InfoWorld's Test Center picks the best open source productivity software and mobile tools of 2011
VLC may be the most complete media player around -- complete in the sense that support for just about every format and every kind of playback is available right out of the box.
Most any video or audio file can be played by simply dropping the file on the player, even files that weren't put together with the greatest regard for internal consistency or standards compliance. It also reads and broadcasts a huge variety of video streams, and it can be used to transcode files between formats, although the interface for doing that is still rather clunky. Support for Blu-ray, albeit only for discs without copy protection, is in the works, too.
One of VLC's slight weak spots is media libraries. It can build libraries by scanning folders, but it doesn't yet continuously watch them for changes (that's scheduled for version 1.2, though). But the overall utility and convenience of VLC makes it just about indispensable.
The Bossies 2011 index:
This slideshow, "Bossie Awards 2011: The best open source desktop and mobile software," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in applications, mobile technology, and open source at InfoWorld.com.