Playing MP3s, wma, wmv, flv files and such is not illegal. The reason I understand that it cannot be packaged in Fedora while it is standard in other distros is that if Fedora did so it would get Redhat sued for patent royalties. Redhat is not going to pay money to give people free software. It could not afford to do so, as such because Redhat is involved support for such media formats is not included in the official distro.  It is easily availible and the unofficial FAQ as well as FAQs on places like do point to where to download codecs, and set up your machine for various plugins and how to play various media.

I wish nobody used wmv files. I hate that format. Oggs are superior by far to Mp3s but people need to play those files to function. Obviously because of potential litigation they could not be included in the distro but a link to a website that did pertain to such files would be helpful and I suspect would not make Redhat liable for any patents as it is independently maintained.

I didn't suggest that Fedora include anything in the distro to set this up. Only a link to a website that would contain such information such as the unofficial FAQ.  You could describe it as "Here you will find answers to some questions not answered in this documentation. This FAQ has no connection with the Fedora organization. Use at your own risk" and leave it at that.

Most of what I spoke of has nothing to do with propriatory formats. Automating the setup of NFS and SMB through firewalls for example. Or at least making the documentation easy to find and up to date. Configuring media players for free formats. How to burn a CD in Linux using popular software (especially K3b which will give them quite a few options and an interface close to windoze burners. I don't know many people that actually burn CDs through windoze explorer or on the Linux side through Nautilaus.) My ideas are geared toward new Linux users primarily and to a lessor extent to making some things easier to find for vet Linux users. Setting up a web site using LAMP is something that is commonly asked about for example. Using SSH instead of ftp. How to talk to windoze machines using SSH/SCP, things people do in other words.

Think about it. What was your first experience with Linux? Mine was after a week of hassles I finally got it installed and working. The biggest challenge was my CD was controlled by my sound card (a common configuration in the mid 90s.). I eventually got it all sorted out. X was not auto started yet. So here I was sitting  at a brand new prompt. Don't think it was even a Bash shell thinking now what? While starting in X helps a great deal most new users have the same problem. They sit there with a nice blinking prompt saying now what? Many of Fedora's defaults are highly unfriendly to new Linux users. They don't want to go to extreme effort to burn a CD. Installing a burner app however is something they will be happy to do and automating the process of installing at least KDE libs and installing K3b would go a long way to solving that issue for new Linux users. The same script could download any extras needed to burn CDs from Nautiles. There is probably even a way to burn ISOs as images from Nautilis but not sure if that comes in default support. The documentation from this group on burning CDs never touches K3b. Never touches how to burn an ISO as a bootable CD. Doesn't cover any of the potential problems such as removing a CD if something goes wrong. Nor does it step them though how to get that software. In my opinion the VERY first thing a user should see is how to update their machine. Then how to add software using a Yum GUI. The default load is not really functional for most users. Far too much software is left out.

The welcome wizard could be interactive in many areas in this way. By letting them using just plain HTML download scripts to install software that is needed. By pointing them to Yum GUIs. Sorry command line YUM is not going to impress people. Even vets don't often use it because you almost have to know the exact version of what you are looking for. I use the command line to mass updates. The rest I do from Yum extender or Gnome Yum. We introduce new LInux users to installing software like that and they will LOVE Linux. No more downloading a zip file, extracting it, running and install program and hoping that later if they don't like it they can uninstall as is the Windoze experience in installing software. No more tarballs which often send new Linux users screaming into the night or dependancy hell all to common with rpms downloaded from sites. Yum takes care of the messy stuff and YUM GuIs make it organized and very easy to find and download software. Yet by default there is only the software updater which is good for getting Yum extender but not much else. Not sure if Gnome Yum is even availible through the updater.

I'm on a very different page from you guys apparently. The way I see it is the reason almost everybody who tries Linux and leaves Linux is because they simply don't know where to start and what software to use.  A welcome wizards not going to have too much value to those of us that already know Linux because we already know what we like, what we want, how we want our machines set up. It is new users that would need this info and need it badly. So giving them choices, showing them screenshots of what various applications look like, links to detailed documentation if such exists would go a long way to making many peoples first Linux experience a good one. Being realistic but avoiding doing something that is could cause litigation is a fine line but a worthy effort.

