A couple months ago, I sent out mail helping a couple folks out with getting RealPlayer 8 for Linux. Now, I want to tell people "don't use that, we have something new and shiny!"
Here's an update on the Helix Player initiative from RealNetworks. We're working on an open source, multi-format player (w/a couple of proprietary components, notably for RealAudio and RealVideo playback).
We posted our first milestone release last month, and we've started posting nightly builds. Details for downloading this are here: https://player.helixcommunity.org/
The good: * Video playback is vastly improved over RealPlayer 8 and the RealOne Player Alpha that's currently available on * Includes Ogg Vorbis support * Includes SMIL 2.0, along with JPEG, GIF, PNG, and RealPix. This allows for some really impressive presentation capabilities (transitions, alphablending, etc). To show off what can be done using only the open source components of this player (e.g. no RealAudio and RealVideo), I put together the following presentation, which can be played with the Helix Player:
Playback: http://rtsp.org/2003/demos/oggsmil/oggdemo.smil Download: http://rtsp.org/2003/demos/oggsmil.tar.gz
What this doesn't show off is the ability to do transitions between video presentations or alphablend a translucent logo on top of a video, but you can at least start to see why it's cool.
The bad: * The installation of this player isn't perfectly streamlined, but not rocket science. * Not all formats are supported yet. RealText and RealFlash are notable omissions that are on the plan. Windows Media is not on the plan. * Some hangups with SMIL...for example, we've got some bugs with path handling that keep us from showing off the battery of content we've developed to really show off SMIL * It's still pre-release quality. There's lots of quirks, but those are fewer by the day.
All said, we're pretty proud of how it's shaping up. However, development, testing, and documentation are all in short supply, so we can really use your help. We really want to work with the community to make Linux a great multimedia desktop system.