OpenSolaris Multimedia Improvements
By user9149671 on Mar 27, 2009
The multimedia experience in OpenSolaris has improved so greatly since Solaris 10 that it is worth taking a look at the improvements in the latest OpenSolaris releases. Especially for people who have an interest or need for good multimedia support. Solaris 10 shipped with GNOME 2.6, GStreamer 0.8, and only a few GStreamer-based applications, such as totem. Aside from a lack of applications, the user experience on Solaris 10 is further hindered by the fact that most popular non-free media formats are not supported.
After investing a good deal of effort, the experience when using OpenSolaris is a world of difference. OpenSolaris now includes GStreamer 0.10, which supports Fluendo's popular media codecs. You can purchase licensed media codecs from them to play popular formats such as Windows Media (audio and video), MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and MP3 audio. Their MP3 audio plugin is available at no charge, which is nice.
OpenSolaris now supports a more rich set of GStreamer-based multimedia applications, including Songbird and rhythmbox, so it is now possible to organize and play an audio library on OpenSolaris. With codecs from Fluendo, totem is far more useful for playing video files. Fluendo's new media program, elisa, has been added to the upcoming 09.06 release and it provides a rich new interface for interacting with both audio and video.
The OpenSolaris 09.06 release also includes codeina. This program makes it easier to update OpenSolaris so it supports most popular non-free media. For example, if a person tries to play any media with a GStreamer-based program, and if a codec is not available on the system to play that media format, then codeina checks to see if there is a Fluendo plugin available to play it. If so, then codeina steps the user through the process of downloading and installing the needed codec. Once purchased, then the program will just go ahead and play the media file immediately. Of course, that media format will then be supported by all GStreamer-based programs.
I hope that people who try the latest OpenSolaris releases find it to be a much more positive multimedia experience. Feedback is welcome. Let us know on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list if you run into any issues or have comments.
We are not done working yet. Probable the most significant remaining issue with multimedia in OpenSolaris is that it still does not support playing DVD's. Fluendo promises that they will soon make available a DVD playback application, so hopefully that will address this issue in the near future.
Also, the OpenSolaris Desktop team is working to integrate more exciting applications in future OpenSolaris releases. Work is currently underway to integrate OSS into Solaris, though this will not make the 2009.06 release. Once that is done, we are considering making the popular audcaity Audio multitracking editor available. We are also planning to add the coherence Python module to add UPnP support to OpenSolaris and the jokosher audio multitracking program application. So, there are a lot of exciting reasons to look forward in terms of OpenSolaris multimedia support also.