A story about free software and free formats.

I already said I’m quite pragmatic when it comes to multimedia formats, as I’m an happy FFmpeg user, and I tend to be able to watch anything FFmpeg decodes, without limiting myself to non-encumbered formats.

But, it’s true that not everybody shares this view, and it’s always a good idea to provide at least some alternative when you’re developing Free Software. Especially for those users less fortunate, living in places where software patents are a problem.

Strangely enough, there is one very widely used software that does not seem to provide a free format alternative (Theora) to its users, The GIMP. It supports MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video encoding, but not Ogg/Theora.

I was contacted by Ivo Emanuel Gonçalves, from Xiph, asking me if I could take a look into it. Unfortunately my knowledge of GTK+ is near zero, and I don’t even use GIMP. But I’m sure there are at least a few GIMP users reading my blog, and hopefully a few of them might be able to look into that.

GIMP developers don’t seem to be interested in adding Theora support proactively, but they said they’d be accepting patches if they are sent their way. So if anybody reading this blog is interested, please fire me an email and I’ll forward it to Ivo (unless he wants to make his email address public here directly ;) ).

A blog tam-tam is also welcome, so that we might reach more easily some people interested in this, so… spread the word!

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