Ubuntu's Software Center unveiled its first paid application a few days ago in the form of Fluendo's DVD Player. Read on for details, along with comments from the player's developers on where their relationship with Canonical might be headed in the future.

Barcelona-based Fluendo, which specializes in selling legal multimedia-codec solutions for Linux users (and which we've blogged about in the past), has offered its products through Canonical's online store for some time now.  Its DVD Player, however, represents the first item to be purchasable through the Software Center, an application built into Ubuntu itself.

As Fluendo explains on its website, its DVD Player package includes both codecs for DVD playback on Linux--providing a fully legal alternative to software like libdvdcss2--as well as an application for playing the videos themselves.

For now, the DVD Player is available only in Ubuntu 10.10's software center.  There's no word on whether we can expect it to be "backported" to earlier versions of the operating system as well.

Fluendo and Canonical

From all appearances, Fluendo represents one of Canonical's closest partners.  This makes sense, since Canonical is the only major commercial force to have based its future on the viability of the Linux desktop, while Fluendo targets its products at individuals and businesses that use Linux-based operating systems and require multimedia solutions that comply with local laws.

Now that Fluendo's DVD Player has become the first for-purchase item in the Software Center, will we see other Fluendo applications following suit?  We can't know for sure, but without getting into specifics, Fluendo representatives have stated that "we can imagine that other products, like the Fluendo codec pack which already is in the Ubuntu Software center, will join the list."

The Software Center

The appearance of the first purchasable application in the Software Center is significant not only for the Canonical-Fluendo relationship, but also for the future of Ubuntu and Canonical themselves.

When the Software Center first made its debut during the Ubuntu 9.10 development cycle, it generated more than a little controversy when Canonical proposed calling it the "Software Store."  Now, it's clear that, while the Software Center certainly provides functionality far beyond that of a store, a commercial component will become a part of it.

Of course, it's impossible to know exactly how applications offered for sale in the Software Store contribute to Canonical's bottom line.  But Fluendo tells me that part of its revenue is being shared with Canonical, and developing relationships like this one will prove essential to the longterm viability of the company behind Ubuntu, as it endeavors to establish its financial viability alongside big-name competitors.