The good folks at Dell have added DVD playback capability to the image that they preinstall for folks who buy Dell computers with Ubuntu.
Multimedia and DVD are often cited as the biggest things missing from the typical consumer’s expectations of a “fully working system”. Ideally, we could deliver a great multimedia experience in a free software stack but the US patent landscape makes that impossible, so for the moment this requires proprietary software. My hope is that the content industry will realise that DRM and playback restrictions are harmful to their own interests, and that EMI’s decision to sell MP3’s leads to a broader movement away from restrictive technologies.
So, thanks and congrats to Dell for taking care of this for their customers, there’s one more reason to give someone close to you a virus-resistant, spyware-resistant Ubuntu-based Dell for 2008 🙂