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Fluendo To Sell Proprietary Codecs For Linux

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the free-as-in-not dept.

Media 276

Several readers wrote in to tell us that the open source media software development company Fluendo has announced plans to sell native Linux implementations of proprietary video codecs such as Windows Media, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4. (Press release here.) From the article: "Currently, many Linux video applications facilitate Windows Media video playback using Windows DLL files and Wine, which provides suboptimal performance, particularly with streaming video. Fluendo's codecs could potentially provide better integration for streaming Windows Media playback in Linux web browsers as well as through GStreamer-based desktop applications like Totem."

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Hmmmmmmmmn, (4, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627222)

1) I don't believe (for xine at least) that wine is neccessary for asf (wmv) playback (the windows codec dlls are required, but used by xine without wine's help)

2) I guess a native binary blob is slightly better than a MS coded binary blob.... but frankly, it's still just a binary blob. You have no idea what its really doing.

Good luck to Fluendo however.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (5, Insightful)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627262)

2) I guess a native binary blob is slightly better than a MS coded binary blob.... but frankly, it's still just a binary blob. You have no idea what its really doing.

I guess the vast majority of end-user couldn't care less what their video codec is doing, as long as it plays their damn video's. It's a bit like the NVidea Linux drivers: the free software purists see it as something awful to load a binary driver on Linux, but I for one am very grateful to have proper 3D accelerated drivers at all. Same goes for video playback... There will always be proprietary video codecs, just get over it. I don't see the problem anyway, if I'm want to run commercial software on Linux it is usually binary as well. Does that mean the software is useless or bad?

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (4, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627338)

It's a bit like the NVidea Linux drivers: the free software purists see it as something awful to load a binary driver on Linux,

Perhaps because of security fears? [rapid7.com]

"the NVIDIA Binary Graphics Driver for Linux is vulnerable to a buffer overflow that allows an attacker to run arbitrary code as root. This bug can be exploited both locally or remotely
Anyway, bringing nvidia into the discussion is a red herring, there is a huge difference between running a binary blob in ring 0 and userland. Let's discuss userland binary rather than kernel mode binary.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (3, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627486)

I got hit by the file corruption bug in that's existed in recent 2.6 kernels due to race condition. Was burried pretty deep, took the experts a while to figure out what was going on. I had the source code, so did thousands of other people. The bug still caused lost files. The nvidia driver's a pretty complex piece of code, having to handle many slight differences and implement workarounds for many different cards and chipsets. Nvidia have paid people on the job, with the relevant experience. What makes people think that the oss community can do a better job than nvidia's own people, when they can't even keep their own codebases bugfree? Bugs happen, and with really complex code, it takes people with the most experience available to find and resolve the problem, properly.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17628308)

Nvidia have paid people on the job, with the relevant experience.

That's pure speculation. Few if any people outside Nvidia know exactly what the problem was, what was changed to fix it, which people did the job, or if they even have "relevant experience".

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (5, Informative)

doob (103898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627608)


Perhaps because of security fears?

"the NVIDIA Binary Graphics Driver for Linux is vulnerable to a buffer overflow that allows an attacker to run arbitrary code as root. This bug can be exploited both locally or remotely


You say that as if it were a current problem. This has actually been fixed in the last 3(4?) driver revisions, including a bugfix only release to a previous branch of the drivers.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627398)

he is right. no one except people like RMS give a shit about the license of software, only that it does the job. besides, people can license their work how they like, why should anyone have the right to try brow beat them over it.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (3, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627504)

Because it's better for the public good if the drivers are open.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627512)

no one except people like RMS give a shit about the license of software

I give a shit and I'm not RMS. People who don't give a shit just have no concept of past or future in the software world.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17628122)

He didn't say just RMS, he said people like RMS, ie people with integrity, and a strong sense of good judgement about the dangers of closed systems and information. ie people who are neither ignorant, nor idiotic.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17628248)

And people who live very nicely off grants from Colleges who look at the world through emerald colored glasses and have never had to work in the private sector.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628136)

There are two principle reasons to care.
first
Security, windows biggest problem is trusting binaries not to rip a hole in your security model, why would you want to reduce linux to that level.

Second
to do it better, you can't demand perfection from a commercial programmer but someone will want to tweak a CODEC for maximum performance on his or her hardware.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (2, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628156)

I care. While I'm not likely to check the code for trojans and security flaws, I am likely to tinker with it.

Sometimes I need a feature in software that's not already there. Other times, I need to tinker with some hardcoded value or behavior. (Like the time I needed to modify wget to get around a broken robots.txt.) One time, I wanted to use xvidcap, but found that the latest version of the code was old enough as to not compile on a modern GCC. (I'd be happy to release my updated version, if anyone cares.)

