[Flac-dev] Should FLAC join Xiph?

Matt Zimmerman mdz at debian.org
Mon Nov 25 06:52:04 PST 2002

On Fri, Nov 22, 2002 at 10:02:16AM +0100, Steve Lhomme wrote:

> En réponse à Matt Zimmerman <mdz at debian.org>:
> > BSD licensing has been demonstrated to work in practice, for similar
> > applications, by a number of high-profile projects, including those
> > associated with Xiph.org.  I believe that in these situations, the
> In the case of hardware support, the benefits are still not there.

Are you suggesting that BSD licensing is problematic for hardware vendors,
or problematic for other users of the software in the context of hardware

> > freedom and continued viability of the software is ensured not by legal
> > restrictions, but by recognized leadership in a community.  Xiph.org is
> > a strong ally in that area, with a thriving and well-recognized
> > community.
> Well, in the Windows world, Xiph are seen as Linux people. With all the
> positive and negative vibes that is related. Just look at all the mess
> that happened with the video integration in OGG (through Tobias W.'s
> DirectShow filter), or the war of file extensions OGM vs OGG.

I do not, in general, keep up with developments in Windows software, so I'm
not familiar with this particular mess.

The confusion between free software (in general) and Linux is widespread,
and more or less understandable because the two are so intertwined.  I don't
think that FLAC is any different from current Xiph.org software in this
respect; people that I talk to about FLAC assume (without even looking) that
it is purely command-line Linux software.

> My main concern is that FLAC should be usable in other containers than OGG
> and other architectures than the one Xiph wants to create. This is
> probably not the right place for me to discuss about this. But the
> "complete solution" that Xiph wants to create is IMHO a bad move. I think
> the UNIX way of doing things is better : have simple things working,
> instead of a big mess. That means there should be a portable codec API,
> different containers that can work with this API, and the codec
> developpers should work with that API and don't care about the underlying
> and upperlying levels. Putting everything in the same bag seems to be a
> good solution to fill the lack of consistency in the Linux multimedia
> world. But I think it's a short sighted view.

I don't see the Xiph solution as a big mess; indeed, I think that they have
shown wisdom in their design and development choices with the goal of
producing a useful system.  There is a tradeoff between
everything-works-with-everything and having functional software which makes
sense and can be reliably maintained, and I think that Xiph have found a
good balance with Ogg.

 - mdz

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