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Re: Fedora Presentation Video

On Sat, 2006-03-25 at 13:42 -0800, Thomas Chung wrote:
>On 3/25/06, Paul W. Frields <stickster gmail com> wrote:
>> Thomas, although the ffmpeg2theora software you talk about on the
>> Wiki page is open source, it is not "free," because it depends on the
>> legally encumbered ffmpeg software to function.
> ffmpeg2theora *binary* is free and its source is licensed under GPL
> v.2
> To use ffmpeg2theora *binary* alone to convert videos,  it does not
> require ffmpeg nor any proprietary codecs.
> I've already sent you a private email to explain how I can prove my
> *innocence* :)

I sent a reply back, with what I hope is a polite and reasonable
explanation as to why this reasoning is unsound.  Just so no one on the
list gets the wrong idea, I think your heart's in the right place but
you simply misunderstand the way the software works.

Whether a binary requires external libraries is not, in itself, proof
that it is not patent-encumbered.  The ffmpeg2theora binary is
unacceptable because it has the ffmpeg functions statically compiled in.
You can verify this through looking at the source code -- which includes
a script to pull down the ffmpeg source code from CVS -- or you can rely
on the fact that, in order to decode ffmpeg data, a program *MUST* have
access to patent-encumbered functions.  There's just no other way to do
it; it's not magic, it's just a fact of life.

I'm pretty sure there are formats out there that are not similarly
encumbered, and which we could probably get Thomas Canniot to put his
"raw" video into, and then we could convert it to Ogg Theora.  We just
need to (a) find someone who knows media files well enough to figure out
the correct legally unencumbered format, and (b) convert it to Theora.
That's assuming that we can't figure out how Thomas can produce Ogg
Theora himself, which may also be possible.

Thanks again for your enthusiasm and contribution.  I'm sure the group
can figure out the right answer shortly.

Paul W. Frields, RHCE                          http://paul.frields.org/
  gpg fingerprint: 3DA6 A0AC 6D58 FEC4 0233  5906 ACDB C937 BD11 3717
 Fedora Documentation Project: http://fedora.redhat.com/projects/docs/

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