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

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Fri Jan 6 04:36:08 GMT 2006

Hash: SHA1

On 27 Dec, 2005, at 12:13 PM, Eric Feliksik wrote:
> ...
> "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>"

It would need to be half as short as that for people to read it. :-) 
Anyway, this is already in Bugzilla.

> ...
> 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"
> ...

Getting them to understand it is a small part of theproblem. But as I 
mentioned in the bug report, Ubuntu already includes a "Translate This 
Application..." item in its Help menu, inviting people to help improve 
Ubuntu by getting involved in translation. Similarly, when the location 
is set to the USA, the error message for MP3s should have a "How to 
Help" button, inviting people to help improve Ubuntu by writing a 
useful complaint about software patents to their elected 
representatives. As long as developers just throw up their hands and 
say "oh, the patent situation's not going to change in the near 
future", then it won't.

> ...
> 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.
> ...
> 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.
> ...

I would be interested.

- -- 
Matthew Paul Thomas
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