Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 11th Feb 2011 16:00 UTC, submitted by aa
Multimedia, AV Well, well, well. The MPEG-LA is showing its true colours. After a decade of threatening to patent troll the living heck out of Theora, the company led by a patent troll has now finally put its money where its mouth is. Well, sort of. They don't actually have any patents yet, they're asking people to submit patents they believe are essential to the VP8 specification. Update: MPEG (so not the MPEG-LA) has announced its intent to develop a new video compression standard for the web which will be royalty-free. "The new standard is intended to achieve substantially better compression performance than that offered by MPEG-2 and possibly comparable to that offered by the AVC Baseline Profile. MPEG will issue a call for proposals on video compression technology at the end of its upcoming meeting in March 2011 that is expected to lead to a standard falling under ISO/IEC 'Type-1 licensing', i.e. intended to be 'royalty free'."
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RE[2]: M(umblety)Peg
by dnebdal on Sun 13th Feb 2011 12:14 UTC in reply to "RE: M(umblety)Peg"
dnebdal
Member since:
2008-08-27

This site's hivemind believes that all software should be free beer, that no one should be allowed to make a profit by selling a desirable product they own the rights to; but as someone who appreciates the finer points of Apple's work, I'm not so sure I'm willing to give up capitalism entirely.


This, I think, is where you've crucially but subtly misunderstood something. I'm obviously not speaking for everyone, but I see signs that I'm at least not alone in my view:

Closed-source products are not in themselves a problem, and if someone has written something obviously better, I might pay for it. That, however, doesn't in any way depend on software patents: Even if they were completely invalidated tomorrow, that would hardly turn openoffice into office 2010 overnight, or tuxracer into NFS:Shift. It's not patents on underlying ideas that gives them a competitive edge, it's the labour and (arguably) design vision.

Another sort of separate thing is that many opensource apps steadily improve until they're good enough to compete with the for-profit alternatives - how many people pay for a C compiler today? It's a shame if you make a living providing those alternatives, but at the same time it's a benefit for the rest of the world, both directly (one less thing to pay for) and indirectly: It ought to drive those selling software to come up with steadily more compelling products to compete against the OSS "baseline".

Besides, it works better for some types of software than others; the opensource process is better at technical tools than creative efforts, so there's a huge niche left open.

Edited 2011-02-13 12:21 UTC

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