Sorry, this format is unsupported. [was: Fluendo MP3 GStreamer Plugin in Main for Dapper?]

Eric Feliksik milouny at
Mon Dec 26 23:13:57 GMT 2005

Chris Jones wrote:
>> One idea is to launch yelp on the appropriate page when the user tries
>> to play an mp3 file with rhythmbox or totem, or view a website with
>> Java or Flash content with firefox.
> I completely agree, that would be much better - it would remove the current
> errors you get for such things (which in the case of rhythmbox trying to
> load an mp3 is quite confusing), you can present the legal/moral argument
> why such formats are less than desirable, but then offer a simple list of
> instructions for resolving the situation, should the user wish to.

Indeed, good idea. +1.
It might even be interesting, if people are enthousiastic and this is 
manageable, to extend this to hardware.

"Sorry, the file can not be played.
Unfortunately the mp3-format is this is not supported because the 
distribution of the necessary software is patent-restricted.
To learn more about patent-problems, click <here>.
To see how to resolve this issue using non-libre software, click <here>"

When are software formats and hardware imperfectly supported in Ubuntu? 
When there is a reason. Currently programs just say "Can't play. Sorry, 
I'm broken.". To Joe User, this looks just buggy.

Showing the user an explanation of why mp3's can't be played on a 
default install could be useful, I think. A lot of people will be 
uninterested in a lengthy debate of free vs. non-free formats, but it 
*is* the reason things don't work, so it's useful to point it out. It 
won't solve the problem, and it won't make people happy with the fact 
they can't do some stuff they want to do... But it could create more 
sympathy than when people think "these people are stupid because they 
didn't take the effort to support mp3/java/flash/whatever"

This message should be carefully crafted to be concise and clear, and 
point out where to go for more info.

Can people give examples of hardware that is detectable, but not 
supportable? Or at least not completely, or with free drivers? For those 
things a message could be interesting as well.

The difference between the hard- and software messages is that 
software-messages will be the same for all user, but for hardware a 
database will need to be maintained with different types of hardware and 
their different supportability issues.

Please let me know what you think of this idea, what you think the pro's 
and con's are, the possible problems.
Also, please let me know if you are interested in helping to work this 
out as a specification.


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