Download videos from Youtube, Google Video and others using Linux [Update]

Many online video sites such as Youtube, Google Video, Dailymotion, Metacafe, and others only provide limited or inconvenient access to the videos; either they require you to install the proprietary Flash player (and I surely won't do that), and/or you can only view them online (but not download them).

There are some solutions, each with advantages and disadvantages:

  • youtube-dl, a command line script to download Youtube videos.
  • metacafe-dl, same as above but for Metacafe videos.
  • clive, a command line tool (with optional newt UI) for Youtube, Google Video (seems defunct at the moment) and Dailymotion.
  • VideoDownloader, a Firefox plugin which is supposed to work with more than 60 video sites (Youtube and Google Video are among them). The only disadvantage compared to the other solutions: you need to start Firefox + X11 (no pure command line usage).
  • UnPlug, a Firefox plugin similar to VideoDownloader, but with the advantage that it doesn't use the VideoDownloader web service (but rather figures out the video URLs itself).
  • Gnash, a free software Flash video player is another option, but AFAICS it's not yet ready for daily usage (but it's getting there).
  • swfdec, another Free Software Flash player, is actually working quite nice with Youtube already.

After the download, you can either view the videos using (e.g.) mplayer, or recode them into a more sane format. For all of the above programs there are Debian packages available, except for VideoDownloader/UnPlug (but you can easily install those from within Firefox).

Update 2007-07-26: Added UnPlug and swfdec (thanks Joe Buck and Josh Triplet for the comments).

Stuff V

  • I have started looking into SELinux on Debian recently. SELinux provides mandatory access control for Linux, which gives you great control over which process may do what with which files, other processes, network connections etc. I've still got a lot to learn and read (more posts will probably follow), but if you're inclined to try it yourself here are a few tips:
    • First, read the SELinux and especially the SELinuxSetup pages in the Debian wiki. Also checkout the SELinuxStatus page.
    • There are currently a few bugs I noticed, which cause some trouble: bug #369852 prevents a correct install of the selinux-policy-default package, but the work-around mentioned in the bug report works fine. I reported bug #372543 yesterday, but there's an easy work-around for that, too.
    • I had to change "SELINUX=enforcing" to "SELINUX=permissive" in /etc/selinux/config (at least for now), otherwise my system won't boot up anymore because of SELinux denied permissions (I think). I'm pretty sure this is either a bug or me doing something wrong, but I haven't figured out yet what that is.
  • Robert Nunnally (a.k.a Gurdonark) has created a photo collage video (YouTube, requires Flash) for Marco Raaphorst's "Blowing Snow" song. He used some of the Creative Commons licensed photos from my photoblog for the video.
  • Wow! Today the number of people subscribed to my music podcast (via RSS) exceeded 200 for the first time! Thanks everyone for listening!
  • GNU/Hurd 1.0.0 has been released. Finally! And they've built it on top of an interesting "middleware"...
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