Hogmanay, Freedom, Music downloads, IRC and Kubuntu in Hawaii
Edinburgh was busy last night for the worlds largest Hogmanay party and we saw in the new year with enough fireworks to cover the whole of the castle and Castle Rock in thick smoke.
2006 will see the 10th anniversary of KDE, and since desktop software is what most people think of when they think about computers that marks 10 years of bringing free software to the people. As computers become more prevelant in people's lives (both as desktop machines and embedded) it becomes more important that we can use them however we see fit without restriction. Europe won something of a victory over software patents in 2005 but they still exist and still affect us. Digital restriction management is growing and makes basic functions like watching DVD videos with KDE too difficult for most users, the next generation DVD formats are likely to be worse. And the next version of Windows won't support DVD players without region restrictions. So be proud KDE developers to be making a difference in bringing freedom back to computing, it's important.
See Simbiotic for a nice Glaswegian company who let you buy music to download in Ogg Vorbis or FLAC formats.
#kde-devel has descended into another argument about Israel, sadly a lot of #kde-devel is even more off topic and no doubt off-putting to newer developer and users of the channel. It's a shame that some KDE projects have to resort to hidden channels so their developers can get some peace (and I see the main gnome developers channel has gone the same way). Ubuntu has a code of conduct which allows developers to take the moral high ground when telling people to shut up. Of course it's also nice to be able to chat randomly on IRC to an extent, especially for those of us without a real workplace to get the gossip from so I'm not sure how best to keep #kde-devel under control.
TPOSSCON is the second pacific conference for Open Source. The word on the street is that Kubuntu is going to be the official operating system of the conference. It takes place next week in Haiwaii so if you're in the (rather large, blue and watery) neighbourhood drop by to see my favourite operating system in use.
Keep DRM out of KDE by choosing GPL tools
Digital restriction management is growing and makes basic functions like watching DVD videos with KDE too difficult for most users, the next generation DVD formats are likely to be worse. And the next version of Windows won't support DVD players without region restrictions. So be proud KDE developers to be making a difference in bringing freedom back to computing, it's important.
I completely agree with you stance against DRM, and I commend you for reminding Free Software developers about their role in fighting this evil. However, if KDE is to help in the fight against DRM, it must use the strongest copyleft license -- the GPL -- and partner up with other projects that do the same.
This is even more true when it comes to multimedia, which as you pointed out is becoming more and more restricted by the entertaianment cartels. That means we should not make GStreamer the default for KDE4, as it has been proposed. KDE needs to stick with Xine, which iis licenced under the GPL and which, by most accounts, is technically superior to and more mature than GStreamer.
All of Xine's plugins, including DRM-infested ones, would have be open source because Xine is GPL. The same cannot be said about GStreamer, which is LGPL and whose DRM plugins will most likely be proprietary, closed-source, and controlled by the big media corporations.
The only way to keep DRM's nasty claws off KDE is to ensure that users can change the code, and the only way to do that is to chose a tool that is GPL.
Other GPL'ed alternatives include MPlayer and VLC, although I'm not sure how they compare to Xine.
xine and its API are designed to be used in media-players. It is a rather over-weight and inflexible (compared to GST) solution for just say, playing a sound when the user clicks a link in Konqi.
So based on just technical considerations, GStreamer is more suited than xine for KDE 4.
I don't deny that licencing stuff is important and DRM and that, but generally I let other people worry about such issues as it just gets me angry and I prefer to be writing code.