Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Oct 2013 23:33 UTC, submitted by drcoldfoot
Multimedia, AV

Remember the whole H.264 thing? Cisco just solved it for us - more or less.

The industry has been divided on the choice of a common video codec for some time, namely because the industry standard - H.264 - requires royalty payments to MPEG LA. Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco is making a bold move to take concerns about these payments off the table.

We plan to open-source our H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Cisco will not pass on our MPEG LA licensing costs for this module, and based on the current licensing environment, this will effectively make H.264 free for use in WebRTC.

Cisco will release the code of its H.264 codec under the BSD license, and will also make binaries available for just about every possible platform. Cisco will pay all the licensing costs - over the coming decade, this will cost them a whopping $65 million, illustrating just how expensive H.264 is, and how unrealistic it was to expect it to become a standard without a free implementation being available for everyone to use. It has to be noted that both end users and developers can make use of this.

Mozilla has already announced it will implement this codec into Firefox. All this is great, but it doesn't really address the issue in the long term - the next generation of codecs is coming, and once they arrive, this whole process starts all over again. Will another sugar daddy step up by that time?

Order by: Score:
Hmmm...
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 00:44 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

I have to say this came as a surprise. It actually sounds workable too, as long as they are able and willing to shell out the 5 million a year this will cost them. Its their dime, so if they want to spend it to defang the h.264 patent pool so be it - who am I to argue with it?

I'm actually less surprised about Cisco being willing to deal with the expense than I am about MPEGLA going along with this - but I'm not sure they could really do anything about it legally either. It does sound like it adheres to the letter of their patent licensing model.

It is not all roses though... You will have to use their binary implementation in order to get umbrella licensing. Binary blobs and open source don't have a good track record. On the other hand, if they are really serious about this and take changes from the community seriously it may led to a huge library of h.264 codecs for many platforms/OS combinations.

I still want to see a royalty free codec one day - one without all the bickering and bullshit attached, but I am having trouble finding too much fault with this - I guess it will just depend on how complicated the process of downloading and linking to their binaries is and the quality of the implementation.

It could work.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Hmmm...
by ssokolow on Thu 31st Oct 2013 00:50 UTC in reply to "Hmmm..."
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

This could be a bit of a trojan horse on Cisco's part.

According to one of the commenters on the LWN announcement, the vote on what video codec(s) should be Mandatory To Implement for WebRTC is a week from now and, apparently, Cisco is a member of the MPEG-LA.

https://lwn.net/Articles/572205/

Edited 2013-10-31 00:50 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Hmmm...
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 01:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmmm..."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

This could be a bit of a trojan horse on Cisco's part.

According to one of the commenters on the LWN announcement, the vote on what video codec(s) should
be Mandatory To Implement for WebRTC is a week from now and, apparently, Cisco is a member of the MPEG-LA.

https://lwn.net/Articles/572205/


Well I'm just going by what they say they are going to do, I'm not saying they don't have a selfish motive. Still, it is what it is... This has broader implications than just WebRTC.

The world dealt with the MP3 codec in much the same way ... Its certainly not an ideal solution, but it is better than nothing for those it matters to and it solves the problem from a practical point of view. I'll still encode my videos with webm, thank you very much, but I honestly can't fault them pushing for h.264 in WebRTC when the players who will benefit the most from this standard are either already paying MPEGLA royalties or are in fact patent holders themselves.

If it makes all the webm haters shut up and leave me alone I'll be happy ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Hmmm...
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 02:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmmm..."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

This could be a bit of a trojan horse on Cisco's part.


Just say another tidbit I hadn't though much about until now... With all the video conferencing gear/software Cisco already sells, they are probably not far off from the $5 million annual cap anyway. This may in fact not really cost them much (if any) money at all...

I wonder how the other patent holders in the MPEGLA patent pool really feel about this? Its too early to say, but if this is structured as liberally as they are implying this could drastically cut the patent pools licensing revenue going forward. Why would anyone pay for patent licensing if they can harness this instead? Maybe h.265 is close enough that they don't care, but still...

