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[gNewSense-users] Re: I decided to abandon gNewSense

From: Daniel Clark
Subject: [gNewSense-users] Re: I decided to abandon gNewSense
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 18:20:30 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090318)

Patrick DeBoard wrote:
> I don't know what "you guys" are going to do about functionality on the
> internet, but maybe you'll figure it out.  Without the ability to play
> videos on the internet, I don't see how gNS would ever be accepted as a
> mainstream OS and software package, but I've been wrong before.  

So it sounds like your problem (or at least the specific one you point
out) has less to do with the overall distribution than one specific
thing - playing flash videos. talks about the base of this problem - people have
decided to use nonfree (as in freedom) formats for a lot of audio and
visual media that is free (as in price). The majority of people probably
don't understand in any real way what a "codec" or "format" is, so they
use whatever "just works", without consideration of political issues.

So we are stuck in a place where if we want to watch things created and
posted by people who do not understand or do not agree with us, and we
want things to "just work", then we may choose to compromise our freedom
if watching this media is more important to us than our freedom
(although if this is your main issue with gNewSense, it strikes me that
there are more incremental ways to compromise your freedom than
switching to a different operating system or GNU/Linux distribution).

People have already mentioned a few ways of dealing with this problem -
miro, a program that lets you easily find and download video that you
can play on free systems, and the fact that the 3.5 version of
mozilla-based browsers will have a built-in player for free audio and
video formats, which may encourage more people to use these formats, and
will make web sites that choose to use them "just work" under these
versions of the mozilla-based browsers.

On the GNU/Linux distribution level, something we could do is start
producing packages for very recent versions of gnash, which when
installed integrate well with all of the web browsers supported by
gnewsense. While this would not guarantee that the sites you would like
to watch video on would work, it would make it more likely. This would
be a valuable and relatively self-contained project for anyone who wants
to contribute to the gnewsense project; I would be happy to help with
package hosting until a smooth way to include the packages in gnewsense
proper is found.

Daniel JB Clark   | Sys Admin, Free Software Foundation |

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