Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Ubuntu and Multimedia Patents: An Introduction

Filed under
Ubuntu

If you’re like me, you don’t put much thought into where your multimedia codecs come from: you run a quick “apt-get install gstreamer-plugins-ugly” on new installs and move on to more important things. But not everyone’s like me, and as Ubuntu moves increasingly into government and the workplace, patent and licensing issues are becoming more and more important for many Ubuntu users.

Linux and patents

The Linux community has a long history of shirking restrictive software patents and licenses, which should not surprise anyone. After all, at the core of the free-software movement is repulsion at the notion of having to abide by terms that users may not agree with in order to use their computers. Many people use Linux because they want to live a life unencumbered by software patents.

Reality, however, rarely lives up to perfection. Although many Ubuntu users would like to be able to rely only on software licensed under the GPL, a large number of us have to use proprietary code. From closed-source video drivers to “binary blobs” in the Linux kernel, non-GPL software is often a pragmatic necessity for getting the most out of a machine.

Why multimedia is different




More in Tux Machines

What Your CIO Needs to Know About Open Source

Today’s businesses are becoming increasingly familiar with the many benefits of open source software. In fact, 74 percent of IT professionals, in the U.S. alone, agree that the software offers better quality of continuity and control than that of proprietary. However, some CIOs are still skeptical about adopting open source software into their IT infrastructure as they’ve grown accustomed to their proprietary software vendors. Read more

Elementary OS Freya 0.3 review

Elementary OS is a Linux desktop distribution that’s being primed as a “fast and open replacement for Windows and OS X.” It’s safe to say that that’s the goal of every Linux distribution. Some distributions have, to a large extent, succeeded, while some are partially or completely misguided. Elementary OS, even though it’s still just at version 0.3, belongs to the first group. Some of the design decisions make it slightly painful to use, but as a unit, the distribution is moving in the right direction. Will it ever get to the point where it replaces Windows and OS X for all users? No, because there’ll always be those that love Windows and Mac OS X no matter what. And there are still applications that have no real alternatives in Linux. Read more

Evolving KDE: Lehman’s Laws of Software Evolution In The Community

The board of KDE eV has launched a new initiative to ensure that KDE remains awesome and relevant for the foreseeable future. Unlike previous approaches it is not a point-in-time solution, it is a continuous process of improvement. And it is a good thing. Previously, I have written/spoken a lot about the role of Brooks’ Law in the context of Free Software. Brooks’ Law teaches us to be careful about the management of growth in our communities. Especially treated in consideration with the grossly under appreciated Conway’s Law. There are, of course, other laws of Software Engineering that apply to Free Software development. Read more