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Sunday, January 01, 2006


iPodDrop and the GPL

wlach pointed out that according to the LGPL that ffmpeg is distributed under, I've got to distribute the source with it.

Except, ffmpeg is distributed with GPL'd components (which my binary has compiled in), which means that the copy of ffmpeg is covered by the GPL.

Now, my reading of the GPL is that a project that "contains" GPL'd binaries must itself become entirely covered by the GPL. However, I assume my reading to be incorrect, because I've seen tons of products that contain GPL'd code and non-GPL'd code, distributed together without the non-GPL'd code being affected (NITIX itself would be an example, or virtually any linux-based firmware). So that would mean that I should post the ffmpeg source, but am not required post my own source.

Here's ffmpeg: ffmpeg-0.4.9-pre1.7z (Pretty stupid to have to post unmodified source when the ffmpeg people host it). I'll bundle the source in v1.3 I guess.

Maybe I'll opensource iPodDrop itself later. I'd like to get the source in a more friendly state before that happens. Commenting the code some would be nice.

This means I don't qualify for SourceForge. I've run a SourceForge project before, in my experience it isn't worth the effort for small projects. Setting up and configuring an sf project isn't a simple affair, and for a very short program it isn't worth it. If I opensource it, I'll just distribute the source with it.

Your reading of the GPL is correct, as far as I know (IANAL, etc.). Unless you link your program against some of the actual code in ffmpeg, your can license your own code as you please.

I wouldn't really consider setting up a sourceforge project to be that much work-- getting the basics of the libwpd project going took me (and my partner in crime, Marc Maurer) less than a day. If you're writing a program which is generally useful to other people and needs to be maintained over a long period of time, not taking advantage of Sourceforge's facilities seems a little silly (it is free, after all).

As far as wanting to clean your code up before releasing it, I really wouldn't worry about it. Free software is all about "Release Early, Release Often" and incremental improvement. The first draft of just about anything is always a little rough: no one's going to hold it against you if your 1.1 CVS revision isn't perfect. :)
I've been searching for the last few days for a solution that meets my needs. I found a product called Videora that encoded fine, but wasn't (as far as I can tell) command line accessible. From there I found MP4Box.exe from GPAC. I couldn't get the encoding to quite work. After that I found ffmpeg.exe. Both of these looked like they would provide me with a solution, on paper.

But this wrapper - iPodDrop - is almost ideal for me. I do need slightly different functionality, but this is a great start for me.

What is the extra functionality you need? I'm always open to suggestings, depending on how they fit in to the program.
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