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Apple-supported H.264 standard gains free license for Internet video use

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
The MPEG Licensing Authority has announced that it will indefinitely extend royalty-free Internet broadcasting licensing of its H.264 video codec to end users, erasing a key advantage of Google's WebM rival and cementing Apple's preferred H.264 as the video format for modern HTML5 video on the web.

The MPEG LA manages licensing of the patent pool for H.264 video compression for a variety of companies that have jointly contributed the intellectual property behind the standard, a group that includes Apple.

While anyone can license H.264 under non-discriminatory terms, free software advocates have condemned the use of commercially licensed video codecs on the grounds that it forces web content into a form that requires licensing fees to play back (or alternatively requires the use of non-licensed code and the legal quandary that involves).

Apple and H.264

MPEG LA commonly refers to H.264 video as AVC (Advanced Video Codec); the video standard is also known as MPEG-4 Part 10. While Apple calls the related MPEG audio codec AAC (Advanced Audio Codec), it consistently refers to MPEG's AVC video standard as H.264.

Apple leveraged the popularity of iTunes and iPod to quickly make AAC the successor to MP3 audio in iTunes for commercial content; the company then subsequently standardized upon H.264 soon after that standard was released, aggressively pushing it as the format used for commercial video downloads and rentals in iTunes, and supporting it as the primary video standard supported by the iPod, iPhone, and other iOS devices for both commercial and free video (including video podcasts, iTunes U, and user-created videos).

For Apple, the licensing fees involved with AAC and H.264 are insignificant because the benefits of H.264 (including its state of the art technical sophistication and broad support for efficient hardware decoding) far outweigh the licensing costs. Apple's status as a commercial developer also prevents it from sharing the ideological and financial aversion free software projects have with commercial codecs.

Mozilla's Ogg War against H.264

In contrast, free software advocates have worried that the MPEG LA would begin charging unreasonable fees from Internet broadcasters to license H.264 video for use on the web beginning in 2015, when the authority's existing "free for end users" license was set to expire.

This argument was originally used to induce support for alternative codecs available for royalty-free use, including Ogg Vobis for audio and Ogg Theora for video. Mozilla and others even petitioned the working group for HTML5 to make Ogg Theora the standard codec for web video in order to ensure that users of its free browser would be able to view web videos without Mozilla needing to subsidize the inclusion of H.264 support, or requiring its users to obtain a codec themselves.

Google made waves earlier this year after it acquired On2 and released its VP8 codec under the name WebM, providing a more sophisticated alternative to Ogg Theora that had the same royalty-free licensing. Apple and other commercial developers rejected WebM because the codec is not supported in hardware (and therefore not efficiently playable on mobile devices), and because WebM is widely believed to include technology patented by MPEG-4 stakeholders, making it a potential minefield for commercial developers with deep pockets.

Now that the MPEG LA has committed to royalty-free web licensing for H.264 throughout the life of the license, Mozilla has changed its tune to suggest the the future threat of H.264 licensing is irrelevant because by 2015 there will be a new H.265 standard emerging, and that royalty free alternatives like WebM already exist.

Mozilla continues to refer to H.264 as "royalty encumbered," but the MPEG LA has also threatened to hit WebM users with patent claims, making all codecs that use modern video techniques "royalty encumbered."

Web video standards war likely to continue

Apple has pressured the MPEG LA to keep licensing affordable in the past, originally holding up support for MPEG-4 in QuickTime until the authority agreed to reasonable licensing terms. A combination of pressure from Apple and the competitive threat from Google's WebM likely prompted the group to officially agree not to impose any future licensing restrictions on the free web applications of H.264.

Despite the move however, Google, Mozilla and Opera appear set to continue to push WebM as a competing standard to H.264 for web video, even though WebM is not intended to serve as a mobile codec, nor is it aimed at high end applications such as Blu-Ray.

In particular, Google's support for WebM has threatened to derail its use of H.264 within YouTube, a move which could potentially result in making the company's vast video repository incompatible with Apple's iOS devices, which only support MPEG-4 codecs including H.264. That prospect was far less likely before the company aimed its Android platform as a direct competitor to Apple's mobile iOS devices.

