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Re: Redhat's intentions for streaming media support in Mozilla

Jef Spaleta wrote:
On Sun, 2003-02-23 at 12:46, Todd Booher wrote:

This has been a huge omission on RH's part to not include a media
player with native support for one of the formats you mentioned.
real player support would be the easiest but they don't seem to think it's important. Linux newbies are not going to go through the trouble
of installing realplayer or mplayer and doing all the configuration
necessary to get it all working.

As far as I know, redhat makes it a point to NOT ship binary only
applications in its standard linux offering...for support reasons.
Redhat earns a living off support, and I'm not going to argue with a FOR
PROFIT linux distributor who has been on target for being a profitable
business, when they say, providing binary only drivers and applications
would hurt their ability to provide high quality support services.

And I'm not going to argue when they say there are grey areas in the
legalities of providing open source media products that are out on the
market because of patent and copyright licensing issues. I don't have my
own legal staff that can provide me with an informed opinion on the
matter. I know just enough to know that I don't know enough to say with
confidence that shipping something like mplayer would not open up Redhat
to some sort of serious litigation.  Redhat is not debian...there are
realistic corporate concerns that Redhat has to consider, and I think
they are all aware of how great it would be to provide a full featured
multimedia desktop. I really wish users would stop assuming the Redhat
developers don't know how great real multimedia support would
be...redhat is not populated by "completely" daft people.  Everyone in
opensource loves being an arm-chair lawyer...but Redhat enough sense to
not rely on amateur legal opinion.  You can't just assume you can ship a
certain technology, you can't just assume that you can release a certain
technology under an Open Source license...it would be nice to be able
to, but there are patent laws (as even MS is finding out with thier SQL
server product) that protect the inventors rights.  So in the final
analysis..i think I trust Redhat's informed legal opinion on such
matters, and their good business sense, to leave out products that might
lead to litigation, or leave out products that will hamper their support
business, which is the business they are in after all.


I started using Red Hat on a regular basis because of version 5.2 having real audio, netscape 4.x browser and the WordPerfect evaluation copy included with the distribution.

When Red Hat came out with the version 6.x series. Real audio needed something similar to the LD_ASSUME-whatever parameter, that is needed for running certain programs, that relate to wine and other projects. I believe their parameter was related to older library versions.

Anyway, they have "community supported players". Having the works being done by those that have to worry about different distributions, in one pool, is probably the best route to go. The player worked for all version 6, 7 realeases and still worked with 8.0. They will probably come out with a working player for versions 8.1 and beyond.

In the meantime, I installed realplay based on lib6 libraries at the Red Hat 8.0 release level. When I tried it with phoebe, it did not launch, unless you passed on the "assume kernel 2.5" parameter. It would launch, but would not play.

Later, Elton posted links to realplayer9. I installed it and it installed in my home directory, under RealPlayer9. There is another directory created also. It has the plugins. It is simply entitled Real.

Anyway, to get realplayer to launch through mozilla, I simply went to a website, then selected a link to launch realplayer. After that, a dialog box came up and gave me the option to open the file with the realplay program or save it to disk. I browsed applications to my home directory, then /RealPlayer9 then chose realplay as the application to open the file with. RealPLayer9 worked with Phoebe with this method. I didn't change the mime type parameters yet. I just browse the simple path for the location.

I assume that the realplay community will package up an rpm for phoebe, once released. Right now, the program is gzipped and comes with an installer. The bugs that I found with the program that all files were executable. I changed the file permissions of most of the files to 644. Since I didn't think that they needed to be executable. Also, I found a problem with realaudio wanting file:///audiosig.rm to play the default sample file. I changed permissions to 644 and copied the file to my root directory. I really don't like files for applications directly in my root directory. But I let this one get away with it. Hopefully, it will be changed to a more reasonable location in the future. Hopefully, the files will be changed to only allow executable permissions on files that actually need to be executed.

About multimedia in general. I would love for music decoders, encoders, video players for all file types and CODECS to be included with the furure releases. But it is better for these hard working people to concentrate on the overall distributions and avoid controversial programs or possible avenues to litigation. I just want to be aware to where to get these neat little programs. That is one of my main interests in the apt-get program for working as an extention to the power of rpm.

Whatever multimedia product can be included with Red Hat is fine with me. But I don't think that the average computer user will be too happy with the lack of multimedia for home use. I think that corporate versions would probably see this as a productivity plus though. But they would need to have decent capabilities for video conferencing and such.

The only way around this issue, in my view, would be to offer a "Multimedia plus" version with recovery for license royalties.

In general, the vendors that want money for their applications, in the linux community should pool their efforts into making a joint package to distribute these applications together. It would cut their distribution costs and give them some financial relief, if released seperatly.

I like Red Hat a lot more than my experieces with MicroSoft products. But in our work envirinment. There is only Sun, IBM DOS (8086 leftover) and M$ on most other machines. (DOS 5.0 to XP). I hope the situation reverses soon.

Rambling again,


In case of fire, stand in the hall and shout "Fire!"
		-- The Kidner Report

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