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627472)

Well, since such a huge amount of stuff is Open Source on Linux, of course it sucks to have some proprietary pieces here and there. At least for GNU being Open Source is more important than pleasing the end user, that is kind of the whole point of GNU(/Linux) you see? To make an Open Source operating system with Open Source software. If you don't care about the licenses or especially want many proprietary pieces, you could just use some other operating system.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627624)

ok, and what happens when you get 2 blobs, say a video driver and a video codec (handy example) that when used together under certain circumstances hose the system, being from different vendors and with neither accepting responsibility, your stuck, you have re-implement them both in F/OSS.

for this reason amongst others, open source is well worth being evangelical about, and it must be done NOW, with everything on the system.

a/c because im at work =(

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17628454)

a/c because im at work =(

a/c because you're at your MOM.

But really, I agree that people should be evangelical about OSS. I'm still going to use binary drivers if they work better and OSS if I can. I just recently switched my studio to Windows, because keeping everything running under Linux was a pain. Different distros had their problems, and I just want a professional recording app to make it all better.

Still, I salute you.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627946)

And this is the exact reason why codecs are currently the most popular vehicle for Trojan deployment and torjan browser helper DLLs are a thing of the past.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627956)

Certain videos are usable under Linux which aren't under Windows. Why? Because commands are embedded in them that open links to websites and such.

I was surprised (and an embarrassed) when I tried to show an AMV to a friend, and it popped up a link to a porno website on his computer. (Note to self...don't grab AMVs off of Gnutella.)

This seems to be an issue with WMVs. I haven't noticed it with other container formats.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628460)

Get Media Player Classic, and you can avoid most of the spyware properties associated with WMVs. Otherwise, you can turn those features off in WMP setup, but that would also involve trusting Microsoft to unconditionally honor those settings, which I would not.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627284)

1) I don't believe (for xine at least) that wine is neccessary for asf (wmv) playback (the windows codec dlls are required, but used by xine without wine's help)

Saying "wine" is an overstatement. Some code from Wine is used, the DLL loading stuff being one part, and the Windows functions that the DLL calls would also be needed. But it's far from the full wine that you would need to play WoW or run MS Office.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627400)

Saying "wine" is an overstatement. Some code from Wine is used,

That makes sense. Thanks for the insight.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627508)

binary blob

'blob' usually is an acronym for Binary Large OBject, so the 'binary' modifier is redundant.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1)

TheOrquithVagrant (582340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627584)

"Binary blobs" are only a problem in kernel space. Userspace binary blobs are acceptable. Fence them in with chroot and/or SElinux policies if you're feeling paranoid, and if you find them doing anything suspicious, just strace/ltrace/gdb the bastards. There are plenty of ways to "get an idea what it's doing".

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1)

Nadir (805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627632)

1) I don't believe (for xine at least) that wine is neccessary for asf (wmv) playback (the windows codec dlls are required, but used by xine without wine's help)
All of the various linux players use a modified version of the wine dll loader.

Fluendo = "Streaming Penguin"? (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628190)

I guess a native binary blob is slightly better than a MS coded binary blob

It's significantly better, actually. Not because it's technically superior (although it may be), but because it can legally be rolled into a commercial version of Linux. Right now, you can't legally distribute a Linux distro with multimedia support (at least not in the U.S.), because they depend either on MS DLLs (obvious copyright problems) or patent-encumbered free implementations (which can't be distributed with the distro for legal reasons).

This makes Linux into a second-rate desktop OS, even if you're willing to pay for it, because it means key features don't work out of the box. There have been exceptions to this from time to time (Xandros, Lindows), but they weren't well accepted by the community, possibly because they tried to leverage their use of proprietary codecs as an advantage over other Linux distros, rather than against Windows -- not a good way to make friends.

A company which wasn't involved in the actual production of a distro, might be in a good position (assuming it dealt with everyone on the same terms) to produce codecs that could be incorporated into (a non-free, pay-per-copy) version of any distro. E.g., someone could take Ubuntu, add the codecs (paying Fluendo, obviously), and sell the result as a package, suitable for pre-installation. I don't think this would violate GPL either, if the codecs were built in a way that didn't require linking or otherwise producing a "derived work."

In short, Fluendo could be in a position to be ESR's "Streaming Penguin." [catb.org] In that paper, he discusses some of the major problems facing Linux as a marketable desktop OS, and the lack of modern multimedia capabilities are a real deal-breaker. In fact, the lack of multimedia capabilities are more of a weakness, than simply being free-as-in-beer is a strength; people are obviously willing to pay for an OS that works, but one that doesn't work out of the box (or works only after fiddling around with some shady instructions involving PLF mirrors) won't fly, even if it's free.

