Idea for expanded support of some non-free software

Erik Bågfors zindar at
Thu Dec 9 03:05:21 CST 2004

On Wed,  8 Dec 2004 18:47:10 -0500, thully at <thully at> wrote:
> While Ogg Vorbis is a fine format that is in fact superior to mp3,
> most portable players (including the iPod) do not support it.  Are we
> going to tell people to trash their iPods and buy some player they've
> never heard of? This seems like an unacceptable solution to me.  

Why? This way ubuntu support the free format even more.  When I went
to buy a music player, having ogg support was simply my first demand. 
This led me to buy a iriver instead of for example a ipod. This way
iriver won one over apple because they supported a free format that I
gotten used to.  Very Very good in my oppinion.

Of course, if you want mp3's, it's very well documented how to install
support for it.

> Also,
> as far as flash/java goes - free players just don't work well at this time.
> There needs to be support for Macromedia's player and Sun Java - while they
> don't need to be on the CD, bugs involving these need to be taken care of.

How? We don't have the source for them.

> For example - Although Macromedia's player can be downloaded from multiverse of
> automatically in Firefox, currently there are bugs in Hoary that cause Flash
> sound not to work when Gnome sound server is on.  I've reported this and there
> does not seem to be much interest in fixing the bug - as it involves non-free
> software.  This does not make me very happy, as usability seems to be
> unnecessarily taking a back seat to issues of licensing in this case.  

1) Disable to sound server, or
2) Get Macromedia to add support for the sound server.  it's quite
impossible for the ubuntu guys to do because it's closed source.

> While it
> would be preferable to use all free software and use Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Theora, etc
> all the time, this is not practical because you can't view web sites with
> content in non-free formats with free software (at least not consistently well)
> and other devices (such as iPod or MP3-CD player) may not support Ogg Vorbis and
> other free formats (and no,
> trashing the device is not an option in most cases). In my opinion, issues like
> these are what is inhibiting the adoption of Linux on the desktop.

Well, as long as it's documented how to get support for these formats,
I'm fine with it.

> Because of all this, Ubuntu should offer support for non-free formats when
> legally possible and when it greatly improves the user experience.  This seems
> like a similar situation to the one that led Ubuntu to include non-free drivers
> for hardware.

This is the only thing you said that makes sense. Please note, "when
legally possible". It would be ilegall in many contries to distribute
mp3-software for example, still that's what you are talking about


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