[Foundation-l] REMINDER: Skypecast - Wikipedia Conversation from Florida

Austin Hair adhair at gmail.com
Fri Aug 25 23:02:30 UTC 2006

On 8/25/06, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 8/25/06, Austin Hair <adhair at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Of course you can.  Hell, it's even included in the base Debian
> > repository (not non-US/non-free).
> Have you consulted with an attorney on this? Because I have and the
> advice I received with respect to the MP3 patents is different than
> the advice you're providing.

Sure, I've discussed it with several attorneys, and many more have
discussed it ad nauseam on the various free software mailing lists.
You can read more about MP3's patents and licensing on Wikipedia.

> It's inappropriate for us to make the files second class citizens, the
> transcoded ones are fairly low quality. It was a mistake to record
> directly into MP3 format...

Harvard's equipment doesn't record Vorbis.  It'd be nice if it did,
but it doesn't.  Sorry.

> I have made several request to obtain copies of the DV tapes for the
> sessions that were video taped so that I could make Oggs of the high
> resolution video and the uncompressed audio. I have offered to pay
> duplication costs.  My requests have been ignored.

I do not remember hearing such a request from you; I certainly
wouldn't have ignored it.

The 17 tapes in question are currently en route to George Chriss, whom
you might remember from the conference.  He's tasked with processing
the tapes and encoding video of each session in Ogg Theora, which will
be uploaded to Commons as soon as they're finished.  I have every
confidence in his abilities.

> and as far as the files go, they don't effectively exist if even *you*
> can't find them without asking.

I've seen the files with my own eyes, but I don't know where they're
posted.  Obtaining them hasn't been a priority for me, because I have
an MP3 player.

> How much money would you have required?
> $10,000 to get all the audio and video from our sessions into
> completely free formats for both archival and available live use?  I
> could have gotten you that. No one asked.  Kyle was standing the the
> conference *offering* to record unrecorded sessions, I brought
> microphones and recording gear (with the hopes of doing a wikimedia
> choral session, but that didn't end up happening).. and no one could
> confirm that we had *permission* to record the sessions.

You're right, we never asked you.  We're good, but we're not clairvoyant.

Everyone was welcome to make their own recordings, as I told everyone
who asked me.  Many people did.

> > It would have been nice to have live coverage of every room, I'll
> > grant, but a delay of a few hours isn't that bad, and the program team
> > was very good about putting events of particular interest in rooms
> > with video.  Believe it or not, your soul will not burn up if you use
> > Helix player.
> Considering reals trackrecord for spyware on windows, I'm supprised to
> see anyone advocating their software with a straight face. ...
> Although the helix player software is not deserving of that, it's
> still surprising.
> I curious though, what incentive do you have to promote propritary
> software when there are reasonable free alternative available and
> people willing to invest their time and money into making them work
> for us?

Real gave us $100,000, to be split amongst the conference organizers
as we pleased.  And we would've gotten away with it, too...

I never suggested that you use RealPlayer, and I'm not even advocating
the use of the Real format.  Although I don't object to non-free
software on principle, I absolutely believe that the formats used for
information exchange should be free, and I was very disappointed to
learn that Real was the only option for the live streams.  Being
practical, however, I was consoled by the knowledge that they would be
archived in Ogg Theora for posterity, whatever it took to make that

It's fine to talk about could haves and should haves now, but the fact
is, we never heard from you before the conference.  In the end, I
think we still made out okay.


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