Fluendo Releases Moovida Pro, Adds Linux Support
Fluendo’s big announcement at CES 2011 this week centered around updates to its Moovida media player, including long-anticipated support for a stable Linux version. Here’s the scoop, and why it matters for Linux partners in particular.
As many readers may know, Moovida has a long history. Its origins date back several years, when Fluendo — a company based in Barcelona which makes most of its money selling legal multimedia codec solutions for Linux — launched Moovida’s predecessor, Elisa, as a media player for Linux. The project was later ported to other operating systems and renamed Moovida. It enjoyed popularity for a while among many users, particularly on Linux platforms, where few good alternatives existed at that time.
Moovida 2.0 debuted last May 2010, bringing with it a total rewrite of the application. The core code for Moovida 2.0, which is based on the popular open-source media player Banshee, is free-as-in-freedom, but as Fluendo representatives explained last year, plug-ins and extensions can be proprietary.
While a complete build of Moovida 2.0 was available for Windows since last summer, Linux users had to content themselves with a beta version of the application, which was available for download only through an obscure link posted to a mailing list. I tested this development build of the application a few months ago and liked it, but I was anxious to see more and disappointed by the slow progress that Fluendo seemed to be making toward bringing the Linux version of Moovida 2.0 to maturity.
Moovida Pro, Complete
Fast forward to the present, and the wait is over, with Fluendo announcing on Jan. 5, 2011, the release of stable builds of what it’s now calling Moovida Pro for both Windows and the major Linux distributions. They’re available for download for 25.99 euros, or something like $35 US.
Fluendo has also launched a new website, Moovida DB, designed (according to an e-mail) to help users “discover film info and figure out what to watch next from our application.” At the moment the site appears mostly only to provide links to the IMDB and Wikipedia pages for various movies, but I presume more features will be added in the future, as Fluendo also promised the tool would allow users to “share your preferences and make movie suggestions to your friends using Facebook and Twitter.”
Who Will Use It?
There’s no shortage these days either of media players or of websites for looking up movies. But in the Linux world, at least, Moovida Pro stands poised to fill an important niche by offering fully legal playback of all popular media formats, together with an interface to handle them.
Proprietary multimedia codecs are already readily available on Linux, of course, but in many cases they’re used without paying licensing fees that technically are due to the patent owners. Rightfully or wrongfully, most Linux users may not care about such legal issues, nor has any government agency yet expressed concern about the violation of patent laws by the relatively small number of citizens running Linux.
But for users worried about living squarely within the law — and especially for governments and companies that deploy Linux on their workstations and are subject to greater accountability — Moovida Pro provides a convenient way of achieving full multimedia playback without worrying about accusations of licensing infringement.
With users like these in mind, there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing Fluendo introduce Moovida Pro to the Ubuntu Software Center in the near future, following a path the company helped forge last September when the Fluendo DVD Player became the first application available for sale through that Ubuntu channel.