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Re: Bug#349693: ITP: gst-fluendo-mp3 -- MP3 decoder plugin for GStreamer

On Wed, 2006-01-25 at 19:58 +1100, Russell Coker wrote:
> On Wednesday 25 January 2006 17:40, Joe Wreschnig <piman@debian.org> wrote:
> > On Wed, 2006-01-25 at 17:08 +1100, Russell Coker wrote:
> > > MP3 software does not belong in Debian/main.  Unlike many patents the
> > > MPEG patents probably have a good basis.
> >
> > To make it clear, this is a *radical* divergence from our previous
> > position. If other distributions start shipping the Fluendo plugin, it
> > is also a major step backwards in usability.
> Have we consulted a lawyer about this?

Probably not.

> > > As far as I am aware OGG media is a good alternative to MPEG in every
> > > technical measure.  OGG is not as well supported by 3rd party devices (no
> > > support in iPod for example) but there are devices which support it
> > > (iRiver as an example - incidentally the iRiver gives better sound
> > > quality according to the experts and allows recording so is better than
> > > the iPod anyway).
> >
> > It's clear to me you've never had to use an iRiver's Ogg support. It
> > fails outside a limited bitrate range, drains battery faster, does not
> > read metadata, and is not available on all devices. Newer iRivers also
> > use a proprietary communications protocol that is not yet supported in
> > Debian. Finally, the recording is MP3 only.
> iRiver will have more incentive to support OGG well if Linux distributions 
> take a stand on this issue.

Hah hah. Yeah, sure. Or iRiver will just ignore us like they always

(p.s. It's "Ogg". Not "OGG".)

> > > By continuing to support MPEG in Debian/main we are decreasing the
> > > support of OGG.
> >
> > By continuing to support MS Word .doc in Debian/main, we are decreasing
> > the support of OpenDocument. So what? Users have millions, billions of
> > files in these formats. If we can support them, we should.
> If there was a patent on the MS file formats then I would advocate removing 
> support from Debian.

MS claims they've patented the Office 12 format, the ASF format, the FAT
filesystem, etc. There's a patent on 90-100% of the archive.

> > > This also applies to mpc123.
> >
> > The Musepack developers are of the opinion that they no longer infringe
> > on any patents, as the algorithm has diverged wildly from the MPEG-1
> > Layer 2 algorithm upon which it is based. It's on at least as good legal
> > ground as every other audio format in Debian. So please leave it out of
> > this discussion.
> Do we have any legal advice on this?

No, we don't have any legal advice that says Musepack is patent-free. We
don't have legal advice that says Ogg is patent-free. We probably don't
have legal advice that says *anything* in the archive is patent-free,
and I suspect if we tried we'd find out *nothing* is. I suggest you find
something better to do than witch-hunt every non-Ogg format out of main.
Joe Wreschnig <piman@debian.org>

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