In case you haven’t guessed by now, I like desktop Linux. I admit though that Linux is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to deal with proprietary media formats. These formats are designed to lock users into a particular video or audio player and those programs seldom come in a Linux version. There are answers though to this problem and that’s one of the reasons why I like the Linux Mint distribution. It makes listening to proprietary audio and viewing restricted video as easy as it’s ever going to get on Linux.
Mint isn’t well known outside of Linux fan circles, and that’s a pity because it’s an outstanding distribution. It’s based on Ubuntu, and it tracks Ubuntu quite closely. So, the latest version, Linux Mint 6 Felicia, is based on Ubuntu 8.10, aka Intrepid Ibex.
As such, Mint is an up-to-date desktop Linux. It’s based on the Linux 2.6.27 kernel and uses Gnome 2.24 and X.org 7.4 for its graphical interface. Mint comes in two versions. The first, the Main Edition, is the one that comes with support for multimedia codices and drivers for proprietary hardware. The other, the Universal Edition, doesn’t include any proprietary multimedia or hardware support.
The Main Edition is the one that has the goodies in it. Right off the disc, Mint Main Edition can play WMV (Windows Media Video), WMA (Windows Media Audio), QuickTime, and Flash media files. In short, with Mint you’ll be able to watch and listen to pretty any media you’ll find on the Web.