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Thread: Free Enough?

  1. #1
    Mentor cga's Avatar
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    Free Enough?

    How do you decide how to approach the use of certain software that is not Free Software. For example, Flash, which is widely used on the web, but proprietary. Or the Windows Media Codecs- paten-encumbered and tainted by the touch of the Evil One himself, but useful if you want to view a lot of the media content out there. Is it not disingenuous to promote Free Software and OSS, and then accept and subsequently promote the use of propriety code and formats? Should we not fight and be vocal for the adoption of Free alternatives and open standards and code? Or do we ignore the legal grey areas and go ahead and use MP3, Windows Media and QuickTime. Do we grumble about Flash, yet install the non-free plugin?

    What do YOU do?

  2. #2

    Re:Free Enough?

    As much as I'd love to see free standards take over so that anyone can watch anything, it's just not a reality for me at the moment. For me, what I watch takes priority over how I watch it. Similarly, if muine can play it then it makes no difference to me what format it's in.

    I do prefer free formats. I will listen to a stream in ogg vorbis before I listen to a stream in MP3, even if it's just to bump up the hit count and send a message that people are taking interest. However, in certain situations free formats just aren't feasible. For example, if a website is written in flash and there's no text alternative, you either install the flash plugin or miss out on the website. In a situation like that there's no question; flash is going on my computer. Similarily, while I prefer oggs my music collection is mostly mp3. Why? My MP3 player plays MP3s...it doesn't play oggs. When I get some cash to throw around I'm going to look for a player that does do ogg, but until then I'm all MP3 all the time.

    Basically, my preference for free standards doesn't get in the way of how I live my life.

  3. #3
    Advisor Lovechild's Avatar
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    Re:Free Enough?

    Flash I don't use, I have great hope that GPLFlash2 will allow me to at least enjoy some of the fun little animations out there - but it's not a greatly needed piece of the web experience.

    Java, well gcj and gcjwebplugin fixes that (security is iffy though)

    mp3, I have mostly painfully decided to cut support for that since the patents are there, hopefully someone will take them on in court as they are very silly patents.

    I try to encourage people to use open standards and formats - I explain the problems involved with supporting stuff like ntfs, mp3 and the greater issue why we shouldn't allow software patents and why we should encourage our governments to use open standards to communicate with their citizens.

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    Re:Free Enough?

    [quote author=Lovechild link=board=13;threadid=10493;start=0#msg94407 date=1117830242]
    Flash I don't use, I have great hope that GPLFlash2 will allow me to at least enjoy some of the fun little animations out there - but it's not a greatly needed piece of the web experience.

    Java, well gcj and gcjwebplugin fixes that (security is iffy though)

    mp3, I have mostly painfully decided to cut support for that since the patents are there, hopefully someone will take them on in court as they are very silly patents.

    I try to encourage people to use open standards and formats - I explain the problems involved with supporting stuff like ntfs, mp3 and the greater issue why we shouldn't allow software patents and why we should encourage our governments to use open standards to communicate with their citizens.
    [/quote]

    Well put. Myself, I try to use the alternative, "free" software. When it can't be avoided, I install and use the non-free software. That is why when I buy a music player in the next month or so, I will probably by an iRiver product that allows for the use of oggs. If that wasn't available, then I would listen to mp3's encoded with the lame codec.

    Cheers

  5. #5
    Advisor Lovechild's Avatar
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    Re:Free Enough?

    On a sidenote, for a portable player the iAUDIO M5 has an awesome feature set

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    Re:Free Enough?

    [quote author=Lovechild link=board=13;threadid=10493;start=0#msg94411 date=1117873792]
    On a sidenote, for a portable player the iAUDIO M5 has an awesome feature set
    [/quote]

    I'm going to check it out.

    Cheers

  7. #7
    Mentor cga's Avatar
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    Re:Free Enough?

    Sometimes, proprietary software offers things not attainable in OSS. But when someone chooses to use proprietary software, they are giving up their freedom to an extent, and becoming dependant on the vendor and the vendor's whims. It is the user's choice to make. Such is life.

    I try to use Free software and file formats as much as possible. I do use the Flash plugin for Firefox- it's convenient and benign. But mp3 and Win32 codecs are both closed and very seriously gray areas as far as legal usage is concerned. At anytime, the ability to use them may be taken away by the Law-Borgs.


  8. #8
    Advisor Lovechild's Avatar
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    Re:Free Enough?

    correction the model in question is the iAUDIO X5 not the M5, my bad

  9. #9

    Re:Free Enough?

    I use what ever works if I can use something free I will but right now on both my PC I got XP and PC-BSD on my laptop.

  10. #10
    Mentor cga's Avatar
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    Re:Free Enough?

    When I recently switched to Ubuntu's new release, I did not install any non-free software. No flash plug-in. I don't miss it.

    I have been reading and thinking a lot about Free and Open Source software, the GPL, Richard Stallman and so on. I have come to the conclusion that I fall closer to the Stallman and FSF camp than I do to the Open Source camp. I'm not quite as fanatical as the diehard FSF folks, but I certainly find my values to be very close to theirs.


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