While people here on Slashdot may not regard having to manually install LAME, Xvid, Flash, and the Win32 codecs as a significant problem, it's one of the many reasons why you can't go out and buy a Dell pre-configured with Linux as a home computer. Even if there wasn't Microsoft trying to torpedo it before it gets going, I'm not sure customers would accept anything that didn't work right, right out of the box. Fluendo could, if they play their cards right, be a big benefit to the adoption of Linux.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1)

uhmmmm (512629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628310)

Xine is probably like MPlayer, and every other linux media player I've heard of that can use windows DLLs for playback - it uses a DLL loader which was forked from avidec at some point, which was itself at some point forked from wine. So while it doesn't use wine directly, and the code's probably mutated along the way to the point where it may no longer resemble the original wine code, it is, in a sense, using wine to load the DLLs.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmn, (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628462)

I'd pay for fully supported video codec's open source or not. I just want my crap to work, preferably in 64bit. The only thing currently keeping me in 32bit is the lack of video codecs and flash in 64bit. I love open source, but I have no problem with binary blobs. Some of my favorite applications are closed source. I would prefer open source, but I am not going to let my productivity suffer in exchange for my ideals.

*makes popcorn and pops open a beer* (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627244)

and settles back for a nice round of productive but gentlemanly discussion over the need for massive deployment of closed source modules in Linux.

Re:*makes popcorn and pops open a beer* (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627304)

At 07:48 In the morning? Can I have some of what you are smoking!

Oh, well, back to bed. :-)

Re:*makes popcorn and pops open a beer* (1)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627770)

Also available in other timezones...

Re:*makes popcorn and pops open a beer* (1, Offtopic)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627502)

Vmware's always done pretty well...

Correction: (2, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627250)

"Fluendo to TRY to sell proprietary codecs for Linux."

Look at all the flak NVidia's binary-only drivers take from the GNU-types, and those are FREE.

Re:Correction: (0, Redundant)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627286)

Look at all the flak NVidia's binary-only drivers take from the GNU-types, and those are FREE.

And why did they take all that flak? Perhaps it was because of the security implications of running a binary kernel module? Not an unrealistic fear either: [rapid7.com]

The NVIDIA Binary Graphics Driver for Linux is vulnerable to a buffer overflow that allows an attacker to run arbitrary code as root. This bug can be exploited both locally or remotely
PS. Love the way you capitalized FREE! That'll get the "GNU-types" worked up. Seriously - nice trolling.

Re:Correction: (2)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627562)

It's a good job there's never been any security flaws in any open source software, otherwise that'd make your argument look really stupid!

Re:Correction: (0)

replicant108 (690832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627306)

Look at all the flak NVidia's binary-only drivers take from the GNU-types, and those are FREE.

They might be FREE, but they aren't Free.

In other words - you will pay for using them, just not with money.

How much you pay depends on how much you value your freedom.

Re:Correction: (3, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627550)

I can choose between open and close source drivers for nvidia... feels pretty free to me.

I can write software and choose to release it open or closed source... that feels pretty free to me.

Erm... nvidia can too.

"Freedom to disagree" anyone? Oh no... it's YOUR way only, that's freedom!

Re:Correction: (1)

davek (18465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628340)

BINGO. The whole point of the operation is freedom, IMHO. That includes the freedom to choose to greedily keep my knowledge to myself in vain hopes that it will somehow help me in the future.

Now, when they find it impossible to support a moving target without interaction with OSS communities, and their binary blobs stop working after 2 months, THEN I'll say "I told you so" and hopefully they'll open their minds a bit.

-dave

Don't troll. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627310)

NVidia's lamented product is a binary only driver with a binary only kernel component. A codec is application software. The nvidia software runs on the bare metal, interacting with your machine in god knows what ways. The codecs are fairly self-contained. It's not really compariable.

Correction: Leaked codecs. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627336)

""Fluendo to TRY to sell proprietary codecs for Linux.""

The "your codecs want to be free" crowd will take care of that problem.

Re:Correction: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627470)

"Fluendo to TRY to sell proprietary codecs for Linux."

Look at all the flak NVidia's binary-only drivers take from the GNU-types, and those are FREE.


Yeah, we really don't want more binary kernel modules to make the system crash and impossible to debug.

Wait, who says that these video codecs are going to be kernel modules like the nVidia drivers, and not userspace programs like the Quake3, Doom3 and UT200X that we all love?

Re:Correction: (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628068)

You are comparing apples and oranges. Wrong comparison.

Nvidia is taking flak because the sole reason for the "binary" its own asinine behaviour (same as ATI with the newer Radeon ATI-supplied drivers).

Fluendo intends to provide a service by implementing specs for which the originating party requires a licensing fee.

So the right comparison is not to Nvidia (or ATI for that matter), but to Digium. Digium provides a machine tied (oh what a sacrilege) closed source (oh what a crime) implementation of the g729a codec (oh...). The requirement for licensing it is set by the parties who wrote the spec initially and as most ITU specs it is not royalty free. You have to pay and Digium is the only linux company providing that service. And guess what - people buy it. In large quantities actually as it is essential for interoperability with other systems out there.

So unless they f*** up their business model it will work and will be considered a valuable service to the linux/bsd running public (nothing like Nvidia/ATI asinine in-kernel graphic stunts).

Re:Correction: (2, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628280)

Everyone else is irritated that NVidia's drivers are closed source. I'm just happy advanced native Linux drivers exist. Back when I had a 3D accelerator, ATI's and NVidia's drivers were considered a blessing by most.

