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This article is part of the Tips & Tricks series.
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The purpose of this article is to present a consolidated list of alternatives to currently closed source software, or software only available on Microsoft Windows/Vista or Mac OS.



Gnash is an alternative to Adobe Flash. It currently supports most of SWF7.

youtube-dl is another alternatives that allows the download of videos for local playback. Also keepvid does quite the same but is web-based.


There are hundreds of choices that range from proprietary to "from scratch" open source. For more information on Java, visit The Java Project's Homepage.
Note: It appears that Gentoo's preferred Java implementation, Blackdown, is now defunct.


Audio/Video Codecs


The win32codec package is provided by the same organization that produces Mplayer. This codec package allows media files that utilize Windows specific containers and encodings to be played back in Linux. Unfortunately, there are some formats that are not supported on architectures other than X86. See the Codec Status Page for a list of supported audio and video codecs.

MPlayer is not required to integrate win32codecs into Linux. Add the win32codecs to the USE flags line in /etc/make.conf, or specify it only for the apps you want:

File: /etc/portage/package.use
media-libs/xine-lib win32codecs
media-video/mplayer win32codecs
media-video/vlc win32codecs
# etc...


Graphics Card Drivers




There are three open-source drivers available for ATI/AMD graphics cards. Please refer to Radeon and RadeonHD for installation instructions for the radeon and radeonhd drivers. The third, avivo, never really came anywhere.

Wireless NIC


While not an open source driver, it is a wrapper that allows the use of Windows drivers in a Linux. For more information, visit the NDISwrapper homepage.


MadWifi is an open source driver that supports a multitude of wireless NICs. It does, however, depend on a proprietary and closed source Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL).

Intel IPW2100/IPW2200

See the ipw2100 guide or the ipw2200 guide.

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Last modified: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 23:13:00 +0000 Hits: 14,437