Dapper installation notes/Stuff that needs fixing

James Livingston doclivingston at gmail.com
Wed Feb 15 09:30:25 GMT 2006

On Tue, 2006-02-14 at 23:20 -0800, Dane Mutters wrote:
> Seems like a more permanent solution, although probably beyond the reach of 
> the open source community, would be to simply buy the rights to the software.  
> For now, though, I put my vote behind a wizard that allows the user an option 
> like, "I agree to pay all licensing fees as mentioned above" or some such, 
> and if accepted, installs the software.

Fluendo has a zero-cost MP3 plugin for gstreamer which has the necessary
patent licences and the source is BSD-licenced. However as discussed
previously (here and in many other places) it doesn't solve the issue

My IANAL summary follows, anything incorrect is due to my own
mi-understanding of the situation:

a) If you build from source yourself, you don't get covered under
Fluendo's patent licence
b) Users can download the binary plugins from Fluendo's website for no
cost, and be covered under the patent licence.
c) Groups (e.g. Canonical) can distribute the binary plugins, if they
sign the necessary agreement.

(a) isn't any better than using the existing stuff without a licence.
(b) gets you licenced, but doesn't add out-of-the-box support.

The problem with (c) is that the licence is not redistributable to third
parties, unless they sign the agreement too. So while Canonical could
distribute Ubuntu CDs with the plugin, no-one else could (unless they

That is in conflicts with section 7 of the GPL, which means that you
cannot distribute the plugin together with GPL-licenced applications
that link to it.

Which means Rhythmbox, amaroK using the GStreamer backend, or any other
application that uses QT and GStreamer. Depending on who you ask, it may
(or may not) also include anything that uses the plugin with another
plugin that uses GPL-licenced code - such as as the plugins for
accessing audio cds.

While getting a patent licence sounds nice, it has practical issues for
any distro that ships GPL-licences GStreamer-using application.


James "Doc" Livingston
What contemptible scoundrel has stolen the cork to my lunch?
   -- W.C. Fields
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