Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 26th Aug 2011 22:06 UTC, submitted by Morgan
Legal And we have another contender for the stupidest technology-related lawsuit of 2011. Do you remember RealNetworks? The scourge of '90s web users? Lucky for us, their horrible media player is no longer a requirement on the web. Also lucky, for those of us who occasionally run into content encoded in any of Real's codecs, there's Real Alternative (download here). Well, apparently, RealNetworks is not happy with Real Alternative (download here), as the US company has completely destroyed the life of the Dutch maintainer of a website who dared to link to Real Alternative (download here).
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Comment by mappy
by mappy on Sat 27th Aug 2011 01:08 UTC
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RealAlternative does contain the binary blobs from the official distribution, as well as the Gabest splitter for doing .rmvb via DirectShow. It works well, but it's become less popular now that Kostya has a reverse-engineered RV40 decoder in the ffmpeg trunk (and hence into mplayer, VLC et al). It's similar to the "Binary Codecs Package" that mplayer distributes (in fact, they even contain the same offending .dll's).

H.264 is pretty much superior to RV40 in every way; RealVideo is in fact based on an early incomplete draft of H.264, and it's said to contain some glaring bitstream errors that they've had to maintain compatibility with since its release, seriously hurting compression efficiency. A nice point about Real, though, is that at low bitrates RealVideo becomes heavily biased towards blurring rather than blocking, making it suitable for low-detail content (cartoons, old anime). H.264 still wins though.

One way this problem could have been avoided, would have been to release RealAlternative as a sort of downloader-patcher that acquired the official installer and extracted the necessary binaries on the fly - sort of like how Linux distributions get around the problem of mscorefonts-ttf by using that installer package

Edited 2011-08-27 01:09 UTC

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