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Bug#106735: ITP: mplayer - DivX/DVD/MPeg Player for Linux

On Thu, Jul 26, 2001 at 11:34:31PM +0200, Sander Smeenk (CistroN Medewerker) wrote:
> I intent to package mplayer, a really cool DivX/DVD/MPEG player for
> Linux. Supports loads of options like render targets, special filters,
> audio synchronisation and much much more to come.
> URL: http://mplayer.sourceforge.net
> The code is released under the GPL, although I will need some advice
> on the parts the player depends on. Stuff like the Win32 .DLL's to
> decode DivX's and libdecss to decode DVD's. I'm not sure whether I
> can package that, and/or wether I should put it in non-US for that...

I've been investigating the possibility of packaging mplayer for a
while now, and it is positively riddled with complexities.

Here are *some* of the key issues you'll have to work through:

Processor-specific optimisations. mplayer is rather slow on anything
but the fastest boxes without these, to the point of being unusable.

Licensing issues. The code is *NOT* released under the GPL. It is in
an unknown state, being mostly GPL, but the opendivx code is not
(license unspecified). In fact, it's been suggested it's not really
opensource at all. This one will have to go to debian-legal at some

Possible patent issues, especially with .asf files and divx, and also
MPEG itself. debian-legal will have to look at this one too. I haven't
got around to looking into it yet.

The win32 DLLs are proprietary. You can't package those. You can only
package an installer.

Working on lib(de)css can theoretically get you arrested. That one
will take *ages* to clear -legal, and may not be allowed at all.

mplayer developers don't like binary packages, so don't expect a great
deal of sympathy from them.

Note that non-US is not for patent issues, it is for cryptographic
ones, which do not apply here. Patents apply in countries other than
the US, and patent-encumbered software usually cannot be packaged at

Further note that there is no *way* the ftpmasters will install this
without a statement from debian-legal.

You need to contact mplayer upstream and ask them about opendivx and
patent issues, and possibly the authors of opendivx, Project Mayo (who
have been remarkably unfriendly to opensource developers in the past).

You also need to ask debian-legal about this.

Andrew Suffield <asuffield@users.sourceforge.net>
Dept. of Computing, Imperial College, London, UK

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