Rhythmbox, vlc and totem instantly crash when opening a m4a file. When I run rhythmbox -d and play a m4a file, I receive this message:

(rhythmbox:9023): GStreamer-CRITICAL **: gst_structure_new_empty: assertion 'gst_structure_validate_name (name)' failed (09:46:00) [0x26048a0] [connection_closed_cb] rb-metadata-dbus-service.c:218: client >connection closed g_dbus_connection_real_closed: Remote peer vanished with error: Underlying GIOStream >returned 0 bytes on an async read (g-io-error-quark, 0). Exiting. Segmentation fault (core dumped)

Also, I can't see the properties of m4a files (right-click > Properties crashes Nautilus)

I tried reinstalling all the gstreamer-plugins and deleting the contents of ~/.gstreamer-0.10 to no avail. Also tried purging and reinstalling rhythmbox many times.

I'm not sure if it's related or not, but I had recently installed ffmpeg (the actual one from the ppa (ppa:jon-severinsson/ffmpeg)). Since I thought it could be related, I apt-get remove'd it but it changed nothing.

The same m4a files work with xine and in Audacity, which leads me to believe it's a problem with gstreamer... but I'm not sure what to try next. Ideas?


  • Do you get this problem with all M4A files, or just this one?
    – evilsoup
    Aug 27 '14 at 9:01
  • Oh... I only get it with some m4a files, not all. Those that work are AAC, the non-working ones I can't look up under Properties, but they are significantly larger, prob. lossless?
    – comeauch
    Aug 27 '14 at 9:13
  • Looks like a bug (possibly in gstreamer) - report it as such - or type ubuntu-bug immediately after such a crash to make the report as easy as possible.
    – guntbert
    Aug 27 '14 at 9:42
  • I really would hesitate to report this as a bug... Most probably my fault.
    – comeauch
    Aug 27 '14 at 9:48

Solved it :P

The problem was about the ALAC codec, fixed by installing libavcodec-extra-54 (had to uninstall a bunch of other packages, sadly). Then rhythmbox suggested an additional gstreamer plug-in and now everything's fine.

  • I'm facing the same issue. What packages did you uninstall? Sep 22 '14 at 16:20
  • I did "apt-get install libavcodec-extra-54" and apt-get told me I had to uninstall a list of packages in order to do that and I accepted. For example, I recall Flightgear was among them, so it's really just because they were using something which had to be changed I guess. I didn't remove anything manually.
    – comeauch
    Sep 22 '14 at 22:12

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