Problem playing an avi file

Alan Cox alan at
Thu Jul 15 14:18:58 UTC 2010

On Thu, 15 Jul 2010 14:57:16 +0100
Marko Vojinovic <vvmarko at> wrote:

> On Thursday, July 15, 2010 03:45:27 JD wrote:
> >   I have an avi file which when played with any of the linux players:
> > xine, vlc, mplayer, ffplay, totem, ...etc
> > displays the message in the video window:
> > Codec Error: Use Windows Media player.
> > then it issues the message: Redirecting to microsoft download page.
> > 
> > I have never seen this happen before.
> > 
> > Has anyone else seen it? How to get around it?
> Yes, I have seen it. You download a full 700 MB avi of a movie (typically via 
> torrent) and try to play it. It starts playing, then it displays the above 
> messages *hard coded inside the video stream*, and exits.
> It's a hoax, coupled with propaganda. The very same thing happens even if you 
> actually use Windows Media Player to play the file, on a Windows machine.
> Further, there is no workaround. The rest of the 700 MB of data is pure junk 
> and you wasted your time and bandwidth downloading it --- there is no movie 
> inside to be played.
> I didn't try to scan it for viruses/trojans/worms/malware/etc., because I 
> believe you cannot get infected by playing a movie in mplayer (unless mplayer 
> has some serious security exploit that nobody is aware of). So just drop that 
> file and go find a genuine one.

There have been numerous exploits against video codecs, and fuzz testing
codecs is .. interesting. The players may well have the odd bug but the
codecs tend to parse extremely complex compressed data streams from an
untrusted source, have to do it at high speed and seem to be the main
source of holes.

Whether a Windows exploit would work on a non Windows box who knows. It
may well be the message is because it contains a trojan that *only* works
in a specific player/codec combination.


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