On Thu, 29 Jul 2004 23:01:15 -0400, Jonathan Marc Bearak wrote:
I have had to help in several areas to maintain my sister's
computer. These have not been in areas of cross-platform compatibility,
but of interaction with the system.
I installed RealPlayer 10. I thought this would be necessary for
streaming media now that she doesn't have Windows Media Player. I then
opened Launchcast. The window opened, and I awaited the Flash applet to
load. But I was told that it could not work; Launchcast requires
Windows Media Player. I didn't immediately understand this -- I used to
use Launch not so many years ago. RealPlayer had been an option in the
Are you sure your problems are not to do with compatibility? ;)
Websites that only work with Internet Explorer/Windows are a pretty common
issue really. My brother is a musician, he visits lots of music related
websites - and he's said that if it weren't for the current security
problems IE has he would switch back to it from Firefox. Why? Because some
websites don't work, and others don't work as well. In his words: "you
never know what you're missing out on".
Potential solutions for this problem from short-term to long-term on the
Linux desktop are:
* Install Internet Explorer then WMP in Linux, and let people know that if
they find a website that doesn't work they can use IE - obviously making
it clear that it's only to be used for backwards compat purposes. It's
still possible to get hijacked and generally screwed over by worms even
via emulation, if you're careless.
* Bridge Gecko and ActiveX, so you only have to install WMP and Firefox
can use WMP directly like IE does. There is work underway to enable
ActiveX support in Gecko on Windows, enabling this for Linux as well would
require some interesting backflips but could be done. The approach
CrossOver uses is too hacky to make the majority of such apps work (they
expect scripting integration and such).
* Write a native plugin which matches the WMP plugin interfaces, and ship
reverse engineered codecs in "dodgy" repositories. Obviously this might
involve interface compatibility too. It also requires you to have a
friendly geek on hand to know that you have to add extra repositories and
install extra codecs to get equivalent functionality out of the box on
Windows: not great.
* Long term: evangelism for W3C standards, open multimedia codecs etc. I'm
not especially optimistic here :(
almost immediately after she first bought her notebook. This is not
case for most individuals, and there is not much that can be done to
stop people from making WMA recordings. Down the line, this will be a
big factor in people trying Linux. (It is somewhat analogous to the
concept of "addicting" college students to Napster subscriptions.)
- Install and use Windows Media Player.
- Install the WMA codecs/Windows Media Player and have native players
like RhythmBox/XMMS use it as their backend. Apps like mplayer/xine can
do this today though the installation routine isn't exactly obvious.
Yes yes requires Windows license, *yawn*, this is only a big deal for
corporate users where the cost of licenses is something that they think
about. For home users they (nearly by definition) already have a Windows
license as it came with their computer. Licenses don't expire, as far as I
know once you bought Windows XP you can install the software that came
with it for ever.
This is also a technique that works for DRMd music like M4P/WMA files
bought online, unlike the current "just host the codecs" system which
unfortunately requires breaking the encryption on the files so violating
Further, the new desktop background interface is unusable without
explanation. There are no choices given by default! I had to show her
to /usr/share/backgrounds in Nautilus and demonstrate dragging images
into the Desktop Background window to change them. A simple solution is
having a something akin to Apple's "Desktop Pictures" / "Choose
options in the Mac OS X Desktop Background settings application.
That should probably be filed in bugzilla - I guess by default all the
images in /usr/share/backgrounds should be registered (or maybe symlinked
to in the skeleton home directory as part of a "welcome pack" :)
The nightly yum update is enabled
(she ignored Windows Update alerts, and she ignored the red exclamation
point of rhn-applet-gui.)
Action point: offer to run up2date in silent/automatic mode during
system install like Windows XP is defaulting to in SP2 so users aren't
involved in the update process. Just makes things a bit easier when
installing Linux for non-technical friends/relatives.
She uses AOL for email (webmail interface).
(She has commented that people should complain to AOL that they should
make it work on Linux (not write a GTK+ client, of course, but "make it
work" on Linux; an interesting particular in the way non-hackers
understand how software works.))
I don't really understand, she uses AOL dialup? If so there is PengAOL
though finding this out is *really hard* or certainly used to be back when
I was trying to use Linux with AOL.
If you mean something else then I think the AOL protocols are pretty much
entirely reverse engineered these days, making it work would be possible
if it's not already done.