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Re: mpeg encoder patents, Was: Bug#501190: ITP: moonlight

Aniruddha <mailing_list@orange.nl> writes:

> I just wanted to say that sounds like a great idea. 


> I really hope that the packages of debian-multimedia are included in
> Debian someday.

I currently don't have the impression that the maintainer(s) of
http://debian-multimedia.org have any interest in getting these packages
in debian. Otherwise there would have been more discussion about
collaborative maintenance of these packages e.g. on the pkg-multimedia
mailing list.

I'd be happy to be proven wrong here, though.

> It might also be interesting to see how Gentoo (and e.g. PCLinuxOS)
> deals with packages like these. They have a lot of software in portage
> that is considered patented. 

I did some research on various other distributions:

 - gentoo ships an uncrippled copy of ffmpeg, with all encoders in. The
   packager there (lu_zero) is an active upstream developer as well.

 - for mandriva, I've been told by upstream that they also ship an
   unstripped ffmpeg package.

 - ubuntu 8.10 ships an unstripped ffmpeg package in the 'multiverse'
   component, maintained by myself. There is currently discussion about
   that inside the technical board about that.

 - fedora does not ship ffmpeg at
   all. http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/ForbiddenItems. There is however
   efford by some fedora developers to provide uncrippled ffmpeg
   packages on http://rpmfusion.org. I recently joined their IRC channel.

 - SuSE is similar to fedora, the relevant extra repository seems to be

> My guess is that as long as you don't physically distribute patent
> protected software your fine. Let people add the repo's themselves (just
> like debian multimedia).

The problem is that we ship software that links against ffmpeg. And I'm
proud that debian can do that. Removing ffmpeg from unstable means
removing or crippling packages like mplayer, vlc, xine (+ the various
frontends), ffmpeg2theora, php5-ffmpeg and so on.

That is not a desireable solution IMO.

Reinhard Tartler, KeyID 945348A4

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