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Fedora Will Get Full Mp3 Support, As IIS Fraunhofer Terminates Mp3 Licensing Program (fedoramagazine.org) 133

An anonymous reader quotes Fedora Magazine: Both MP3 encoding and decoding will soon be officially supported in Fedora. Last November the patents covering MP3 decoding expired and Fedora Workstation enabled MP3 decoding via the mpg123 library and GStreamer... The MP3 codec and Open Source have had a troubled relationship over the past decade, especially within the United States. Historically, due to licensing issues Fedora has been unable to include MP3 decoding or encoding within the base distribution... A couple of weeks ago IIS Fraunhofer and Technicolor terminated their licensing program and just a few days ago Red Hat Legal provided the permission to ship MP3 encoding in Fedora.
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Fedora Will Get Full Mp3 Support, As IIS Fraunhofer Terminates Mp3 Licensing Program

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  • Sounds good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson&gmail,com> on Saturday May 06, 2017 @12:52PM (#54367959) Journal
    Waiting until the patent expires requires patience, but Linux has outlived a LOT of patents, and as more expire, expect to see more currently-patented tech offered in the base distribution instead of having to hunt down a repository (such as Pacman) that has them in another part of the world where the patent is already expired oir is otherwise legally allowed to be distributed.
    • You know these Patents only apply to the US and Japan. While I appreciate it, it was not an issue in Thema EU, China etc.

    • How long until the MPEG-2 patents expire so we can have DVD playback?

      • I believe the issue with DVDCSS relates to copyright (DMCA), not patents.
        • That is another matter yes. But at least you could play decrypted videos once the patents expire.

        • I've personally made home DVD videos and even done them as a work for hire, for private and commercial customers, and I never added any encryption to them.

        • We do have actual players now though, and the argument that these are infringing copyright is a lot harder to make. DeCSS made a copy that could then be converted to a format that a Linux media player might play. Just playing is different.

          Honestly, I think the industry has realised the cat is well and truly out of the bag on this one.
      • AC3 patents expired on March 20, 2017
        For Mpeg2,

        OS news says 2018.
        http://mobile.osnews.com/story... [osnews.com]

        But DVD's were sold in the US in 1995(1996 with CSS), so for patents after on mpeg2, DVD is prior art. So 2016 or 2018.

  • by CrashNBrn ( 1143981 ) on Saturday May 06, 2017 @01:01PM (#54367989)
    Who cares about Fraunhofer's MP3? We've had LAME since 1998, and Ogg Vorbis since 2000. LAME's VBR (Variable Bit Rate) is better than even AAC, let alone Fraunhofer's crap licensing. And we can't forget FLAC and WavPack.
    • by vossman77 ( 300689 ) on Saturday May 06, 2017 @01:15PM (#54368037) Homepage

      The story is that they can now include LAME , because the patents have expired. Before Fedora had no mp3 support at all.

      • I had thought that LAME didn't use Fraunhofer's codec, even so that doesn't prevent infringing on IISFS' patents [wikipedia.org].

        Like all MP3 encoders, LAME implements some technology covered by patents owned by the Fraunhofer Society and other entities.[3] The developers of LAME do not themselves license the technology described by these patents. Distributing compiled binaries of LAME, its libraries, or programs that derive from LAME in countries that recognize those patents may be patent infringing. Since April 23, 2017

    • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Saturday May 06, 2017 @02:19PM (#54368279) Homepage Journal

      Who cares about Fraunhofer's MP3?

      Anybody who works with audio that is not 100% in his control from mic to distribution.

      As somebody who did some grad work with psychoacoustic modeling, everybody who was a little bit informed on the subject at the time knew that Fraunhofer's patents were BS, well-known stuff. I'm not sure why they weren't invalidated for prior art; it must have been a very narrow claim that MPEG just happened to standardize.

      They may have gotten some licensing revenue from this, but I, as well as many others on the open side of the industry, will never do business with them (ever) after the pain they've caused. Same goes for the patent regimes of the respective governments, since it takes two to tango with IP.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        I'm not sure why they weren't invalidated for prior art

        The patent office stopped caring about that and became a revenue collection agency. First to pay trumped prior art, and everything else was a problem to be sorted out in court without involvement from the patent office. They just do not have enough staff to consider prior art and have to trust filers to have done the search for that themselves, so it breaks down at even the slightest touch of dishonesty.

      • Because they put in thousands and thousands of hours of R&D and could demonstrate what they did and why they did it.
    • While I do use ogg and FLAC for my own purposes, AAC is really useful for talking to various devices. Same with mp3. Being able to play media on standard consumer devices is sometimes useful. I can live without them, sure.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Saturday May 06, 2017 @01:35PM (#54368107)

    I see no need for anyone to add MP3 support to any Linux distro because while MP3 was good for the time, it's basically noisy garbage now that there has been significant competition and three orders of magnitude improvement on both storage capacity and network bandwidth. However, what this does mean is that any part of MP3 that was somehow better can now be incorporated into other codecs, so it's not a total loss... just 96kbps lossy. ;)

    • three orders of magnitude improvement on both storage capacity and network bandwidth.

      Peak or sustained bandwidth? True, satellite and cellular data links in the 2010s have a much faster peak throughput than the V.90 link common in the 1990s. But if you pay for a 10 GB/mo plan, your sustained throughput is 10 GB/mo * 8000000 kbit/GB / 30 day/mo / 86400 s/day = 30.9 kbps, which closely matches the usable downstream of a V.34 dial-up modem.

      • In the 90s, i would get a sustained throughput of 4KB/s with dialup. Now I can get a sustained throughput of 4MB/s with a cable modem.

