* Posts by Jo Shields

1 post • joined 27 Mar 2009

Moonlight plans video-patent police beater for Linux

Jo Shields

Not as bad as people think

There's a common - but false - misconception about the codec licensing which this article perpetuates.

Codec licensing doesn't "only appl[y] to Moonlight users who download the player from Novell's site". Moonlight from Novell's site has no codecs at all. The codec licensing comes as part of a closed-source codec library, silverlight-media-pack-linux-$ARCH-$ABI.so (the "Microsoft Media Pack"), which can only be downloaded from Microsoft. This is the unredistributable part with the "must come from one site" requirement, not Moonlight itself.

Whether Moonlight comes from go-mono.com/moonlight, or packages in the 8 or so distributions which make them available, the MS Media Pack is not included - however, Moonlight will offer to download it for you if & when it deems the install necessary. Some of those distributions compile against FFmpeg, and therefore have (non-patent-licensed) media support WITHOUT the closed-source Microsoft Media Pack (but the MMP can still be added subsequently at user option).

To repeat, in case the above isn't sufficiently clear: Moonlight has no codecs; Moonlight's licensed codecs are unredisributable and available only from microsoft.com; Moonlight will offer to download/install those codecs on demand; and you get full patent coverage on those codecs as long as your Microsoft Media Pack came from microsoft.com, regardless of where you got Moonlight from



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