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HealthCheck: Linux Mint

Jan 16, 2012, 14:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard Hillesley)

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"The inclusion of proprietary codecs in Mint was a small but significant difference. Like many other versions of Linux, Ubuntu does not include proprietary codecs and fonts by default because they are subject to 'copyright or legal issues in some countries'. Users have the option to download the restricted extras, but the choice is theirs.

"Ubuntu takes this position for good reasons, exemplified by the $1.53 billion judgement against Microsoft in 2007 for infringing a patent on MP3 audio compression technologies; this was taken out by Bell Laboratories and held by Alcatel-Lucent. Microsoft later appealed the judgement and the case was settled in 2008, costing Microsoft many millions, but the point was made.

"Although MP3 is an acknowledged standard, recognised by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1993, the format contains technologies that were subject to patents in certain jurisdictions, and whatever the rights and wrongs of patents on software techniques or mathematical formulae, litigation is an expensive and wasteful undertaking for a Linux distribution."

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