        Try not to overthink it.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          A subscriber could get dial-up pretty much anywhere. There are a lot of residences in the United States still served by no cable company.

    • I see no need for anyone to add MP3 support to any Linux distro because while MP3 was good for the time

      The crap thing about all those new fancy technologies is that it doesn't remove previously encoded files. MP3 is a critical component of any media friendly OS. Although new media is unlikely to come out in MP3, many people have large libraries of MP3s.

      Or maybe we should just recompress the lossy compressed files to something "modern". I hear MP3s sound better converted to FLAC because FLAC is lossless and I wouldn't want my MP3s to be causing any more loss than they already have. ;-)

      • The crap thing about all those new fancy technologies is that it doesn't remove previously encoded files.

        While this is very true, at some point you need to cut your losses and re-rip your CDs. Alternatively, pirate a higher quality version.

        • You're making lots of assumptions on the state or the existence of the source media.

          I have a better idea: Given how no one has shown to be able to tell the difference between a 320kbps MP3 and a WAV of a same source, combined with the wide spread compatibility of MP3 being decodable by well pretty much everything, and the fact that storage space just keeps on getting cheaper, how about I just leave well enough alone.

          I'll transcode MP3s into something else when MP3s stop working. But why would the expiration

          • You're making lots of assumptions on the state or the existence of the source media.

            Not really. I said the alternative was to pirate a higher quality version. However, if the only version that exists is in MP3 format, then you have made a grave mistake.

            • pirate a higher quality version

              Who said the data is the result of piracy? Who said that the data is available via piracy?

              However, if the only version that exists is in MP3 format, then you have made a grave mistake

              Describe in great detail. What is the grave mistake of archiving something in an audibly perfect format where the source code and tools to decode into other format were available (and continue to be so) in open source and standalone formats?

              What grave mistake was made?

              • pirate a higher quality version

                Who said the data is the result of piracy? Who said that the data is available via piracy?

                I wasn't saying the data was the result of piracy, just if you need a higher quality version that piracy is a possible solution. There will always be cases where people are unprepared for the future, you just have to let those people learn from their mistakes.

                However, if the only version that exists is in MP3 format, then you have made a grave mistake

                Describe in great detail. What is the grave mistake of archiving something in an audibly perfect format

                A) Archiving implies that there is another source. I'm talking about making an MP3 and destroying the original audio file.
                B) The mistake made was not archiving the audio data in a lossless format and making a lossy version for everyday use.

                • A) Archiving implies that there is another source. I'm talking about making an MP3 and destroying the original audio file.
                  B) The mistake made was not archiving the audio data in a lossless format and making a lossy version for everyday use.

                  Expand on that. As someone who can not hear even the slightest difference between the original source and the the MP3, what benefit do I get in archiving the original source if I don't own shares in a storage company?

                  I do the same thing with photos. I destroy the original NEF files from my camera and archive in JPEG when I'm happy with them. The quality won't get any worse in the future, just like with MP3s the quality isn't going to get any worse. It also won't get any better.

                  Where it does make sense (and

  • by thewolfkin ( 2790519 ) on Saturday May 06, 2017 @01:38PM (#54368117) Homepage Journal
    doesn't this affect all open source? Programs like Audacity can finally export MP3s natively without including "complex" and sometimes confusing instructions on how to download the MP3 codec
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      doesn't this affect all open source? Programs like Audacity can finally export MP3s natively without including "complex" and sometimes confusing instructions on how to download the MP3 codec

      Yes it does. Though some implementations were already legal depending on the host OS - for example, Windows and macOS had licensed codecs available for applications to use, and often times various playback software would use them. QuickTime was a popular one since it was available for Windows and Mac and provided you wit

  • So I can find some mp3 files to play.
  • AAC has taken over from MP3 and of course there is no video but it's still welcome. I wish that dists would offer users the choice to browse additional repositories as a final installation step. Stuff like additional codecs, drivers, certain software could all be installed at this stage.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      AAC has taken over from MP3

      AAC still has license fees for the codecs. Maybe MP3 will make a comeback (as it is now free) in some use cases.

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        That's why I was suggesting RH et al should off to enable other repos and a choice of packages from those repos as the last step of installation. They don't have to come out and say they're offering for the purpose of enabling codecs but it would make life easier.
  • ...Red Hat Legal provided the permission to ship...

    Big of them. Remember when Fedora was an actual community distribution, and nobody had to raise their hand to go to the toilet?

    • No, I don't remember that, because it never happened. Fedora was created by Red Hat and run by Red Hat employees from the very beginning. Which is why, when I tried it out in 2004, it didn't have MP3 or anything else non-free that other distros shipped -- Red Hat set the rules against that from the start.

      • When we forget our history, we forget ourselves. Before Red Hat hat took it over in hamhanded fashion, there was a community project called fedora.us, the real Fedora project, as compared to Red Hat's fake community project, which is actually Red Hat's fake community project, renamed. Now the real original project is so buried under Red Hat sediment that people like you post revisionism to public forums, blithely unaware of what really happened. But such hings leave tracks on the internet [redhat.com]

    • ...Red Hat Legal provided the permission to ship...

      Big of them. Remember when Fedora was an actual community distribution, and nobody had to raise their hand to go to the toilet?

      To whichever Red Hat employee modded this down: fuck you, and fuck your increasingly evil company.

  • by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Saturday May 06, 2017 @03:43PM (#54368555)
    In this day and age you need at least four more codecs to be supported to watch movies downloaded from torrents: AAC, AC3, DTS and AVC/H.264. And pirates have already started adopting HEVC/H.265.

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