on (un-)supported data formats (WAS: Re: [MPlayer-users] Quicktime help)

Paul Stoeber paul.stoeber at stud.tu-ilmenau.de
Mon Sep 2 15:06:01 CEST 2002

On Mon, Sep 02, 2002 at 01:45:25PM +0200, Arpi wrote:
> > I think the un-availability of source code and the list of supported
> > machine archs should be stated explicitly in error messages and in
> > codecs.conf (not only in the comments, which isn't even done in the
> > "AUDIO CODECS" part).
> ???
> if it prints "enable it at compile time!" it means the codec is supported,
> but the support was not enabled/detected by ./conigure (requires external
> dlls, libs etc to be installed).

By "codec is supported", you mean(?) that you have written all the glue C
code you could to make it available in mplayer (good work!  I appreciate
it).  But that glosses over some crucial technical aspects of the codec
itself: source availability, machine arch compatibility.  If the user
sees "enable it at compile time!", she'll think that's possible and try
hard to do it.  But since it wasn't possible in the first place (she
doesn't own wintel hardware, or she objects to running binaries-only),
her attempts will fail, and she'll probably increase the noise on this
mailing list (at least that's what I experienced).

So you are tempted to remove the hint message, because it disturbs me?
Wrong move, IMHO.  Try to put yourself in the state of mind of a user
who just wants to play her files, who is eager to befuddle her senses
with a pre-canned entertainment stream, and therefore not in the mood to
hack or even to read docs.  Mplayer is her starting point and central hub
for doing that, she doesn't care much about codecs and their specifics,
she just wants to view this frickin' thing.  If it doesn't work, she'll
be glad to have an error message telling her _explicitly_ what she can do
about it, and what sacrifices she would have to make to view it (e.g.:
give up completely free (as in freedom) system, buy another machine).
That would prevent frustration and some messages on this list.

[Mmh, so that's the kind of debate you get from trying to support
proprietary stuff.  It surely is a double-edged sword...]

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