Funny how people tend to complain once they learn to expect something.

DRM, codecs... same thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627252)

Funny this comes right after an article that slams DRM...

"DRM's sole purpose is to maximize revenues by minimizing your rights so that they can sell them back to you..."

There should be no proprietary codecs. Ever.

but? (2)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627260)

Aren't there native OSS libs for mpeg4 playback already? Might need a binary for wmv but not for mpeg4.

Tom

Yes, they're part of ffmpeg (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627316)

The three major video players for linux: mplayer, xine and vlc all use the ffmpeg library by default for playing mpeg4 video. Recently, ffmpeg added support for Windows Media 9 (WMV3) as a native codec, so you don't even need the windows binaries for that anymore (although it's probably in "alpha" status).

Re:Yes, they're part of ffmpeg (2)

BlenderFX (954511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627460)

WMV3 works perfectly with ffmpeg (AMD64 here). I don't really think it's "alpha"

Re:Yes, they're part of ffmpeg (4, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627628)

But ffmpeg can't be distributed legally in all countries. These codecs are for sale for those people who want be legit - usually companies - common crowd will still stick with gstreamer apps/plugins or mplayer/vlc/ffmpeg combo. I see this Fluendo step as very contributing to choice I can make on Linux system - I can say boss that these codecs can be easily installed in public terminal which aim to provide video serices for example. Just buy a license and vola, you are set.

And kudos to ffmpeg team. I use Totem with gstreamer bad/ugly/ffmpeg combo and I can say - hats off to you guys. Quality is very good.

Re:Yes, they're part of ffmpeg (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628076)

That severely limits the market, doesn't it? It seems like about the only thing you'd be looking at is for mp3 players or embedded devices - and then only for ones that are using codecs developed for x86 or whatever they're making this for.

I mean, what other Linux companies require mpeg4 for anything at all?

Re:Yes, they're part of ffmpeg (4, Informative)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627710)

The FFMPEG devs have always done an excellent job at bringing Free video support to Linux. Thanks to them most video can be played on Linux without propreitary codecs. There is a downside, though: patents. FFMPEG isn't licensed, so it's not legal for distributions to distribute FFMPEG in countries dumb enough to allow software patents (USA, Japan, others?).

The Fluendo stuff could be a good thing if distros would ship with it. Then video would finally work "out of the box". For those like myself who avoid binary blobs and try to only use things that are truely Free will still have the option of using FFMPEG.

Worse than that (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627880)

it stops distributions that distribute where ffmpeg is legal if the distributor also wants in to the US (etc) market.

e.g. SuSE (even when a german company) didn't do MP3.

Enlighten me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627266)

I haven't found a media file yet I couldn't already play. How much overhead can I expect to save from switching over to these paid binaries?

Not worth it for WMV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627278)

All the WMV videos I have seen look like shit; why would I pay for a codec?

Re:Not worth it for WMV (0)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627298)

Really? What are you using to play your WMV? Your toaster?

Re:Not worth it for WMV (1)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627746)

Many WMVs I've seen look like shit. It's not the fault of the codec, it's just many idiots feel the need to re-encode videos over and over again. Same problem with Google Video and YouTube. So many things there have been re-encoded so many times all you can really see are blury objects behind the encoding artifacts.

Re:Not worth it for WMV (1)

Lissajous (989738) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628418)

All the WMV videos I have seen look like shit; why would I pay for a codec?

Ah...now see, you're probably trying to view them on a linux system using wine to wrap up the native windows codecs. That could well be the reason why your WMV experience is up-til-now sub-optimal. I read somewhere about a company that was going to sell some native linux codecs. I *think* they were called Fluendo or something like that. Anyway, that should sort you out.

Hope this helps, /Lissajous

Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627296)

I suppose the market is Linux distributors who can't bundle MPlayer for legal reasons. Can't see anyone buying this directly, though.

They'd probably be legally unable to be as good as MPlayer, (a universal video player, home page [mplayerhq.hu] , debs [debian-multimedia.org] ), as licensing some codecs will require signing up to agreements to play nicely with DRM. MPlayer is good because there's none of that nonsense: it just works, for every video that I've tried.

Re:Good luck with that (2, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627552)

They'd probably be legally unable to be as good as MPlayer

That doesn't matter - that's not what this is intended for. It just has to be not much worse than the common alternatives on Windows. Linux has plenty of other advantages that make it a good choice - maintenance alone is far easier for Linux than Windows, for example.

I have much more time to visit with my parents when I'm over now that I've got them switched to Linux. I don't have to keep Windows running anymore. But I couldn't have done it (there or with my family at home) if they couldn't watch viral videos on YouTube and email. Setting that up was possible thanks to the quasi-legal packages, but not easy. Some repositories were down when I tried - twice - to use EasyUbuntu or Automatix and if I didn't know what was going on behind the scenes I couldn't have done it.

