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Re: [Gnash-dev] Gnash 0.8.2 on OLPC XO?

From: Rob Savoye
Subject: Re: [Gnash-dev] Gnash 0.8.2 on OLPC XO?
Date: Sat, 05 Apr 2008 09:56:16 -0600
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20071115)

Dossy Shiobara wrote:
> Hey, if other Gnash developers want an XO OLPC, we just need to do the
> buy-one-get-one for USD$400, right?  We can hack on the regular "retail"
> version?

  I believe the G1G1 program is now closed for the time being. You can
think of the XO as a 433Mhz "PC", that runs Fedora 7. Most of the OLPC
specific tweaks are in the firmware or kernel, and don't effect building
applications. I may also stick of of my "spare" older XO models in the
Gnashdev build farm too.

> Is there a "developers kit"--a Linux binary cross-compiler toolchain
> with the OLPC as target?

  I have a page on our wiki about this, but I just discovered our wiki
is 404, can whoever broke this please fix it ? You can build on the
x86-fedora8 machine in the build farm and just copy the executables to
the XO. This is one of the things I do want to use the build farm for,
creating up to date rpms for the XO that just work. There are also XO VM
images for qemu on the site you can use. We all used those
back before we had real hardware.

  As the guy that maintains the XO developer tools, I can answer any
questions you may have. On the wiki you can even grab copies of my GCC
toolchain for the XO that I tweaked to have optimized Geode LX support
by hand coding a bunch of stuff in glibc for the XO. I use this
toolchain for my own builds. I also have a patch there to add better
Geode optimizer support to GCC 4.2.x. Both of these do make a noticeable
speed improvement.

> Just out of curiousity, has anyone gotten a price quote for what
> licensing of the core necessary codecs would cost?  i.e., could we ship
> a "free" Gnash without the codecs, and a separate "non-free" Gnash that
> includes the codecs that we would pay royalties on, and simply
> pass-through the royalty costs to the end user?

  If Gnash is built with Gstreamer support, then the end users can
download the gstreamer-ffmpeg plugin, and it works. Often there are
problems though with the version skew between the plugin and the rest of

> This might not be very GNU, but perhaps a third-party company could
> offer such a thing.

  Fluendo, the sponsors of Gstreamer, do exactly this. You can get
legally licensed codecs for MP3, AVI, and Windows Media from them. These
aren't redistributable however, so it doesn't do us much good.

> I'd like to document on the wiki which codecs are "missing" in the

  All codecs but Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Theora, Dirac, or Snow are "illegal to
support" due to redistribution clauses for software licensing. This
issue we also suffer through with any GNU/Linux distribution, hence by
default, neither Fedora nor Ubuntu can support the same codecs "out of
the box". Both of those distros use a utility to have the codecs
downloaded by the end user, which is considered non-infringing.

> completely free redistributable binary version, and then make some
> inquiries as to licensing costs.  It would just be good to know.
> Perhaps the XO folks could license those codecs and cover the licensing
> costs as part of the OLPC price.

  The XO is a 100% free software machine, so no licensing like this is
even possible due to cost. That's why they ship Gnash, instead of Adobe...

  Also it you look at what Fluendo did for MP3, it's only their
precompiled binary version of the codec that is covered by the license,
it's still infringing if the exact same code is compiled by the end user.

  Right now Redhat is considering paying a huge (many zeros on the end)
upfront fee to license codecs for their Global Desktop. I'm trying to
talk them out of this of course. :-)

  Personally, we can either continue to support being extorted and
intimidated by these large corporations, or we can side step the issue
by making software with solid support for patent free codecs. While much
existing content is in proprietary formats, if there are good tools for
creating, streaming, or viewing video that use free formats, then I do
believe people will change. We should continue to make Gnash's support
for proprietary codecs work well, even if nobody can redistribute Gnash
built that way, while also trying to give people choice to use other
formats. Writing code is sometimes the best way to help bring freedom of
choice to people.

        - rob -

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