Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Thursday 26 July 2007

OpenOffice.org LXR

I just pulled the plug to force people to use the new LXR server for OpenOffice, located at http://lxr.go-oo.org/. It should be much faster. You'll be redirected automatically.

Freedom is the goal

tbf, I agree with what you said. Another thing that made me cough during the keynote is when Alex[1] said that Flash did address the problem of video codecs. I'm sorry it does not. It just move it in the wrong direction, away from freedom.

The main problem with video (and sound) codecs is that they are patent encumbered. Therefore most of them can't be redistributed without violating some obscure patents in some obscure country. That's what Ogg (Vorbis and Theora) is addressing, the problem with Ogg being that no proprietary vendor has the courage nor the interest to push it forward[2]. As for moving to Flash it is even worse: there is no reliable Free Software implementation of the technology[3], the video codecs are even more encumbered (hello VP6), not solving the distribution problem (actually the Free Software implementations relies on the same code as the one I mentionned above, causing the same headache) And the current non-Free implementation of Flash is not even re-distribuable in its binary form, nor does it run on more than one variety of Linux arch: x86[4]. And given how reliable Adobe have been providing non-Free Linux support for Flash in the past[5], I'd guess pushing Flash is like putting all your eggs in the basket whose handles are about to break.

I don't use Linux because it is cool, I use Linux for the freedom it provides me. If I wanted to be cool, I would use MacOS X on a MacBookPro, have an iPod video with the latest "cool" song and video DRM'ed purchase on iTMS, would have bought a locked iPhone I couldn't use as a phone, and spend my time on MySpace, youtube, instead of trying push Free Software forward with all the other Free Software hackers.


[1] nothing personal, really, I just happen to disagree

[2] lot of examples to be given, but mostly the major two are just pushing their own agenda to try to keep people prisonner to their system

[3] neither gnash nor swfdec are complete and stable at the moment

[4] you all know the hack involved in making it run on x86_64: SuSE for example ship Firefox in 32bits just to run the proprietary plugins

[5] remember Flash 8 on Linux?