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Old 10-15-2005, 09:09 AM   #1
JacekZ
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Which codecs are legitimate on linux


Hi,
I've installed fc4 and am mostly impressed with core and extras (except for the lack of Sunbird and ready to go Java). Getting things working beyond this is I find too time consuming. But to make a real go of Linux I should still get multimedia up and running. I've read a lot about mplayer xine etc and have in fact installed real player 10, though I'm not so comfortable with the rpm install I did as I prefer to let yum update keep things in order. Also didn't like the license bit but that's life.. or is it? The question I'm rambling towards is if I do go round the houses to install various codecs for open source players, e.g:
- for .mov files (or at least to convert .mov to theora)
- for .avi files
- for .mp3 files (though I tget the impression that ogg vorbis is better)
- for playing DVD films (not to rip them - just play them)
which of these can I use (where do I get them please) without breaking some civil if not criminal law? If they do need license sign-up which ones can be used legitimately. I realise that some of these issues are grey areas, but the simplest way to put this is which ones would the companies that devised the formats smile upon if not actually endorse?
Thanks in anticipation.
Jacek
 
Old 10-15-2005, 12:59 PM   #2
Asellus
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Well, for most of those formats, the win32codecs package should have everything there. Chances are, you can already play non-encrypted DVDs, the problem is that most any commercial DVD is going to be encrypted and so you'd also need libdvdcss in order to read them through the encryption.

I don't think there are any legal issues with the codecs package but libdvdcss is a bit iffy with the DMCA in the states. Other countries may have looser or more stringent laws regarding software patents.
 
Old 10-15-2005, 04:33 PM   #3
init100
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Re: Which codecs are legitimate on linux

Quote:
I've installed fc4 and am mostly impressed with core and extras (except for the lack of Sunbird and ready to go Java). Getting things working beyond this is I find too time consuming. But to make a real go of Linux I should still get multimedia up and running. I've read a lot about mplayer xine etc and have in fact installed real player 10, though I'm not so comfortable with the rpm install I did as I prefer to let yum update keep things in order.
First I must ask you, did you read Fedora Core 4 Installation Notes? This is an excellent guide when you are setting up yum repositories, installing multimedia players, etc.

Quote:
- for .mov files (or at least to convert .mov to theora)
- for .avi files
- for .mp3 files (though I tget the impression that ogg vorbis is better)
- for playing DVD films (not to rip them - just play them)
These are all covered in the article mentioned above. I think that RealPlayer can play mp3 files. It also works fine for listening to Shoutcast web radio stations (I just tried that today), and I think they are encoded in mp3 format.

Quote:
which of these can I use (where do I get them please) without breaking some civil if not criminal law? If they do need license sign-up which ones can be used legitimately. I realise that some of these issues are grey areas, but the simplest way to put this is which ones would the companies that devised the formats smile upon if not actually endorse?
I think you are safe legally when using RealPlayer, since they are a commercial company, and that means that they have probably acquired the appropriate licenses. For mplayer and others, I'm not so sure, since at least some of the codecs are based on reverse engineering. But still, where I live (Sweden), the police won't bother if you are just going to play your own video files, even if you are using reverse-engineered software for it. File sharing may be another story.

Please note though: IANAL - I Am Not A Lawyer - This is NOT legal advice, please consult your lawyer. Check your local legislation for information appropriate to you.
 
Old 10-15-2005, 05:48 PM   #4
Vgui
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As far as I have heard, using libdvdcss is perfectly fine if you own the DVD. This might have changed recently, with the huge "crackdown" on piracy. Everything else would definately be legal. I wouldn't be too worried either way, I've never heard of anyone getting "busted" for playing mp3s they own.
 
Old 10-15-2005, 06:57 PM   #5
Emerson
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For every device decoding Windows Media a royalty fee has to be paid to Microsoft. ($1.50 or something close to it.)
 
Old 10-15-2005, 07:16 PM   #6
JacekZ
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All,
Thanks for your speedy contributions.

