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Re: Media players in Debian

Andrew Donnellan <ajdlinux@gmail.com> writes:

> I'd prefer number 3, until there is an alternative that can play
> absolutely everything Mplayer can it would be great to have it in
> Debian. However given the fact that 99.999% of Debian people are not
> subscribed to the MPlayer dev list (and therefore don't know what's
> going on; me included) and that the MPlayer people haven't in the past
> contributed too well to legal discussions on d-l, they do have a
> (probably undeserved) reputation for not caring about patent issues.

Yeah, I do hope that willingness to participate in legal discussions in
d-l is not a prerequisite for believing that upstream authors care about
patent issues.  That's really not a particularly fun experience, and if
they feel like they've resolved all the problems, they may or may not feel
inclined to defend that position to random people on d-l at length.

Also, if I were a fairly busy upstream developer who didn't care greatly
about whether my software was included in any particular Linux
distribution (a perfectly reasonable perspective, IMO), I'd want someone
to fill me in on whether my software needed to comply with oh, say,
Nathaneal Nerode's opinions on legal issues or Marco d'Itri's before I
spent a lot of time discussing it.  Or perhaps something inbetween or
entirely different.  Reading for long enough to build up a score card
loses to improving the software when it comes to priorities for a random
upstream developer.

In other words, the fastest way to get legal issues with mplayer clarified
would be for someone who cared specifically about getting mplayer into
Debian putting together a list of the specific questions that need to be
resolved before Debian can take the package, and then go to upstream
(probably doing research in the mailing list first) and develop answers to
those questions.  Unfortunately, the hard part in the past has been
getting clarity on that first point.  It's not at all clear to me that
anyone really *knows* what issues need to be resolved before Debian can
take the package.  You'd probably have to do something like put together a
list of the questions that you think need to be resolved and then see if
one of the ftp-masters would be willing to read that over and see if it
includes everything they were concerned about.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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