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Real to Offer Open Source Windows Media for Linux 228

cpugeniusmv writes to tell us is reporting that RealNetworks plans to release an open source method to allow Linux users to play Windows Media files. Currently Linux users are able to play the two main Windows Media formats (wmv and wma) but only if they install closed-source modules. The ability to launch this initiative comes from a recent licensing deal between RealNetworks and Microsoft and the antitrust settlement against Microsoft.
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Real to Offer Open Source Windows Media for Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:45PM (#15920564)
    This comes right on the heels of having a fairly complete wmv9 decoder functioning in ffmpeg.

    Bastards... I don't want their crap anyway
  • ...err (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mrsev ( 664367 ) <> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:46PM (#15920573)
    Is this god news or not... It could be a trojan horse ...(in the Greeks bearing gifts sense...not script kiddie sense)
  • alternative (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:49PM (#15920596)
    Among other things, does this mean that Real Alternative [] will soon be legitimate?
  • That'll be great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by also-rr ( 980579 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:53PM (#15920633) Homepage
    For 20 minutes before Microsoft break the spec.

    (You need 4 years of engineering graduate school to acquire this level of cynicism folks.)

    I've been very impressed with Real's approach of late (ever since Helix, really, although they did some good things before then). They are showing a very cooperative attitude - enough to overcome any ill will I might have felt towards them - and I hope that they get a warm reception for this contribution that encourages them to embrace the open source/free software community further.

    I do wonder though if any of this open source love is being pushed by the BBC? They are after all proabbly one of the biggest single drivers of Real installations and have demonstrated in the past their ability to push Real to change their stance.

    I'm thinking particuarly of the fact that the BBC cancelled it's Ogg testing aboiut the same time that the whole Helix thing started - could Real opening up a bit in return for no migration to open source or free software codecs have been the price?
  • Re:Satan: (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:06PM (#15920729)
    I'm curious about how they intend to deal with the patent issues.

    On a file format??? And I thought the patent on "method of swinging on a swing" was bad.

    Presumably they feel that the anti-trust settlement gives them all the rights they need, including patent licensing if applicable.
  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:13PM (#15920792)
    Does this (or any other open source stuff such as mplayer) cover whatever protocol is used by the microsoft server for streaming windows media cotent? (whatever it is)

    Being able to play windows media streams is just as usefull as being able to play windows media files on a disk or web url or etc.
  • Re:Satan: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:20PM (#15920861) Journal
    I'm really curious at how they are going to do so and still remain compatible with the GPLv3draft2 as it currently reads.

    It is obvious that they don't control the downstream propagation of MS's patten rights. Or do they?
  • Re:That'll be great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by also-rr ( 980579 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:21PM (#15920866) Homepage
    1) Try to instruct a novice user to find and download the free version on their website. Not an easy task but doable.

    This certainly used to be a massive problem (the easiest way was in fact to use the link provided by the BBC which went directly too it) but these days their download page [] (the one you get to by clicking real player on the front page) outlines your options pretty clearly.

    2) Try to install it without it inserting stuff into Windows startup - I use Startup Control Panel but not everyone is so lucky.

    Not really a problem when installing on Linux, so I can't help you there. Windows users should be used to it by now from WMParasite anyway. Maybe someone who has installed a more recent version than you have can provide some insight.

    3) Try to remove the messages/popups etc. from a standard installation - again, not for the novice.

    Last time I ran Real Player on Windows that just involved changing the settings in the options tab. Now, i'll not overestimate the technical ability of most users, but unless things have changed it wasn't a lot harder than grasping the principle of how to turn your computer on.
  • Re:already there? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by hamfactorial ( 857057 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:26PM (#15920902)
    The possibility of a cheap publicity stunt notwithstanding, we're still blessed with an open source WMV decoder. It will improve the quality of A/V on Linux, and I can't help but think that's a good thing(TM). For those not knowing what the hell I'm talking about, check out this blog entry [] about it.
  • Re:False Summary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chris_7d0h ( 216090 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:04PM (#15921243) Journal
    The mov extension is typically used by Apple Quicktime video files.
    Thus your beef is with Apple and not Microsoft.

    What I really lack is a way / program to move a video stream from one container format to another without transcoding the video stream. For example, the Ogg format hosts MPEG4 steams fairly well, so why can't I simply "lift" Microsoft MPEG4 or Apple MPEG4 videos from their respective proprietary containers to the open Ogg container?
  • wmv9 in changelog (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GodWasAnAlien ( 206300 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:11PM (#15921299)
    in version "": []
  • Re:That'll be great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kosmosik ( 654958 ) <kos AT kosmosik DOT net> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:19PM (#15921367) Homepage
    > I applaud any attempt at open-sourcing software but I would
    > worry about the quality of the code if their primary app
    > is in this much of a mess.

    Maybe they assume that most Windows users are idiots... Real Player for Linux if in fact quite neat application - GNOME style I would say. Real Player for Mac is a bit slow sometimes but again it works and is a little neat application. Only on Windows Real Player is real bloatware changing your settings (associations, putting shit in autostart etc).

    On Windows boxes I tend to install Real Alternative which is basically stripped set of Real codecs and browser plugin. But I don't really know if it is legal to use it.

    Great for those novice users of yours: ve.htm [] :)
  • Re:already there? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hoeferbe ( 168081 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:19PM (#15921375)
    An Anonymous Coward wrote []:
    Not if you download them from Microsoft! That's perfectly legal.
    Though, actually I just copy mine from my windows partition. Also legal, AFAIK.

    I asumme that you mean "download Windows Media Player" from Microsoft, and extract the CoDec DLLs from it. Would you please list which DLLs you get from this download, and where you put them on your GNU/Linux machine for your media plyaer to use? Thanks.

  • Use ffmpeg (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kristoffer Lunden ( 800757 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:25PM (#15921422) Homepage
    ffmpeg -i -vcodec copy -acodec copy outfile.ogg

    Untested, but something like that should work. See the friendly man page for more info.
  • Helix Player? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kunta Kinte ( 323399 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:25PM (#15921425) Journal

    Please open up your own format first before going and opening up other peoples' formats.

    They have, AFAIK.

    Helix Community [] offers the open source Helix Player which supports encoding and transcoding of RM along with a bunch of other formats [].

  • Re:Satan: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheOtter37 ( 995858 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @03:44PM (#15921960)
    My understanding is that any algorithm can be patented, so it would be up to the patent holder to decide whether to restrict decoding, encoding, or both. From a commercial standpoint, it seems to make sense most often to enforce the patent only on the writing side of the equation (if at all). That way free readers abound, but people developing the software to create content have to pay a license fee.

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.