I'm not convinced that ESR has the timing right, but the general outline - that the transition from 32- to 64-bit represents a major opportunity for Linux, and being able to play (note: not edit, just play) multimedia stuff easily and legally is important - I think is spot on. See here [catb.org] for the oft-argued-about details.

Users with more advanced needs or less full pocketbooks (or less ethics, depending on the exact circumstances) could use the 'other' packages. But a good out-of-the-box multimedia experience is worth a lot for Linux promotion. Since the problem isn't technical, it's legal, a legal approach is unfortunately needed.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627666)

Well, if you want to edit, you can transcode to a more open format and then edit it... It would serve to discourage the use of proprietary formats too, which is great.

Re:Good luck with that (2, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627580)

I don't need player who "just works". I need nice grapgical interface (and no, no mplayer, no gxine/xine, no vlc can provide that, they are totally geekish apps. I am geek, but for videos, I need something more "normal"), I need nice integration with my enviroment, etc. etc.

Totem/Rhythmbox provides me that. Yeah, I know, anyone who would say that mplayer isn't for him must be stupid or luser, it is stock answer to my requirements. But it won't change a bit what I said.

Mplayer is legal nightmare and isn't even developed fully anymore. Yes, it is nice to do some crazy things like playing movie in framebuffer, but that's it.

Buyers could be Gstreamer/GNOME/KDE users who would want to be legit for some reason - companies, shops, public terminals, etc. So this offer provides rather elegant way to do this. For me, I will stick with gstreamer bad/ugly plugins.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627680)

Uh, what's wrong with VLC? What would be geekish about it? I've used VLC when I ran XP, in 2003. I used VLC the last two years on my Mac.

A few days ago I switched back to Linux (SO much better than that Mac OS) and I can't see what makes Totem less geeky than VLC. Ok, it's native Gnome, no WX-Windows stuff, but other than that I'd use VLC whenever Totem doesn't work for me.

IMHO VLC isn't geeky, but it's a player that works. On all major platforms. Can't say that about QT Player or WMP. And compared to Winamp VLC seemed a lot more user-friendly to me.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627882)

Maybe basic interface is quite ok, but I have very big problems with VLC Settings interface. Totem at least have few settings clearly spelled out.

But I can agree abut VLC on Mac and Windows - there it is several steps ahead of other players.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627782)

as far as interfaces go, i've seen that kmplayer (a kde frontend to mplayer) and totem seem to be fairly decent (though i haven't touched it in a while, i used it back when gstreamer was fairly new and didn't support all that much). now that gstreamer has matured alot more i'm not too suprised about this, and hope that things like this happen much more.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627646)

Of course, MPlayer is also legally unable to be as good as MPlayer. The w32codecs package they create is quite large but given out for free. It seems Fluendo aims to resolve this by making available many of the libraries previously used via w32codecs. As a result, they're probably going to pursue MPlayer on the subject. Many of the codecs are probably freely distributable, and I hope that doesn't change.

Of course, there is another reason one might buy this directly: non x86 platforms. Powerbook G4 users frequently find themselves shafted by binary only Linux projects, to the point where it might make sense to run OS X instead. MPlayer of course runs on OS X as well, but the codecs still don't work. I guess itunes / quicktime / whatever the hell apple gives people does the job as well, so people try linux, realize they're a second class citizen, and return to the land of Apple dissapointed. Fluendo may be able to help fix this. Currently, however, your choices are x86 and x86_64. Shame on them!

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627860)

Fluendo aims to resolve this by making available many of the libraries previously used via w32codecs. As a result, they're probably going to pursue MPlayer on the subject.
MPlayer also uses ffmpeg, which supports MPEG, VC1, WMV (all the way upto version 9 apparently) etc.

ffmpeg is opensource and free. The only issue with it, is that in some countries, they haven't paid licensing fees for certain patents.

Re:Good luck with that (4, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628006)

Why does everyone says "in some countries"? Germany, US, Canada, Australia is "some country" now? :)

Honestly, FFMPEG is illegal in MAJORITY of IT world. Why it is so hard to say that? It is patent minefield.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17628112)

Germany, US, Canada, Australia is "some country" now?
Yes.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17628184)

I am a evil law breaker. I use linux and Mplayer to Violently break the law, help the terrorists win, and destroy the economy.

Mplayer + firefox mplayer plugin + the codecs bundle makes my online experience FAR better than it is with windows. Everything plays, Hell I can click to save the video file if I want to (the HORROR!) and have complete control over the safety of my PC (THE HORROR!!! OMG!!!)

Just because some rich assholes that run this country think they need to force their ideas on everyone else does not mean that the rest of us will simply roll over and play dead for them.

I am one of those dangerous people. I watch video from websites online on linux. Be Warned! I may be living next door to YOU! sitting there within feet planning my next evil plot, like daring to use a mp3 player or worse, converting a DVD to a mp4 for my daughters ipod....

Run RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!!!!

Personally I say, fuck the law and all those that enforce it. They are useless to society.

