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?

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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.


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.

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.

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