Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 16th May 2010 12:52 UTC, submitted by mrsteveman1
Internet & Networking Mozilla, sticking to its ideals of the open web, decided long ago that support for the patent-encumbered H264 codec would not be included in any of its products. Not only is H264 wholly incompatible with the open web and Free software, it is also incredibly expensive. Mozilla could use one of the open source implementations, but those are not licensed, and the MPEG-LA has been quite clear in that it will sue those who encode or decode H264 content without a license. Software patents, however, are only valid in some parts of the world, so an enterprising developer has started a project that was sure to come eventually: Firefox builds with H264 support.
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For a counter example of why Acceleration != Full-Implementation see 3D accelerators. They contain neither OpenGL or DirectX, but rather functions which can accelerate their common operations.

It is difficult to say from the outside whether a particular card supports full decompression of a codec, however for ATI I believe this is the case.

XvMC doesn't support full decoding of h264 as far as I know, only selected parts of the pipeline. I can't say whether this is a fundamental incompatibility, or just not implemented yet. Some proprietary implementations , like VDPAU from NVidia (which works quite well for me), support the full pipeline, I believe.

The layers you describe exist in theory but probably aren't actually being called/used in the way you describe. Firstly XvMC likely calls the xorg driver, secondly, I think the XvMC/xorg-driver layers do not support h264. I'm not sure what that means for licensing...

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