Windows Media 9 Now On Linux

Turbolinux have become the first major distributor to provide a Linux-based OS with Windows Media and DVD playback built in.

Version 10F of their distribution comes with both CyberLink’s PowerDVD for Linux and Xine. Xine is the most popular Linux video playback engine and this distro comes with licensed Windows Media 9 codecs.

PowerDVD supports CSS (the Content Scramble System), allowing Linux users to watch DVDs legally, they’re no longer bypassing a copy protection algorithm to decode content off disks.

As Linux distributions go, Turbolinux 10F is not cheap – it’ll set you back US$149 (€125), but then it does contain proprietary commercial software and codecs. However, Windows XP Home, which has the same functionality (with free WM9 codecs) is only US$30 (€25) more expensive than Turbolinux.

Although getting WM9 into a Linux distribution is a step forward, it’s not really all that surprising: Microsoft’s new expanded licensing programme means that the company is very willing to get their media technology onto as many platforms by “allowing the components to be deployed on all platforms—even non-Windows desktops” (from the WM licensing page).

Turbolinux’s announcement

Microsoft’s Windows Media Pricing and Licensing

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?