codec buddy, fluendo, etc.

Toshio Kuratomi a.badger at
Fri Feb 8 20:07:04 UTC 2008

Max Spevack wrote:
> 0.  Invite the Fluendo folks to join.

As Seth said, we want to avoid the appearance of cutting a deal.  This 
would be somewhat alleviated if there were other legal alternatives that 
could be incorporated.

> 1.  What is good about Codec Buddy?

The things I like about codec buddy are:

1) it gives us a chance to educate users on why we don't ship these codecs.
2) It allows us to do something that points the user in the right 
direction rather than simply failing and giving the impression that what 
they've done is simply impossible to do with Fedora.

OTOH there are at least some users that don't read or understand our 
reasons so this might be a salve to our conscience but no real help to 
the end-user.

> 2.  What improvements would we like to see in Codec Buddy and/or codeina?

My number one gripe is that there's no help for people who can get 
codecs where they are not patented.  As a minimal step, mentioning that 
the patents don't exist everywhere and that free software 
implementations do exist would make me feel better.  However, that is 
only going to be helpful to more advanced users who will read that and 
know that they can turn to google for help.  We need to come up with 
questions for the lawyers that determine just how far we can push the 
envelope.  (Can we add the wording I mention?  Can we point people to a 
specific google search?)

> 3.  Are there any license, legal, or "open source morality" concerns 
> that need to be addressed?
This issue is all about legality and morality :-/

I think Seth's point that being able to sanely argue against including 
other downloaders that lie exclusively in the proprietary realm (Google 
Earth) is important.  I can see several criteria that could be used but 
they aren't as simple to apply.  (OTOH, our present stance is often 
characterized as "Open source yes, proprietary no" when there are other 
complicating aspects like legality and "makes maintaining the kernel 
harder" involved as well.)

Some criteria that separates GoogleEarth from CodecBuddy:
1) Does an open source implementation exist but we are otherwise 
prevented from including it?
2) Do we think we might have a chance to affect the decisions of the 
license/copyright holders by keeping the software out of Fedora?
3) Could it be considered an "essential" portion of using a computer by 
our users?
4) Is there any way to migrate our users to open source solutions 
without using something like this?

Additional separation with autodownloader:
5) Code vs content

> 4.  What is the plan for Codec Buddy and Codeina going forward?
> Separate, but related:
> 4.  How do we address the questions and debates raised on the 
> fedora-devel-list threads above?
Some of the fedora-devel-list thread are just plain misinformed of the 
facts (legally including certain codecs).  Other parts (the Google Earth 
part) has resolved itself for now.

The last part (Game Autodownloader) is a poor fit for our goals but does 
fit within most of the constraints and was reviewed by FESCo in the past 
(although there seems to be some confusion over what individual FESCo 
members thought they were agreeing to.)  Personally, I think that the 
autodownloader satisfies a number of the criteria that are outlined 
above so I'm not against it but I'm not on the Board or FESCo at this point.


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