[conspire] CABAL invitation, for Saturday

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Oct 12 18:42:33 PDT 2007

Quoting David Fox (dfox94085 at gmail.com):

[openSUSE 10.3:]

> And I have the CD versions, from Bruce's request - will be bringing
> them for Bruce and anyone else wanting to make copies.


I'm increasingly thinking that people installing the "big" (as in:  we
package and include everything conceivable) distros that are hitting
5-CD and up sizes really need to bite the bullet and get DVD drives,
though.  It's just not reasonable to download & burn big piles of CDs
after a while, and, with rare exceptions such as *buntu, the
leading-edge GNOME/KDE distros' hardware requirements (disk, RAM) are so
beefy that any PC that shipped with a CD drive is probably too feeble,
anyway.  (I wish Bruce luck putting openSUSE 10.3 on such a machine, but
have my doubts -- doubly so with, e.g., Mandriva or Fedora.)

> I am also attempting to get Yoper 3.0 DVD but the torrent as of
> yesterday wasn't seeding so I stopped it. I managed to get Granular
> DVD downloaded & will be burning that too.

I was wondering what happened to the prior enthusiasm for Yoper -- along
with a few others, such as Arch Linux (which likewise has a new version
out).  Y'know, a few years back, I gave in to the repeated requests that
we keep various odd little distributions in stock for CABAL events, and,
guess what?  The moment I started doing that, people seemingly switched
to almost never asking about anything but *buntu, Fedora, SLES/SLED, and
openSUSE.  I can't win.  ;->

I even keep Slackware and NetBSD reasonably current (those having been 
requested, in the day), and _nobody_ has my CDs of same, since.

Anyway, I also just did a torrent download of the newly released
LinuxMint 3.1.  I wanted to mention that, particularly, because we
frequently seem to have at least one person drop in, at CABAL, who's
really set on having absolutely maximal "desktop" support for
proprietary AV codecs and such.  Those people often have only the
vaguest idea what _distro_ they want -- or have actively bad ideas, like
Fedora 7 -- and I think we should try steering them towards LinuxMint.

LinuxMint's so complete in that department that I strongly suspect that
it (like Sabayon) is probably technically illegal to redistribute in 
the United States, on account of inclusion of codebases that lack 
redistribution permission.

The only "desktop" distro with broader proprietary-codec and similar
coverage is probably Linspire (completely non-redistributable, and 
beneficiary of an exclusive agreement with Microsoft Corp.), whose 6.0
release came out two days ago.  Press release newsblatt:

   The first commercial release from Linspire, Inc. in over two years,
   Linspire 6.0 continues its traditional focus on ease-of-use and bundles
   proprietary software where there are no viable open source alternatives,
   providing improved hardware, file type, and multimedia support, such as
   MP3, Real, Java, Flash, ATI, NVIDIA, WiFi, and many more.  Linspire
   6.0 is also the first commercial release to incorporate several
   technologies from Microsoft including Windows Media, True Type Fonts, as
   well as Open XML translators that allow OpenOffice to open and edit
   Microsoft Word .docx formatted documents. 

Linspire tends to get 99% ignored by traditional Linux users (arguably
for a number of compelling reasons), but is worth tracking if only to
keep an eye on what is _not_ available in free / open-source inclined
distributions, or even distros that also include proprietary-but-
redistributable offerings, for legal reasons.

Just outside the latter category are codebases available free of charge
but not lawfully redistributable, such as RealPlayer, Macromedia Flash,
etc.  Those are the sorts of things LinuxMint and Sabayon merge in --
throwing caution to the winds (_but_ having few or no download mirrors
in the USA, one notices).  

Outside that circle are proprietary contents from firms inclined to
ferociously sue unauthorised distributors, e.g., Linspire's
Redmond-licensed Windows Media 9 / 10 and MS-Office 10 plugins, plus
patent-encumbered QuickTime stuff, etc.

Relevant news item from July:

At one point (2004) Microsoft was saying that its licensing of Windows
Media codecs to Linspire wouldn't include handling of DRM-obscured
files, which situation I believe still pertains, depriving Linspire
users of the chance to wear attractive and fashionable RIAA-branded

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