Mailing List Archived Message #62

From: "Lewis G Rosenthal" <> Full Headers
Undecoded message
Subject: Distributing related binaries and codecs (was: Re: [cwmm-dev] CWMM testing so far with SMplayer and mplayer combined...)
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2024 17:14:55 -0500
To: CWMM Developers Mailing List <>


On 02/18/24 03:46 pm, Roderick Klein wrote:
On 18-02-24 20:40, Dave Yeo wrote:
On 02/18/24 10:29 AM, Roderick Klein wrote:
On 18-02-24 17:39, Dave Yeo wrote:
On 02/18/24 06:12 AM, Roderick Klein wrote:

AIUI, neither SMPlayer nor MPlayer is problematic to distribute, only
some of the codecs.

That is my concern. What codecs can we include and what we cannot
include ?

Can we include the MP3 codec, I seem to remember we did not include in
ArcaOS as we where not certain if we could. closed up
shop. But how is that with other audio and video codecs ?

I don't think the codecs are a concern as they're mostly used for

Sorry this is not how it works for IP licensing schemes for video/audio
codecs, some of them, but most do not make a difference betweeen
decoding or encoding for licensing purposes.

While true, the IP license holders most never go after individuals who
decode, nor decoders in general. Witness the existence of FFMpeg.

I called at the time and also the decoder you needed to pay. But they did not go after free software such as Linux distro's. Even a small company such as Mensys at time had to pay for an MP3 decoder. I think the one time price you had pay 100.000 Dollar...

Indeed, the issue for Arca Noae is more about "on the off-chance that someone with a related patent decides to look to a commercial enterprise to claim damages," than anything else. In short, when in doubt, leave it out (see note below).

Possible exceptions are the newest video codecs such as H265.
Perhaps don't include mencoder.exe if worried about encoding.

The orginal quickmotion and Windows 3.1 video codecs at the time we
started on MMOS/2 for ArcaOS where removed as well because of possible
patent issue's.

They're long out of patent protection.

Valid point but also left out because of the unknown. If other patents are still valid, we do not know.  In genereal I just consider audio and video codecs a patent landmine field.


Why not:

1. Split the codecs out into their own package.

I am not an mplayer expert. But I just have a single mplayer exe file,
no codec directory with files. But if you split off the codecs what are
you left with ?

MPlayer currently includes FFmpeg which by itself covers most codecs,
demuxers etc, so there is little need for the old Windows codecs.
What is possibly illegal is the code to crack DVD's. Whether anyone
cares now a days, I don't know. Some Linux's used to download from
Europe to avoid problems. At least Mint doesn't seem to do that anymore.

The big difference is that most Linux distro's are available free of
charge. ArcaOS is a commercial project and that changes the whole

Well that's an argument for not including MPlayer or FFmpeg on the
ArcaOS ISO or advertising that it supports ripping DVD's and such.
As it is, ArcaOS includes the Mozilla browsers that can play licensed
codecs if a user does "yum install ffmpeg-libs" (might be a legacy
package now) as well as Qt5, which enables various media players/web
browsers to also use licensed codecs.

Indeed one codec is free for usage in the browser? I do not know if this includes stand alone media players.

See further commentary, below.

Seems that if Arca Noae doesn't actually ship any licensed codecs, just
directions on how to install them along with a disclaimer that the user
has to check local laws, it would be the user installing the codecs that
are responsible. Helps too if the codecs are hosted somewhere other then
America, though as it is,

The US I think has the biggest issue with low quality software patents. This includes video codecs. I once talked ta guy from the JPF board and he says just like with medication certain video codecs, with small changes get re-patented after an old patent has expired.
This website shows the extreme cases:

That said the EU its patent system also has pretty louzy examples
of patents that are to obvious and should have never been granted in the first place.

I never complain about patents because in a free and open society, everyone should be free to claim ownership - and usage rights - for his work. If others decide to use that work, then the onus is on them to either abide by the licensing restrictions or find another solution.

If I came up with a great idea for something and wanted people to pay me for the right to use it, it's not up to anyone else to say that my patent protections are dumb or stupid or without merit. It's my idea. The flip side, of course, is that if I want $1M to grant someone the rights to use my idea in his software implementation, he could just as well find a different technology (OGG, FLAC, etc.) which is cheaper (or free). The fact that H.264 and MP3 were allowed to become de facto standards is not the fault of the patent holders. We just need to figure out a reasonable way of working within the framework we have (i.e., not distributing within a commercial product patented code which is not covered by something which we have licensed from somewhere else (namely, IBM).

Lewis is hosting mirrors that contain licensed

If hosting the codecs can be a problem since 2rosenthals and Arca Noae is not a none profit :-) That said the changes are small of getting caught. But it could be an expensive endavour...

Let's focus right now on the best way to distribute useful components for CWMM. Where those components are hosted and whether they are included with ArcaOS are separate issues. Right now, we want to make downloading and installing the software usable by CWMM to improve the user experience as easy as possible, under the assumption that we can distribute such packages from somewhere in the world if not within the ArcaOS ISO.

Also see scroll down to the Patent
mini-faq, seems the problems happen when companies try making money
using patented technologies.

I called when I worked on eCS severeal companies about licensing audio/video. And the problem is indeed if you include a patented in a commercial product, they will expect you to pay for it. I think hobbes, shows why its not an issue to provide to host video players if no money is made with it :-)

Profit motive is always a key factor in these things.

Getting back to the question of codecs...

From KO's mplayer 1.5.-9.1.0 readme.eng:


  !!! This is not supported any more. Instead use '-codecpath' option. !!!

  Specify the directory where Win32 binary codecs exist.

  ex) mplayer -codecpath x:\mplayer\codecs


7. Using Win32 binary codecs

  MPlayer has a feature to use Win32 binary codecs.

  To use this feature, you need a Win32 binary codec package. You can get it
the following.

  Then, extract all the files to the directory specified by '-codecpath'


Now, the URL should be adjusted to https, as http does not port forward, but:

does work (albeit with a cert domain name mismatch).

It is this binary codecs package (for Win32) which would be something to have available as an RPM from a convenient repository, for users who might find it tedious to track it down and install it manually.

For now, assume that ArcaOS probably will not include MPlayer, SMPlayer, or the Win32 codecs package. (Roderick, this is what I meant when I said "add to the list of packages;" add all three of these to a list of packages to be installed from an external source, such as the VOICE RPM repository.)

Also, regarding the VOICE RPM repository, the reason we don't include this with ArcaOS is that it is a secure repo. We have no mechanism (currently) to create a secure repo entry for ANPM "on-the-fly" without user interaction. Thus, we do not include the VOICE repo (now). This is why we also do not create a secure repo entry for arcanoae-sub (or arcaos-sub).

The issue of distributing other software with ArcaOS is separate and apart from all of this, and better addressed elsewhere (I would remind everyone here that this is a public list, with archives publicly available).

If CWMM is installed/upgraded via WPI, these ancillary RPMs may either be manually installed - per the user's preference) or may be specified in the WIS - and properly handled by ANPM. Alternatively, they could be external WPIs, though ANPM does not handle fetching of external packages.

Lewis G Rosenthal, CNA, CLP, CLE, CWTS, EA
Rosenthal & Rosenthal, LLC      
visit my IT blog      

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