However, most other web video vendors (including Brightcove and Vimeo) have migrated their offerings from proprietary Adobe Flash video to support H.264 playback specifically in order to support Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. After an initial move toward H.264 from Flash, Google now appears most interested in voicing its support for Flash and WebM, neither of which are capable or optimized for playback on Apple's iOS devices.

Currently however, Google continues to support iOS-compatible H.264 video playback in YouTube, and any change in support for H.264 would seemingly be untenable because of the demand for H.264 video from mobile devices that can't currently support either Flash or WebM (which include not just Apple's iOS products, but nearly all existing mobile devices).

Google's Chrome browser also supports H.264 video playback, as the company (like Apple) is not financially burdened by H.264 licensing fees, even in its free products. That means if Mozilla and Opera continue to push for WebM and do not support H.264, their users will likely just move to free alternatives (Chrome, Apple's Safari, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer) that do in order to be able to play back H.264 video content on the web.
post #2 of 54
Quote:
The MPEG Licensing Authority has announced that it will indefinitely extend royalty-free Internet broadcasting licensing of its H.264 video codec to end users, erasing a key advantage of Google's WebM rival and cementing Apple's preferred H.264 as the video format for modern HTML5 video on the web.

Define Indefinitely:

indefinitely |inˈdefənitlē|
adverb For an unlimited or unspecified period of time : talks cannot go on indefinitely.
• [as submodifier ] to an unlimited or unspecified degree or extent : an indefinitely large number of channels.
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post #3 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Define Indefinitely:

indefinitely |inˈdefənitlē|
adverb For an unlimited or unspecified period of time : talks cannot go on indefinitely.
[as submodifier ] to an unlimited or unspecified degree or extent : an indefinitely large number of channels.

adjective
1.
not definite; without fixed or specified limit; unlimited: an indefinite number.
2.
not clearly defined or determined; not precise or exact: an indefinite boundary; an indefinite date in the future

You're playing with words. Kind of like what the meaning of the word "is" is. They'd have some pretty pissed off people if said this and then later charged.
post #4 of 54
Sounds like this answers some people's concerns about video with HTML5.
Now what are the complainers going to come up with to complain about?
post #5 of 54
I read this and now my head hurts.
post #6 of 54
Yay! Nail... Coffin... Flash... Wham!
post #7 of 54
If HTML5 is going to take over Flash for video content delivery by the big media companies, it needs to have DRM. We all don't like DRM, but the content creators do. There are other choices, but Flash isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
post #8 of 54
I hope this promts Mozilla to put h.264 into FF4. I love FF4, but when I tried using WebM, but it made my mac's fans spin even faster than flash at the time. Today I can watch flash and h.264 vids in Chrome/Safari with barely any increase in fan speed (a fairly good measure of CPU load and especially battery life).

I gotta say that both WebM and Ogg are further away from what I want - universality and low cpu load then even flash 10.1. I love the way h.264 streams, its cpu load etc, and flash is catching up.

Hopefully now that IE is even rumored to support h.264 Mozilla will change it's stance, though that might only happen by firefox 4.5. Until then I'm gonna continue my now almost year long experiment with Chrome.
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post #9 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

I hope this promts Mozilla to put h.264 into FF4. I love FF4, but when I tried using WebM, but it made my mac's fans spin even faster than flash at the time. Today I can watch flash and h.264 vids in Chrome/Safari with barely any increase in fan speed (a fairly good measure of CPU load and especially battery life).

I gotta say that both WebM and Ogg are further away from what I want - universality and low cpu load then even flash 10.1. I love the way h.264 streams, its cpu load etc, and flash is catching up.

Hopefully now that IE is even rumored to support h.264 Mozilla will change it's stance, though that might only happen by firefox 4.5. Until then I'm gonna continue my now almost year long experiment with Chrome.

