Fedora coming clean on issue of the proprietary media codecs

One of the features of Fedora 8, was the introduction of CodecBuddy/Codeina, as a way to tell users new to GNU/Linux, who tries to play a multimedia file in an encumbered format, where he or she can get codec support for those, as Fedora cannot include them for legal reasons (Hint: The completely stupid, and utterly broken patent system of the United States of America). The problem is though, that the codecs that is being recommended to the user are proprietary software from Fluendo. As a staunch free software guy, that left a fairly bad taste in my mouth after Fedora 8 was released, as it’s widely known that Fedora’s commitment to free software is extremely high, and this new feature seemed to contradict that commitment. Reading Fedora Planet last night, I was happy to notice that this problem has been discussed, and they plan to do something about it. The solution being the removal of the recommendations of proprietary codecs for MPEG-4, Windows Media etc. etc.
Some guy thought that was Fedora making life difficult for the user, while Seth Vidal said the following on his blog:

We think codeina is very useful. As long as it is distributing only open source software then it is fine. It has not been doing that and we are all worried and concerned about it. We discussed it and decided an easy solution was to patch out the closed-source items that are advertised/offered in the xml file that ships with codeina.

I cannot think of a tenet more central to fedora than ONLY AND ALWAYS FREE SOFTWARE. I think the decision of the board is consistent with that tenet.

Which I could not agree more with!

Ubuntu being the superstar in the open source world these days, does, in my opinion, next to nothing to stand up for free software, and the ideals of it. It’s nice to know that somebody does. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it! Go Fedora!!

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