Codeina and how to proceed

Matt Domsch matt at
Tue Mar 18 22:07:20 UTC 2008

On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 03:52:34PM -0400, Bill Nottingham wrote:
> Paul W. Frields (stickster at said: 
> > Some people clearly feel like codeina is doing the Fedora world a
> > much-needed service, and others clearly feel that it isn't.  The Board
> > decided last week that it's in the latter camp[1], but the decision to
> > keep the open-source MP3 codec offering and strip out the other
> > closed-source codec offerings rankled several people[2,3,4].
> > 
> > [1] 
> > [2] 
> > [3] 
> > [4] 
> > 
> > Other Board members and I responded[5,6,7] to invite people to discuss
> > the matter here.
> > 
> > [5] 
> > [6] 
> > [7] 
> > 
> > Is someone willing to take up maintainership of Codeina for F9 at this
> > point?  Would it be (A) fitting, or (B) autocratic, for someone on the
> > Board to take up that responsibility?
> In my opinion, if you're going down the road of not shipping *any* links
> in codeina, then patching of codeina to just show a dialog is pointless - 
> just nuke the package and implement the dialog elsewhere.


I'd really like to see our "education" [1] be able to describe the
pitfalls of software patents, as the relate to open source / free
software.  It does this today.

I'd like to be able to tell our constituents in
non-software-patent-encumbered countries how they can get free and
open source software that's legal for them.  Right now we're not doing
this (see below).

I'd like to be able to direct people in countries where software
patents are a challenge, to how they can get software that's legal for
them for those features.  Right now we do this, via link to Fluendo
from [1].  I'm OK with this, and if Bill's "new dialog" just pops up
directing at [1], great.  Yes, I would prefer if we could only point
people at open source patent encumbered bits legally available in such
countries, but I don't believe such exists today (please correct me if
I'm wrong).

Without Fedora offering legal advice of course...

I still can't quite reconcile our legal guidance [2], which would let
us link to 3rd party software repositories, as long as we don't
critique what's in those repositories, and as long as we know those
repositories haven't been sued for patent infringement (for patents we
shouldn't know about because we haven't critiqued), and our desire to
educate people about software patents.  By accounts, those two bits of
information can't be on the same wiki page, nor linked from one to
another directly, without risking "contributory infringement".  Gotta
love that.

Unless we can reconcile this guidance, we can't say "go to livna or
rpmfusion or wherever to get your bits if software patents don't apply
to you".  We can't even say on the education page "go to livna or
rpmfusion to get more bits", as that implies something about software
patents, given the context.  Arggh.


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