And this is exactly what Google had in mind for Firefox when they acquired and released WebM.
post #10 of 54
I wonder if "END USERS" mean regular Joe consumer or Broadcasters?
post #11 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Define Indefinitely:

indefinitely |inˈdefənitlē|
adverb For an unlimited or unspecified period of time : talks cannot go on indefinitely.
[as submodifier ] to an unlimited or unspecified degree or extent : an indefinitely large number of channels.

Since patents only last for 20 years, indefinitely means that MPEGLA won't charge for any free internet broadcast using h264 for that long. After that, they can't charge.
post #12 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post

Sounds like this answers some people's concerns about video with HTML5.
Now what are the complainers going to come up with to complain about?

It only applies to free, web delivered video.

There are other types of licences for which fee will continue to be charged, so the production change is not, in any sense, royalty free.

This only serves to be a distraction however from the substantive point that free video delivered to an end user will continue to be free. From an ideological viewpoint the fact that it is free as in beer is neither here nor there.
post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

It only applies to free, web delivered video.

There are other types of licences for which fee will continue to be charged, so the production change is not, in any sense, royalty free.

This only serves to be a distraction however from the substantive point that free video delivered to an end user will continue to be free. From an ideological viewpoint the fact that it is free as in beer is neither here nor there.

Who expected one to be able to broadcast and charge folks w/o paying royalties. You'd have to be an imbecile to think that would happen.
post #14 of 54
I never got interested in these tortoise steps for making standards.
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post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post

Since patents only last for 20 years, indefinitely means that MPEGLA won't charge for any free internet broadcast using h264 for that long. After that, they can't charge.

I'm not totally opposed to software patents.
But given the rate of change in the software game, software patents should only last five years.

---

Does anybody have any real-world examples of what this decision means?

Do internet broadcasters (independent channels, educational providers etc.) have to pay royalties or not?
Even if the stream is free, there is a commercial aspect to the service.

If they do, what are the royalty fees?
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post #16 of 54
(Please pardon me in advance for this tirade)

As happy as I am to see to see MPEGLA licensing H.264 for free, it really doesn't matter, since H.264 will remain closed source. That presents a huge problem for any distributor of open-source software (namely Mozilla), since the Gnu licensing families aren't compatible with licensed, closed-source software.
(This might affect Chrome as well, though since Chrome integrates Flash I'm fairly certain that this won't be an issue)

If Mozilla is left out in the cold on H.264, HTML5 video suffers since >90% of all browsers (remember, IE continues to drag its heels when it comes to internet video) won't be able to play back H.264 content

That's a darned shame, because H.264 is clearly the superior codec for the job (Ogg Vorbis is nice since it's open-source, but H.264 beats it technically; I don't know enough about WebM so I'll defer to this article)


Now, rant time: if it weren't for those terrible things called software patents, we could standardize on H.264 and be done with this format war
1. Software patents clearly are illegal under Supreme Court precedent: do some Wikipedia cruising and you'll see that software patents (or at least H.264) miserably fail the "machine or transformation test", since software patents aren't manifested in a specific physical machine nor do they effect a transformation in physical
2. Software patents clearly do not retard technological progress! If you listen to groups like MPEGLA, you'd assume that software patents were required for progress to occur since innovation won't happen without monopolies. I beg to differ:
a) the world's best mobile browsers (and desktop browsers) are ALL based on WebKit, an open-source project initiated by Apple from the KHTML code
b) the underpinnings of the two most recently successful mobile platforms (Android and iOS) are both open-sourced (the entire Android software stack and the Darwin OS respectfully)
c) Linux (yeah, not successful on the desktop, but go check out any supercomputer or server and there's a pretty good chance it's Linux)
d) the entire notion of a browser that doesn't suck (Firefox v IE back in the dark ages)
e) vast majority of web technologies (HTML, Python, PHP, JavaScript, etc.)


Seriously. Software patents clearly do not protect progress; all I see them do is retard it (this whol H.264 thing would go away if MPEGLA open-sourced it and everyone instantly adopted it!)

I'll cut it here. Software-patents will give me an aneurysm one of these days
post #17 of 54
Nevermind
post #18 of 54
So, it only applies to free recordings. What is the cost of H264 licensing if there is revenue being made?
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post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

So, it only applies to free recordings. What is the cost of H264 licensing if there is revenue being made?

