I am also having trouble playing AVIs on Linux. A picture is worth a thousand words. I have a screen shot at the URL below.
Ok. I have found that some time after Puppy 2.02 AVIs that come from my Casio camera are not rendered correctly. There is this green/red screen superimposed on half of the shot. You can see screenshots or try the video at (at least that is the totem movie player):
It works fine on Mac and Windows but not Linux. From other sources the video works... It's games(which I am growing out of finally) and little things like this that keep me booting back into Windows .
I found my old puppy 2.02 and was able to read from the CD-ROM for it didn't support my RAID controler nor hotplugging back then. It turns out puppy 2.02 was using xanim. xanim compiled flawlessly on my system inspite of it being source code from the twentieth century. Not only is the author of this program a strict standards follower but everything his code calls has not changed their external interfaces! I was so surprised. Isn't it nice when things work like they are susposed to?