Browser

Ubuntu's new DVD and audio options, FireFox EULA snit, and Chromium

Canonical, Ltd., Ubuntu's commercial sponsor, announced deals to make obtaining DVD player and audio codecs easier, and it seems to have reached an amicable agreement with Mozilla over the EULA flap in the latest version of Firefox.

Multimedia complications are a well-worn complaint with Linux users who have to figure out which hoops to jump through to get decent sound and video playback for all their movies and music. Ubuntu has made a couple of deals to offset these problems (more accurately, Canonical, Ltd., Ubuntu's commercial sponsor), particularly for users who download Ubuntu for free, rather than buying the boxed version at BestBuy. The two software vendors are Cyberlink, which provides the DVD player application, and Fluendo, which offers audio codecs for Windows Media formats. Both of these packages will be made available in the Ubuntu store for "one-click" installation, and of course, a price. According to Canonical's marketing manager, Gerry Carr in NetworkWorld's report:

"We're never going to make you pay for anything that is fundamental to the operating system. You do need this to play DVDs. You do need this to play certain types of audio. We are not diametrically opposed to anyone selling software to add on for Ubuntu users. We will be adding additional software to that store as we can. It's entirely optional. It's building that ecosystem."

While I think Canonical is simply doing what it has to do to smooth over the experience for its users, it is unfortunate that once you buy your DVD or your music -- I mean, it's yours -- you then have to turn around any pay again for the privilege of actually being able to watch or listen to it the way you want. That's really annoying; in fact, it seems downright wrong.

On to other testy subjects, Ubuntu users and developers have been frothing at the mouth over Mozilla's EULA, included in the newest build of Firefox, version 3.0.1. The latest word, after both Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth and Mozilla have been trying to smooth the waters, is that "Mozilla has admitted making a mistake and said it will strip the legalese from the browser's next update," according to the article in NetworkWorld.

Now if you really want to skip the Firefox controversy, you can download Codeweaver's CrossOver "Chromium," a port of Google Chrome, that does not require Windows XP or Vista to run. Google is still working on its version of the Chrome browser for Mac and Linux platforms. The downloadsquad notes:

Although CrossOver Chromium works, please note that this is not intended to be used as a default browser. CodeWeaver's website even states that this is just "a proof of concept, for fun, and to showcase what Wine can do."

I doubt that anyone here would really plan to make Chrome, much less Chromium, their default browser quite yet, but if you're just looking to play around with it, you can download Chromium here.

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

5 comments
crt
crt

According to the NetworkWorld's article, $50 for the DVD player and $25 for the CODECs. I would have considered $10 and $5 to be reasonable.

Pringles86
Pringles86

I have never had a single problem playing a video or audio file using it, and it is free...

sidekick
sidekick

I have to disagree with you about having to purchase software to watch DVDs. Yes, the DVD had to be purchased, but before we were watching them on PCs, we had to BUY a DVD player to watch it on. If someone can make a product that people want to buy, all the power to them, even if it is on Linux. That being said, I'm a cheap bastard that will take anything free I can get my hands on and will be perfectly happy to sit here twiddling my thumbs until some hard working open source developer writes apps and codecs that I can download free of charge.

seanferd
seanferd

There is no Linux version of VLC. Perhaps some hacks against the OSX version will work? Yeah, I love VLC. Works better than WMP nearly all the time.