In the past, if you wanted to play WMF (Windows Media format) files on Linux (with the recent exception of Freespire), you usually had to find, download, and install Microsofts WMF codecs. Now, RealNetworks and Novell are teaming up to deliver Windows Media support to the Linux desktop.
As a result of a Microsoft-Real anti-trust lawsuit, Real won the right to incorporate Windows media formats into its software. As a result, Reals RealPlayer and its open-source counterpart, Helix, will soon be able to play the Windows media formats.
Novell, in turn, will distribute the upgraded RealPlayer and Helix, as part of the GNOME Banshee music player in its SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) distribution. The Helix Banshee player adds the Helix DNA client universal media framework to the GNOME-based Banshee open-source music player. This music player will also have the power to burn MP3 files to CDs.
The two companies are working together to speed up the progress of ISV streaming media application development on Linux through the Helix media frameworks.