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RealPlayer to support Windows Media on Linux

Next version coming in December

RealNetworks will support Microsoft's Windows Media formats in an upgraded version of its RealPlayer multimedia application for Linux systems scheduled for release in December.

In addition, Novell will distribute the upgraded RealPlayer with its Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.0 operating system, the companies announced at LinuxWorld in San Francisco yesterday.

The upgraded RealPlayer program will join several other applications, such as MPlayer, that can handle Windows Media formats for Linux.

The RealNetworks deal may benefit Microsoft by offering the software giant another outlet to promote its media formats, despite the fact that it will run on Linux, a competitor to Microsoft's operating system. Microsoft is keen to drive use of its digital media formats in competition with Apple and its popular iTunes program.

RealNetworks support for Microsoft comes after the former rivals struck a surprising truce in October 2005 following a lengthy antitrust battle. The companies agreed to promote each others' services and technologies and Microsoft agreed to deliver $761m (about £402m) in cash and services to RealNetworks.

In the same announcement, Novell said it is also including RealNetworks' Helix Banshee music player in Enterprise Desktop 10.0, released last month. Helix Banshee is an open-source music player for Linux that shares the same code base as RealPlayer.

The application is the result of work from the Helix Community, which comprises open-source developers and technology companies, and the GNOME Banshee open-source music player, part of the GNU/Linux project.

Novell and RealNetworks said they are also working with independent software vendors to speed up the development of streaming media application on multiple OSes and hardware platforms.


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