Linked by on Wed 1st Feb 2006 19:53 UTC
Novell and Ximian A demonstration of the next release of Novell's Linux for desktops drew cheers and applause Wednesday, although the final version of the software is not expected for some months. Nat Friedman, the company's vice president of Linux desktop engineering, showed Novell Linux Desktop 10 playing videos and MP3 music files, and exchanging music and photos with an iPod and a digital camera, in a keynote presentation at the Solutions Linux conference and trade show on the outskirts of Paris.
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RE[5]: Novell Shows Off
by AdamW on Thu 2nd Feb 2006 01:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Novell Shows Off"
AdamW
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Dead wrong. Why do you think the PLF exists? ( http://plf.zarb.org/ ). You want mp3 in free Mandriva, you have to get it from the unofficial PLF."

No, you don't. MP3 _encoding_ (lame, liblame) is in PLF. MP3 _decoding_ is in main. Buy a copy of MDV 2006, take it out of the box, install it, run any music player and open an MP3 file, and it will work. Or download a copy of Mandriva 2006 Free, install it, play an MP3 file, and it will work.

"If there are any free distros that do so already, they do so illegally (in the US anyway)."

That's a rather simplistic way of looking at things. How do you know that the distros in question don't have a private agreement with Fraunhofer? (No, I'm not saying that any distro I know of does. I'm just floating the possibility.)

"Regardless, the software Novell has developed will presumably be made available to be shipped by distros that are free (legally), which will be, despite your beliefs, a new thing."

Novell hasn't developed any software. They're just taking advantage of the new distribution agreement Fluendo got out of Fraunhofer. http://www.fluendo.com/press/releases/PR-2005-05.html Nothing Novell specific, no work put into it by Novell.

Edited 2006-02-02 01:59

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Novell Shows Off
by AdamW on Thu 2nd Feb 2006 02:05 in reply to "RE[5]: Novell Shows Off"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

Just to clarify on the above post, the article talks about Banshee, which uses gstreamer as its actual playback engine (well, mainly gstreamer, it can also use helix or xine engines if you choose). Fluendo developed and got the permissive license for the gstreamer MP3 playback plugin in question.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Novell Shows Off
by AdamW on Thu 2nd Feb 2006 02:11 in reply to "RE[5]: Novell Shows Off"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

And to clarify _further_ (sorry, I'm longwinded today...) the reason I say it's simplistic to say it's "illegal" to distribute an MP3-playing distro in the US is that patent law is civil law. Civil law is not like criminal law: there's no patent police who drive around arresting patent violators. The civil law exists as a way to facilitate certain civil and commercial relationships; the courts that deal with civil law are a kind of last-resort arbitration system for cases where two people or commercial entities have a dispute they can't resolve any other way. Ask absolutely any company lawyer and they'll tell you they'd far rather be able to settle a dispute with a private arrangement than with a lawsuit. A lot of people don't really appreciate this and tend to think along the lines of "OMG if you decode an MP3 in America Fraunhofer will set the FBI on you!!!"

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: Novell Shows Off
by segedunum on Thu 2nd Feb 2006 09:33 in reply to "RE[6]: Novell Shows Off"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

A lot of people don't really appreciate this and tend to think along the lines of "OMG if you decode an MP3 in America Fraunhofer will set the FBI on you!!!"

That exactly describes the situation. Because lawyers and corporate people at Novell, Red Hat and other places have no backbone they think "Oh my God" and cough up for the slightest thing. I am pretty disappointed that Novell, Red Hat and Ubuntu are caving into something that has no real legal basis, and appearing to give a ridiculously general patent legal weight.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Novell Shows Off
by miguel on Thu 2nd Feb 2006 02:12 in reply to "RE[5]: Novell Shows Off"
miguel Member since:
2005-07-27



Novell hasn't developed any software. They're just taking advantage of the new distribution agreement Fluendo got out of Fraunhofer. http://www.fluendo.com/press/releases/PR-2005-05.html Nothing Novell specific, no work put into it by Novell.



Well, we do not use the fantastic fluendo work, because our work predates the Fluendo announcement, we worked together with Real to get this functionality into the product.

Now, that is only one part of the equation. The other part of the equation has to do with the "host" for the player. Most "host" software is GPL, which means that you are not allowed to redistribute a GPL piece of software if you can not redistribute also the rights to the patent to play back the MP3 (because MP3 is patented).

So although there are lots of great "hosts" (or players), the problem is that the license is in direct contradiction with the GPL.

Our new player (Banshee) is licensed under the terms of the MIT X11 license, which means that we can link with code that has patents without infringing any licenses.

Everyone distributing GPL players with the MP3 patents are doing so without transfering the rights to the end user of the patents, and hence invalidate the GPL permission to use the software.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[7]: Novell Shows Off
by AdamW on Thu 2nd Feb 2006 02:19 in reply to "RE[6]: Novell Shows Off"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

Fair point, well made. Of course, someone could bring up potential Mono patent issues at this point, but that'd just be mean...;)

No-one else shipped Banshee yet? We have it in MDV Cooker but it doesn't look like it was packaged when 2006 shipped...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Novell Shows Off
by thebluesgnr on Thu 2nd Feb 2006 02:17 in reply to "RE[5]: Novell Shows Off"
thebluesgnr Member since:
2005-11-14

"That's a rather simplistic way of looking at things. How do you know that the distros in question don't have a private agreement with Fraunhofer? (No, I'm not saying that any distro I know of does. I'm just floating the possibility.) "

They don't have an agreement if they're using libmad, which is licensed under the GPL. From the GPL:
"Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the
program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all."

"Novell hasn't developed any software. "

Novell wrote a music player (Banshee) that can shipped with the patented codec from Fluendo. Rhythmbox, Amarok and other GPL players can't. (edit: Novell is not using the fluendo gstreamer plugin at all, so please ignore this).

Edited 2006-02-02 02:19

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: Novell Shows Off
by AdamW on Thu 2nd Feb 2006 02:21 in reply to "RE[6]: Novell Shows Off"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

An agreement is not necessarily a license. Fraunhofer saying "we promise not to sue you if you distribute mad" (or whatever other plugin) isn't a patent license...they've effectively made such undertakings in the past, for free products.

Reply Parent Score: 1

GStreamer is LGPL
by cr8dle2grave on Thu 2nd Feb 2006 03:51 in reply to "RE[6]: Novell Shows Off"
cr8dle2grave Member since:
2005-07-11

Therefore, unless you happen know of some case law which would support your argument, a GPL'd media player can definitely be distributed which relies upon GStreamer, which itself is distributed with a patent encumbered plugin. I know the FSF has strongly hinted otherwise, but they are posturing. Insofar as I'm aware, nobody has ever succesfully tried to force GPL compliance under this interpretation.

In the case of media players using Gstreamer, those media players don't even technically play media files. They rely on GStreamer to do that for them. Thus whether the mp3 plugin is included or not changes the funtionality of the player not one whit. Media player + GStreamer + plugin does not represent a functional whole as the plugin is entirely seperable. Further, at least in the case of Amarok, GStreamer is only one of multiple media backends which can be used.

Modular software design makes it much harder to enforce the GPL. For instance, the GPL does not extend across a CORBA.

Reply Parent Score: 3