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Hmmm...
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 31st Oct 2013 14:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hmmm..."
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

The licensing is so complex for h264, I wouldn't be surprised if they legally couldn't make use of it. IE, it might be licensed for consumption/decoding only.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Hmmm...
by jared_wilkes on Thu 31st Oct 2013 16:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hmmm..."
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Because licensing is actually negligible for for-profit businesses and having encoding/decoding built-in and tuned to your product and customers's needs rather than require a separate download and user interaction to the Cisco implementation and then being dependent on whatever Cisco has come up with for whatever hardware is preferable for these businesses and their users.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Hmmm...
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 17:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hmmm..."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Because licensing is actually negligible for for-profit businesses and having encoding/decoding built-in and tuned to your product and customers's needs rather than require a separate download and user interaction to the Cisco implementation and then being dependent on whatever Cisco has come up with for whatever hardware is preferable for these businesses and their users.


Ha. tell that to the guys in Asia making unlicensed player hardware that they can't sell in the states because of the patents... Ill bet they figure out a way to leverage this. Negligible is not the same as non-existent, and in some lines of business things like this have a way of bubbling over.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Hmmm...
by jared_wilkes on Thu 31st Oct 2013 18:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm..."
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

The question was: why would current licensees continue licensing if this is provided free by Cisco?

People who aren't paying licenses currently do not qualify as people who are paying licenses currently.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Hmmm...
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 20:47 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Hmmm..."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

The question was: why would current licensees continue licensing if this is provided free by Cisco?

People who aren't paying licenses currently do not qualify as people who are paying licenses currently.


And the answer is: If this "loophole" creates an opportunity for such non-licensees to start undercutting your products and you start losing sales, why would you continue paying for the licensing? Licensing only works at the OEM level when your competition has to do it too...

Reply Score: 4

RE[7]: Hmmm...
by jared_wilkes on Thu 31st Oct 2013 21:01 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Hmmm..."
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

And the answer is: If this "loophole" creates an opportunity for such non-licensees to start undercutting your products and you start losing sales, why would you continue paying for the licensing? Licensing only works at the OEM level when your competition has to do it too...


You really have a logic and/or reading comprehension problem. You've said these OEMs aren't licensing it. So if they aren't licensing it, by your own words, they aren't competing with those who are licensing it? Or rather, you are wrong that licensing only works when your competition is doing so? Take your pick, your own logic doesn't work with your own statements.

The notion that Apple, Microsoft, and hundreds of others are going to be threatened by OSS projects forced to use this or shady Asian OEMs willing to use unlicensed codecs in cheap products and thus they will switch to it as well is a laughable claim.

Edited 2013-10-31 21:05 UTC

Reply Score: 1

The binary blob should be trustable
by benoitb on Thu 31st Oct 2013 01:08 UTC
benoitb
Member since:
2010-06-29

Copy/paste of an official answer in the comments on the Cisco website anouncement:
"Yes. We plan to open source the build scripts as well, so that third parties can replicate it and do their own verification on signatures at the time of installation of the module. This will allow them to be certain that the binary modules is exactly the compiled version of the source code in the repository. – Nadee Gunasena, Cisco PR"

I'd rather see a truely free codec without stupid patents attached get popular.

Edited 2013-10-31 01:13 UTC

Reply Score: 7

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I'd rather see a truely free codec without stupid patents attached get popular.


There is still Daala, but it isn't quite there yet. And there is still webm. Maybe with this all the h.264 proponents will quite feeling like these other options are trying to take something away from them (something that most of them never had to begin with, but whatever)...

Reply Score: 2

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

It's also interesting that Cisco participates in Daala development (at least they claim they do). I hope it won't introduce any potential hidden patent problems.

Reply Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

It's also interesting that Cisco participates in Daala development (at least they claim they do). I hope it won't introduce any potential hidden patent problems.


Whilst h.265 HEVC and VP9/Opus (whatever that is called) are evolutionary advancements respectively on h.264 and VP8/Vorbis (Webm), Daala is apparently a whole new thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Video_Coding

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is a video compression format, a successor to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding) that was jointly developed by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) as ISO/IEC 23008-2 MPEG-H Part 2 and ITU-T H.265.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VP9

VP9 is an open and royalty free video compression standard being developed by Google. VP9 had earlier development names of Next Gen Open Video (NGOV) and VP-Next. VP9 is a successor to VP8.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daala_(video_codec)

Daala is the current working name of a video codec under development by the Xiph.Org Foundation. Daala is intended to be a high-efficiency codec for use cases similar to those of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC or H.265) and VP9. Daala will use a lapped transform to reduce the blocking artefacts characteristic of other video codecs that use the discrete cosine transform directly.

Daala is a fundamentally whole new approach.