Sounds great. If... (5, Insightful)

jitterysquid (913188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627346)

Rah rah. I like people trying to sell commercial things on Linux. This will only work if they are johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to updates. I would hate my purchased codecs to keep me from updating gstreamer, the kernel, or whatever. In fact, I should not even have to *think* about my purchased codecs when I run a yum, apt-get, or up2date.

I'll just wait here for the Free Software fire-breathing demons of zealotry. It's quite cold right now and my furnace needs a break.

Re:Sounds great. If... (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627498)

If you have read Christian (Fluendo most visible VP) blog post, they plan to provide upgrades via distribution upgrade/installation system (apt-get, yum, etc.)

Re:Sounds great. If... (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627618)

I'll just wait here for the Free Software fire-breathing demons of zealotry. It's quite cold right now and my furnace needs a break.

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the coding of the closed and the tyranny of proprietary applications. Blessed is he who in the name of 4 Freedoms and good will frees the source through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's bitkeeper and the user of obsolete hardware. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my installation with binary blobs. And you will know my name is Saint iGNUcius [stallman.org] when I lay my vengeance upon thee!11.

Re:Sounds great. If... (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627768)

> This will only work if they are johnny-on-the-spot
> when it comes to updates.

I belive that is why they try to have stabilised API version - gstreamer is close to 1.0 and probably when it is finished the API for plugins will froze so that any new API will not conflict with old (like propertiary codecs) plugins.

> I would hate my purchased codecs to keep me from
> updating gstreamer,

As I've said - if they implement stable API in gstreamer that should not be an issue.

> the kernel,

WTF has kernel to do with codecs anyway? Linux kernel has stable API for applications since ages.

What is funny that I am keep using MPlayer with some bunch of binary Windows DLLs and it still works despite I have the DLLs since ages and update MPlayer to each new version. How is that different?

libavcodec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627374)

Why pay for something that can be played natively by lavc, and by extension mplayer et al?

I have a better idea (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627382)

Stop encoding media using proprietary codecs!

Re:I have a better idea (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627526)

But for 90% of the market, whether a codec is proprietary or not is of little consequence. Closed and open work just as well on Windows, and until that changes, that's the way it's going to be. Linux users don't have enough clout to change that, unfortunately.

Re:I have a better idea (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627704)

Hell, I'd settle for every other video I download not requiring a codec I don't have and won't automatically download. And I'm on windows! I think that auto download codec thing for WMP has worked all of one time(s) for me.

Re:I have a better idea (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628276)

Stop encoding media using proprietary codecs!
Wait a sec.. You mean you want us to abandon the possibility of implementing DRM, allow customers to fairly use our media, remove our ability to exploit the living crap out of our content providers, and fail to benefit the industry types who give us huge sacks of cash money to keep telling our bosses that their proprietary codecs rock everyone's socks six ways?

Yeahhhh, we'll get right on that.

Love,
the **AA

Nice try, but... (2, Informative)

sid77 (984944) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627448)

I think someone should point them to the ffmpeg changelog [mplayerhq.hu] . Actually it does open lots of proprietary formats and VLC uses the same codebase for his own engine.

Re:Nice try, but... (1)

Nadir (805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627560)

I think they already know [freedesktop.org] about it.

Re:Nice try, but... (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627602)

Several of the codecs in mention are heavily patended and FFMPEG's legality in many countries is not clear. The codecs from Fluendo, however, have a clear legal status as Fluendo has signed agreements with the patent holders.

That is the major difference between the offerings from Fluendo and FFMPEG.

Re:Nice try, but... (1)

loki_tiwaz (982852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627696)

ah yes, also, snow will be stable fairly soon, it certainly played ok a year ago, and wipes the floor with every codec i've seen bits/pixel-wise (and my hardware can't play h264 but it plays snow smooth as). who needs a stupid proprietary codec, there's open ones for most files one wants to play and within a year or two every DRM yet invented gets pwned.

i fell for paying for a driver for linux once, cos i needed to use a dialup modem with a connexant chip. i'm quite happy to say that my modem is now a dsl modem inside a little dedicated box running embedded linux and giving me access with ethernet, and not some stupid proprietary modem which eats cpu cycles instead of providing silicon.

nvidia will eventually suffer the ignominy of being the wide open backdoor into linux systems and the reasons for the complaints of the 'purists' will become manifest in the form of a lot of irritated customers who paid real money for nvidia chips. i am already annoyed that they've dropped support for gforce4 video cards, why is it still supported in the windows version?

eventually gpu acceleration will be sold with an open interface by someone with an open driver and it will do polygon for polygon as good as someone else's. or maybe ati will decide to do a netscape on nvidia and open up their hardware. gpu's are incredible accelerators for more than just 3d vectors, there is several other uses for that type of processing and a closed spec prevents their use except by a select number of developers, the rest of the devs being too numerous to be 'manageable' (a-la microsoft's prohibitive development licenses for hardware utilising their DRM) meaning the incentive arises for developers to target the less popular but accessible platform. doom 3 anyone?

