Anticipated Problem in Fedora Core 3

I’ve hit quite a few snags with FC3 lately.  Very odd that people consider this one of the most new user friendly.  I have a bad feeling that this is actually going to score very low with my wife when she takes it for a test drive.  The reason I say this is that FC3 doesn’t play mp3’s!  That’s right, you heard me correctly, you can’t play mp3s with FC3…I was shocked as well.  I did some snooping and it turns out that Red Hat thinks they can’t distribute the mp3 codec legally…or are just to scared to do so.  Pretty odd considering all of those mp3 players out there seem to be a-ok with being able to play mp3s.  Let me setup what happened and how I came to this conclusion.

I decided to go back to FC3 to do some more messing with it…mainly because quite a few of the Lxer.com crew seem to LOVE FC3.  So…I install and have it up and running.  I mount my shared music drive and decide that I want some mood music while I mess with compiling a few things.  XMMS pops open and decides that mp3’s aren’t something it wants to play.  Here I thought of two things I could do.

  1. Convert all of my mp3s to .wavs immediately so that FC3 would be happy with it and play them.
  2. Find out what in the world was up with this and get a workaround

Now, if this were the review we’ve been building up to for the past couple of months…I’m afraid a new user would be more apt to replace my number 2 above with a “ditch Fedora Core 3″ and they’d be perfectly justifiable in doing so.  How many new users have even been to a forum before?  How many have asked for help?  If we’re shooting at being viable competition for Windows, we’ll need a distro that allows a person to operate WITHOUT GOING TO FORUMS or helplines.  It will need documentation available to it immediately after installation and it will need things as simple as listening to mp3s to work out of the box.

Snooping led me to a tips and tricks post on a forum that shows me a bunch more stuff I haven’t even run across that doesn’t work out of the box.  I wouldn’t be too concerned if they didn’t have to deal with really basic tasks such as playing music.  But alas, one cannot wish for too much out of a distro evidently.  Fedora came up majorly short in this department and I suspect that my wife will give up on it if she runs across this problem.  We’ll see what happens I guess :P

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devnet has been a project manager for a Fortune 500 company, a Unix administrator, a Technical Writer, and a System Analyst during his 10 years working with Technology.

  • http://www.mcarthurweb.com Misanthropyst

    Red Hat removed mp3 support in the default xmms player because of licensing issues with mp3. You can get the rpm to fix it here:

    http://heidelberg.freshrpms.net/rpm.html?id=400

    The usual (as root) rpm -Uvh xmms-mp3*.rpm will fix you up.

  • http://thisone devnet

    No problems for me finding a solution…but thanks for the help. The problem will be that my wife won’t find the solution and this will tax FC3 hard overall for the current desktop Linux distro showdown I’m doing on the site.

  • http://scribbler.tk Ankit Malik

    Ain’t that old news? And we already have had so many cribbings about it? And it is already known [since time immemorial i.e. Since FC1] that FC wont have MP3

  • http://thisone devnet

    Actually, if you read the article, you’ll see that I wasn’t aware of it at all and it was complete news to me. I try to not “live by distro” meaning I try to not allow myself to be poured into everything a distro has…I did that with MEPIS and it burned me…so I don’t really pay close attention to debates or issues waging within distributions or the distro communities.

    Having not tried FC 1 or 2, I had no idea that mp3’s wouldn’t play. Everything was a complete surprise. If you take a look at all posts in the category, you will also see that each distro will be rated on its ‘out of the box’ performance. Guess what that means for FC3? That is what this post was about…not about something that happened on a forum you may be a part of or an IRC channel you chat in.

  • http://www.jcraveiro.com/ João Craveiro

    What happens is that Red Hat is very strict in what refers to being *really* open-source; bearing mp3 support “out of the box” would violate licensing issues.

  • http://thisone devnet

    That being the case, I’d say mandrake, SuSe, Xandros, Lycoris, Linspire, and MEPIS are gonna be in trouble in the future…I believe they all offer mp3 support out of the box.

  • http://www.jcraveiro.com/ João Craveiro

    Maybe.. Or at least we cn’t call those distros effectively “free” or “open source”.. ;)

    By the way, didn’t the lack of NTFS support “out of the box” [sic], for similar reasons, indignate you? I think that is more legitimately important than MP3, IMHO…

  • http://Thisone devnet

    Not really. I do practically everything for storage in Linux. My server stores everything…I don’t need to access my NTFS drive for much of anything due to having a central server where I save just about all my files.

    But it isn’t about what I need. It’s going to be what my wife needs. The good part about what happens is she won’t need NTFS support…all her files are saved on the Linux server. Most people wouldn’t experience this so I will include this point on a side note and add it to the criteria.

    Of course, Linux and NTFS support is risky at best….you always have a chance to screw things up.