Asellus, I hadn't reasided the win32codecs would cover .mov files (this is most important because my digitial comara video clips are in this format). I'd had doubts about that codec because of the mention here: http://www.fedorafaq.org/#browsermovies
You'd think the dvd industry would want to provide a linux player so people buy their films!

Init100, I'd seen other install guides but not that one, it does look thorough so thanks. I guess linux lawyers are thin on the ground but while I agree an early morning knock on the door is unlikely I prefer to make sure I do things right - it's a Christian thing with me, so for now I'm stuck with Real Player.

From a security perspective I'm not sure which repositories to trust, and which will be maintained in future. It seems to me that repositories - one of Linux's strengths - are also a potential security weakness. A malicious individual would simply need to substitute harmful code in place of a valid package.

Vgui, I think that is the position in Norway? where the test case was? but I'm less sure about elsewhere. Does sound if I use other codecs I'll have to avoid the libdvdcss.

Thanks to you all once again.
Jacek
 
Old 10-15-2005, 09:01 PM   #7
init100
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Quote:
From a security perspective I'm not sure which repositories to trust, and which will be maintained in future. It seems to me that repositories - one of Linux's strengths - are also a potential security weakness. A malicious individual would simply need to substitute harmful code in place of a valid package.
I trust the repositories mentioned in the article I linked to. A malicious individual cannot just slip a trojan package into the repository, he must also be able to sign the package with the repository private key, since the signature is checked by yum, and it won't install if the signature does not validate.
 
Old 10-16-2005, 01:28 PM   #8
usaf_sp
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Is it really Christian of a company like Microsoft, Macromedia or others to stop people from playing their legally owned multi-media? Or are those companies trying to prevent people from using their legally owned property on systems that they do not have financial deals with?

I believe what the giant Software and Multimedia companies are doing is wrong to begin with. Those companies are more interested in my wallet rather than my spiritual health. All they are doing is pandering to their own greed. They are like Marie Antoinette "...so let them eat cake..." , she was eventually executed by the masses. Large groups often crucify the meek and innocent when and idea will cause them to loose their control (sounds familiar). Money brings out the ugliest of people. Jesus was betrayed for a few shekels of silver.

These companies are just trying to stop people from using Linux because it is open source. Meaning that they can not control what happens with it, but most importantly they can not make money off of it.

It is your call to use the tools available in Linux or not, but ALL multimedia files can be played with Linux. So here is what you would use:

1. For DVDs you need libdvdcss and libdvdread to decode and read the dvd encryption.
2. Xine will play *.wma, *.wmv and other related encodings along with other Multimedia formats.
3. AmaRok-Xine will use the Xine engine to play *.wma files with AmaRok
4. Kaffiene will play DVDs both encrypted and unencrypted.


Have fun.

Last edited by usaf_sp; 10-16-2005 at 01:35 PM.
 
Old 10-16-2005, 09:58 PM   #9
teckk
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http://www4.mplayerhq.hu./homepage/design7/dload.html
 
Old 10-17-2005, 11:35 PM   #10
nlkrio
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http://http://rpm.greysector.net/mpl...uirements.html
 
Old 10-18-2005, 12:22 AM   #11
usaf_sp
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Funny nlkrio. Trying to waste everyone's time with the link to Microsuck?
 
Old 10-22-2005, 10:45 AM   #12
JacekZ
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Thanks usaf_sp,
my own take on it is that two wrongs don't make a right. And I suspect that large industry and public sector bodies are unlikely to adopt a grey solution - so the present state of play may be a wider put-off to adopting linux. Pursuing the original idea then, all I've come up with is a seemingly unfinished intention from lindvd: http://www.intervideo.com/jsp/LinDVD.jsp
and a mention of maybe getting licenses from linspire: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerwork...lnxw01MadMacP1 .

