March 22, 2010

Legal Use of Codecs in Linux

I am still a Windows XP user thinking about trying out a Linux distribution.

I installed VLC Media Player recently on XP, and then applied my ultimate test for any media player: I popped in a DVD and checked if VLC could play it. Even on a copy of XP, it could not as the required codecs were missing.

If I switch to Linux I would like to be able to play DVDs legally, even if I have to pay to use the codecs.


Apparently distributions like Ubuntu offer downloading of "restricted codecs" but basically only give a warning that installing the codecs may be illegal, and then allow you to do it anyway. You may as well get Linux Mint with all the necessary codecs built in from the start.

I then found out that Fluendo offers a new multimedia package with a user licence built in for a price of 40 Euros, so that you can have the codecs legally, even if you live in the US, where legal use of codecs is a big issue.

What do people in the Linux community think about this issue?

I will still miss using J.River Media Centre's excellent music player for Windows, with the best sound reproduction in a free player I have come across, if I switch to Linux. I will also miss being able to install photos from my Ericsson cell phone onto my computer, unless I XP in  dual boot with XP.

I welcome any discussion on the issue raised, and as always ask for people to correct any misconceptions I may have. XP is still the best distribution.

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