Libavcodec licensing issues and possible IP blocking in the US

Luke Kuhn lukekuhn at
Sat Dec 17 00:38:53 UTC 2011

It makes sense to me that libavcodec, which defies US software patents, is kept separate from the actual distribution of the OS, along with the other goodies I use like libdvdcss Here in the US, there are a lot of attempts to regulate the Internet to block sites deemed to "infringe" patents and copyrights. It is far better to have to download libavcodec through Tor and/or alternate DNS if one of the bills passes than to have to download a GB-plus installer image through Tor because some appointed bureaucrat declares Ubuntu as a whole to be illegal on patent grounds in the US. background on this conclusion:There are a lot of people here that would love to ban ALL alternatives to corporate-legal, closed-binary operating systems. We've got ISP's that like the smartphone model, where the "carrier IQ" spyware scandal just hit Android and iOS, they would love to block Linux. Go into any wireless store in the US and see the dirty looks you get when you say you want to use their service with Linux.  A salesman at the counter might help out, but in my experience you can expect ZERO support unless you shell out $150 for an OS-agnostic wireless hotspot. Jut look at the ugly "trusted boot" OEM motherboard/Windows 8 crap that is coming.Having all our good, patent-busting software in repo but a fig leaf of legality around the main OS is going to save a lot of bandwidth on Tor in the future, I suspect. When the US or just US-based IP's start blocking OS sites over "illegal codecs" the smart move will be to move everything except the restricted codecs, libdvdcs, etc to new IP addresses, and instruct everyone to connect via Tor to access the rest of the software. This way, only the codecs have to travel across the Tor network.At first the US will probably resort to blocking DNS, and everyone will go to alternate DNS servers, but then they might move to real IP address based blocking and a cat-and-mouse game. In this upcoming legal environment there will be no way to offer a "ready to go at install" image like Windows supposedly does, any more than an underground industry can simply set up a storefront. Even though very few countries recognize software patents, an age of blocking will mean all residents of those countries wanting to use a "real" Linux media distro will need to be able to connect apt to a set of repos, some of them reached via Tor and the rest not. Time to get working on tor connectivity for apt in my opinion.Of course, in an upcoming age of darknets the sort of media I make might not be accessable to Windows users, nor on the "legal" Internet, making the codec issue moot. People putting out media on a darknet, to free OS users only, will want to switch at that time to the free codecs which will work by default for everyone on the darknets.

Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2011 20:55:41 +0300
From: ?????? <shnatsel at>
To: "Ubuntu Studio Development & Technical Discussion"
<ubuntu-studio-devel at>
Subject: Re: choosing typical desktop applications
<CABaUXi6yXbD7wOOtNuxZxS3UWF=R_v0CEGLUzQ7k0SQ5EYmqug at>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Preload greatly reduces startup time; it's included in Ubuntu repos
and it's quite stable and well-tested, I think you can include it by

I'm afraid that you won't be able to ship VLC due to legal
restrictions of libavcodec:
"libavcodec cannot be shipped on CDs (c.f. Ubuntu technical board
resolution 2007-01-02)." (source:

The best thing you can ship is GStreamer.

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