Amazon.com has quietly released its MP3 downloader program for Linux, with an available download for Ubuntu's latest version, 7.10. So, what does this mean for Ubuntu users?

For the first time, Ubuntu users will have access to a mainstream music provider, with millions of songs and full albums from the top bands available. The songs are provided without Digital Rights Management, which is a controversial means of protecting media companies' rights by limiting the times you can move music from one device or computer to another. DRM also effects the sound quality of a song. As a comparison, Apple's iTunes service offers non-DRM songs for $1.29, while Amazon's service offers the songs for 89 to 99 cents each.

You might be thinking, "This is great! But... how do I get it?" Here's how:

Visit Amazon's MP3 Downloads site, and click on the "Install the MP3 Downloader" link in the MP3 downloads bar near the top of the page. Then, you will be at the download page, which should detect that you are running Linux. You will see several links for different systems. Click on the one for Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy. Then, a dialog will open asking you what you would like to do with the file. Make sure that the file will open with "GDebi." After the file downloads, it will open in a dialog box that has a button that says "Install Package." Then, click the install button.

After the application installs, you will find it under the "Internet" category in the "Applications" menu. After it installs, you can go to the MP3 downloads site, either via amazon.com or the link provided in the application, where you can purchase songs. A save dialog box will open when you download a song. Make sure "Open With" says that the Amazon downloader is selected to handle the download.

When you try to play the songs on Ubuntu, you may find that a MP3 codec is not installed. You can install it by going into Synaptic via the menu System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager. Click on the "Search" button, and search "Fluendo." Fluendo provides legal codecs that you can purchase, however the MP3 codec is provided for free. Install the gtreamer-0.10-fluendo-mp3 package by right-clicking the square box next to the name.

This is Amazon's MP3 Downloader running on Ubuntu:

Amazon.com

After it installs, you will have the full ability to purchase songs online and play them inside Rhythmbox. Amazon has made the right move by including Linux users into their service, while other large music providers have not. This is also a smart move, as with the release of a downloader for Ubuntu, Amazon has increased their user base by another 12 million potential users.