> In short, I think this media framework is not quite the success story it is portrayed to be, IME.
I never played around with gstreamer directly much. The only thing I've done is to take the pulseaudio monitor and feed it into Icecast... just to see how hard it would be to have my desktop have internet audio.
That was nothing complicated, just a shell script effectively. I was happy with that.
As far as desktop goes I have a lot more experience and it's replaced VLC for me. I've always used 2 media players: Mplayer and something else. Between Totem and Mplayer I can pretty much play whatever I run across, if it's possible to be played at all on Linux. What one cannot do the other can usually do.