Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Review of Fluendo Codec Pack and DVD Player in openSUSE with Gnome

+Fluendo  aims at improving the global multimedia experience in the Free Software world by funding, developing and maintaining the +GStreamer  media framework and providing a wide range of commercial and free products on top of it.

For this test I did a clean install of +openSUSE  12.2 with the +GNOME  3 environment. I endeavored where possible to only use the multimedia applications included as part of our Gnome 3 pattern. So for most things I've used either Totem or +Banshee  which both use the GStreamer framework, which is what the Fluendo Codec pack is for, and what their DVD Player is based on.

The Fluendo codec pack promises superior playback capability with hardware acceleration. It certainly delivers an overall better multimedia experience. As I mentioned I have endeavored to keep a minimal install. Typically I have found Banshee to be glitchy and unpredictable. Though I knew Banshee was a darling media player for many, I hadn't the least idea why. However, after installing the Fluendo Codec Pack the way Banshee works is inexplicably better, and I to have become a fan. Also Totem (which is usually a steaming pile of $%!^) behaved much better with the Fluendo Codec Pack. Overall, my opinion on purchasing this would be this; whether you need it or not, the refined playback and compatibility make for a more enjoyable multimedia experience under Linux with less fuss than other means.

Unlike their Codec Pack, the Fluendo DVD Player was disappointing. Now, it does play DVD's, and plays them beautifully. However, I have found a few cases where disks that should have played, simply didn't. The interface leaves much to be desired. It is not suitable to new users since in order to use this software properly you'd need to have at least an elementary understanding of how devices are depicted in the Linux filesystem. I found that most of the configuration options that were shown either were unresponsive, or broken to the point of being unintelligible. There has been an update fixing that now, though the usage of the software is still ridiculously complicated. Bottom line is this; get it if you watch a lot of DVD movies, and know how devices are shown in a Linux filesystem.

Interesting sidenote: +Novell holds a license to redistribute these. I think they were going to include them in +SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, or maybe try making a home desktop.