World Domination (2, Interesting)

rowama (907743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627492)

If you are from the ESR tribe you will see this as a positive step towards world domination.

http://catb.org/~esr/writings/world-domination/wor ld-domination-201.html [catb.org]

ESR, et al, believes the ability to play codecs such as these is so vital to the 2008 world domination deadline, that we should put up with these binary blobs. For a while, at least.

Lindows is supposed to be working on this also.

Re:World Domination (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628198)

Is anyone a member of that tribe anymore? ESR is the Trotsky of the open source revolution.

There is a market (2, Interesting)

dhuv (241988) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627494)

First of all, look at the Open Sound project. They filled a niche by selling drivers for certain sound cards that had more features compared to the OSS drivers.

Second, I think that it is even easier to sell these kinds of things today. They can make a deal with somebody like Novell or Xandros who want to provide their users with a fully functional fully LEGAL linux desktop. This will help them to do that.

I don't see this being so popular with non-commercial distros like Debian because its a different set of users. But with commercial distros like Xandros (who already offer things like Codeweavers Office), I think its a great fit.

Breaking news....... (2, Funny)

AlzaF (963971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627510)

finally porn has been ported to *nix.

This could help acceptance of the Linux desktop (2, Interesting)

jonnyj (1011131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627532)

I hate DRM as much as the next person, but this is good news. Acquiring and installing proprietary codecs is a dark art that is major obstacle to wider acceptance of the Linux desktop.

Given some further development, I can see a few opportunities:

  • distros like Suse and Ubuntu could integrate their package management systems with Fluendo and offer fully legal point and click codec installation for a small (compared with the Windows anti-virus tax) fee
  • suppliers of Linux based PCs and laptops could offer products that play nicely with the rest of the web
  • system builders might be able to start offering Linux-based media centres build around applications like MythTV

As someone who absolutely refuses to pirate software unless I have no choice, I'd be prepared to pay a few ££ extra to stay legal.

Re:This could help acceptance of the Linux desktop (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627822)

As someone who absolutely refuses to pirate software unless I have no choice, I'd be prepared to pay a few ££ extra to stay legal.

I wonder if keeping an extra copy of windows would make use of the propriority .dlls needed for mplayer WMV support would be considered legit and not piracy.

I'm not so much anti-piracy but pro working shit. For example turboprint [turboprint.de] . If I ever needed to print to my canons under linux, this is something i'd consider paying for.

Re:This could help acceptance of the Linux desktop (1, Troll)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627908)

> Acquiring and installing proprietary codecs is a dark art
> that is major obstacle to wider acceptance of the Linux desktop.

This is BS. Installing multimedia support for decent distro is as easy as:
- enabling an additional repository
- issuing a command

You can do this either clicking with your mouse or just with terminal. I'll show with terminal since it is more strict, for Fedora:

% su -
(here enter your root password)
% rpm -ivh http://rpm.livna.org/livna-release-6.rpm [livna.org]
% yum install mplayer-gui vlc xine

And you basically get players to play most of the content. The content you won't be able to play are extremely DRM infested files like WMV9 (which Macs also won't play) and so on. It is for FC6 but I am pretty sure it works in similar way in any other major distro - just ask their helpfull community.

Now real question - was it that hard? If you find it hard (you don't need to understand it, just copy and paste the lines) I find you retarded. Sorry. It was not harder than getting Windows to play DVDs or some obscure codecs.

> As someone who absolutely refuses to pirate software
> unless I have no choice,

WTF you are saying? It is possible to play most of media files just fine with OPEN AND LEGAL codecs. It is not like you need to go to PirateBay and download some codecs to make it work in Linux. These codecs have DISTRIBUTION restrictions in some countries (namely USA) but not USAGE restrictions. It is perfectly legal for me to play WMV, MP3 and others using libmad, ffmpeg or smth. similar.

> I'd be prepared to pay a few ££ extra to stay legal.

They probalby look for uninformed people like you with such offer. :)

Re:This could help acceptance of the Linux desktop (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627948)

They are covered by patents are therefore is a subject of USAGE restrictions.

And no, vlc and xine is no use for simple user. Computer geek - maybe.

Re:This could help acceptance of the Linux desktop (2, Insightful)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628270)

> They are covered by patents are therefore is a subject of USAGE restrictions.

What patents you are talking about? I bet you don't have any idea.

> And no, vlc and xine is no use for simple user.

Even if so... type:

% yum install totem-xine

It is Totem with xine backend. If you find it hard to use I really find you retarded.

Re:This could help acceptance of the Linux desktop (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628182)

I agree that this will help with the take-up of Linux, but I don't see how you can equate DRM with proprietary codecs.

Proprietary codecs often have some benefit to end-users in the form of improved quality, improved resolution (not the same thing) and/or improved compression. SVQ (Sorenson video) codecs in Apple Quicktime certainly helped to make that product popular for some of those reasons, at least until it was surpassed by MPEG-4.

