Fedora includes many packages for multimedia applications, including tools to create, record and play back many multimedia formats. There are also some popular formats that are not supported in default Fedora installations for certain reasons. Questions are frequently raised about various multimedia tools and formats in Fedora, questions that this section aims to answer.
Third party software repositories
Third party repositories typically have a more liberal licensing policy and can include multimedia players and codecs that Fedora excludes for various reasons. End users can look there for software that is not provided by Fedora. Fedora does not include any support for patent encumbered or proprietary codecs. If you want to understand more, refer to Software Patents
Enabling sound hardware on Fedora systems is often among the early goals after installation. There are many different technologies that are used for sound, many different types of hardware and associated drivers and a number of issues that might be encountered.
The default installation of Fedora includes Rhythmbox and Totem for media playback. Many other programs are available in the Fedora repositories, including the popular XMMS player and KDE's amaroK. Both GNOME and KDE have a selection of players that can be used with a variety of formats. Additional programs are available from third parties to handle other formats.
Ogg and Xiph.Org Foundation Formats
Fedora includes complete support for the Ogg media container format and the Vorbis audio, Theora video, Speex audio and FLAC lossless audio formats. These freely-distributable formats are not encumbered by patent or license restrictions. They provide powerful and flexible alternatives to more popular, restricted formats. The Fedora Project encourages the use of open source formats in place of restricted ones. For more information on these formats and how to use them, refer to the Xiph.Org Foundation's web site at http://www.xiph.org/.
MP3, DVD and Other Excluded Multimedia
Fedora cannot include support for MP3 or DVD video playback or recording. The MP3 formats are patented, and the patent holders have not provided the necessary licenses. DVD video formats are patented and equipped with an encryption scheme. The patent holders have not provided the necessary licenses, and the code needed to decrypt CSS-encrypted discs may violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a copyright law of the United States. Fedora also excludes other multimedia software due to patent, copyright or license restrictions, including Adobe's Flash Player and and Real Media's Real Player. For more on this subject, please refer to http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/ForbiddenItems.
While other MP3 options may be available for Fedora, Fluendo now offers an MP3 plugin for GStreamer that has the related patents licensed for end users. This plugin will enable MP3 support in applications that use the GStreamer framework as a backend. We are still unable to distribute this plugin in Fedora for licensing reasons, but this plugin offers a new solution for an old problem. For more information, see Installing Fluendo MP3 Plug-in
CD and DVD Authoring and Burning
Fedora include a variety of tools for easily mastering and burning CDs and DVDs. GNOME users can burn directly from the Nautilus file manager. There are also specialized media writing software such as
k3b available in Fedora, for these tasks. Console tools include
genisoimage and other popular applications.
You can use Fedora to create and play back screencasts, which are recorded desktop sessions, using open technologies. Fedora includes
istanbul, which creates screencasts using the Theora video format as well as 'byzanz' which creates screencasts as animated GIF files. These videos can be played back using one of several players included in Fedora. This is the preferred way to submit screencasts to the Fedora Project for either developer or end-user use. For a more comprehensive how-to, refer to the ScreenCasting page.
Extended Support through Plugins
Most of the media players in Fedora support the use of plugins to add support for additional media formats and sound output systems. Some use powerful backends, like the
gstreamer package, to handle media format support and sound output. Plugin packages for these backends and for individual applications are available in Fedora and additional plugins may be available from third parties to add even greater capabilities.
- Audio Creation SIG - This Special Interest Group is dedicated to the packaging of media production software in Fedora
- fedora-music-list - This mailing list is dedicated to music in Fedora
- The Fedora Artwork Project - This project produces artwork featured in Fedora