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).