Linked by lemur2 on Wed 9th Mar 2011 00:18 UTC
Multimedia, AV The WebM project Blog has announced an update release of the VP8 Codec SDK codenamed the "Bali" release. The Bali release was focused on making the encoder faster while continuing to improve its video quality.
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WebM: unencumbered by patents, free, Free, open source, can be implemented by anyone - wherever, whenever, however.

H264: none of the above, but instead of being developed by a single company, it was developed by a few big shots.

And somehow, H264 is more open?

Greater than or equal to, yes. Open is a separate dimension from free and/or Free.

And WebM is not patent-free, though it is, as you say, unencumbered, in the sense that it is licensed Freely for free.

But being open, anyone can indeed implement h.264, wherever and whenever, but the "however" is a problem - a freeness problem. Depending on implementation, royalties may be levied.

But that kind of openness, despite its shortage of Freedom, is beneficial to the Web, because it solves the single vendor problem both in theory and in the real world. No one is stuck going to MPEG-LA simply to make it work.

In the absence of adequate specs, this is not the case with WebM or Flash. I believe you personally have brought up several times during this whole saga that Flash is a supposedly open spec as well. But in practice, for Flash to run on any computer requires huge cooperative investment between Adobe and the platform developer. Apple takes some heat for not playing along to get support on iOS, but the Xoom, for all its enthusiasm about Flash, can't run it either. Working implementations of Flash outside of mainstream PCs simply don't exist, with or without Adobe's involvement. That's a hell of a single vendor problem, and really calls into question even the freeness of Flash. It takes a tremendous outlay of resources to get it working, and that cost trickles down.

Whether the same problem will arise with WebM remains to be seen, as development in that area is currently obscured by h.264 + native app solutions on smartphones.

Bottom line, I don't believe giving something away is inherently good, nor is charging for something inherently evil, and when you factor out openness, that's essentially what we're left with.

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