Linux Illegal Codecs and adoption problem

by on July 19, 2007 · 4 comments· LAST UPDATED July 19, 2007

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So Do Illegal codecs (shady definition [1]) scare you as a Linux user? According to Adrian Kingsley-Hughes:

... I’m especially interested in rolling out Ubuntu onto older PCs and notebooks where installing Windows will put too much of a strain on the hardware. But there’s one aspect of Ubuntu, and Linux in general for that matter, that’s putting me off. This is the fact that to play a DVD or use WMA/WMV files I have to install codecs that are technically illegal to use.

Linux has a number of really strong points that go beyond the price (reliability, ease of use and low hardware requirements to name but a few), but the operating system falls short when it comes to legally supporting file formats such as MP3, WMA/WMV and DVDs. It’s not that you don’t have support for these formats available, it’s that adding support means entering into some really shady legal territory...

A good question, what do you think? Should patent holder care more about codecs or all downloaded music / mp3 and other formats? One can convert his / her collection to open formats. Luckily in my country there is no such stupid law exists.

Illegal Codecs Put Me Off Linux (via /.)

[1] In many countries (outside USA) codecs are not illegal.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 vonskippy July 21, 2007 at 12:01 am

Sure, just like people don’t buy Fast Sports Cars or Motorcycles because they can exceed the speed limit.

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2 Todd July 31, 2007 at 12:27 pm

As long as we are using Strawman arguments, The person or company that developed the codec did not give you permission to use it, you are stealing it.
Why would that be in different that you walking up to a someone else’s Fast Sports Car on the street, getting in and taking off with it without permission. I figure in any country, thats illegal.
Legality aside, taking because you can doesn’t mean you should. Just because while you were in a store you were able to shoplift and get away with it, doesn’t make it OK. It’s still stealing.
I would agree that some laws are stupid, but laws that protect your property from being used without your permission are there for a reason. Somebody invested time and money to create these codecs, they own them. They deserve what compensation they ask for, which could be as little as a ‘Good job’ if thats all they want in exchange for its use.
If you want the ability to encode/decode these formats, you are free to write them from scratch, or pay someone to do it. Even here in the US, the courts have ruled that you cannot copyright a programming interface. Thats how we can have WINE today without issue.
I admit I have problems with this at times, I run Fedora on my media pc, works great (most the time). I’m sure I have a codec or two that have not been release for free.
To really get linux to be more than a geek’s OS, to get it out to people in there homes, we have to cross these hurdles. (along with making it as easier to download and install stuff as it is in Windows, but thats a rant for later)

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3 Ki8m August 19, 2007 at 2:30 am

Either convert video to non illegal codec
or forget about using illegal codec to view the video just consider illigal codecs obsolete if this is what you wish. I think this is the best way to approach the problem just consider it junk. Dont use it. Dont buy or use anything if you cant legaly use it . Let me emphasise if it is illigal to view on your system why buy it? You paid for something you cant use?

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4 William Lawson July 3, 2009 at 5:22 am

What the Sam hell you talking about, Illegal codec. These are not Illegal to use! They are developed to be used my any one free. they were developed half ass so you need to work out the bugs.

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