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RE: early review of RH 9 (Shrike)

On 27 Mar 2003, Jeremy Portzer wrote:

>> If it only costs a one-time payment of $50-60K to license
>> mp3 decoding, why isn't Redhat doing it?  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.
>No, I think you're missing the point.  The one-time fee would allow Red
>Hat (two words!) to distribute the codec, yes, but it couldn't be
>redistributed by others.  The GPL requires that the software be
>completely *re*-distributable.

The _only_ way that purchasing the $50-60k patent license would
be of _any_ use, would be if the patent license grantor granted
the license to all GPL software with no restrictions on
modification or redistribution.  In other words, the license of
the patent grant would _have_ to be compatible to the letter of
the GPL.  If that were to happen, then it would be at least
theoretically possible.

Then there is the matter of wether or not that $50-60k would be 
seen in increased revenue as a direct return on that investment.

So long-term, it is a theoretical possibility I guess, but it
would very much depend on wether or not the patent owner would
even remotely consider licensing their patent on terms _fully_
compatible with the GNU GPL or not.  In order to find out, I 
guess Red Hat would have to consider MP3 support important in a 
target market segment.  The only target market segment that I 
personally believe MP3 support is even remotely relevant in from 
a business perspective, is the home desktop and hobbiest/gamer.  

IMHO, neither of those areas are really financially viable target 
markets currently - but that is just my own personal opinion, as 
is the entire contents of this message.  Microsoft dominates the 
home desktop, and will continue to do so as long as all machines 
leave shops into people's homes with Windows preinstalled.

Short version:  Give it up.  Use ogg.

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

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