Desktop Linux provider Linspire Now Natively Supports Latest Versions of Windows Media. Many popular music sites remain inaccessible as Microsoft's Digital Rights Management restricts Linux playback.
SAN DIEGO, November 18, 2004 – Linspire, Inc. today introduced native support for Windows Media Player versions 8 and 9 on its operating system. Beginning immediately, all Linspire versions in all languages will include Windows Media support – users will now have in-line playback of audio and video on popular sites like FoxNews.com and Movies.com, all with codecs legally licensed and fully integrated for the Linspire operating system. With this distribution, Linspire is the first Linux distributor in the world to fully support Windows Media 8 and 9 audio and video file formats.
“Fully supporting Windows Media files means Linspire users have instant gratification when they want to watch a video embedded in a Web site or hear a clip of a hot new song,” said Michael Robertson, CEO of Linspire, Inc. “This new capability gives desktop Linux functionality critical to satisfying mainstream consumers.”
Making Windows Media work on Linux systems required more than two months of engineering effort. Previously, Windows Media files would typically work on users' machines only if they found and installed unlicensed codecs online then patched them into their operating system. In contrast, Linspire licensed the codecs directly from Microsoft, then made substantial changes to make the Windows Media code work on Linux-based systems. The engineering required porting the complete Windows CE Windows Media code to Linux.
This support makes it possible for desktop Linux users to experience a host of audio and video clips that are transmitted in Windows Media format. Web sites that are now playable by desktop Linux machines include everything from news (CBS News, Fox News) to comedy (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) to weather (Yahoo! Weather). The new support also allows audio and video to be played inside the browser without spawning a new window, as many Windows Media files on Linux would in the past.
The new license does have its limitations, however: Linspire cannot legally support all Windows Media file types. Linspire is unable to play content that is encoded with Microsoft's Digital Rights Management (DRM) software. Since most online commercial music stores like Napster, Musicmatch and Buy.com implement DRM on all of their files, it is impossible for desktop Linux users to use these sites. Linspire requested a DRM license to complete their support of Windows Media, but was rebuffed by Microsoft, who said they will not license a general computing platform.
“It's disappointing that Linux users are barred from popular music services by Microsoft's unwillingness to license DRM to Linux companies,” Robertson said. “Microsoft is clearly trying to use their operating system monopoly to strong-arm control of the music industry and lock out competing Linux companies.”
For more of Linspire CEO Michael Robertson's comments on Microsoft, Digital Rights Management, and Windows Media on Linux, see this week's Michael's Minute newsletter at http://www.linspire.com/mediamm.
For more information about Linspire, contact:
858-587-6700, ext. 263
About Linspire, Inc.
Linspire (www.linspire.com) is an affordable Linux-based operating system designed specifically for desktop and laptop computers in homes, schools and businesses. Linspire uses innovative CNR technology that allows the installation, updating and management of more than 1,900 software programs with just one click from Linspire's CNR Warehouse (www.linspire.com/warehouse). The Linspire operating system is also offered in Spanish (www.linspire.com/espanol), Italian (www.linspire.com/italiano) and Japanese (www.linspire.com/livedoor).
Linspire is a trademark of Linspire, Inc., a Delaware Corporation. Other marks used herein may be the property of their respective owners.