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Penguin TV: A Podcatcher for GNU/Linux

In general, multimedia is one of the areas that Linux has some catching up to do. Many vendors and developers can't be bothered to support Linux properly, so rudimentary things like Flash above version 7 and Windows Media files cause problems on Linux workstations.

As far as podcatchers go, there are a handful on the market and while most of them are pretty effective, the nice stable GUI ones are few and far between. has had podcast support for a while now, and has been extended by some developers to put a GUI on it. The newest entry into the Linux podcatching space is Penguin TV. Version 2.0 has just been released.

PenguinTV is not just another RSS feed reader. It is designed from the ground up to work seamlessly with podcasts and video blogs, allowing you to easily enjoy the audio, music, and video published around the web in RSS format.

I am downloading it now and will report back on how it fares.

6 Comments/Trackbacks

The real barrier to adoption of Linux in regards to multimedia is getting all the codecs installed IMHO.



Not so much. The codecs are widely available (legally) and many Linux distros include them. However, because many of the codecs are commercial products, they aren't free and are therefore only present in pay distros like Linspire.

The real barrier to multimedia in Linux is a grumpy community who thinks that everything should be free and are unwilling to pay for prorietary things like codecs.

I run Kubuntu now, but I ran Linspire for the better part of last year on my old laptop. It's an absolutely wonderful distro and, as mentioned, contains all the codecs I could ever possibly want to watch any form on multimedia.

One of the most popular distros, Fedora, doesn't even include the MP3 codec. Not sure about (K)Ubuntu - I think you have to grab them from the multiverse or universe repository don't you?

Anyway, these are all barriers. And there's always a lag. Are there 64-bit versions of the codecs easily available? I don't know, but the point is that a 13 year old or 63 year old that wants to use their iPod isn't going to want to much around with these things. I think Eric S. Raymond had something to say about this recently (didn't read what he had to say) - basically that Linux is getting left behind because of lack of support for multimedia devices like MP3 players.



I understand and agree that the codec issue with Linux is a problem. However, what I'd like to ensure that you (and othe reader's understand) is that these codecs are available for Linux but they have to be paid for just like they do with Windows or Mac.

Many people are adverse to paying for Linux because they feel it should be free. What they don't understand is that they're paying for the legal right to use those codecs.

FC doesn't include MP3 codecs because the project would have to pay for the licensing to do so. That cost would have to be passed on to the end user. The FC project has elected to remain a gratis distro which means that their choices are to either suck up the cost of licensing or put them in illegally (which some distros do).

I highly doubt that you'll find any of the mainstream Linux distros come complete with MP3 support for the same reason.

Digital audio players aren't really part of this argument, I don't think. We're talking about codecs.

I don't think one can change the hearts and minds of the Linux community on the point of paying for the codecs. They'd rather lobby for standardization on the OGG format.

Where does that leave us? Don't know!



Sadly, it leaves us in a very easily "FUDded" state where many people feel that "Linux" isn't up to the task of playing many multimedia formats when in fact it is.

This next part isn't directed at you - I'm just commenting at large: expecting the same functionality out of a multi-hundred dollars OS and a free OS is a little naive. One of the reasons those OSses cost so much is the licensing of the stuff inside them.

For me, I use Linux because I choose security and flexibility over movies, but everyone uses their computer for different things and few of us are willing to cut off our noses to spite our faces :)

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