By Jim Lynch  |  Posted 2003-11-18 Print this article Print

No Luck With MP3s or DVDs If youre hot to trot to play your MP3s or DVDs, then youll be a bit disappointed in Fedora. For legal reasons, it doesnt come with the ability to play MP3s (the appropriate plugin is missing from XMMS) or DVDs. We discovered this after we had downloaded Ted Nugents excellent "Crave" MP3 to give it a shot on Fedora. We got a popup message explaining why that was left out of XMMS. There is a way around the MP3 problem, however. You can download the 1.2.7 version of XMMS (ftp://ftp.xmms.org/pub/xmms/) and then install the MP3 plugin for it (try doing a Google search for more information). We soon had the Motor City Madmans "Crave" blaring from the speakers of our Fedora box.
As for playing DVDs, its not a big deal for us. We dont even bother playing DVDs on our Windows box, never mind on our Linux boxes. When its time to watch DVDs, we prefer to plop down on our comfortable couch and watch them via our Sony DVD player.
There are numerous articles on the Web detailing how to get DVDs playing on Linux, so if you really want to, it is possible. The Verdict on Fedora Overall we like Fedora, but have some reservations. The application install/remove tool problems absolutely must be fixed. We could not recommend this distro to a Linux newbie until that problem was resolved. The lack of MP3/DVD play might also be an issue for some users. Unless youre a tinkerer (and what real Linux geek isnt?), it might make more sense to just wait until the next release and see if the bugs have all been worked out. Once some of the current bugs are fixed, Fedora could be considered for use on the corporate desktop. It already provides a rich array of functionality and comes with lots of excellent software such as OpenOffice, Evolution and GAIM. However, companies considering an alternative to Windows would probably do well to wait for the next release of Fedora. The install/remove software bugs in this version are too much to expect a mainstream corporate desktop user to deal with, and will increase support costs. So sit tight and wait for the next release, or opt for one of the other corporate Linux distros, like SuSe. Jason Brooks has more details on the Fedora project, which clears up some misconceptions on Red Hats direction and motives. Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum

Jim manages the PC Magazine and ExtremeTech forums, and is responsible for building community in the forums on both sites. He started managing PC Mag's forum on ZiffNet on CompuServe many years ago. He then transferred the staff and expertise to the Web. He left ZDNet when it moved to San Francisco and came back to Ziff after the split from ZDNet, right before ExtremeTech launched. You can get more background at his personal site: www.jimlynch.com/profile.htm.

His favorite movies include Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Three Musketeers (1973 version), Dune (Sci Fi Channel version), and gobs of others. He can't live without his iPAQ Pocket PC—,he uses it at the gym and everywhere else—,and his DVD collection features more than 200 films. His favorite game is Tribes (PC), which is more than three years old but he still plays it all the time.

Jim likes interacting with the folks in the forum and the content. 'I Love both of 'em,' says Lynch. 'It's what makes the job fun and interesting.'

You're welcome to visit Jim's site for more information about him.


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