The article conveniently leaves that bit out but I suspect not much turns on it anyway. If you're paying for content nothing much is going to change.
post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

And this is exactly what Google had in mind for Firefox when they acquired and released WebM.

Google had nothing in mind for firefix, it's mozilla's product. They prefer everyone would be using chrome.
post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post

Sounds like this answers some people's concerns about video with HTML5.
Now what are the complainers going to come up with to complain about?

Exactly.

Maybe now they'll just say something like H.264 is a crappy name so we shouldn't use it.
post #22 of 54
In a nutshell: The codec is still ours, but you can borrow it without paying rent for a while longer (just so that you don't try to find alternatives).
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadash View Post

You're playing with words. Kind of like what the meaning of the word "is" is. They'd have some pretty pissed off people if said this and then later charged.

"not clearly defined or determined; not precise or exact:"

Thats taken right from the definition you quoted and it works for me...
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post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwj View Post

As happy as I am to see to see MPEGLA licensing H.264 for free, it really doesn't matter, since H.264 will remain closed source.

Nonsense. The market doesn't care about open source - and never has. The only time Free (as in free speech) products have done well is when they're also Free (as in free beer). Consumers care about the cost, not abut silly pedantic arguments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Define Indefinitely:

indefinitely |inˈdefənitlē|
adverb For an unlimited or unspecified period of time : talks cannot go on indefinitely.
[as submodifier ] to an unlimited or unspecified degree or extent : an indefinitely large number of channels.

Or maybe you could simply go to the source:
"MPEG LA announced today that its AVC Patent Portfolio License will continue not to charge royalties for Internet Video that is free to end users (known as "Internet Broadcast AVC Video") during the entire life of this License. MPEG LA previously announced it would not charge royalties for such video through December 31, 2015, and today's announcement makes clear that royalties will continue not to be charged for such video beyond that time."
{from MacRumors}

Free for the life of the license (which is essentially the life of the patents).
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post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post

Since patents only last for 20 years, indefinitely means that MPEGLA won't charge for any free internet broadcast using h264 for that long. After that, they can't charge.

Look, on 9/11/2001 air travel was HALTED INDEFINITELY, because at the time they simply couldn't say exactly WHEN they'd be resumed. Air travel was of course resumed and it certainly didn't take 20 years to do it.

Look if they REALLY meant it. they would have said "h.264 will be unencumbered when used in conjunction with free internet based video (or whatever their terms are) for the life of the patents involved in the h.264 technology." they didn't and all I'm pointing out is the h.264 group HAS WIGGLE ROOM if they want to use it. People arguing with me... are you REALLY saying they don't?
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post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Free for the life of the license (which is essentially the life of the patents).

Okay... but I'd just like to see what the 'life of this license' is... Since the PREVIOUS h.264 license expires in 2015. If the next license expires some 10 years later and CANT be terminated early then YES I certainly agree it's effectively 'forever'. However if the life of the next license term is 1 year or 5 years long or as stated above they can terminate the next license term at any time then they can simply go back to their initial plans and this PR is really meaningless.

Okay I found it myself...

"The license terms are updated in 5-year blocks."

So, it's free until 2020 now and maybe thats good enough but if the patents still have another 5 years of life we're back to square one....

And from the source:


Q: What is the Term of the AVC Patent Portfolio License?
A: The initial term runs through December 31, 2010. The License is renewable for successive five year periods for the useful life of any Portfolio patent on reasonable terms and conditions.

So it would seem that the initial license term was 2005 and was good thru 2010 the 2nd term was/is 2010-2015, the 3rd term 2015-2020 which leaves just 5 years for most of the initial patents that went into the initial patent pool.

So all we really have is a 5 year extension beyond 2015... 2020 the license expires and a new 5 year term is negotiated.
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post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

Google had nothing in mind for firefix, it's mozilla's product. They prefer everyone would be using chrome.

