Despite all its advances, GNU/Linux remains weak in its support for proprietary audio and video codecs. Because these codecs are often encumbered by patents, distributions must choose either to include support of questionable legality or else exclude it altogether. In the middle of this controversy sits Fluendo, a Catalan company of about 50 employees that is a main contributor to projects like GStreamer, and supports open formats, but also offers licensed, proprietary codecs such as Windows Media Video and MPEG4. While many would argue that this dual position is necessary, it's one that sometimes creates an unasy balance for the company, says Muriel Moscardini, Fluendo's sale director.

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