grip being removed [Re: rawhide report: 20050120 changes]

Denis Leroy denis at
Mon Feb 14 22:25:46 UTC 2005

An interesting quote from a SuSe forum:

The owners of the patent on MP3 decoding, the Fraunhofer Institute, 
usually enforce a license fee for software MP3 decoding. (Microsoft, 
Apple and anyone else who sells software that decodes MP3 files pay 
Fraunhofer for the privilege). Fraunhofer have previously made a 
statement that they will not enforce their licensing scheme against 
distributors of free software which decodes MP3 files. This is not 
legally binding nor is it written down anywhere. Mandrake and SuSE 
consider that to be enough to go on, and include MP3 decoding without 
paying Fraunhofer. Red Hat have decided it's not a strong enough 
guarantee, so they don't include MP3 decoding. It's a more conservative 
but safer stance.

So why couldn't the Fedora project ask Fraunhofer (a german company, 
btw, so all this talk about 'Mandrake is a french company and not 
affected by patent law' seems rather weak) for permission ?

Alan Cox wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 14, 2005 at 09:28:22AM -0500, Arjan van de Ven wrote:
>>it's worse actually. If RH coughed up the $60k we still can't ship it,
>>since all MP3 decoders are GPL licensed. And the GPL doesn't actually
>>allow you to ship code only YOU have a patent license for; you need a
>>patent license for everyone and every possible derived work of that
>>code..... which the licensing guys aren't actually providing.
> Even if we shipped a BSD licensed one it would leave third parties in very
> awkward positions (eg folks hacking Fedora or making CDs). And if you want 
> a non-free mp3 player then the current Realplayer uses gtk is a great deal
> better than the older one.

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