Last week I described a free CD called dyne:bolic that promised video and audio production and streaming capability on a bootable GNU/Linux CD. See the dynebolic web site for more information.
I was successfully able to boot my IBM ThinkPad from it, but it did not recognize the ThinkPad sound "card". It did play MPEG compressed video off of my hard drive without a problem and there was a wide range of software for editing and streaming video and audio. However, as noted last week, the CD is currently an "Alpha" release and some knowledge of Linux is needed to take advantage of the programs. In some cases, even though the programs work through the X window system, it is necessary to start them from the command line. I didn't have time to explore how to get sound working on the ThinkPad and didn't try the built in streaming software. If any other readers have gotten this working, drop me a note.
If you're new to Linux and want to see how it handles video and audio files, you may have more success with another GNU/Linux bootable CD called "Knoppix". This distribution is geared more to office applications but includes a wide range of multimedia software as well. For more information on Knoppix, see http://www.knoppix.net/ and http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html.
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