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I have RH9 and when I tried to play an MP3, xmms said something about licensing issues and that it wouldn't play an MP3. So, I decided to uninstall xmms assuming it was a screwed up version included with RH. I ran the following command (package name may be incorrect)
rpm -e xmms-1.2.7-1
I got an error about dependencies, and since I don't understand them at all (a link to info would be great), I just ran the following command instead
rpm -e --nodeps xmms-1.2.7-1
Then I downloaded 1.2.8 and installed it with the following command
rpm -i xmms-1.2.8-1.i386.rpm
So, how I tried to play an MP3. I am in KDE, and I right-clicked on an MP3 and chose "Open With." I selected /usr/bin/xmms and xmms opened the file. However, when it played the file it went from start to finish on a 3 minute MP3 in about one or two seconds. The equalizer was going nuts, but no sound came out.
I downloaded both xmms-mad and libmad, and I was able to install only libmad. When I run the configure script for xmms-mad it says that it's looking for xmms version 1.2.4 and then gives an error when it can't find it. I'm running 1.2.8, and I was under the impression that it played mp3s without a plugin anyway.