Thursday, November 01, 2007

A FREE Software Rant

I came across a thought provoking article at, very early this morning. It is my intention to share those provoked thoughts with you.

Before we go to much further, here is the link that got me to thinking. (My wife says you should blame this rant on them. :))

You all know I'm a Linux user. I probably talk too much about it on the show. If you have listened closely, you also know that I do absolutely all my computing on Linux. I don't have a dual-boot system where I can sneak some task out on Windows and there is no MS based box in the corner, waiting to bail me out of some tough situation. I do absolutely everything on Linux, because I can.

Now, I'm not much of a multimedia on the computer person. I have Macromedia (now Adobe) Flash installed, though I can not remember the last time I actually sat through a Flash presentation. And on occasion I play a music CD while I am working. But that's it. I don't do the video on PC bit at all. I will start soon, as my wife and I are going to publish a few how-to videos of Native American craft techniques. We will do so in a free and open format that anyone can play, regardless of their computing platform. Plans continue, but that is all I can say has been decided, for now.

I am a Free and Open Source software (FOSS) advocate. However; I am also a pragmatist. I realize that FOSS cannot yet serve every need. In fact, because of proprietary software's ubiquity, it may never do so. One area where this is glaringly evident is multimedia. Codecs (short for "COmpressor, DECompressor, the software that actually handles the multimedia information stream) for many formats are proprietary and there are no FOSS equivalents or substitutes because these regimes are aggressively protected by their owners.)

Or, there ARE FOSS equivalents out there, but downloading and using them may violate local laws, such as The US' "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" (DMCA). There may be other laws that apply, as well.

Fedora now has "Codec Buddy" to help you get these multimedia tools. Before that there was "Easy Ubuntu" and "Automatix" for other distributions. (I'm probably missing some others, here. Please excuse the omissions.) So there is a way around it, if you must.

I, personally, stick with FOSS and don't do this sort of thing on most of my Linux installations. I'm just funny that way. Don't have anything against them, despite the apparent lawlessness in using them. I just don't have a need. There is a bunch of media playback stuff in the other room.

I save the computer for computing.


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