For users whove switched to Linux or another operating system thats similarly perched on the outskirts of desktop computings settled territory—as I have—occasional file format compatibility snags are unavoidable.
Most Internet-related file standards are solidly cross-platform, and the OpenOffice.org productivity suite does a good job with Microsoft Office files. But until now, Windows Media audio and video files have been inaccessible from Linux machines because there was no appropriate decoder with which to play them.
The people behind FFmpeg, an open-source product for recording, converting and streaming audio and video, have come up with the needed codecs. FFmpeg, which includes the libavcodec audio/video codec library, can be downloaded at ffmpeg.sourceforge.net.
FFmpeg was developed under Linux but can compile under most operating systems, including Windows, according to the FFmpeg Web site.
Whats more, the FFmpeg codecs are used in a variety of open-source media players, such as the strikingly named MPlayer. To learn more about MPlayer, you can check out www.mplayerhq.hu/homepage.