Fedora's way forward

Eric S. Raymond esr at thyrsus.com
Thu Mar 30 21:56:48 UTC 2006

Jeff Spaleta <jspaleta at gmail.com>:
> Once ESR recognized that the patent situation was more complicated
> than he had assumed this conversation should have been tabled until he
> made a personal effort to become more informed as to the patent issue.
> Instead he's chosen to continue in a discussion predicated on
> misinformation which he himself brought to this discussion.

You are misreading what I have been writing.

The general issue I'm trying to raise here cannot be answered by saying
"but getting legal access to format X is hard" or "harder than you think".
What we'd have to pay to get legal access to any given format is not
the point.

The point is this: 

1. We are not addressing what desktop users actually want and expect
   from their machines in the way of support for multimedia.

2. As long as we continue to fail to address that, our chances of 
   achieving significant desktop market share are nil.

3. Actually addressing it requires support for proprietary codecs so
   that Linux users can listen to podcasts, watch QuickTime trailers,
   et cetera.


4. If we want significant desktop market share, we must find a way to support 
   proprietary codecs.

Which implies:

5. World domination or 100% doctrinal purity.  *Choose any one.*

I choose world domination, because I think that's the only way we'll
get enough politico-economic leverage to *wreck the software-patent
system and the MPAA and DVDCCA and monopolists and Microsoft for good
and all*.  Make no mistake -- my dreams are as radical as those of
anyone here, it's just that I am ruthlessly pragmatic about the 
path by which we get there.

I don't care how we implement the codec support; whether it's through
shipping proprietary code until the patents run out, or pointing users
at third-party repositories that have made deals with the likes of the
Fraunhofer Institute...whatever.  That's a *detail*.

The question I'm raising is more basic: are we willing to try?  Do we
want the desktop enough to raise money, mobilize lawyers, and do all
the non-politically-correct things we'll have to?

Some DFedor people have said no.  Some have said "whoa -- the naysayers
don't have the right to speak for me".  I haven't heard an answer from
Red Hat.

What's it going to be?
		<a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/">Eric S. Raymond</a>

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