WMA support

Scott Wheeler wheeler at kde.org
Sat Jan 22 15:21:40 CET 2005

On Saturday 22 January 2005 12:56, Sam Liddicott wrote:
> Scott Wheeler wrote:
> > And all of that aside, there's a standard policy that I have on not
> > supporting formats without at least one Open Source encoder; I'm not
> > really interested in helping to spread proprietary codecs.
> With apologies for resurrecting old threads, but its better than
> starting a new one.
> I don't mean to start a fight or a lenghty discussion, but I do want to
> raise the question of this policy in the minds of its holders, without
> the need for them to justify it to me.
> I know at least one case where lack of taglib support for wma in amarok
> (media manager type app) is preventing a full migration to linux and
> thus the wider use of free codecs.

There's nothing that stops a third party from using TagLib as a toolkit and 
implementing WMA support and distributing that as an addon that other 
applications will use.  I just have no intention of dealing with such 
encumbered formats in TagLib propper.

But because of the reasons that I mentioned in the mail you responded to, to 
implement such in TagLib would basically require reverse engineering the 
format despite the fact that it's spec'ed out.

> A move to "new" linux can be disconcerting anyway, if it can be made
> more stress free, it is surely agood thing?

Not so much for me; basically I think open data formats are a lot more 
important than Linux migrations.

> I'm up against a gang who wont move if they can't take their music with 
> them. Windows media player only converts to wma, and theyhave a large 
> collection.  

Well, explain to them why that format sucks and why Microsoft makes it so hard 
to work with it on other implementors.  This isn't something against 
Microsoft in principle; if they opened up the format I'd be just fine with 
supporting it.  But at present that's not the case.  We have MPC support now 
specifically because that format was opened up.  And I'm not holding my 
breath for MS to release a GPL'ed version of the WMA encoder, but if it was 
spec'ed out in a way that other implementors could work with, such would 
arrive on its own most likely.

> I'm being pompous, I know, but I wonder if this policy will have the
> intended effects.

Well, the intended effects are mostly: "I'm not going to reverse engineer a 
complicated format when there are both higher quality, more widely supported 
and more open options available.  If that annoys a few people into converting 
their music to something more accessible great.  If people don't use it 
because it can't work with formats that are a pain in the ass, I won't lose 
any sleep over it."


The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it 
is not utterly absurd. 
--Bertrand Russell

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