Me I love Fedora as a distro. I hate the defaults. I would NEVER work for long on a system set up as a default Fedora install. No problem as Fedora makes it easy to build my system like I want it built. What they do not do is make it easy to learn how to do this. If all I knew was the software updater tool and used a default Fedora install I would feel like I was using half the machine a windoze box was. I would be constantly frustrated in how hard it was or unable to find how to do many things. I would be unaware that it was Fedora not Linux that did not support the use of certain file formats. File sharing would be damn near impossible to do securely. Can't count how many times I've seen users that made their home dir rwx to the world. Anyway my point is I want to see Fedora continue to be the top distro out there. I also want to see more people using Linux. I have my ways and many of them are not for the average user. Some are because I've done it this way or that way for years and for me it's just easier. For example setting up networking by editing the files. I would NEVER send a new Linux user into that mess. For me though it's just easier to do it that way than try to figure out where the networking was in the GUI, then find all the setting I want and battle Fedora defaults for things like net mask. So I try to think through a new Linux users eyes rather than mine when I try to help them get things set up the first time. Something I do very frequently and people I introduce to Linux who ask me questions have a very high retention rate. Very few go back to Windoze and many are full time Linux users in less than 2 years.  That is because I point them to easy to use apps. Spend time teaching them how Linux works, show them the benefits and NEVER let them suffer through a default install. I am constantly frustrated when I try to introduce people to Linux and they give me these horror tales of trying to use default Linux installs (Mostly Fedora and Ubuntu lately, though a sprinkling of Mandriva and SUSE). How they couldn't do this or that. I'd of course be able to point them to an app that they'd like and every so often I'd get some to retry Linux and they'd have a much better experience. Many times they were so frustrated by their first effort they are now scared of Linux. They feel technically challenged. Those were people interested enough to try Linux but I feel like we slapped them in the face with our refusal to provide good help. Remember we are the underdog here. We need to help people get out from under MIcrosoft's thumb. Help them breath free for once. They are not going to endure much.

They know windoze. They may not be happy but a known evil with most people is always less scary than the unknown. So lets shed some light for them. Show them the EASY way to do things. Not the "right" way as defined by old school Nix. For exanple what is the most popular burner out there? K3b by far!  So lets show them how to set it up and use it and point them to the K3b documentation for advanced functionality. Lets show them how to download and install flash player for common browsers. How to set up networking in baby steps so that even non-techies can set up their network. Setting up networking is actually easier in Linux than in windoze. If there are no legal repercussions we might even include snapshots of windoze networking configuration and the equivalent in Linux. Give them reference points. Compare software and give them choices and options to explore.

Documentation is not just how to, it is also the first thing a new user should encounter. Yet the current way of doing things a user has to seek it out. They are not going to explore endlessly. They want to Rock N Roll right out the door then explore to find more. So the welcome wizard is an awesome way to open the door to the documentation. Point them in different directions and increase the retention rate of new Linux users.

Anyway what's my ideas on the topic.

On 5/28/07, Karsten Wade <> wrote:
On Thu, 2007-05-24 at 01:34 -0700, Karsten Wade wrote:

> What is not going to happen anytime soon, aiui, is a Fedora distributed
> wizard/client that sits on the desktop and helps people find the way to
> play their MP3 files.  No matter how many impassioned arguments are
> made.  The laws are the laws until they are changed or expire.

Ironically, this came out nearly totally wrong.

In fact, we are definitely doing just as I describe:

What I meant was that we are not going to create a client or tool or
anything that permits illegal stuff, or points to how to do illegal
stuff.  The whole point of CodecBuddy is to provide legal solutions
where they are available, and to at least explain when they are not

- Karsten
   Karsten Wade, 108 Editor       ^     Fedora Documentation Project
Sr. Developer Relations Mgr.     |           |          gpg key: AD0E0C41
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