In June 2013 Chris Montgomery (founder of Xiph.org) stated that the performance goal for Daala is to be a generation beyond HEVC and VP9.

http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/daala/demo1.shtml

Daala is a new general-purpose video codec currently under development at Xiph.Org. Our performance target is roughly a generation beyond current 'next-generation' codecs like VP9 and HEVC, making Daala a next-next-generation effort. As with other Xiph codecs, the Daala format is and will always be royalty-free with a permissive FOSS license.

...

The next-generation VP9 and HEVC codecs are the latest incremental refinements of a basic codec design that dates back 25 years to h.261. This conservative, linear development strategy evolving a proven design has yielded reliable improvement with relatively low risk, but the law of diminishing returns is setting in. Recent performance increases are coming at exponentially increasing computational cost.

Daala tries for a larger leap forward— by first leaping sideways— to a new codec design and numerous novel coding techniques. In addition to the technical freedom of starting fresh, this new design consciously avoids most of the patent thicket surrounding mainstream block-DCT-based codecs. At its very core, for example, Daala is based on lapped transforms, not the traditional DCT.


Edited 2013-10-31 07:22 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

Whilst h.265 HEVC and VP9/Opus (whatever that is called) are evolutionary advancements respectively on h.264 and VP8/Vorbis (Webm)


Vorbis and Opus don’t share much at all, all your comments are just about the video codecs.
It’s very likely that Opus will get paired with Daala.

Reply Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Whilst h.265 HEVC and VP9/Opus (whatever that is called) are evolutionary advancements respectively on h.264 and VP8/Vorbis (Webm)


Vorbis and Opus don’t share much at all, all your comments are just about the video codecs.
It’s very likely that Opus will get paired with Daala.
"

In theory any of these video codecs can be paired with any of the audio codecs mentioned. As far as I know there is nothing to prevent h.265 to be paired with, say Opus, within, say, a mkv container. It is simply that no-one is pushing such a combination.

I only mention VP8 in combination with Vorbis because that combination (within a mkv-like container) defines Webm. As far as I know the combination of VP9 and Opus does not yet have an official name, but that combination is currently shipping as an experimental feature within the Chrome browser.

To preserve freedom from patent encumbrances, it makes sense to combine Daala with a free/open audio codec, within a free/open container format, and as far as I know Daala + Opus within a mkv container would be the best candidate at this time.

Edited 2013-10-31 13:00 UTC

Reply Score: 3

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I'd rather see a truely free codec without stupid patents attached get popular.

As would I, but let's face it none of the available patent-free options come even close to what H.264 can achieve, let alone H.265.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 31st Oct 2013 02:03 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

So what does it mean? Do they plan to push H.264 to become a mandatory part of WebRTC, or this is just a convenience for interoperability and the standard will remain without mandatory video codec until better open codecs are ready (Daala)?

Reply Score: 3

Zero Cost
by ksec on Thu 31st Oct 2013 03:39 UTC
ksec
Member since:
2013-04-04

I wonder why hasn't any other company dont this already.

There are many companies Already paying at the cap of 5 Million. Releasing something similar wouldn't cost them a penny more. And Cisco, as other have mentioned are propberly already paying 5 million or close to 5 million per year anyway.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Zero Cost
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 03:47 UTC in reply to "Zero Cost"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I wonder why hasn't any other company done this already.


Cisco has a reason to bother - widespread adoption of WebRTC means money for them down the road, and they are already heavily committed to h.264 internally.

Who else is there in a similar position?

Reply Score: 3

Comment by v_bobok
by v_bobok on Thu 31st Oct 2013 03:56 UTC
v_bobok
Member since:
2008-08-01

Proprietary codecs? Especially for Web? Into the trash it goes.

Reply Score: 5

Dependence free?
by Nth_Man on Thu 31st Oct 2013 08:13 UTC
Nth_Man
Member since:
2010-05-16

For a moment, let's not think that the NSA (and others) like the idea of putting binary blobs in people's systems. Like the poster named "XorEaxEax" wrote:

So now we're going to rely on a binary blob from Cisco for WebRTC? Thanks but no thanks. It's important that WebRTC standarizes on a fully open source and royalty free codec which can be ported and supported everywhere, currently that is vp8/vp9.

Now if MPEGLA were to make h264 royalty free for everyone then that would be another thing entirely.

This announcement is simply MPEGLA's attempt to prevent WebRTC to standarize around VP8/VP9, and Cisco is a h264 patent holder and part of the MPEGLA so this is not an altruistic move by any means.