DRM is a benefit to nobody, except when it comes to lining the pockets of content producers. I equate DRM with user-inhibiting and the theft of pre-existing rights.

This is good for everyone (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627586)

A lot of people will complain about this, but I think it is good. The more software, of any kind, that comes out on Linux, the better. The more software that eliminates some of the work to get a system up and working, the better. The more shrinkwrapped software for Linux on store shelves, the better. As Linux gets more visibility, and day to day tasks become easier, more people will adopt. This will drive development for Linux. Hopefully some of those adopters, especially the younger ones, will get involved in Linux, see what it has to offer, and become contributers. They may or may not move to a fully open system, but some of them will, and the more people who do, the better. The more weight behind Linux, the more power the community has, even if that weight was gained, at least initially, through propriety software.

Re:This is good for everyone (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627818)

A lot of people will complain about this, but I think it is good. The more software, of any kind, that comes out on Linux, the better.
Except we already have opensource implementations of MPEG, WMV, VC1 etc. in ffmpeg. Which is used in mplayer, vlc etc.

Re:This is good for everyone (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628372)

Except that this takes away some of the legitimacy of using the same codecs for free, and gives fewer reasons for media developers/distributors to use open codecs. If you had somewhere you could have paid for it, circumventing the law to get it seems more immoral than if you had to choose between ripping off the codecs and using Windows. Then, once Linux gains a little bit more popularity, media distributors might have started to take into consideration that they can't play wmv files, and if they want those customers, they should use mpeg containers or find a different container. I still think the only people who have anything to worry about as far as copyright infringement are the distributors of w32codecs (and they're generally overseas), but I don't think this is a win for everyone either. It's something like a political party gaining popularity by sacrificing their platform: they may start winning elections, but at this point what does it matter?

FFMPEG (2, Informative)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627588)

I haven't scrolled to the bottom yet to see if this is redundant, but FFMPEG has recently added WMV9 and VC1 decoders. http://ffmpeg.mplayerhq.hu/ [mplayerhq.hu] It works fine for all of the Legacy content that I have. They also have MPEG/2/4 and a whole bunch of others. The only codec that I seem to be missing is Indeo 5

BBH

I don't know (1)

Necron69 (35644) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627796)

Their bundled price right now is 28 Euros, so about $36.19.

Would I pay that? I don't know. To be perfectly honest, I haven't actually _bought_ any software for a PC in a very long time. Keep in mind that this exact same functionality is _free_ under Windows.

- Necron69

Re:I don't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627896)

Keep in mind that this exact same functionality is _free_ under Windows.

No, it's not free at all. It's part of the $100+ buying price of Windows. Tell me one way that you can legally get these codecs, in any form, without buying something.

why we are releasing these codecs (5, Informative)

Ur@eus (148802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627846)

I see a lot of people confused about why we are releasing these codecs when there are things like the open source ffmpeg codecs etc.
Our goal is not to provide the community with codecs which there is absolutly no support for already as
that would be foolish. Our goal is to provide a 100% legal option which I know a lot of companies who have or
want to deploy linux desktops have been looking for. These companies like open source, but they also have policies in place
which hinders them from deploying solutions which have clear patent issues hanging over them in their country of operations. This is unfortunatly
the case with most multimedia codecs and even though we have spent a lot on resources on Xiph codecs here at Fluendo and are now working with BBC
on Dirac there is still some way to go before the need for non-free codecs are gone.

So for those in a situation where they can freely use gst-ffmpeg and similar options, more power to you! For those who the lack of licensed codecs
has been a hinderance or problem for adopting Linux (or Solaris) desktops at your company or institution or even private use, then we hope our plugins will be a good solution.

Christian Schaller
Fluendo

Bundle it with a even nicer player than xine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17628330)

Bundle it with an even nicer player than xine/mplayer (something that doesn't crash .1% of the time), add DVD support, and sell it separated or bundle it with DVD players, as powerdvd is distributed. That would give an even better value and fill a really need spot ("legal" dvd playback in linux/solaris, not that I think that if I buy a DVD it is not legal to play it in whatever way I want).

Great, but not what I hoped for (1)

damienl451 (841528) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628230)

I guess plenty of people (or companies) will be glad to have a 100-percent legal alternative to using Windows DLLs, but what the community badly needs now is a legal DVD player. Right now, the only way to watch DVDs on Linux in most Western countries is breaking the law (i.e. the DMCA or its local equivalent), which is clearly a no-no for most users, including myself. The saddest things is that the software is available (PowerDVD Linux), but Cyberlink will only sell it to OEMs. Couldn't someone strike a deal with them and release it ?

And yes, I'm aware that Mandriva includes it, but it's not my distro of choice (and I'm not sure the RPM would work as-is on other distros).

Ah, somebody's been paying attention! (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628358)

Looks to me like somebody has been paying attention to ESR's World Domination 201 [catb.org] article.

Putting aside whether you like it or not, sometimes you have got to admit the man has a point :)
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