codec buddy, fluendo, etc.

Karsten 'quaid' Wade kwade at
Sat Feb 9 07:10:54 UTC 2008

On Fri, 2008-02-08 at 14:17 -0500, Max Spevack wrote:

> (1) CodecBuddy was a Board-level decision that was made with the 
> understanding that after it had been in Fedora for a while, we would 
> evaluate the various pros and cons of how it was going and figure out if 
> it should stay in, be removed, or be modified.

Yes, and at least one intended effect has worked.  It has continued to
raise the issue of codecs and what Fedora is unable to do.

I'm confused a bit, and I'm asking for some reasoned explanation,
because Hans description doesn't jibe with the reality I experienced
(refer to below) ... and because the hyperbolic fears on
fedora-devel-list don't jibe with what I experience or know ... it makes
it hard to decide if codeina can be fixed or does it need to be made a
sacrifice of?

Hans raises a point in his thread opening[1]:

        "... we also ship the blacker then black, actually automatically
        downloading closed source code, not content but code!
        codecbuddy. Not only does it automatically download some gratis
        closed source code, it even offers the user to buy closed source
        code, effectively free advertising for commercial closed

Where does this blacker-than-black act occur?  It's not happening to me
with Totem and my installed-from-Live-CD-then-updated-and-packages-added
copy of Fedora 8.  Oh, look, codeina isn't installed.  Nor does it
report as a required package (from 'repoquery --whatrequires codeina'.)
How do I get this automatic evil?  Apparently I have to install the
Sound and Video group and not from the live CD.

So, if I intentionally set out to get packages that deal with Sound and
Video, codeina is slipped into the mix as a default.  I can see that is
supposed to happen that way, although not sure why I didn't get it

Without codeina, trying to play an MP3 got me an error that, "The
playback of this movie requires a MPEG-1 Layer 3 (MP3) decoder plugin
which is not installed."  Aside from the grammatical errors, I don't get
much help from that, esp. if I have no idea wtf a codec is.

Now, I installed it, let's see what happens.  I attempt to play an MP3.
Now I get the famous dialog[2].  In that window, "About ..." is a link
to  That's pretty good, and

"See available options" brings up the Codec Installer with Fluendo MP3
Audio Decoder checked, not installed, and priced as "Free."  I presume
it is checked because I attempted to play that audio format.  I also get
the option of purchasing the "MPEG Playback Bundle."  Selecting that
throws up another dialog box that says[3] I can't get it (yet) this way,
I have to go buy it on a web shop.

Finally, clicking on "Start Web Browser" takes me somewhere for full

OK, I've never been pleased with the results of that effort.  I wanted
there to be no way to directly install or buy software, and instead the
dialog states that such functionality is the goal of codeina.  What I
wanted to see was just the link to the CodecBuddy page.  Then we could
control directly what happens in that page, including potentially
linking out to vendors with solutions that are legal in certain places.
Or not.

I agreed to letting codeina continue to be included with the current
functionality with the following understanding:

1. We are trying it out, seeing people say (good and bad), see what we
feel over time, see how raising the visibility of the codec issue works

2. We can always remove it from the distribution.

3. The functionality to pay and install from the codeina dialog has to
go; if we can maintain a patch, then we don't have to require it of the
upstream code.  If not, we had to get upstream to change, or drop the

Max is just returning us to that discussion, which I'm comfortable with.

After trying the whole experience out, I don't see where evil is
automatically committed on my system.  It seems that I have to come with
the intention of playing sound and video, then click through multiple
locations to get to where I can legally buy something that lets me play
my sound and video.  Along the way I'm forced to view one education,
have another one available just one click away, have three chances to
stop and back out, and only by reading carefully and persisting do I
find myself with a a plugin installed.

Thanks - Karsten


        Proprietary and free formats
        Fedora has the mission of always being freely re-distributable;
        this means you are free to give your copy of Fedora to anyone
        Unfortunately, that means that we cannot ship support for
        certain multimedia codecs, as they require patent licenses
        before you can view or play media that use them. Imagine if you
        had to pay a license fee before reading your e-mail, or viewing
        a picture on the web. This is why Fedora supports free formats,
        such as Ogg Vorbis and Theora.
        However, there are companies and communities that do offer
        support for certain codecs under Fedora. If you would like to
        install support, please proceed to see the available options.
        For more information, see About Proprietary and Free Formats.
        [] Do not show me this message again.
        [Cancel] [See available options]

        Getting plugins
        At the moment this application does not support purchasing
        plugins directly from the Fluendo web shop yet.
        Please buy and download the selected plugins from the web shop
        and once you have done that install them using the 'Install
        downloaded plugin archive' menu item from the File menu.
        I will now open the Fluendo web shop in a browser.
        [Cancel] [Start Web Browser]

Karsten Wade, Developer Community Mgr.
Dev Fu :
Fedora :
gpg key : AD0E0C41
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