Edited 2013-10-31 08:17 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Let's not forget
by darknexus on Thu 31st Oct 2013 12:05 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

The only reason nobody's going after the so-called patent-free codecs right now is they're not a force to be bothered with. If Daala, VP( or any other codec really becomes a threat to the MPEG-LA and its licensing income, you can bet they'll find patents they can use against it. I wouldn't be surprised if they hold a patent along the lines of "a method for encoding and compressing video for distribution via digital devices." Vague patents are all they’d need to cause some real trouble and, as we all know, the head of the MPEG-LA is a known patent troll already.

Edited 2013-10-31 12:06 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Let's not forget
by lemur2 on Thu 31st Oct 2013 12:41 UTC in reply to "Let's not forget"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The only reason nobody's going after the so-called patent-free codecs right now is they're not a force to be bothered with. If Daala, VP( or any other codec really becomes a threat to the MPEG-LA and its licensing income, you can bet they'll find patents they can use against it. I wouldn't be surprised if they hold a patent along the lines of "a method for encoding and compressing video for distribution via digital devices." Vague patents are all they’d need to cause some real trouble and, as we all know, the head of the MPEG-LA is a known patent troll already.


In order to get a patent, one has to show that it is a new invention, that there is no prior art, and that this new invention is not obvious (it must actually be inventive). The title of a patent does not really count, what counts are the claims of the method description.

Daala is inventive, it is a new approach to video codecs, fundamentally different to the MPEG LA patent pool for h.264 and h.265.

Daala is therefore its own prior art. Daala as prior art is documented here:

http://wiki.xiph.org/Daala

Edited 2013-10-31 12:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Let's not forget
by darknexus on Thu 31st Oct 2013 13:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Let's not forget"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

No, I said they most likely already *have* a vague patent to attack it with. They don't need to get a new one, and remember which country's patent office we're talking about here. The USPTO will grant a patent on pretty much anything and let the lawyers sort it out later, as long as they're paid.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Let's not forget
by lemur2 on Fri 1st Nov 2013 00:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Let's not forget"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

No, I said they most likely already *have* a vague patent to attack it with. They don't need to get a new one, and remember which country's patent office we're talking about here. The USPTO will grant a patent on pretty much anything and let the lawyers sort it out later, as long as they're paid.


Fortunately there are many trends these days, even in the insane environment that is the contemporary US, towards preventing patent trolls of this kind.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Let's not forget
by tylerdurden on Thu 31st Oct 2013 16:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Let's not forget"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

In theory, practice and theory are the same, in practice they are not.

At least in the US the Patent Office is severely understaffed and over logged (by design), so their current policy is: grant the patent and let the lawyers sort it out afterwards. It's under such a climate that patent trolling can thrive as a viable business model.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Let's not forget
by dionicio on Thu 31st Oct 2013 17:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Let's not forget"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

By design...

Absolutely on the point.

;)

Reply Score: 1

"Monty"'s blog post
by Arawn on Thu 31st Oct 2013 12:21 UTC
Arawn
Member since:
2005-07-13

Christopher "Monty" Montgomery's blog:

"By endorsing Cisco's plan, there's no getting around the fact that we've caved on our principles."

http://xiphmont.livejournal.com/61927.html

Reply Score: 2

That's a whopper, alright
by jared_wilkes on Thu 31st Oct 2013 12:36 UTC
jared_wilkes
Member since:
2011-04-25

Cisco will pay all the licensing costs - over the coming decade, this will cost them a whopping $65 million, illustrating just how expensive H.264 is, and how unrealistic it was to expect it to become a standard without a free implementation being available for everyone to use.


Are we really claiming $6.5 million annually is "whopping", "expensive", and "unrealistic"? Remember: this is to serve 10s of millions to an INFINITE number of clients at zero additional cost because Cisco (and several other players -- INCLUDING GOOGLE) are most assuredly already at the capped figure.

Will another sugar daddy step up by that time?


Will the free software supporters realize that they should be directing this question at Google? After all, they're probably spending a similar rate on VP8 ( http://www.osnews.com/story/26849/Google_called_the_MPEG-LA_s_bluff... ) despite Thom's claims to the contrary and certainly spending more by developing the loser VP-series... but that cost is sunk in a loser, none of that cost actually goes into supporting the superior, dominant, and de facto H.264/H.265 codec.

