[sf-lug] christian, need another computer?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Jun 11 19:14:18 PDT 2008

Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at gmail.com):

> The teachers would probably continue to use the Edubuntu lab for
> another year without audio or video, but you can bet that the teachers will
> be looking for other solutions, and then, one day, I will show up at the
> school (as I do every day, twice a day) and I will find out from some
> teacher that there are plans to dedicate the space that the Edubuntu lab now
> occupies with some type of Mac lab, or, even worse, a Microsoft lab.

You might want to either (1) give up now, or (2) start carefully
controlling expectations -- because all it takes is someone introducing a
hard requirement of _either_ Windows Media Video / Audio as implemented in 
Windows MediaPlayer 10 & 11 _or_ Apple QuickTime as implemented with the
dominant Sorenson 3 codec (e.g., within Apple's QuickTime 3 software and
later), and your initiative is toast.

The Sorenson 3 codec is patent-encumbered, with Apple, Inc. holding the
rights to those patents, and they've so far permitted only their own
Win32 and MacOS X implementations.  (Independent implementations,
notably FFmpeg's, exist under the shadow of possible patent litigation.)
And WMV/WMA is arguably worse, because of the use of Microsoft Media DRM 
on many such files/feeds.

Even before DRM and pervasive patent sabre-rattling, those of us who've
been around on Linux for a while have known that you just can't promise
ability to handle arbitrary audio and video:  There's always something
the bad guys have thrown out on the market, that hasn't been
reverse-engineered, yet.

> I have actually had stuff like this happen to me.  One day, I came to the
> school, and the science teacher (who is a big supporter of FOSS, to the
> extent that he has time to think after working 12 hour days) tells me that
> he is going to use a Microsoft-based solution (called Booksmart)....

Stick around a while, and you'll encounter sites where your proposal
founders for lack of ability to handle Microsoft SharePoint, or
something else dependent on ActiveX or such.

> I have talked with the teachers ad nauseum about how FOSS is really about
> civil rights and an open Internet and open formats and really owning your
> computing space and not being a cyberserf....

I have talked about the need to do requirements analysis.  ;->

Suggestion:  Insist that Linux deployment projects do requirements
analysis.  Far as I can tell, you still aren't doing that.

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