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Re: RFS: mp3togo - Audio transcode utility for portable players

Thanks for your reply Erik,

On 10/15/06, Erik Schanze <schanzi_@gmx.de> wrote:
I think the package name is not appropriate, because it doesn't encode
mp3 only and will not be able to encode any mp3 in Debian due license

A more general name would be better, IMO.

I understand your concern Erik, the current situation with the mp3
patent is not good. I don't like to promote the mp3 format due to the
legal issues with it.

One of the main reasons I wrote mp3togo was in fact the patent issue.
I have been using ogg vorbis for my music collection for about eight
years, longer than portable mp3 players have been common. I suspect
many Debian users also use vorbis or flac in preference to mp3. I set
my friends' machines up the same way. Two years ago a friend of mine
bought a mp3 only player and I felt obligated to make it work for him
as it was my work that set up his machine to encode to vorbis. I
expect many Debian users face the same problem.

My personal player is capable of playing ogg vorbis encoded music. I
paid a bit more for it because I wanted to support a manufacturer that
has embraced open standards. mp3togo happens to be a great tool for
turning mp3s into oggs as well, but I don't think that is the common
use case.

I understand that lame (or other mp3 encoders) can not be included in
Debian for legal reasons. I don't have a problem with that. The actual
patent however, only applies in Germany and the USA as I understand
it. There are many places in the world where it is legal to run. lame
can not be in Debian, but on my machine I have installed lame from a
third party Debian package. It was not hard to find and it is
perfectly legal in my country.

Because of the legal issues, mp3togo only suggests lame. Almost
everyone will want to install it, but mp3togo is happy to encode to
ogg and is useful without it.

My first attempt at packaging mp3togo for Debian resulted in me
creating a Debian Native package. I was told on this list that a
native package is not appropriate for a program that can be useful
outside of Debian. I understand why now and have created a normal
mp3togo can be used without problem on non-Debian linux hosts. I
suspect it could be ported to BSD and OS-X without much trouble.
mp3togo could be included in a distribution that also includes lame. I
am aware of mp3togo users that run Gentoo, Ubuntu and Red Hat.

When choosing a name for mp3togo I spent a few days trying to think of
one that didn't include 'mp3' . I thought of a few, but none of them
had the same ring, or expressed the intent of the software as well.
mp3 is the de facto standard for portable players. Even the iPod with
AAC and Sony's monstrosities that run a proprietary DRM format, are
referred to as mp3 players by the public. At this point everyone knows
what an mp3 player is, even if they have no idea about compression or
file format choices. Even in open source, marketing is important.

At this point mp3togo has been released to the public for about five
months. I suspect I have several hundred users world wide. My server
logs show about a dozen hits a week just from google searches for
'mp3togo'. The name is well established.

Erik, I understand and share your concern about the 'mp3' in the name
of mp3togo. I'm not prepared to change the name of mp3togo for the
reasons I've outlined. Thanks for your thoughts, I hope I've shown
them proper consideration.



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