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Re: "expected gains in market share"



On Wed, 2006-04-05 at 19:32 -0400, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
> Cam <camilo mesias co uk>:
> > Do you really think that a substantial population of adopters are ready 
> > and waiting but held back because mp3 isn't in Fedora?
> 
> I think there is a very large population of potential users who would
> consider lack of MP3 and other multimedia playback a showstopper --
> that it's one of the checklist features nontechnical users look for in
> 2006.

MP3 and DVD playback are clearly not checklist features for Windows use,
as the stock version does not include either ability.  There are scads
of non-technical users out there with enough motivation and ability to
find and install the required software.

The effort required with Fedora is not that much greater, plus it's less
likely to leave you with adware.  Googling for "fedora mp3" brings up
the fedorafaq as the first link.  When your non-technical friends ask
about linux, don't fear their scorn--say, "yes, some software is
available that does what you want", and point them toward livna or
whatever.  You can even throw in a mention of how evil software patents
are, but you don't necessarily have to dispense the Vorbis lecture.

Of course, the actual install is more complex than it should be, and no
one disputes that.  This is where some useful work can be done: making
it easier to add repositories and install packages (though pup and pirut
have already made a difference here).

The brick wall here isn't technical, though; it's legal, and banging
your head against it (and all of our heads against it) is not
productive.  I have no doubt that the legal people have looked into it
pretty thoroughly without coming up with a solution.

OTOH, I have to agree with whoever brought up the flash repository.  The
flash plugin itself is clearly not redistributable the way Fedora wants,
but a flash.repo file certainly is, and IMHO ought to be included in
stock Fedora.  Alan Cox's concern about the difficulty of deciding which
third-parties to point to seems overblown--even in a contentious forum
like fedora-devel, I bet one could get pretty substantial consensus
about the top few things (flash, fluendo if they created a yum repo) to
include.

I'm a free-software believer (I tell people we're not ideologues--just
pragmatists with a longer time horizon), but I certainly don't have a
problem with including pointers to the stuff that's legal to point to.
It makes sense to me that Fedora can't include pointers to places that
include non-US-legal stuff, but I don't see the problem with the flash
repo.

Mitch


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