Edited 2013-10-31 12:55 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: That's a whopper, alright
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 17:41 UTC in reply to "That's a whopper, alright"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Will the free software supporters realize that they should be directing this question at Google? After all, they're probably spending a similar rate on VP8 ( http://www.osnews.com/story/26849/Google_called_the_MPEG-LA_s_bluff... ) despite Thom's claims to the contrary and certainly spending more by developing the loser VP-series... but that cost is sunk in a loser, none of that cost actually goes into supporting the superior, dominant, and de facto H.264/H.265 codec.


You expect free software supporters to fault Google for backing a royalty free standard because it is "losing" (whatever the f*ck that means) to the poster child for patent encumbered software? Really?

That is what kills me with you guys, you think there is a competition going on that the other side of your argument is trying to "win" at your expense. A patent encumbered "standard", no matter how "free" you make it, is still patent encumbered and there is still a whole party of companies out there trying to monetize it through licensing. It is what it is. webm may have a faint stench of patents on it after the Google/MPEGLA deal, but no one is trying to monetize it. Sure, Google wants to eventually make money with it, but not by selling it - they want to make money by using it.

Im practical - this gesture from Cisco solves a real problem in a practical way for quite a lot of people. But Im one of those pesky "free software" guys you are talking about I guess... I don't care one bit about this deal from Cisco - it solves absolutely nothing at all for me. I can see why Mozilla is going along with this, sometimes practical concerns trump ideals - they fought for a long time, but at some point the rubber hits the road and you have to get on with things. Just because they are holding their noses and going along with this doesn't mean they like it.

webm was not a perfect play. There were still "questions" about it from a patent point of view. Google paid the bill to make that problem go away - so it is in some respects tainted by that. But it is STILL orders of magnitude better than this deal from Cisco for people who care. Why? Because I can actually include my build of it in software, and I can even change it if I want to. I can in fact do pretty much whatever I want with it. I can encode a million videos and do whatever I want with those too. I can release code to others and they can use it without any threat of royalties. I can participate.

webm has no strings attached. h.264 has strings you can't see. Its not the same thing. Ill be happy to use h.264 whenever the patents expire or the patent pool is released without royalty - until then it is radioactive. Mozilla is putting on their hazmat suits so they can work with it, but there are not that many players in the open source world that have their particular problem set. This deal has virtually no effect on "fee software" - no one cares.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: That's a whopper, alright
by dionicio on Thu 31st Oct 2013 17:48 UTC in reply to "RE: That's a whopper, alright"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

"...a whole party of companies out there trying to monetize it through licensing."

And through other reserved means.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: That's a whopper, alright
by jared_wilkes on Thu 31st Oct 2013 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE: That's a whopper, alright"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

You expect free software supporters to fault Google for backing a royalty free standard because it is "losing" (whatever the f*ck that means) to the poster child for patent encumbered software? Really?


Yes.

Now that you've bizarrely expressed incredulity in a grandiose manner towards a pretty clearly expressed statement on my part, do you have an actual question?

Reply Score: 2

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Also: that "Yes" is conditioned on ignoring that you ignored what I actually said, and is a "Yes" to the fact that when Thom says they'll have to hope for another sugardaddy in the next generation... Yes, I believe they should be looking to Google.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: That's a whopper, alright
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 21:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: That's a whopper, alright"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Now that you've bizarrely expressed incredulity in a grandiose manner towards a pretty clearly expressed statement on my part, do you have an actual question?


Ok, so I guess my question is why would you think the free software supporters would care at all about who pays for to the next round of codecs we don't want to use because they are patent encumbered? Thom was obviously talking about h.264 supporters with his statement, people like you for instance.

We don't want a "free" codec. We don't even want a "royalty free" codec. We want a "patent free" codec - or at the least a codec with all the patents in a community patent pool with libre licensing. If the business world wants to keep doing this dance every 5-10 years that is fine by us - its their money and they can bend over and take it as often as they like.

Every few years a new codec is built by someone in the free software community, every time it is better than the last one, every time it is less likely to infringe on existing patents, and every time it is closer in quality to the best coming out of the licensing cartels. Maybe Daala will break through, maybe it will be the one after that - but it will happen, and once it does and we have a codec with a patent free lineage that establishes its own prior art and is as good or superior to the alternatives. Once that happens this whole argument just goes away. It is just a matter of time really...

Reply Score: 2

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Ok, so I guess my question is why would you think the free software supporters would care at all about who pays for to the next round of codecs we don't want to use because they are patent encumbered?


Because someone is going to have to?

Thom was obviously talking about h.264 supporters with his statement, people like you for instance.


