I’ve got an idea I’ve started playing around with, to cleanup the mess that is the binary codecs in Gentoo. Right now, the whole situation is confusing. I always get mixed up on what the status is, and if it’s bad for me, I can only assume it’s confusing a few users as well.
Currently, we have three packages just for binary codecs to be used with media players in the tree: win32codecs, amd64codecs and realcodecs. I’m not gonna go into the difference of the three, because I’ve done that so many times, and that’s one thing I’m actually trying to avoid here. Suffice it to say that a lot of users think they need them, when they don’t. They see “win32” and think, “Oh, I want to be able to playback WMA and WMV and DivX so I must need these, right?” Wrong. Support is already native in libavcodec (the backend library for playback in about every multimedia app in the tree) for, well, most everything. I won’t get into the details of specifically what’s missing, but 90% of the time, a user won’t need the binary ones.
Anyway, that aside, what I’d like to do is roll all three into one ebuild. I can’t come up with a real original name, so media-libs/binary-codecs seems to suffice. As long as it doesn’t have “win” in there, I’ll be happy. The idea seems simple enough, and it makes sense on paper, and I already have a base ebuild that does everything, but I thought I better throw the idea out there to see if I can get any feedback.
For what it’s worth, here’s a link to the unfinished ebuild so you can see what I have in mind. I’m tossing the idea around in my head of adding a use flag for every binary codec that it installs. That could help with any future security issues where we’d have to mask the use flag.