Fedora is one of the widely popular Linux Distributions; However it has always suffered from lack of native MP3 support. If you are a loyal fedora user, you already knew that there is no native mp3 support in Fedora. However for any one giving his/her first shot on Linux, it is both surprising and annoying. Why? Because one can’t simply play a song and/or rip/convert a CD to MP3; Of course, users are free to add these needed packages by using third-party repositories.
Well… Fedora has decided to provide native support for MP3 encoding/decoding in upcoming distributions. It’s bit of a late bloomer thing as music has mostly moved to cloud. Though the move seems late but is infact a welcome move and much appreciated.
The root cause was Fedora’s alignment to FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and because MP3 decoding was patented. With MP3 patents expiring, it is now considered eligible under FOSS and hence considered as a part of Fedora project.
In the words of James Hogarth of Fedora Project – “Both MP3 encoding and decoding will soon be officially supported in Fedora. Last November the patents covering MP3 decoding expired and Fedora Workstation enabled MP3 decoding via the mpg123 library and GStreamer. This update allowed users with the gstreamer1-plugin-mpg123 package installed on their systems to listen to MP3 encoded music.”
Hogarth also added – “A couple of weeks ago IIS Fraunhofer and Technicolor terminated their licensing program and just a few days ago Red Hat Legal provided the permission to ship MP3 encoding in Fedora. There will be a bit of time whilst package reviews are carried out and tools that are safe to add are identified, as only MP3 is cleared and not other MPEG technologies. However, it will soon be possible to convert physical media or other formats to MP3 in Fedora without 3rd party repositories.”
Please note that Fedora 25 Workstation is already shipping with inbuilt plugin that allows for playback of MP3 audio files and Fedora 26 is expected to provide full native mp3 support.