what is the best linux os for watching videos without installing anything?
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It might help us if you tell us what the problem is with Ubuntu's video player. Which player is it? and why doesn't it cater to your needs? There are loads to choose from but it's hard to suggest anything if we don't know what you want.
You can dd the iso to a usb stick and use any linux iso that way, if the machine supports booting usb.
Various easy2boot, sysconfig, unetbootin, and other methods to boot iso images on a stick.
You can rsync the rootfs of the iso to a filesystem on the stick, which is probably an image under the rootfs of the iso if mounted -o loop. It'll be the largest file so it's easy to find. Install grub, modify the fstab to know it's new location and mount it read only. And boot that way. You'll also need to do admin stuff to create a user and password. The advantage here is that you can install additional software and do custom configurations before making it read only.
I tend to do the debootstrap method, but basically the same steps as the rsync way once the base system is setup. Tar can also be used if it's < 4GB. So pretty much any distro should work.
Depending on what you want to not be persistent, you can mount /home/ and /tmp/ to a ramdisk so it doesn't persist. Which you might want to do anyway since the write speeds on many usb sticks is super slow. The file I/O caching on those things is very noticeable. Pros and cons for each option.
Hi. If it comes with VLC it should play anything. My favorite (it helps billd ) is Debian with KDE (upon installing you pick "Advanced options" then "Alternate desktop environments," Xfce or LXDE are nice on older computers) plays anything for me and if not Synaptic (a package-manager and front for Apt) plus "non-free" repositories fixes it. Best wishes and have fun.
Last edited by jamison20000e; 04-21-2014 at 11:04 AM.
Puppy, Knoppix, and Slax are designed not to be installed on the HD, and they come with codecs and flash.
Of conventional live distros with codecs and flash installed, you have a choice of Antix (Mplayer), Exe (Kaffeine), Mint (VLC, Totem, Mplayer), Lite (VLC), Manjaro (VLC), OS4 (VLC), PCLinuxOS (VLC), Pinguy (VLC, Mplayer, XBMC), Point (VLC), SalentOS (Mplayer), Semplice (Mplayer), Swift (Mplayer), ZevenOS (Mplayer), Zorin OS (Totem).
@jdkaye in ubuntu studio, it (the video player) doesn't navigate the video correctly; during playback, i try to skip only a few seconds ahead and it goes about a minute & something ahead (was very annoying).
@DavidMcCann i'm also gonna try out those other OS when i'm done exploring mint. thanks.