Thursday, June 28, 2007

GPLv3 release - LIVE VIDEO FEED!

[UPDATE-2: failure watching *streaming* Theora content on Windows]
[UPDATE: success watching Theora content on Windows]

Hi nerds! Everyone going to log on for the release announcement by Richard Stallman?

Live video feed at 12p Eastern Standard Time on Friday, June 29 at

Video requirements here. They will be using the Theora open video codec (interestingly, released under a BSD license). Compatible media players are here. It is possible to use Theora on Windows, though I haven't tried to set it up yet.

As much as I have an aversion to RealPlayer because of its system-resources hogging nature and sometimes overbearing self-promotion while using its player, I did get it to play Theora-encoded files with no problem after downloading the appropriate plugins.

I first tried the Directshow filters which were supposed to work with Windows Media Player, but I could only hear audio and encountered an error when I pressed "stop." Maybe WMP wasn't appropriate for tomorrow's event anyway.

Some fun and short Theora-encoded videos to test your installation are here.

I can't explain it other than to say the obvious, which is that decoding and viewing streaming content is a different animal than decoding and viewing a fully complete movie from a hard drive. The short of it is, it didn't work. However, I don't think I missed anything earth-shattering. This should be fairly straightforward, however, and this type of failure is one reason open source, or as Stallman would prefer, "free" software is not quite ready for prime time mass consumption.


E-Doo said...

I don't follow the GPL details at all. What are the big changes, if any? Will there be anything in there that will inhibit my p0rn watching?

Kevin said...

This new version addresses a couple of issues that did not really exist at the time of the GPLv2 in 1991:

1) software patents (generally bad - make code proprietary & unavailable for peer review & improvement - in fact, during the draft process the GPLv3 was modified to specifically address "patent deals" like the one between Microsoft and Novell)
2) Digital Rights Management (not prevented by GPLv3, but frowned upon because it prevents user modification of code)

The basic idea behind the GPLv3 is the same: software should be free. The FSF clarifies "free" to mean "free as in free speech, not as in free beer."

Unless you are a software developer, there isn't really much reason for you to consider what license something is released under unless you are gung-ho about the software freedom thing and want to support that philosophy.

There is more explanation in the FSF's GPLv3 press release.

I think your pr0n watching is safe. If I were you, I'd stay away from "open source pr0n" anyway. Sounds too weird. ;-)