Open Ballot - proprietary codecs


We're just about to record the TuxRadar podcast #4, and this episode our Open Ballot question is: should distros make it easy for users to install proprietary codecs/drivers/apps on Linux? Please give a yes or no answer, and show your workings to get all the marks available for this question. Oh, and Anonymous Penguin, please provide a name that we can reference alongside your comment in the podcast. Gracias!

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Your comments


I agree with Miko that ramming the high moral principles of FSF down the throats of new users is a bad plan for adoption.

that being said, i'm very glad a number of distros stick to their guns regarding those said principles. (i don't use those distros, but i appreciate the ideal)

A wider adoption helps everyone, open source software is better than proprietary for both home users and business. And the best way to be able to influence the course of hardware/software vendors is by having a large user base...

once there is a wide enough adoption of OSS, proprietary drivers/codecs will just cease to be a problem.

*** waiting for the day my mp3 player plays ogg and flac...***

YES. Make a simple package

YES. Make a simple package of codecs. Two choices can be free and proprietary. Just as Flash can be installed easily, so should the freely available codecs.

Who wants propietary codecs when you have the best in linux

Well I really don't mind installing proprietary codecs in my box as long as they run, but why waste time installing faulty codecs (proprietary) when you have the best in the web.


I use Linux to get things done. So I want the best, regardless of whether it is proprietary or free.


It's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned.


Why? Succinctly: If I have to get Windows to play YouTube, what do I need Linux for?

Please briefly explain the problem in a GUI, and how it affects my hardware, and then let me make my own choice by clicking or not clicking a button. Don't make it a federal case, and don't subject me to your version of moral purity without easy recourse. Please! Then, you do as YOU please!

In faith, Dave
Viva Texas

Codecs, Keys, Locks, Passwords, Encryption, et al

Whatever is required to achieve the result, even if it means paying. Payer c'est mourir un peu.

proprietary stuff in general

Yes (just to get past the first requirement).
If Distro's cannot install, by default, free proprietary software then why ask this question?. If the makers of codecs were happy for the codecs to be installed on Linux, then it seems obvious that the respective distros would make it part of the installation process. Case in point the "free" M$ fonts. They are packaged up and include on e.g. Ubuntu's CD/DVD but not automatically installed. You may want to define what you mean by "easy".
I do not get the point of not providing your name here. Surely you should be accountable for your views, if you truly believe in them?


They should be offered for download at the end of the installation process as the restricted extras package! With information about why they are evil, but what functionality they do provide.

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