Nero Linux, do we need it?

I heard about this story from a couple of different sources and it’s only fair to give them credit. The first was the Linux Action Show podcast and the 2nd was a Lifehacker article.

So anyway, the popular proprietary disc burning tool Nero has been released for Linux. The NeroLinux 3 Beta is available free to download at the moment. There is even a choice of RPM or DEB package so it should suit most distos. It’s a nice touch and it’s good to see the publishers are taking Linux seriously. I got the beta DEB for Ubuntu and tried it out, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you fine people 🙂

The interface looks nice and kind of takes me back to my days as a Windows user. It was always my burning software of choice on Windows and they seem to have transfered most of the functionality to this Linux version nicely. It’s built on the same API as the Windows version, NeroAPI 6.6 and thats reassuring to know. It does pretty much everything you’d expect from a decent burning tool and for those familiar with the Windows version the GUI will feel nice and familiar. Here are some of the features the publishers are promoting on their website:

  • Blu-ray and HD DVD data recording support
  • Upgrade to GTK 2.0
  • Improved GUI to match current Nero Burning ROM 7

Support for HD formats is nice but I doubt many people have drives capable of using this at the moment, also I notice it says “data” recording which makes me think you probably can’t burn HD films in it yet. The upgrade to GTK 2 is good but hardly anything to crow about and according to reviews of Nero’s last Linux offering the improvement of GUI was a real necessity not a luxury add-on. That’s not to take anything away from the product though, it’s very professional and the beta seems pretty solid, I never had a problem with it. The DEB package installed quickly and painlessly so I can’t fault them there.

I burned a couple of test discs and had a good play, it was all good and worked well but one thing kept cropping up in the back of my mind. Do we really need or for that matter want Nero for Linux? Version 3 is only in beta and no price has been announced yet but with version 2 currently on sale for 19 Euros, I think it’s pretty safe to assume it will be something similar. We already have some really good free disc burning tools in Linux like Gnomebaker and K3B, they offer pretty much the same features and work excellently, so will anyone really pay just to use Nero?

I’m sure some people will and there’s no doubt that for novice Windows users looking to migrate, the chance to use programs they know will be a big bonus. I’m just not sure that seasoned Linux users will embrace Nero with other well-established open source alternatives readily available. Personally I’m quite happy with Gnomebaker, it does everything I ask of it without any complaints, it’s free and crucially it’s open source. I can’t see anything Nero offers me that Gnomebaker doesn’t do already.

However, the very fact that something like Nero has been released for Linux has to be seen as a positive step in my view. We need more software makers to stop just making their products for Windows and Mac and look to target Linux as well. There are plenty of propriatary applications that I think could pull an audience in Linux if they were available, they are mostly high-end packages like Pro Tools, Photoshop CS and Final Cut Pro. As a musician I would love to be able to build a Pro Tools studio around my Linux PC and I don’t think I’m alone in that. One of the most frequent arguments I hear from people for avoiding Linux is “I can’t get the programs I want for it”. If only I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that argument and I suppose it’s a fair point if you’re taking about professional media tools that require some skill to use. The fact that some publishers have opened their eyes and seen the growth of Linux is definitely a good thing I think, hopefully more will follow.

So I’m almost tempted to buy NeroLinux 3 when it comes out, just to encourage more developers to bring their products to Linux but whether I actually will when it comes to parting with my cash, I don’t know. Nero isn’t quite in the same class as Pro Tools or Final Cut Pro now is it 😉

If you’re a fan of Nero I would definitely recommend you take a look at the free beta version available now.

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