Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

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Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by extensiontester » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:17 am

I'd like to be a beta tester for this Fx extension, which is facilitating downloading of files from our national broadcasters online flash player database.
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/90505/

Installed and running, it appears to present the same page data as the abc.net.au/iview Flash player does, but without any temporary allows for either scripts or embeddings needed.
This is welcome, and I'm guessing that the developer is getting stuff from the server using their own flash player interface.
But I'm a little concerned that it appears to reside within the abc.net.au/iview serving.

So that I can be fairly sure I'm not relaxing NS security in any way, could Giorgio advise whether the extension is in any way "monkeying" with the operation of NS?
Thanks for the greatest of all extensions ever :-)
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Re: Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by therube » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:24 pm

He's using rtmpdump with his extension - Support for RTMPE (Protected Streaming) Multimedia.

Actually that's all that there appears to be. So all he's doing is integrating rtmpdump into FF (at least from what I can tell).
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extensiontester

yep, that rtmpdump is a good clever bit of coding

Post by extensiontester » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:55 pm

Thanks therube for confirming the application getting used. That's what's in the xpi and that's indeed what runs in the terminal when a file is getting downloaded, and it's a nice transparent process so it induces a bit more trust from me for the developer.
My worry is mainly in the actual code in the chrome iv.js file, quite a lot of chunks of code there, and if it monkeys with NS.

thanks again for contributing
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Re: Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by Giorgio Maone » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:13 pm

Coincidentally, I've been toyed for a while with the idea of integrating rtmpdump in FlashGot, even though I'm a bit unsure of the best way from a legal standpoint: shipping the executable together with FlashGot, although feasible license-wise and very easy (transparent) from user's standpoint, is probably going to cause serious headaches for AMO (as I suspect this very extension probably could), since rtmpdump had already been almost shut down by Adobe's DMCA notices and had to relocate outside USA.
On the other hand, current AMO policies don't allow extensions to download and run executable code from the Internet, so it's a bit of a conundrum, which may be worth to discuss with AMO admins though.
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Re: Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by al_9x » Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:07 am

Giorgio Maone wrote:I'm a bit unsure of the best way from a legal standpoint


As a first step couldn't you let the user supply the executable? and have a path to it be configurable.
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Re: Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by extensiontester » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:40 pm

@al_9x
User's getting their own rtmpdump binaries?
That's how we began last year with the project over at whirlpool's forum, for the iView downloaders project
http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/?tag=ABC_iView_Downloader
It worked fine for most users.
Have to emphasise here that we are a local group, and that we're not working at opening downloads to anywhere outside Australia.

@ Giorgio - Considering that the ABC hasn't lifted a finger to stop the downloading, we all think that the ABC's very happy for us volunteers to be doing their hard work for them - - ie enabling fair access to the national broadcaster's content by all kinds of connections, fast or slow. So far, the ABC hasn't put any kind of download alternative to streaming up on their site for us citizens. So coders in the Whirlpool group are now mostly bundling rtmpdump with their project version. It also helps that Howard Chu, leader of the team that took over rtmpdump after the US developer's site was taken down, is in the forum to advise.
We are not doing this for anything other than local (Australian) public broadcasting and we would be arguing the case much as users who download binaries from the restricted repositories of the benevolent space tourist's linux distro, that it's not specifically illegal for Australians to use rtmpdump, so users of the Fx extension can be made aware of their rights at download if AMO decides it's necessary.
In these cases, the OS and the browser are tools and end use is the focus. As with all discussions over restricting/filtering/censoring access - I think that there is a good case to be made for AMO to continue its open source liberal policies wrt this kind of development. Adobe has erred in believing that it can enforce some kind of rights management via controlling a public good - ie a protocol. This is the opinion of a few lawyers in Australia so far.
What your position would be wrt to rtmpdump in the wildly popular Flashgot getting used mainly by US (I'd guess the most users are in the US) and including or even pointing to manual access to the binaries via the rtmpdump site for users? It could be interpreted as facilitating law breaking in that case, much more than our local project, I guess.
Does AMO have to act as if the US is the only part of the world that matters? I'm hanging on to the idea that AMO really does want to foster inventiveness - even if it's only in our small Mozillazine part of the net.
Want to ever come over and participate or just drop a comment at Whirlpool Giorgio, you'd be really welcome.

For the rest of my question, the js in the extension's ok then, I'm guessing by your response :-)
Charlie M here btw, looking after Auntie's while she's collecting seed.
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Re: Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by al_9x » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:39 pm

extensiontester wrote:@al_9x
User's getting their own rtmpdump binaries?


Yes, and specifying the path in FlashGot. This way FlashGot gets rtmp download functionality without needing any blessing from AMO.
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Re: Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by Giorgio Maone » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:41 pm

extensiontester wrote:As with all discussions over restricting/filtering/censoring access - I think that there is a good case to be made for AMO to continue its open source liberal policies wrt this kind of development. Adobe has erred in believing that it can enforce some kind of rights management via controlling a public good - ie a protocol. This is the opinion of a few lawyers in Australia so far.

This is my opinion as well, but since DMCA take-down notices are far from rational and receiving one is a hassle no matter how good your reasons are, before putting AMO in a difficult position it would be better to discuss the matter in advance.
extensiontester wrote:
What your position would be wrt to rtmpdump in the wildly popular Flashgot getting used mainly by US (I'd guess the most users are in the US) and including or even pointing to manual access to the binaries via the rtmpdump site for users? It could be interpreted as facilitating law breaking in that case, much more than our local project, I guess.

