Re: [Rhythmbox-devel] iTunes in my Firefox


On Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 7:20 AM, Bastien Nocera <hadess hadess net> wrote:
> On Thu, 2010-12-16 at 01:39 +0100, Jonas Abrahamsson wrote:
>> Hello
>> I recently found a plugin in Firefox named "iTunes Applications
>> Detector", this is not something I asked for and I don't want it, what
>> is this apple-thing doing in my browser? I hope it will never discover
>> iTunes on this computer, or I have failed miserably at maintaining it.
> It's a plugin that's used to start Rhythmbox when links to ITMS Podcasts
> are used in Web browsers.
>> I switched to Linux for all the reasons and values companies like Apple
>> does not stand for, and to get control of my computer. I have disabled
>> it, but I cannot remove it.
> If you don't want to see the plugin, ask your distribution to package it
> separately. For my part, I don't see the point in complaining about a
> 50kB file that doesn't actually have any code, and enhances integration
> between the browser and Rhythmbox.

On top of what Bastien said, you *can*, of course, delete the file,
with no ill effects (except the loss of the plugin's functionality).
It's literally one file; a shared object. You can almost certainly
find it in /usr/lib[64]/browser-plugins or
/usr/lib[64]/mozilla/plugins, depending on your distribution. The name
of it is, so you can use the
`find' program or similar to locate it, and then delete it as root.

The plugin itself and the functionality it drives in Rhythmbox share
no code with iTunes, and are completely unrelated to iTunes. The only
resemblance they have is that both iTunes and this plugin implement
support for a particular way of delivering audio streams, which by
itself is not patent-encumbered, DRMed, etc. or it wouldn't be
included in Free Software distributions. iTunes itself is literally
incapable of running on Linux without emulation or virtualization; in
the emulation case, I have yet to see anyone successfully integrate
iTunes with native applications such as native Firefox, so there's no
way this plugin could have anything to do with iTunes, even in
*theory*. And then, to install iTunes and get it fully working in wine
would be significant effort on your part that you'd have to explicitly
undertake, as no distro I know of packages iTunes running under wine.
In the virtualization case, you'd be running a completely different OS
on top of Linux with something like VirtualBox or VMware, so you would
of course know that you are using a completely different guest
operating system that has nothing to do with the host. So in neither
case would iTunes have anything to do with this plugin.

There's really nothing to worry about. There are several popular
technologies that are referenced by name in free software projects
that are completely unaffiliated with the referenced product. But just
because something is named XYZ doesn't mean it has anything at all to
do with XYZ. It is only named as such to indicate to users that
particular functionality typically handled by XYZ is, in fact, handled
in a similar way by some piece of free software. Another example is
the Totem plugin for Windows Media Player video support; the plugin advertises itself as "Windows Media Player
Plug-in 10 (compatible; Totem)". Just because Totem supports Windows
Media videos (provided you have the right codecs installed) doesn't
mean that Windows Media Player is installed on your system. Likewise
for Totem's "DivX Web Player" plugin.

I could be wrong, but I *think* the main reason why these plugins are
named as such is that really stupid websites try to query the list of
your browser's plugins, and if they don't find the plugin they're
looking for, they refuse to work properly. So it is an essential part
of the plugin's functionality to call it, for instance, "Windows Media
Player Plug-in", because calling it something else like "WMV Support"
would cause poorly-coded websites to indicate that they are unable to
play the video. These plugins are really just designed to make the
GNU/Linux (and BSD, etc.) desktop more friendly to multimedia created
and designed for the proprietary world; since we are the new kids and
Windows is the incumbent, the onus is on us to support existing
content and services, to the extent that we can legally do so. You can
rest assured that, if these plugins ship in distros such as Fedora or
gNewSense, there are no currently-known patent or copyright issues
with the plugins. But feel free to `rm' them if it bothers you.


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