped that particular mobile, no more of that MediaTek crap for me. And I've never had to kill it with -9 fire in Linux. Works consistently and well for me. Chrome OS sounds like something I should avoid.

      2. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Audio/video sync

        You have lived a charmed life.

        Synchronized audio came to film in the 1920s, and lasted (for TV) until the early 21st century. It was there that I first noticed significant lack of sync, but not via a Digital TV. It was apparent;y a case of the networks using DTV to distribute programming, but still transmitting in traditional (NTSC in my case) analog form. I knew something was up when my old CRT-containing TV "got the bug", a year of more before DTV transmission (other than tests) for over-the-air. Synchronized audio/video is pretty rare these days.

        I'm still not sure how the arcane art of audio/video sync as lost. Did the last person who had read a spec die?

        If any of them get thawed and re-animated, I'd also love to have a phone conversation devoid of long-delayed (sometimes 10 seconds or more) echoes and twilight-zone worthy audio artifacts.

      3. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: VLC is awesome.

        I've had broken media files that required me to sync the audio, and I've had the same problem with broken/very slow storage, but generally VLC just works for me.

  3. Oglethorpe

    Geniuses in the Indian Government

    I can think of no better way to increase the risk of people downloading compromised copies of popular software than blocking the primary legitimate source.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: Geniuses in the Indian Government

      You might be forgetting the politicians' syllogism:

      Something must be done

      This is something

      Therefore this must be done

  4. sabroni Silver badge
    Coat

    Oooh! I know! I know!

    They have someone in government who understands good user interface design and has had to use VLC on Android?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Oooh! I know! I know!

      First you have to show me an example of good user interface design on Android.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Oooh! I know! I know!

        Stellarium! Having said that I fully expect my phone provider to find a way to fuck it up.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "vulnerable to DLL Hijacking"

    "vulnerable to DLL Hijacking"

    Ah, so it's not an issue for users of any proper operating systems, then. As you were.

    (But obviously don't go downloading something calling itself VLC from any dubious warez websites, regardless of what OS you are running.)

    1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

      Re: "vulnerable to DLL Hijacking"

      obviously don't go downloading something calling itself VLC from any dubious warez websites, regardless of what OS you are running.

      What about from non-dubious warez websites?

      In theory, it can be downloaded from any source, so long as the download is sha256summed and the sha256 sum has a signature that verifies against a public key controlled and published by VideoLAN. (Other checksum algorithms are available)

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: "vulnerable to DLL Hijacking"

        Well, chances are the dubious warez site will also have the fitting dubious checksums, and if the original website is blocked, you have to take their word for it...

        1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

          Re: "vulnerable to DLL Hijacking"

          Well, chances are the dubious warez site will also have the fitting dubious checksums, and if the original website is blocked, you have to take their word for it...

          No. No, you don't. That is the point of digital signatures. You need to verify the signature against a public key, and I doubt the Indian government are blocking all public keyservers.

          The checksum is for data integrity, the signature is for authentication - please do not confuse the two.

          If you download software from a random server, the checksum will tell you if the copy you have locally is the same (to a high degree of probability) as the copy on the server. It says nothing about the provenance of what you have downloaded, which, as you say, could have been modified to be malicious,

          The digital signature can only be generated by VideoLan using their private key (assuming they have kept it secure), so a warez site cannot sign a checksum with VideoLan's key. By checking the signature against VideoLans public key, you can be assured that the software you have downloaded is an authentic copy of what VideoLan produced. Or not.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: "vulnerable to DLL Hijacking"

            > That is the point of digital signatures. You need to verify the signature against a public key, and I doubt the Indian government are blocking all public keyservers.

            While you're right, that goes way too far over the head of the average, normal user. Remember VLC isn't some IT specialist tool only computer-savvy people will download.

            Already checking a checksum is quite involved in Windows (PowerShell, something most users don't even know it's there), now ask them to also install GPG, learn how a public/private key works, and use it to validate the checksum with! Not a chance, most peoples' heads would simply explode...

            I rest my case, the dubious checksum would catch those rare 1% power users who know how to do a checksum in Windows. Linux users on the other hand already have VLC in their distribution's repositories, so they don't really need the website to get it.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: "vulnerable to DLL Hijacking"

              May I recommend HashCheck?

              1. ThatOne Silver badge

                Re: "vulnerable to DLL Hijacking"

                > May I recommend HashCheck?

                You may, but not matter if it is finding and installing that, or just using the already included command line tool ("certutil"), it remains way too complicated for the majority of Windows users.

                Even if this was an already existing Explorer feature, most Windows users wouldn't be able to use it without help, even if they knew it existed and what it did.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "vulnerable to DLL Hijacking"

            "By checking the signature against VideoLans public key"

            How do you know which key is theirs and not a different one, made to look identical in user-id and (truncated) key-id?

            Keyservers are mostly useless for verifying signatures unless you know the full id of the authentic key in advance.

  6. myhandler

    It freely plays religious material not approved by Modi's BJP, that's why it's banned

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Cynical, sad, but quite possibly accurate.

  7. Warm Braw Silver badge

    A pleasant interface

    There are many positive things that can be said about VLC. It's the first port of call for handling media files.

    However, having long experience of VLC silently doing something other than that which was asked of it, particularly when transcoding, I'd say that as far as the interface is concerned, pleasant is as pleasant does.

  8. Silny Ogor

    "and doing so quickly through a pleasant interface"

    There's nothing pleasant about that interface. It's one nasty piece of GUI.

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