posted by Eugenia Loli on Thu 9th Sep 2004 17:49 UTC
IconToday, we feature an interview with the CEO and co-founder of Fluendo, Julien Moutte, discussing their upcoming products and services based on Ogg/Theora. Also, make sure you check the live camera at Fluendo's offices, served by GStreamer's engine.

1. How can Fluendo compete with Apple's, Microsoft's and Real's server streaming products? What's the big selling point of Fluendo and who's your biggest competitor?

Julien: Fluendo has two products to compete with those companies. Each of these is competing with a different approach to meet the user community's needs in a flexible way.

First of all, our Free Software Streaming Server will be licensed using the GPL. That means that this streaming server will be available for the whole community like any other GPL application. It will support open formats like Ogg Vorbis/Theora, and probably Dirac as well in the near future. The goal is to provide a completely free streaming solution from the server, using codecs, to the player. In fact we are currently trying to provide a free software Ogg Vorbis/Theora player through a java applet which we think will raise some eyebrows in the streaming community judging by our tests so far.

So here we compete by supporting open and royalty-free formats and providing a free software solution to do multimedia streaming on Linux servers.

Second, our Advanced Streaming Server will add support for proprietary and patent-encumbered codecs, and provide a flexible and distributable all-in-one solution to do multimedia streaming. You'll be able to acquire from any kind of media source: a live video feed, files stored on disk, and even importing and relaying streaming formats by the competitors. You'll be able to compose the video stream in real time through a powerful control interface using all of GStreamer's features and effects: picture in picture, dynamic text overlaying, etc...

And third, you'll be able to stream to any kind of media player in a native codec, so the user doesn't need to install an additional player.

And then we compete by providing complete end-to-end flexibility. Our architecture lets our customers do whatever they want with multimedia: relaying, recording, TV applications, streaming without having to worry about the format market shares, etc...

It is of course also a huge advantage for us that the Microsoft streaming solution, and to some degree the Apple one, are tied to platforms that the hosting community basically is not interested in.

2. Tell us a bit about the Ogg Vorbis/Theora codecs. How do they compare to the proprietary codecs technologically?

Julien: Well I am really impressed by the Xiph guys, they have done some great work. Recently we took care of the streaming of KDE's aKademy developer conference in Stuttgart using Ogg Vorbis/Theora, and I must admit even after having been working for over 6 years with Internet video streaming I have never seen such a nice picture/sound quality/smoothness for only 40KB/s! I'm very confident in the fact that these open/royalty-free codecs can compare with proprietary ones, and I am really sure that as soon as Xiph does a first beta release, a lot of very good hackers will optimize those codecs to get them better than the others.

Our goal is that our effort, combined with those of the wider GStreamer community and the desktop projects will help spearhead the free formats into wider usage. To some degree we feel that for free codecs to really become important and dominant, the free desktops have to start making some serious inroads, because Microsoft and Apple do not have any interest in pushing free formats and codecs over their own.

Moreover we are actively funding the Xiph Foundation to help them making that happen very soon !
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