Re: [gst-devel] Re: Helix Player virtual team meeting
- From: Thomas Vander Stichele <thomas apestaart org>
- To: Rob Lanphier <robla real com>
- Cc: Julien MOUTTE <julien moutte net>, gnome-multimedia gnome org, desktop-devel-list gnome org, gstreamer-devel lists sf net, licensing open helixcommunity org
- Subject: Re: [gst-devel] Re: Helix Player virtual team meeting
- Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 22:17:20 +0100
(cutting some lists out of the cc:)
> Which part of the Open Source Definition do you reckon the RPSL is in
> violation of?
It's not a matter of whether it is opensource or not. It might very
well be certified and seem to be in line with open source, but ...
> Quoting the portion of the RPSL that you quoted out of context is very
> misleading. For starters, I encourage everyone to look at the whole
I also checked the whole license. I don't really see how quoting only
part of the license (ie the part that Julien wanted to focus on) makes
that part of the license any less valid.
Reading that part again and again, it still seems to say that all
copyright of anything contributed by people is assigned to real. If
this is not the case then please tell us what it is I am misreading, but
quoting other parts of the license doesn't really change the fact that
this part of the license seems to say so. That is also what other
developers I talked with seem to get out of it.
I will mail the gnome board as well asking them if they can get someone
more qualified to translate the legalese for us. But if you want to win
us over I guess you should start by explaining why this bit of the
license should be intrepreted differently.
> So, regardless of the fact that RealNetworks, as the Licensor, can
> create proprietary applications, you have the right to continue to use
> the open source version.
> There are plenty of examples of where this is happening with GPL
> software today. For example, much of the code that Raph Levien wrote
> was facilitated by this funding model (http://www.artofcode.com/)
Right, so what you're saying is, every version that is put out under
this license will always be usable as opensource and available. That is
in fact reasonable.
It also somehow implies that there might be a time when newer versions
will not be opensource or easily available free. Which might be where
some people have problems.
> > The GStreamer team is pushing hard to get an integrated and
> > distributable media framework and we are currently trying to fund the
> > development of Theora codec so that we can get a completely free and
> > open solution for multimedia streaming/playback.
> Actually, RealNetworks has funded the Xiph Foundation in the past:
I read the press release back then, I reread it right now. It never
offered specifics, but as far as I can make out it just entailed getting
a Vorbis plugin written for Helix, right ? Which is all fine, but since
the code for vorbis was out there under a well accepted open source
license, it could have been done by Real itself. What I'm saying is, it
didn't really help the development of Vorbis, though I can see why it
makes sense for Real to pay codec developers to develop plugins for
> RealNetworks has a long history of being as open as the business climate
> will prudently allow, and I don't see any reason why this won't continue.
For me, and for a lot of other developers, the success of Helix, and our
possible involvement in it, stands or falls with your license, what it
intends to say, and what it legally says. Most developers seem to get
from the license that all copyright is completely transfered to real. I
think you know why this is not acceptable.
So possible routes, if this matters to Real, are:
a) change the license
b) explain to us what it is that we understand in the wrong way
c) go right ahead without us
Also, from an outside view, it is not very clear how open Real has been
in the past. Looking at the actual situation, the real codecs are one
of the last to not have been reverse-engineered in some project. The
least that could have happened is some opening of codecs well beyond
their expiration date. It seems to me that your sentence translates to
"the business climate doesn't allow Real to be open in a way that is
useful to us". While you may disagree with that interpretation, you
should realize it is one that many share and that you will have to
That is not to say Real is completely closed; but you must understand
that as free software developers we are wary of being used as cheap
labour on a project that is less free than another with the same scope.
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