Well, yes, precisely, which is exactly what they have in mind for Firefox: that everyone switch to Chrome.
post #28 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post

Sounds like this answers some people's concerns about video with HTML5.
Now what are the complainers going to come up with to complain about?

Id wager that Mozilla will argue that its not just about the end users streaming being free, but the encoder and decoder licensing not being free, even though I think the encoder has been reverese-engineered and all modern chips are coming with H.264 decoders as standard, something that the codecs Mozilla is pushing cant compete with.

Ultimately Mozilla will have to add H.264 or there will be an easy install option for the browser by some clever developer. In any case, H.264 is the codecs of choice for many years to come and until we start seeing HW decoders in devices we shouldnt expect that to change.
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post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I’d wager that Mozilla will argue that it’s not just about the end user’s streaming being free, but the encoder and decoder licensing not being free

That's actually been Mozilla's chiefs' argument all along, notwithstanding all the noise that had been generated from outside sources.

Quote:
...even though I think the encoder has been reverese-engineered and all modern chips are coming with H.264 decoders as standard, something that the codecs Mozilla is pushing can’t compete with.

The trouble is, Mozilla is committed to using its own internally-managed decoding software for all <video> tag content. They justify this on a couple of grounds:

1) Ensure the behaviour is consistent across all platforms that run Firefox, without needing to depend on the trustworthiness or consistency of the 3rd party video decoder software/hardware that happens to be installed in certain systems ("codec hell" as a parallel to the infamous Windows "DLL hell").

2) Ensure that the content will play back even on older (but still-supported) operating systems (such as Windows XP), which may not have the necessary video codecs installed at all.

Therefore, if Firefox was to support H.264 video, then it would have to ship a software codec implementing H.264 along with each copy of the browser, regardless of whether or not the target OS/platform already had built-in H.264 support. And they would have to purchase a license for each copy of such codec.

(This, by the way, is one of the reasons why Google allows anybody to download Chrome directly from Google's servers, but users are prohibited from sharing the Chrome binary amongst themselves -- Google has taken the same strategy as Firefox regarding embedding the <video> tage codec software inside the browser itself, and Google has purchased a license for that codec... But the license Google purchased doesn't cover 3rd party redistribution of the codec. The open-source "Chromium" browser from which Chrome is derived, has the source code for H.264 video disabled by default.)
post #30 of 54
WebM and Ogg have one big problem, it's not sure if there are any patents involved or not. No one has sued yet, but no company worth of sueing has used it yet. It's claimed they do not, but no know for sure, thus they're no real alternative to h.264. If companies with big enough pockets start to use them, somone with patents might emerge.
post #31 of 54
In July 2010 6,400 programmes were streamed from the BBC iPlayer to Android devices.

In July 2010 there were 5,272,464 programmes requested via the BBC iPlayer from Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices.

Why so striking a difference? Because Android users can only access iPlayer using Flash, Flash is only available on Android 2.2, and the overwhelming majority of Android handsets — even brand-new ones — are still running older versions of the OS.

But, of course, there are no iOS users with Flash installed. That’s what I see as the main problem with Android’s official support for Flash: it gives providers like the BBC an easy way out. Would there exist a dedicated iPlayer app for the iPhone if iOS had supported Flash all along? Does Android’s support for Flash make it less likely that the BBC will develop a native iPlayer app for Android?


daringfireball.net
post #32 of 54
Mozilla continuing its FUD against H.264.

"The MPEG-LA announcement doesn't change anything for the next four years, since this promise was already made through 2014...Given that IEC [International Electrotechnical Commission] has already started accepting submissions for patents in the replacement H.265 standard, and the rise of unencumbered formats like WebM, it is not clear if H.264 will still be relevant in 2014.

Mozilla's Vice President of Engineering, Mike Shaver
post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_Keeper_Fan_Mod View Post

WebM and Ogg have one big problem, it's not sure if there are any patents involved or not. No one has sued yet, but no company worth of sueing has used it yet. It's claimed they do not, but no know for sure, thus they're no real alternative to h.264. If companies with big enough pockets start to use them, somone with patents might emerge.

Google sank 100 million into buying WebM, which is the only reason we got this bone thrown to us by MPEG-LA.

