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Re: totem/xine



Michael A. Peters wrote:

OK - I wasn't aware there were legal issues with xine-lib and totem.
I know there is for xvidcore - but you can build xine-lib without it,
and libdvdcss also isn't required (unless you want to watch commercial
DVD's).

So there are legal issues beyond those packages?
That sucks.

Well, IANAL but as far as I have understood basically anything coming off of Red Hat's servers would have to be a pretty broken product. As you said, it wouldn't play commercial DVDs, it essentially wouldn't play any downloadable files etc. In short, it would be pretty useless and it wouldn't be fixable with plug-ins that could be downloaded (you'd need a full new copy of Xine) so really there's no use in shipping it - its only function would be to fill the mailing lists and Bugzilla with complaints that it doesn't work, and get a bunch of not-so-clued-in reviewers to write that "Fedora sucks since they broke everything media".


Pretty much the only hope of "fixing" this situation (other than the real solution of scrapping the DMCA and getting rid of software patents) is GStreamer, which is designed to be runtime-pluggable. Totem with a GStreamer backend supporting the Ogg formats (ogg vorbis, flac and speex for audio, Theora for video when it's done...) could be a basic video/media player (yeah, I know about the discussion that audio and video players are different and I agree); probably a plug-in for unencrypted DVDs would be reasonably easy to craft too if it doesn't exist. In order to get "real" DVD playing and other stuff to work one could just add a plugin. Likely fake plugins that pop up windows informing about why the formats are not supported in the base distribution would be needed to stem the flood of list e-mails but this would be a much less annoying situation than the current one.

The reason that this can't be done just yet is pretty much that AFAIK the GStreamer backend for Totem isn't really considered done, and since the Ogg Theora bitstream spec isn't finished there really isn't any sane unencumbered video format around so Totem would basically have nothing to play.

/Per



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