The solution seems clear, someone has to set up a licensing arrangement or honesty box system for mplayer - maybe taking a small cut themselves - but who will do it and when? Beyond my capacity to do this.
Jacek
 
Old 10-22-2005, 12:10 PM   #13
usaf_sp
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The point I was trying to make is this: Is it wrong to breathe if a company decides to start charging and requires licenses? Why do we pay $1.00 for bottled water? Yeah I know all the marketing hype, but in essence Microsoft, Macromedia and all other companies rarely "invent" anything and just build off of other people's ideas (software). It all boils down to low level processor code (something that has been around since the first microprocessor) They were just the first ones to get those ideas copyrighted. How can someone claim to own something that in essence belongs to someone else? They are spending millions and millions of dollars convincing people that what they are doing is right when it is really wrong. Just ask the several countries (yes governments) that are fighting back: Isreal, Great Brittan, Germany, etc and saying enough is enough by installing open source on thier networks. They use libdvdcss, libdvdread. libdvdcss is broadly interpreted to be illegal in the US because it circumvents the CSS encryption, but no court in the US has ever heard the issue, yet. When they do, I believe that those laws will be found unconstitutional (unless money buys a verdict). Again who owns the air?

BTW: Did you know that Microsoft has applied for pattents on technologies that don't exist and are not even being developed? Why?

Last edited by usaf_sp; 10-22-2005 at 12:14 PM.
 
Old 10-22-2005, 12:56 PM   #14
JacekZ
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I agree that there is cause for concern over some recent legislation. Worse still I've heard rumblings of patent / copyright intentions over human DNA. But again I take the view that in a democracy if you don't like a law, then work to change it. I doubt you could argue to have a fundamental overriding human right to decode music mp3s. On the other hand something is wrong if a major OS platform like Linux is left out in the cold. On the fundamental point of having patents at all, I do think that in principle inventors have some moral and legal rights over their ideas, hence the thrust of this thread is where to find uncontestably clean software, even for a very moderate price.

As for other countries fighting back, I have to say that living here in the UK is hardly open-code utopia. I know no-one who runs Linux, and given how much background reading is required to set up with it I doubt I shall convert many people for a long time yet. Even I'm (regrettably) back on the old unmentionable OS for now. There are one or two local councils that might use Linux as a main OS, but that I think is about it. If it is going to succeed it needs not only to work well, have an easy migration route, good hardware support, out of the box home and wireless networking and multimedia - it also needs to be seen to be clean.
 
Old 10-22-2005, 02:23 PM   #15
usaf_sp
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Inventers should have the moral and legal right to their creation. It is only greed and money that would make one think that they can steal an idea and profit from it. In a democracy you can change the laws. But when was the last time that either the UK or US really cared for the well being of its people and passed laws for their well being? Those money whores only pass laws that will make the rich richer and the powerful more powerful.

The reason Linux is not "easier" as you put it is because these companies that the technically illiterate support are purposely trying to KILL IT. Obvious that you do not read anything about SUN or Novell or OSS (the underground sites as I once heard them refered to). Or eaven the problems that Microsoft is having in EU courts over monopolistic practices and false advertisement. Last I checked the UK was a member of the EU. How about the Microsoft's SEC filing this year and its claims that it fears Linux? Just because you don't know someone else who uses Linux/Unix does not mean that it does not exist. Even Microsoft's servers are Unix based. When I talk about countries, I am talking about the Government systems and the Corporate systems (where serious computing takes place). Windows is just the swill passed to the masses. True 90% of the computer market is Microsoft, but 90% is also the home desktop. People usually don't know the difference because they have not been exposed to Linux.

My computer, my DVDs, I run the software that I choose. I certainly am not going to hell over it. I did not steal anything, I am just trying to use what I paid for.

BTW: you were given the answer to the "clean" and morally unquestionable software to read DVDs. Your government is not telling you that you can not use them. Only my government and Microsoft, Macromedia, etc are saying that. Why the dificulty? Don't let American corporations screw it up for everyone.

Last edited by usaf_sp; 10-22-2005 at 02:52 PM.
 
  


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