Re: libaudiofile and mpeg audio

On Wed, 13 Jan 1999, Dietmar Maurer wrote:
> wrote:
> > 
> > that's not the problem -t he problem is layer3 encoding whihc is still
> > almost a must in a general library like libaudiofile canot be shipped
> > withotu paying patents - debain, RH, slackware - NO distribution can
> > ship it - hell you can barely ship decoders without seeking approval.
> > we ned patent free stuff. everyone wants windows. why dont we just
> > screw linux/unix/gnome and work on free software for windows? same
> > reason. break the proprietary hold.
> > 
> But how can freeamp be distributed with GPL? 
> They do that at the moment.

The issue of whether the patents apply to something like freeamp is not
clear, particularly since if I recall, freeamp doesn't use Fraunhofer's
code base.  So they are distributing under the GPL under the assumption
that the patent doesn't apply.

A single lawsuit from Fraunhofer can shut them down, since whether
they are right or wrong, I doubt they could afford to defend themselves
without outside help.  On the other hand Fraunhofer is pursuing encoders
more agressively than decoders, so freeamp is probably safe.

On the GNOME front, if audiofile keeps any MP3 code easily removable
(either by plugins, separate files or #ifdefs) it could respond to a
hypothetical lawsuit by merely removing the offending piece of code (while
we run to RedHat and FSF to beg for legal support so we can put the code 
back in).  It also would allow patent-shy distributions to distribute the
mp3-free version of audiofile.

Of all the suggestions, the plugin is the most user-friendly, since a user
can add or remove mp3 capability regardless of what their distribution
did.  On the other hand, it's the hardest way to write it, and could add a
performance hit.


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