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Something I sent to the OpenSUSE list.

Something to chew on.  Looks like they're running into the same issues we 
are.  I'd like to see them stand with us.


On Wed, 24 Aug 2005, Andreas Girardet wrote:

> I don't really see that, since SLES based products like OES contain
> commercial software (like edirectory and so on), which requires a
> license to be paid. As I said. I would not have any issue in paying a
> license for such a central feature like proper media support. I think
> that whatever it is there needs to be a way to match what Windows is
> offering. If rules are there to stop us to be competitive then the rule
> is wrong. If laws prohibit us to be competitive then we need to find a
> way to comply to the law either by paying a fee to the copyright holders
> or by other means. This needs to be sorted ........

This is where OpenSUSE will need to make a choice, right up front, just 
like Fedora has.

The choice Fedora has made: we will not ship software that is encumbered 
by patents.  Why?  Because we believe that software patents are dangerous 
and wrong.  And we consequently run into issues of "contributory 
infringement" and "don't tell users where to get an MP3 player" and all of 
that stuff -- just like you're running into right now.

Red Hat will ship these features with Red Hat products because Red Hat has
no choice -- paying customers expect everything to work out of the box.  
But the Fedora philosophy is different.

Every time a user is unable to play an MP3 file, it's an opportunity to 
educate.  Ogg Vorbis is technically on-par, all of the tools and codecs 
are completely free, and yet the world uses MP3.

Imagine a user clicking on an MP3 file, and a mock-player that comes up 
and plays a pre-loaded OGG explaining why MP3s suck.  And if you decide to 
pay for the use of the MP3 codec, pay for the ability to ship a tool that 
converts MP3s to OGGs.

It's a hard choice.  On the one hand: users.  On the other hand: freedom.  
And it's a choice we make in our world all the time.

Choose carefully, and good luck as you move forward.  I'm excited to be 
following along.  :)


_____________________  ____________________________________________
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 Community Relations ] [ to be lighthearted and intelligent.  the
             Red Hat ] [ machine easily masters the grim and the 
                     ] [ dumb.  --mcluhan

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