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I have this error message when trying to install mplayer on debian sid:

# apt-get install mplayer
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
or been moved out of Incoming.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 mplayer : Depends: libdvdnav4 but it is not going to be installed
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

And yet, libdvdnav4 is installed:

$  apt-cache policy libdvdnav4
libdvdnav4:
  Installed: 5.0.1-1
  Candidate: 5.0.1-1
  Version table:
 *** 5.0.1-1 0
        500 http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian/ unstable/main amd64 Packages
        500 http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian/ testing/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
     4.2.0+20120524-2 0
        500 http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian/ stable/main amd64 Packages

I did try to solve the problem by using the unofficiel deb-multimedia repository. Even, when this repository enable, I have the error.

$  apt-cache policy mplayer
mplayer:
  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: 2:1.0~rc4.dfsg1+svn34540-1+b2
  Version table:
     3:1.1.1+20140928+svn37289-dmo5 0
        100 http://www.deb-multimedia.org/ sid/main amd64 Packages
     2:1.0~rc4.dfsg1+svn34540-1+b2 0
        500 http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian/ stable/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
4

The mplayer package no longer exists in sid, that's why it is not working. You can see this from your own output of apt-cache policy mplayer. Sid is not listed. One alternative is to use mplayer2.

deb-multimedia is generally best avoided, unless you need something that is not in Debian proper, and you really, really know what you are doing. It does not play nice with Debian in general, even though the maintainer is a Debian developer. If you do include deb-multimedia, pin it at low priority so it does not interfere with the rest of the system. I have the following in /etc/apt/preferences

Package: *
Pin: origin www.deb-multimedia.org
Pin-Priority: 1

You might also want to check out the handy front-end smplayer.

  • Thanks. I had no idea that there was a package called mplayer2.... – ppr Oct 29 '14 at 23:16
  • apt-cache search mplayer or apt-file search mplayer can be informative. – Faheem Mitha Oct 29 '14 at 23:17

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