No. As I said, your reading comprehension is poor. Mpeg-la does not need a sugardaddy. It has no shortage of licensees. Cisco's plans do not add any additional revenue to mpeg-la's coffers. However, OSS will need someone to pull a "Cisco" for h.265.

We don't want a "free" codec. We don't even want a "royalty free" codec. We want a "patent free" codec - or at the least a codec with all the patents in a community patent pool with libre licensing. If the business world wants to keep doing this dance every 5-10 years that is fine by us - its their money and they can bend over and take it as often as they like.


Talk to Eich and Monty. I'll take them anyday over YOU as the representatives for free software. Apparently, they've finally realized that self-delusion is hitting themselves.

Every few years a new codec is built by someone in the free software community, every time it is better than the last one, every time it is less likely to infringe on existing patents, and every time it is closer in quality to the best coming out of the licensing cartels.


nonsense.

Maybe Daala will break through, maybe it will be the one after that - but it will happen, and once it does and we have a codec with a patent free lineage that establishes its own prior art and is as good or superior to the alternatives.


more nonsense.

Once that happens this whole argument just goes away. It is just a matter of time really...


Completely apeshite, ridiculously-stupid nonsense.

Reply Score: 2

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

No. As I said, your reading comprehension is poor. Mpeg-la does not need a sugardaddy. It has no shortage of licensees. Cisco's plans do not add any additional revenue to mpeg-la's coffers. However, OSS will need someone to pull a "Cisco" for h.265.


You still don't get it. The OSS crowd doesn't want to use h.264 - they never really have. They are caving as in "we know everyone else is hellbent on this so to keep the peace we will go along with it". Cisco didn't appease the OSS crowd by doing this - the OSS crowd appeased THEM by going along with it. How f*cking hard is it for you to read between the f*cking lines????? This offers no benefit at all to supporters of a free and libre web. It solves the business worlds problem in a barely-paletable-but-better-than-the-status-quo kind of way - but is is the business world's problem, not OSS's.

Talk to Eich and Monty. I'll take them anyday over YOU as the representatives for free software. Apparently, they've finally realized that self-delusion is hitting themselves.


Riiigghtt... Quotes straight out of Monty's comments on this:

That said, today's arrangement is at best a stopgap, and it doesn't change much on the ground. How many people don't already have H.264 codecs on their machines, legit or otherwise? Enthusiasts and professionals alike have long paid little attention to licensing. Even most businesses today don't know and don't care if the codecs they use are properly licensed[1]. The entire codec market has been operating under a kind of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy for the past 15 years and I doubt the MPEG LA minds. It's helped H.264 become ubiquitous, and the LA can still enforce the brass tacks of the license when it's to their competitive advantage (or rather, anti-competitive advantage; they're a legally protected monopoly after all).


The giveaway also solves nothing long-term. H.264 is already considered 'on the way out' by MPEG, and today's announcement doesn't address any licensing issues surrounding the next generation of video codecs. We've merely kicked the can down the road and set a dangerous precedent for next time around. And there will be a next time around.


Like Opus, Daala is a novel approach to codec design. It aims not to be competitive, but to win outright. Also like Opus, it will carry no royalties and no usage restrictions; anyone will be permitted to use the Daala codec for anything without securing a license, just like the Web itself and every other core technology on the Internet.

That's a real solution that can make everyone happy.


So I guess you didn't get past the "we caved" soundbite...?

Edited 2013-11-01 20:42 UTC

Reply Score: 3

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

You still don't get it. The OSS crowd doesn't want to use h.264 - they never really have. They are caving as in "we know everyone else is hellbent on this so to keep the peace we will go along with it".


You don't get it: I don't care if the OSS crowd wants to or not. They will. Or they won't participate.

Cisco didn't appease the OSS crowd by doing this


No shit.

The OSS crowd appeased THEM by going along with it.


Haha! Hilarious. OSS is appeasing CISCO (?) by caving on their principles?

How f*cking hard is it for you to read between the f*cking lines?????


Are you asking yourself or me?

This offers no benefit at all to supporters of a free and libre web.


Yup.

It solves the business worlds problem in a barely-paletable-but-better-than-the-status-quo kind of way - but is is the business world's problem...


Yup.

...not OSS's.


Yup. OSS is still fucked unless, like Eich and Monty, you get pragmatic and accept reality.

