Richard Stallman weighs in on Lib-Ray...
Apparently news about the project is getting around. I wouldn't classify Stallman's interest as an 'endorsement', though he did say that "It sounds very good...".
Of course, that was followed by "but there is a pitfall that is important to avoid." So, let's see if we can avoid it. :-)
RMS: "Some video formats have a scheme for the menus which is so general that it allows programming. Even simple menus are implemented with a program.
"This means that videos always come with a program -- and since the people who make these are not thinking about free software at all, they don't put a free license on those programs. Thus, most videos come with nonfree software that's effectively gratuitous.
"In the old days, when menus were menus, this problem wouldn't have happened in the first place."
A little background: what he's talking about is similar to the way DVD menus work -- and I presume it is also how Blu-Ray menus work, though I haven't signed any NDAs to be sure about that.
Me: "Lib-Ray menus are HTML and CSS, and thus are declarative documents rather than executable programs."
RMS: "That is good news!"
RMS: "If it's normally the same for all videos, and you make it free software, then it is ok. But why include this in the videos? Why not make it part of a player module?"
And we addressed some of the reasons for this declarative design for the video medium:
Me: "1) If it were a program, we'd have to trust every video release not to be a "trojan horse" -- e.g. the bootable disk image could easily be designed to take over and/or corrupt your computer."
Me: "2) Even assuming good faith, a program-based standard would have to be continually updated to keep up with support for new hardware."
RMS: "That only applies if the standard is low-level."
[True, but the suggested bootable GNU/Linux approach would be]
Me: "3) Letting the disk take control of your system is buying into the same non-free ethos that brought us unskippable menus and the like. I want to keep the control in the hands of the user/viewer."
RMS: "I agree."
Can't get much better than that.
He further reiterates in a later follow-up:
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COPY OF THE SOFTWARE: CD-R disk with all of the developed software in a Live-CD Linux so you can play Lib-Ray on most computers with CD-ROM and SD card support. The "Complete Guide to Lib-Ray" book will be provided in PDF format on the disk.Estimated delivery:
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BLENDER FOUNDATION OPEN MOVIE COLLECTION. Lib-Ray edition of the first three open movies created by the Blender Foundation: "Elephants Dream", "Big Buck Bunny", and "Sintel". You get all three films in high-quality 1920x1080 HD video with stereo and 5.1 surround sound, plus as many subtitle tracks as I can locate. This release will be in a compact, lightweight sleeve.Estimated delivery:
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SITA SINGS THE BLUES. Lib-Ray edition of Nina Paley's award-winning feature-length animated film "Sita Sings the Blues" in beautiful 1920x1080 HD video with stereo sound. Some of the proceeds from this Creator Endorsed release will be shared directly with Nina Paley after we make our minimum. This edition will be in a light-weight, compact, eco-friendly sleeve.Estimated delivery:
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BLENDER FOUNDATION OPEN MOVIE COLLECTION (Lib-Ray): Deluxe-packaged Lib-Ray format release of the first three of the Blender Foundation's Open Movies: "Elephants Dream", "Big Buck Bunny", and "Sintel", with extras and subtitles in all of the available languages I can find. The Lib-Ray software and documentation will be provided as an extra on this special edition card. (This is the same package as the mock-up I showed in the video).Estimated delivery:
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SITA SINGS THE BLUES (Lib-Ray): Deluxe packaged Creator-Endorsed Lib-Ray format release of "Sita Sings the Blues" by Nina Paley. Note that this will be the first time this title has been released in a high-definition format. The Lib-Ray software and documentation will be provided as an extra on this special edition card. (This is the same package as the mock-up I showed in the video). After we make our minimum, a portion of the profit from sales of this card will be given to Nina Paley herself.Estimated delivery:
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PRINTED MANUAL: A printed copy of the "Complete Guide to Lib-Ray", a book documenting the specification, tutorials on how to create a Lib-Ray disk "from scratch" as well as by using the developed Lib-Ray mastering wizard software. Plus you will receive the software on disk as well.Estimated delivery:
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BOTH RELEASES (SITA SINGS THE BLUES and the BLENDER OPEN MOVIE COLLECTION) on Lib-Ray: Both "Sita Sings the Blues" and the Blender Foundtion open movies "Elephants Dream", "Big Buck Bunny", and "Sintel". The Lib-Ray software and documentation will be included on these cards.Estimated delivery:
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TRY OUT LIB-RAY 4K: Experimental "Lib-Ray 4K" release of the Blender Foundation's "Sintel" Open Movie. This will be in an experimental 4096x2048 pixel format as currently used in digital projection systems. There are only a few home theater systems available at this resolution, and you will need to run the software on a fairly high-end computer to make this work (the hardware player I am offering is not guaranteed to be able to play this disk).Estimated delivery:
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GOLD SPONSOR: You will receive the printed "Complete Guide to Lib-Ray" book, both Lib-Ray releases ("Sita Sings the Blues" and the Blender Open Movie Collection), and you will be credited as a "Gold Sponsor" in the documentation, book, and distribution credits.Estimated delivery:
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FILMMAKER (MASTERING OF YOUR OWN FILM): Special reward for producers -- I will work with you to produce a Lib-Ray edition of your own film. You will need to provide lossless (or best available) original video, original audio, still images for menus (unless you want me to use frames from your video) and any other extras you want to have on the release. It does NOT have to be a free-licensed release, but I will need to get a statement identifying you as the copyright holder and indemnifying me against claims (I'll provide boilerplate for that). The video content also should not violate any laws or require any special regulatory notices (e.g. no porn films, please).Estimated delivery:
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PLATINUM SPONSOR / HTPC SYSTEM (PLAYER/COMPUTER): I will build you a Home Theater PC with playback support for Lib-Ray, DVD, and (some?) Blu-Ray disks. The system will be GNU/Linux based and will use one of the existing player distributions for DVD and Blu-Ray playback. Lib-Ray playback will be through the software I develop and will be integrated into the distribution as best I can make it. This player will come in a low-profile HTPC case. The system will be powerful enough to do the decoding in software, so you'll also be able to find other uses for it, such as playing games. You will also receive the "Sita Sings the Blues" and Blender Foundation Open Movie Collection releases and the printed "Complete Guide to Lib-Ray" book, and you will be credited as a "Platinum Sponsor".Estimated delivery:
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PLATINUM SPONSOR / HTPC SYSTEM PLUS MONITOR AND SOUND SYSTEM: I will build you a complete Home Theater (or private screening) system with the player HTPC, a set of 5.1 surround sound speakers, and a 32" flat-panel LCD 1080P HD TV monitor. You will also receive credit as "Platinum Sponsor" and you will get copies of both "Sita Sings the Blues" and the Blender Foundation Open Movie Collection as well as the printed "Complete Guide to Lib-Ray" book. (Warning: if there are customs regulations or tariffs affecting the import of this product to your country, you will need to be responsible for them. Monitor and speakers may be drop-shipped separately from the supplier to reduce shipping costs).Estimated delivery:
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CORPORATE SPONSOR: Organizational logo sponsor. Your company's logo will be included prominently in all of the project materials and on the Lib-Ray.org website as a project sponsor. You will also receive up to 10 copies each of the two Lib-Ray releases ("Sita Sings the Blues" and the Blender Foundation Open Movies Collection).Estimated delivery:
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