Legit Linux Codecs In the U.S. — Ceriously

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Legit Linux Codecs In the U.S.

Cerious Weblogs: CERIOUS: center for education and research for information assurance and security

24 October 2007: Pascal Meunier in Kudos, Opinions and Rants

“… I only recently realized that few people are aware or care that they are breaking U.S. law by using unlicensed codecs. Even fewer know that the codecs they use are unlicensed, or what to do about it. Warning dialogs (e.g., in Ubuntu) provide no practical alternative to installing the codecs, and are an unwelcome interruption to workflow. . . . Due to software patents in the U.S., codecs from sound to movies such as h.264 need to be licensed, regardless of how unpalatable the law may be, and of how this situation is unfair to U.S. and Canadian citizens compared to other countries. This impacts open source players such as Totem, Amarok, Mplayer or Rythmbox. The CERIAS security seminars, for example, use h.264.

* * *

“Fluendo Codecs

“So, as I like Ubuntu and want to do the legal thing, I went to the Fluendo site and purchased the “mega-bundle” of codecs. After installing them, I tried to play a CERIAS security seminar. I was presented with a prompt to install 3 packs of codecs which require licensing. Then I realized that the Fluendo set of codecs didn’t include h.264! Using Fluendo software is only a partial solution. When contacted, Fluendo said that support for h.264, AAC and WMS will be released “soon”.

“Now Linspire may have or in the future get other interests in mind besides those of its users. This deal being part of a vague but threatening patent attack on Linux by Microsoft also makes Linspire unappealing. Linspire is cheap, so cost isn’t an issue; after all getting the incomplete set of codecs from Fluendo ($40) cost me almost as much as getting the full version of Linspire ($49) would have. Regardless, Linspire may be an acceptable compromise for many businesses. [emphasis by Newcomb]” … (full article)

Source: Pascal Meunier in Kudos, Opinions and Rants

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