Riiigghtt... Quotes straight out of Monty's comments on this:

That said, today's arrangement is at best a stopgap, and it doesn't change much on the ground. How many people don't already have H.264 codecs on their machines, legit or otherwise? Enthusiasts and professionals alike have long paid little attention to licensing. Even most businesses today don't know and don't care if the codecs they use are properly licensed[1]. The entire codec market has been operating under a kind of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy for the past 15 years and I doubt the MPEG LA minds. It's helped H.264 become ubiquitous, and the LA can still enforce the brass tacks of the license when it's to their competitive advantage (or rather, anti-competitive advantage; they're a legally protected monopoly after all).


The giveaway also solves nothing long-term. H.264 is already considered 'on the way out' by MPEG, and today's announcement doesn't address any licensing issues surrounding the next generation of video codecs. We've merely kicked the can down the road and set a dangerous precedent for next time around. And there will be a next time around.


Like Opus, Daala is a novel approach to codec design. It aims not to be competitive, but to win outright. Also like Opus, it will carry no royalties and no usage restrictions; anyone will be permitted to use the Daala codec for anything without securing a license, just like the Web itself and every other core technology on the Internet.

That's a real solution that can make everyone happy.


So I guess you didn't get past the "we caved" soundbite...?


I'm unsure what you think I'm not reading? This is in accord with everything I said and think.

Reply Score: 3

It'll be MP3 again
by CaptainN- on Thu 31st Oct 2013 13:53 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

There are lots of codecs that are better in a large variety of ways than MP3 - some of them completely open source, and free of patents. But we are still mostly stuck listening to tinny, wasteful MP3 files. Video will suffer the same fate. We'll be stuck on h.264 forever. And if you don't think the big players are fine saddling the web with outdated and incompatible technology (except maybe Google), you haven't been paying attention. ;-)

Reply Score: 6

Re:
by kurkosdr on Thu 31st Oct 2013 14:09 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

the next generation of codecs is coming, and once they arrive, this whole process starts all over again.


Let's hope "the industry" will wisen up and use VP9 or Daala as their next generation codec. Since none of the next generation formats work on H.264 players, there is no 'compatibility' to maintain.

Oh yeah, I forgot, this is the real world. MS and Apple will only support H.264 and H.265/HEVC out of the box in Windows and OS X, just to preserve the existing royalty scheme, which is another hoop for open source OSes to go through.

Edited 2013-10-31 14:11 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Not trying to be offensive...
by dionicio on Thu 31st Oct 2013 15:16 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

When Mozilla abandoned 'open'
in exchange for 'gratis'

Somehow FirefoxOS
ambitions
has a link into this?

:/

Reply Score: 3

RE: Not trying to be offensive...
by dionicio on Thu 31st Oct 2013 17:21 UTC in reply to "Not trying to be offensive..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Exposed, untouchable source
is not open source

Reply Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

dionicio,

"Exposed, untouchable source is not open source"

I cannot tell whether Cisco has ulterior motives, maybe yes, maybe no.

But to be fair, it *is* open source. If Cisco had ONLY released the code under a BSD license without releasing a royalty free binary, you wouldn't be complaining, right? The fact that Cisco *additionally* released a royalty free binary doesn't change the fact that the source code is just as open as it was before.


The pathetic patent system is the root cause of the issue, and for what it's worth I believe Cisco when they claim they aren't able to release the source code royalty free under their license obligations. However, given the realities of the situation, would you go so far as to suggest that Cisco's open source code is worse than any other open source code BECAUSE of the royalty free binaries? Most people would say 'no', although as I indicated in another post: if too many devs end up choosing a binary over open source versions that could still lead to negative repercussions for open source.

Like, dionicio said, it's libre versus gratis. Cisco has positioned itself in the center of this ironic controversy by giving us the choice to choose gratis, which wasn't an option with respect to 264.

Edited 2013-10-31 18:08 UTC

Reply Score: 4

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

The source
and the compiling script
is there
only for you
to check they are the same.

You are not allowed
to use the source
in any other way.

Every user
still has to install the blob.

Reply Score: 0

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

"See? No Troyan Horses here..."
"I can put whatever Troyans on the exposed code if I want"

Edited 2013-10-31 18:14 UTC

Reply Score: 1

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

"Its my code"
"I paid for it"
"You can't bifurcate if not like my soldiers on the field"

Reply Score: 1

Confused
by dionicio on Thu 31st Oct 2013 19:52 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Not trying to be offensive..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Maybe I am wrong...

Not even Cisco can modify H.264
without permission.

What we are talking here
is about an
implementation of the code.

