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Re: The Multimedia Question

On Thu, 19 Jul 2007, Luis Villa wrote:

Firmware is also something that should've been done on the hardware in a
perfect world, WMV support is a little different.

It really isn't that different; hardware I can't boot is only
minimally different from hardware I can boot but can't use with the
data I need/want to access.

And whether or not firmware is software or not is completely, totally irrelevant; it is modifiable and it impacts how people control and use their computers and their data. That makes it a freedom issue. You can hide it under semantic blankets if it makes you feel better, but you *have* made a strategic compromise of user freedom in order to help users.


The sooner you figure out how to draw real and meaningful boundaries
around that compromise instead of bullshit like 'it isn't software, so
therefore it is alright', the better off we'll all be. As soon as you
have *meaningful* lines instead of semantic hedges, you can actually
start to answer questions about things like codecs in a meaningful
way, instead of having a dramatic and surreal dance around the issues
every time it comes up, as it is about to (again) around non-free web
services, and already has with drivers, firmware, codecs, etc., etc.


So it seems to me that the die is cast for Fedora. It seems to me that we've backed ourselves into this funky "it's totally free (except where it isn't)" corner with Fedora.

And if that's the case, my next question will be, "what entity will take the Fedora base and create a compelling/compromising user experience with it"? Because that way, we don't even have to bother answering questions like the proprietary codecs question. We can just proclaim, once and for all, that IN FEDORA, USERS ARE IMPORTANT, BUT SOFTWARE FREEDOM IS MORE IMPORTANT, and call it a day.

And you know what? I believe that's okay. I believe that's why we built the Fedora packaging universe the way we built it. I believe that Fedora is relatively holy ground -- but I also believe that we should be encouraging the heretics. Because that allows Fedorans to focus on things like Gnash and Ogg, and actual desktop usability issues that have nothing to do with codecs, and we can work on these issues *without compromise* -- but we can encourage some other, hopefully friendly, third parties to do all the dirty stuff that we won't do with Fedora. Maybe that third party is rpmfusion. Maybe it's Red Hat working with Fluendo on a desktop product. But if it's not going to be Fedora, then let's say it's not going to be Fedora, make CodecBuddy a purely educational tool, and move on.


Greg DeKoenigsberg
Community Development Manager
Red Hat, Inc. :: 1-919-754-4255
"To whomsoever much hath been given...
...from him much shall be asked"

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