This is a tangent, so I’m going to ask for this to be split into another topic, but it’s allowed and even used to sort of work, but only via OpenH264 downloaded directly from Cisco. It will be a few more years before other H.264 decoders are permitted. Unfortunately H.264 is extremely complicated because there are so many revisions to the specification, so even once the patents covering the original specification have expired, figuring out whether a particular decoder is legal or not still requires substantial technical expertise in addition to legal expertise. And that can change if the decoder implements any newer features in the future, which makes for an extremely challenging problem. That is to say, do not expect other H.264 decoders to be allowed in Fedora even when all patents covering the original spec have expired.
What I can say for certain is we want to allow as many multimedia encoders/decoders as we legally can.
Our hacks for causing OpenH264 to be installed on the first system update – fake totem and Firefox updates to trick dnf into installing gstreamer1-plugin-openh264 and mozilla-openh264 – stopped working after dnf stopped reinstalling preexisting Recommends from packages that are already installed. Help welcome with this. As you can see from the issue creation date, it’s been a very long time since OpenH264 was approved by legal, and the challenge is “install this package” which doesn’t seem particularly difficult, yet we haven’t managed to do it yet. Everybody is always busy working on something else instead. For now, the workaround is
sudo dnf install gstreamer1-plugin-openh264 mozilla-openh264 which is not onerous, but also not good enough for users who don’t know to do so.