Dealing with codecs, was: Making deals with Microsoft

Martin Owens doctormo at
Mon Jun 9 19:59:55 UTC 2008

Hey Remco,

> I only have/had two problems with the situation, and that's not
> something against Canonical per se

I do have some problems with this but it can not be solved by limiting
the users workstation; I don't even believe it's right to keep certain
formats off the CD for instance keeping liblame away from ubuntu is a
great travesty since it's free software.

No what we need to encourage the use of free codecs on websites is
better tools. Better authoring tools, better distrobution tools and
more focus on making our system that uses these codecs by default is
_the_ best system to make videos and audio.

At the moment even if someone wanted to create a theora video they'd
have to jump through a number of technical hoops, mostly because
they'd be making it on a mac because our tools aren't good enough.

Build it and they _will_ come.

Keep trying to tie users hands with educational buffering and scary
stories about how we're all being stupid for installing wmv codecs
isn't going to work and isn't the right tactic to use.

I'd favour having all codecs on board by default; for instance we
should be trying to get real media to make a _real_ real media plugin
and stop fobbing us off with their helix stuff, we should ask them for
open source versions of the codec that works with everything. Not only
that but any codec that we currently use windows dlls for we _must_
reverse engineer and recode from scratch, work is already going into
ffmpeg for wmv support. More money is needed to free these parts

Some of the stop gap measures we've put in place aren't good enough
because they're not legal anywhere. I'm waiting for Canonical and
other workstation software vendors to put some developer money into
solving these problems. Where is the investment money from these
tablet PC makers into the projects that would reduce their costs in
the long run? We should be asking them to invest in real project too.

Best Regards, Martin Owens

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