patching out non-free code offers in codeina

March 15, 2008

I wanted to respond to this comment by Brian Pepple. Everyone on the board has gotten uncomfortable with the idea that inclusion of the default set of items in codeina means we are encouraging the sale and use of closed source software.

We think codeina is very useful. As long as it is distributing only open source software then it is fine. It has not been doing that and we are all worried and concerned about it. We discussed it and decided an easy solution was to patch out the closed-source items that are advertised/offered in the xml file that ships with codeina.

I cannot think of a tenet more central to fedora than ONLY AND ALWAYS FREE SOFTWARE.  I think the decision of the board is consistent with that tenet.

6 Responses to “patching out non-free code offers in codeina”

  1. Troels Just Says:

    “I cannot think of a tenet more central to fedora than ONLY AND ALWAYS FREE SOFTWARE. I think the decision of the board is consistent with that tenet.”

    Could not agree more!🙂


  2. […] etc. etc. Some guy thought that was Fedora making life difficult for the user, while Seth Vidal said the following on his blog: We think codeina is very useful. As long as it is distributing only open […]


  3. It is not like Fedora is distributing or encouraging the use of this code, it is however providing our users with the option of at least having working legal media support. Patching it out leaves people with no default option except living with no media support. It introduces a functionality regression as well. I am all for Free Software by default but this war you are waging on non-free software’ right to existance is only hurting Fedora. Personally I don’t use these codecs as we have no software patents in my country so I can obtain support in other ways but that does not change the fact that they are the only way to get this support legally for certain groups.

    As a Fedora contributor I am extremely saddened by this and seriously consider my future involvement with the project if this is how we elect to treat our users. The situation would be different if we were forcing a for pay proprietary solution down everyones throat by default but we were not, we were offering an option to get support. It was turning what was a nasty failure message into a handy little help screen with explainations as to why things didn’t work.

    Epic fail!

  4. Stefano Cavallari Says:

    Personally I don’t think patching them out is a good idea.
    Users need mp3 and xvid support. It’s better to show them a legal way to get the support instead of don’t tell them anything.
    Of course explain that it’s better to use open codecs.
    Just make *sure* that users in countries where there isn’t this patent madness feel like they have to pay.
    Ask if they live in the US (where you have the obligation to know the law) and if not, tell them that there is livna and that they are responsible for their own local laws.
    If you remove closed codecs Codeina isn’t useful for Free codecs as you should just use yum (maybe provide an interface to it). It doesn’t make sense to use a different package manager for codecs.

  5. skvidal Says:

    mp3 support via codeina isn’t going away. The mp3 plugin IS free software.

    the other for-pay and closed plugins would be the ones who are patched out.

    Furthermore it’s not just the US. The events at CEBIT last month should definitely debug the position that europe is free of these concerns.

  6. quaid Says:

    “… this war you are waging on non-free software’ right to existance is only hurting Fedora.”

    How do you interpret what Fedora ships with waging a war on the rights of something to exist? That is an amazing leap of logic that has nothing to do with the facts.

    David — that is non-free software and it doesn’t belong in Fedora. If you think Fedora should ship non-free software, or make it a feature of the distro to enable the obtaining of non-free software, then maybe you are right about who does and doesn’t belong behind the wheel of Fedora.

    If you were on the Board … and I don’t recall seeing you run in the last elections? … what would your decision be?

    If the majority of the Fedora contributors elect a Board that reflects a particular view, that is the way representative governing works. If you are so sure you are right, run for election, get out there and pull together votes from all the people who value ease for the user over freedom, get yourself on the Board, and work to reverse these decisions. If you work at it hard enough, you could have Fedora just like other distros in about twelve months. Good luck!


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