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Linux OEM Software

Question:

I recently purchased a DVD burner for the Ubuntu Linux desktop computer in my home, which had the Nero OEM software Nero 7 Essentials included with it.

I know that I do not require Nero to burn DVDs on my Linux computer, but I was thinking that I already have the license for the software, and I am familiar with using it on Windows, so shouldn't I be able to use it?

I went to the Nero website and found that there has been a Linux version available since March of 2005.

I probed around the website looking for Linux downloads and couldn't find anything.

So, I pursued the problem further by sending an email to their customer support.

The response I received was, "Unfortunately your request is not possible. If you want the Linux version of Nero, you have to purchase it."

I replied to customer support and corporate headquarters, emphasizing my interest in Nero and that I already have a valid, unopened Windows license and I would merely like to exchange the Windows license for one of equal value on Linux.

Their response was that there is no Linux equivalent, only the full version is available for Linux, and I was offered an RMA letter to return the item to the retail store to exchange it. But, my problem wasn't with the hardware, it was with the Nero software.

So, I attempted to settle for an archived version of Nero 3, which is priced at the same monetary value as the Nero 7 Windows Essentials. The customer support response was, "Since OEM versions are designed to only be packaged with hardware and their costs are built in to the price of the hardware, which varies by manufacturer and retailer, there is no way to compare the value of an OEM program to that of a full retail product. Full versions include encoders/decoders and features that are not available in OEM versions."

In summary, I guess if I really want the Nero software for Linux I will have to purchase it.

I understand that there are open source solutions that could provide the functionality that I am looking for to burn DVDs. But, what about those corporate situations where technical support is a requirement and, just like everyone else, IT is on a tight budget?

My overall question is not really about software for the DVD burner, but about Linux software support in general. Typically, when you purchase hardware, you will receive supporting software that is compatible with Windows, and if you're lucky, Macintosh. If the software vendor already has Linux versions available, why wouldn't this be one of the operating systems that is supported with the OEM software?

Answer:

A remarkable story. First, I must admit that I know of no advantage that a proprietary CD/DVD burning program could give you compared to an open source program.

I use Cdrecord/wodim (or the graphical tool K3b) for burning CDs and growisofs for DVDs, and yet I have not missed anything.

DVDStyler can be used to create nice multimedia menus for video DVDs, and you will also find open source video processing and encoding/effects software such as Kino/Cinelerra and FFmpeg.

As for your question about support: Indeed, the open source community has no single proprietary vendor who could sell you commercial support. Instead, many professional firms can and will sell commercial support, and you can actually make a choice and take the one that fits your (or your company's) needs. The sservice ranges from a simple hotline, to training, to full 24/7 support where a technician flies to your site the moment you need one.

The part of the open source license that says "no warranty" might be confusing. Of course, commercial support is often available, just not necessarily directly from the individual programmer.

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    Klaus Knopper is the creator of Knoppix and co-founder of the LinuxTag expo. He currently works as a teacher, programmer, and consultant. If you have a configuration problem, or if you just want to learn more about how Linux works, send your questions to: klaus@linux-magazine. com

  • Ask Klaus!

    Klaus Knopper is the creator of Knoppix and co-founder of the LinuxTag expo. He currently works as a teacher, programmer, and consultant. If you have a configuration problem, or if you just want to learn more about how Linux works, send your questions to: klaus@linux-magazine.com

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