This particular implementation
is allowed to be free as beer.

Protected by Cisco license if,
and only if,
downloaded from Cisco servers,
as an installable blob.


Where Am I wrong?

:/

Me no entender...

Reply Score: 0

RE: Confused
by dionicio on Thu 31st Oct 2013 20:05 UTC in reply to "Confused"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

If true
this effectively
takes royalties out of the equations.

:)
Good news
for many small economic segments.

(Not news for open causes. But still good news.)

Reply Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

dionicio,

"You are not allowed to use the source in any other way. Every user still has to install the blob."

Cisco's blog has a bit of a Q/A going on where they answer some of these concerns. Going by what Nadee Gunasena has said on behalf of Cisco, your statements are incorrect.

http://blogs.cisco.com/collaboration/open-source-h-264-removes-barr...
"The source code will be open source and distributed with a BSD lIcense."

So this would mean your right to use/modify/distribute this source code would be the same as for any other BSD licensed source code. Keep in mind that it's NOT the license that's restricting usage here, it's the patent system. All open (and closed) source software runs the risk of infringing patents held by others, we must not confuse the difference between copyright and patents.

Edited 2013-10-31 18:28 UTC

Reply Score: 4

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Thanks for your coolness.
Interesting times ahead...

:)

Reply Score: 1

Still a problem
by laffer1 on Thu 31st Oct 2013 15:58 UTC
laffer1
Member since:
2007-11-09

Since you need to use the binary blob, if it isn't available for your OS or CPU, you're toast.

This seems like a way to keep the big 3 OSes going for the next decade without any real competition.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Still a problem
by ssokolow on Fri 1st Nov 2013 01:13 UTC in reply to "Still a problem"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Since you need to use the binary blob, if it isn't available for your OS or CPU, you're toast.

This seems like a way to keep the big 3 OSes going for the next decade without any real competition.


Devil's Advocate: Cisco is open to producing licensed builds for anything you can port the source to.

Source: Comment reply from Nadee Gunasena on http://blogs.cisco.com/collaboration/open-source-h-264-removes-barr...

(via http://xiphmont.livejournal.com/61927.html )

Edited 2013-11-01 01:14 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Still a problem
by Vanders on Fri 1st Nov 2013 15:23 UTC in reply to "Still a problem"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

How do we know that if the guys at Haiku (for example) re-compiled the source themselves and asked Cisco to subsequently host the resulting binary that Cisco will say no?

Reply Score: 3

Open source with caveats
by Alfman on Thu 31st Oct 2013 16:32 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

Nathan – We will select licensing terms that allow for this code to be used in commercial products as well as open source projects. In order for Cisco to be responsible for the MPEG LA licensing royalties for the module, Cisco must provide the packaging and distribution of this code in a binary module format (think of it like a plug-in, but not using the same APIs as existing plugins), in addition to several other constraints. This gives the community the best of all worlds – a team can choose to use the source code, in which case the team is responsible for paying all applicable license fees, or the team can use the binary module distributed by Cisco, in which case Cisco will cover the MPEG LA licensing fees. Hope that answers the first part of your question – Nadee, Cisco PR


I think this is a positive development considering how detrimental our patent system is. However it's still a problem that ONLY Cisco's binary blobs will be licensed, any works derived from their open source code would still be subject to royalties according to Cisco itself.

On the one hand, it's no worse than today, independent open source H264 implementations will still be legally subjected to licenses just like before. On the other hand it seems to place pure open source projects at an artificial disadvantage as everyone makes a dash for the binary blobs in the interests of attaining relief from the patent system.

If we're not very careful, this "solution" could creep up in all levels of software development. We might set into motion the events that lead all developers working on all kinds of projects to feel pressured into using binary blobs instead of open source code, and that would be a travesty.

Reply Score: 4

Fun Facts.
by westlake on Thu 31st Oct 2013 21:37 UTC
westlake
Member since:
2010-01-07

Cisco is one of 29 H.264 licensors.

Global giants in manufacturing and R&D.

Think Ericsson, LG, Mitsubishi, NTT, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Toshiba....

There are 1,277 H.264 licensees.

The big names here --- the Fortune 500 of video technologies --- could meet the enterprise cap on H.264 royalties from the sweepings of loose change off their washroom floors.

H,264 is deeply entrenched in markets which exist outside the web. Markets in which Google has no power to influence events.

The geek needs to look beyond the web, beyond mobile. --- or his next-generation video codec will be dead on arrival.

Reply Score: 3