Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 6th May 2010 21:48 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Canonical has explained why it has licensed H264. As it turns out, the license does not cover the distribution as a whole - since Ubuntu is entirely Free software, the license cannot be included. Canonical has licensed H264 so that it can offer it as an option to OEMs, just as it does with Flash, Fluendo, and some others. Since this is just an option for OEMs, it does not mean that every pre-installed Ubuntu system comes with the H264 license - it depends on whether or not your OEM decided to include it (good luck finding that out). And people actually promote this complicated spaghetti licensing situation.
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RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by mrsteveman1 on Thu 6th May 2010 23:00 UTC in reply to "Comment by mtzmtulivu"
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There are other ways to make use of closed code or patent-restricted code in open source programs without bringing the license into play.

End users are completely free to do whatever they wish while running GPLv2 programs, because running the program is not restricted by the license. GPLv3 took it even further, you don't even have to accept the license at all to receive and run the program.

So if they REALLY wanted to, Mozilla could get users to download and install an h.264 plugin or library or something, which is essentially what they're doing NOW by downloading Flash with it's built-in h.264 codec (which Mozilla helps them do with the plugin finder service), but they aren't going to do that because the GPL isn't the only issue here, someone has to pay for the codec at some point and Mozilla has said they aren't going to do that.

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