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Re: GStreamer xwidget

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: GStreamer xwidget
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2021 23:28:45 -0500

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  > I don't know, but I was told by word-of-mouth that the GStreamer
  > developers do not hold the "bad" plugins to any standard, both technical
  > and freedom-wise.

  > As such, they don't guarantee that those plugins are free software.

If some of them are nonfree, we should not mention even the existence
of the category of "bad" plug-ins.

(It is too bad that they inform the users about them at all.)

  > Unfortunately, I don't know of a precise list of obstacles, but here's a
  > list of formats supported by the various plugins:

  >   - Microsoft ASF (possibly strangled by patents?)
  >   - DVD subtitles (though I don't know what precisely this is)
  >   - dvdlpcmdec (this possibly involves breaking DRM, could be illegal
  >     because of that)
  >   - RealMedia and RealAudio (patent encumbered, possible license problems)
  >   - "xingmux" (I couldn't find any information on this one)

Our way of looking at this kind of issue is very different from
theirs.  If a format is patented, we might have various different
responses to that, depending on the details of the situation.  But one
response we would certainly NOT have is, "You must not violate some
divine patent-holder's sacred rights."

If the plug-in violates the DMCA, we would not take the risk of
distributing it ourselves, but aside from that, we see nothing wrong
with its use on that score.  Breaking DRM is not wrong in the
slightest.  The injustice of DRM is in using it to restrict others.

However, if we don't know the situations for these plug-ins, I think
we have to avoid mentioning the ugly plug-ins unless we learned the situation
with each one.  And that's work we don't have an easy way to do.

Dr Richard Stallman (https://stallman.org)
Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project (https://gnu.org)
Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

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