There are various reasons why Linux is compelling. For one, it’s free – both now and for all future upgrades.
Yet, conversely, there are reasons why people choose to continue using Microsoft Windows. Not least of all is familiarity.
Windows is well-known. It ships with most computers. Most people know where to find the printers control panel, they know how to start Internet Explorer.
Alternate operating systems can blow it almost in the first instance if a person comes along and cannot find quickly how to perform some of their most common tasks. If there is no immediate sense of being in control then there will usually be little incentive to persevere.
This is where playing DVDs comes in. I’ve had friends call me and ask just why it is so hard to play DVDs under Linux. They reasonably expect to simply insert a disc and have the movie play.
It’s a disappointing shortcoming. However, there is a reason for it. It’s the same reason you can’t play DVDs on the Nintendo Wii despite it having a DVD drive. I’m sure other systems are similarly available that do not permit movie playback.
Most all commercial DVDs are encrypted with a special algorithm called Content Scrambling System (CSS – not to be confused with cascading style sheets in web design) to prevent illegal copying.
The key to watching DVDs lies in the ability of either hardware or software to read and decode this CSS encryption.
The algorithm is not secret but to get a copy of it to include with your device – whether hardware or software – you must pay a licensing fee plus agree to license terms.
Microsoft has paid this; consequently Microsoft Windows is able to decrypt and play movies. Yet, Linux is, in most incarnations, free of charge. The developers had the choice to either wear the cost for DVD playback themself or ship Linux without this capability. Not surprisingly they chose the latter.
In a similar way, Nintendo has not licensed this algorithm for use in the Wii game console and that is why it is unable to play DVD movies. In this case the Wii is a commercially available device but presumably Nintendo felt in this modern day most households have a DVD player and would prefer not to have the licensing fee tacked onto the Wii’s price if they rarely or never make use of it.
Nevertheless, you can play DVDs under Linux – just not out-of-the-box. You must perform some steps which I’ll tell you over the page.