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RE: early review of RH 9 (Shrike)

On Thu, 27 Mar 2003 Todd Booher LW com wrote:

>If it only costs a one-time payment of $50-60K to license
>mp3 decoding, why isn't Redhat doing it?


1) Red Hat would have to write brand new MP3 software from the 
   ground up that does not make any use of any existing GPL 
   source code (because purchasing a license would not satisfy 
   the GPL requirement of patented technology being 
   redistributable without any restriction on redistribution)

2) It would not be true free software under the Debian 
   Free Software Guidelines, and may have distribution 
   restrictions or other restrictions

3) There is no economically viable reason for doing so.  What 
   businesses purchase a Linux distribution because it comes with
   MP3 support?  Or better - which businesses will _not_ purchase 
   a Linux distribution because it does _not_ come with MP3 

4) Red Hat is an open source company and MP3 is not an
   open source / free software friendly technology

>If it's strictly to appease the GPL then couldn't they ship some
>type of "add-on" pack that included this feature (and maybe the
>DVD encoding as well.)  This would be similar to the MS markets
>the Plus Pack and would still allow Redhat to say the OS is
>shipped GPL compliant.

Laws deal with intent.  Also, shipping it at all would not make 
any difference from a legal perspective of wether it was 
incorporated directly in the distribution itself, or if it were 
part of an addon CD that came with the distribution.

Be realistic.  MP3 support is not something that millions of 
businesses out there are crying about missing from Red Hat Linux.  
I would be greatly surprised if 99% of the MP3 using userbase was 
not home users, most of whom download the OS for free anyway.

Why do people insist on beating the MP3 issue to death like a 
dead horse?  MP3 is not part of the distribution, and that is 
simply not going to change.  Get over it and move on.

Mike A. Harris     ftp://people.redhat.com/mharris
OS Systems Engineer - XFree86 maintainer - Red Hat

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