That's my guess too.
extensiontester wrote:
Does AMO have to act as if the US is the only part of the world that matters? I'm hanging on to the idea that AMO really does want to foster inventiveness - even if it's only in our small Mozillazine part of the net.

What you're saying is true, but AMO's (and Mozilla's) main operations are in US, so they (rather than their users) are subject to US laws.
Is quite similar to the H264 codec debate: of course Mozilla is fostering adoption of patent free codecs for political reasons, but there's also a very practical issue: they couldn't ship Firefox with H264 without violating US laws, and even if they paid the patent royalties they couldn't ship it as free software because it couldn't be redistributed by people who don't pay the royalties themselves.

extensiontester wrote:For the rest of my question, the js in the extension's ok then, I'm guessing by your response :-)

Yes it is.
extensiontester wrote:Charlie M here btw, looking after Auntie's while she's collecting seed.

Happy to see you back, and kiss Auntie for me.
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Re: Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by al_9x » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:06 pm

Giorgio Maone wrote:before putting AMO in a difficult position it would be better to discuss the matter in advance.


Giorgio, if flashgot didn't include rtmpdump, but made use of a user provided version, do you feel you would still need to clear it with them?
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Re: Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by Giorgio Maone » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:26 pm

al_9x wrote:
Giorgio Maone wrote:before putting AMO in a difficult position it would be better to discuss the matter in advance.


Giorgio, if flashgot didn't include rtmpdump, but made use of a user provided version, do you feel you would still need to clear it with them?

Yes I do. I've already made too many errors of this kind, and I've learned it's much better explicitly discuss anything which may be even slightly controversial/problematic in advance.

On the other hand, if they decide this is a problem no matter what, I could put a different "RTMP-enhanced" version on flashgot.net (which is hosted in Denmark) and keep the hassle-free one on AMO.

But first of all, I must find out whether a "generic" RTMP bridge through FlashGot is really feasible or not, since iViewFox's code is tailor-made on iView (with hard-coded rtmp:// URL patterns) and it doesn't perform any rtmp URL/handshake sniffing of its own.
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Re: Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by al_9x » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:59 pm

Giorgio Maone wrote:But first of all, I must find out whether a "generic" RTMP bridge through FlashGot is really feasible or not

Now that you mention it, I remembered from trying to download one, that rtmp urls are not supplied through any standard means. They can be embedded in the swf or retrieved by the flash code through some sort of rpc/url. Doesn't seem like there is any generic way to intercept them.
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Re: Experimental extension ok to patch over NS?

Post by extensiontester » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:43 pm

@Giorgio
Thanks for the OK about the js.
You're right. Money is power, and not logic. The H264 mess is a good parallel - - except that, as I a mere dummy understands it, in the rtmp case for public broadcasters files, those who do want it really do need it right now, because there's no alternative, even though it's not ideal. If public broadcasters (this includes the BBC) hadn't tied themselves to players that are not suitable for the work they are supposed to do, and/or if they invested in infrastructure to allow democratic access to streaming, then there would be no absolute need for rtmpdump, just like there's no absolute need for H264. Flash/youtube quality streaming of mp4/mov sucks, but then most youtube sucks, ay?
In the H264 debate, I'm more in favour of the space tourist's pragmatic solution of allowing end-user to decide how they use their browser, rather than Dotzler's/Mozilla's laudable campaign to ship an entire copyleft pure browser right from the start. MP3 was never this much of a problem, with Ogg becoming very quickly a popular and imo superior codec. LAME's not so bad either. But instant video seems to have grabbed everyone by the vitals and everyone's just impatient to use youtube's stuff, whatever the cost to development of a true open browser. Me, I'm worried that Mozilla will throw out a whole new generation of Fx users with the Ggle bathwater if they resist compromise over video. The argument that many newbies won't already have H264 installed in Win (it's all about Win, every time) and so will be all confused when Fx won't play their youtube doesn't ring true with my experience of early adopters of Fx - - the decision to dump IE goes along with a big jump in intellect, which goes along with the ability to find codecs if needed ;-)
And if it comes down to licensing pressure getting exerted from left field by Google too? Then the whole thing won't stop at H264 and Fx will be properly fnerked.
/OT

On hacking public broadcasters content, I'm betting that licensing costs will drive most third-party content off public broadcasting net services anyway, and net tv will go ad-based or subscription all the time everywhere, and the ones that don't stream acceptably will just not get the money. After that, there'll be no need for citizens to hack for access to public streaming content because public broadcasters will have all their own content as mp4 or equivalent for the podcast model. Most already do have their own content for "vodcast" now, including our ABC - and it's one step better than the BBC, which ties mp4/mov dl to apple ipods, and wmv to ms drm and all that hardware/software/server management mess.
We are aware that the developer will probably have to host his own extension one day.
And after your recent public *ahem* troubles over ethics you'd be a fool if you didn't cover all the bases with your peers at AMO. But in the meantime, a small local group can hide in the backwaters more easily than the Mighty Coder can ;-)

@al_9x
Yep, it took a lotta Wiresharkin' to work out the urls just for the one service. Not that I would put Giorgio off the idea - if it's in there, he will see what every other hacker can't.

Sorry about the long ot rant.
cheers to you both and thanks millions for NS.

Oh, ha ha, Would you believe that the recaptcha for this post is "access others"!
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