Freespire's Google ads: "What is Ubuntu Missing?"

Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at
Wed Sep 27 17:24:31 BST 2006

On 26/09/06, Daniel Robitaille <robitaille at> wrote:
> On Tue, 2006-26-09 at 19:02 -0700, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> > On Sat, Sep 23, 2006 at 08:53:59PM -0600, Conrad Knauer wrote:
> > > Also, I read the Wikipedia article on MP3s a little more closely and
> > > it mentions "patent holders declined to enforce license fees on open
> > > source decoders, allowing many free MP3 decoders to develop.
> > > Furthermore, while attempts have been made to discourage distribution
> > > of encoder binaries, Thomson has stated that individuals using free
> > > MP3 encoders are not required to pay fees. Thus while patent fees have
> > > been an issue for companies attempting to use MP3, they have not
> > > meaningfully impacted users, allowing the format to grow in
> > > popularity."
> >
> > Unfortunately, there is no reference; I would be interested to hear more
> > about this claim.
> I found this on their mp3 web site:
> "However, no license is needed for private, non-commercial activities
> (e.g., home-entertainment, receiving broadcasts and creating a personal
> music library), not generating revenue or other consideration of any
> kind or for entities with associated annual gross revenue less than US$
> 100 000.00."

Although it makes it _possible_ to write and distribute MP3-related
software, it still does not permit _anyone_ to make a 'free' (as in
GPL-licenced) piece of software. A rights holder has placed
restrictions on the use of their technology which preclude the use of
said technology in certain circumstances (and, whether or not you
agree with the patenting of MP3s, they are still legal in most
jurisdictions of note (i.e. where there's money to be made and respect
for human rights strong)).

That said, I'm sure there will be a trend for Linuxes to including MP3
capabilities in most free (as in Euro/$/£) distros since the free
(cost) ones won't be making 100,000.00 USD (or 100.000,00 USD in some
languages ;-).

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