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Re: [OT] Re: realplay.el interface with Real Player v. 1879

From: David Hansen
Subject: Re: [OT] Re: realplay.el interface with Real Player v. 1879
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 03:17:21 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.110007 (No Gnus v0.7) Emacs/22.1.50 (gnu/linux)

On Wed, 18 Jul 2007 19:18:18 +1000 Tim X. wrote:

> David Hansen <address@hidden> writes:
>> Free software somehow has to interact with the "real world", which -
>> sadly - is dominated by proprietary software and file formats.  A lot of
>> people switched to free software after free office software became
>> reliable in reading M$ office files.  I think the case with mplayer is
>> similar.  No one forces you to use the binary only codecs, mplayer
>> already does a pretty good job w/o them (except for listening to BBC
>> radio but hopefully the BBC comes to its sense...).
>> And when it comes to patents or restriction circumventions:  the legal
>> status is different from country to country.   I don't think this makes
>> mplayer "non free", it's the laws in some countries which restrict the
>> freedom here.
> While I can appreciate what your saying, I think you may be missing some of 
> the
> subtlety of Richard's point. Its not sufficient to protect our freedoms to 
> just
> switch to using free software unless that software is really free and actively
> protects our freedom. While mplay itself may be free, the fact it supports
> non-free codecs encourages the continued support of those codecs or at the 
> very
> least reduces any potential pressure that might exist to convince content
> produces to use free rather than proprietary codecs.

Maybe we should clarify what a "free codec" is.  Is xvid free?  Or
libavcodec?  If not, is there any video codec that can be called "free"?
If they do count as free, I think there is no problem with mplayer.
Just don't install or distribute any binary codecs.

When it comes to freedom restricting laws (e.g. patents or media access
restriction), which country should be the reference?  The US?  Or the
least or most restricting laws in the EU?  China?

If you think obeying such laws is important, a lot of GNU software is
non free in a lot of countries.  Just one (extremely silly example): In
Germany distributing non rated video games is illegal.  This makes Emacs
(tetris, snake) non free in Germany.  Font rendering or cryptographic
software is a more serious issue.  A lot of GNU software links against
freetype (you can compile it with -DFUCK_PATENTS) and cryptography is
heavily restricted in a lot of countries.

Frankly, as long as the risk of getting seriously punished is very low i
don't give a fuck about these laws.  That's like waiting as a pedestrian
for a traffic light if there's no car in sight, or not smoking weed
because some authority thinks it should decide what's good for you.

I think before I reply to the rest of your post we should first define
"free codec" (free implementation available sufficient, or does it has
to be patent free and legal (and which countries should be the reference


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