I would hope Google uses WebM in a way that forces a lawsuit, so that the issue of patents can be decided. Google can afford the legal fees, and it's the only way we'll get reasonable terms from H.264 and the next-gen codec.
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post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Mozilla continuing its FUD against H.264.

"The MPEG-LA announcement doesn't change anything for the next four years, since this promise was already made through 2014...Given that IEC [International Electrotechnical Commission] has already started accepting submissions for patents in the replacement H.265 standard, and the rise of unencumbered formats like WebM, it is not clear if H.264 will still be relevant in 2014.

Mozilla's Vice President of Engineering, Mike Shaver

It's not FUD; Mozilla legally cannot include a H.264 decoder in Firefox and also distribute Firefox under a Gnu GPL.


Trust me: I'd love it if H.264 was adopted as the video codec of choice for the internet. Since it's awesome.
That said, if MPEGLA decides to change its licensing terms in five years (or even sooner; promises can be broken) and end free licensing of H.264, we're back to the Dark Ages of internet video where a single company / consortium (be it Adobe or MPEGLA) owns the video format of choice of the internet (be it Flash or H.264)


All of us want to put the terrible era of Flash content behind us; the last thing we should be doing is potentially setting ourselves up for more of the same.
post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwj View Post

(Please pardon me in advance for this tirade)

As happy as I am to see to see MPEGLA licensing H.264 for free, it really doesn't matter, since H.264 will remain closed source. That presents a huge problem for any distributor of open-source software (namely Mozilla), since the Gnu licensing families aren't compatible with licensed, closed-source software.

1) Not all open source projects are incompatible with closed-source software.
2) Not all open source projects are based on GPL or some variant of GPL (L-GPL, AGPL, etc)
3) Mozilla uses MPL and they own their code and can combine it with whatever they want. Firefox and Thunderbird are released under MPL with a tri-license. Meaning you can release Firefox with your own close-source portions under MPL.

Quote:
(This might affect Chrome as well, though since Chrome integrates Flash I'm fairly certain that this won't be an issue)

Chrome is a mixture of BSD open source code and Google proprietary closed source code.

Quote:
If Mozilla is left out in the cold on H.264, HTML5 video suffers since >90% of all browsers (remember, IE continues to drag its heels when it comes to internet video) won't be able to play back H.264 content

IE9 will support HTML5 and H.264 playback.

Quote:
Now, rant time: if it weren't for those terrible things called software patents, we could standardize on H.264 and be done with this format war
1. Software patents clearly are illegal under Supreme Court precedent: do some Wikipedia cruising and you'll see that software patents (or at least H.264) miserably fail the "machine or transformation test", since software patents aren't manifested in a specific physical machine nor do they effect a transformation in physical

Yes, wikipedia is definitive source and should be trusted more than the mere opinions of Ip lawyers. Not.

Quote:
2. Software patents clearly do not retard technological progress!

This is probably a true statement but probably also not what you meant to write. Abused software patents retard progress. Legitimate ones protect the IP of the inventor. The number of actual significant software inventions is probably fairly low.

Quote:
If you listen to groups like MPEGLA, you'd assume that software patents were required for progress to occur since innovation won't happen without monopolies. I beg to differ:
a) the world's best mobile browsers (and desktop browsers) are ALL based on WebKit, an open-source project initiated by Apple from the KHTML code

WebKit is protected by copyright and FSF has a tendency to act monopolistic in the open source world. Which is why Theo always amuses me.

Quote:
b) the underpinnings of the two most recently successful mobile platforms (Android and iOS) are both open-sourced (the entire Android software stack and the Darwin OS respectfully)

iOS is largely closed source. Darwin is essentially a hacked FreeBSD variant with an oddball kernel nobody but Apple uses. Android has potential patent issues...because Google did some interesting things with Sun IP and lets just say that Ellison plays hardball.

Quote:
c) Linux (yeah, not successful on the desktop, but go check out any supercomputer or server and there's a pretty good chance it's Linux)

The success of Linux is due largely IMHO in the desire for IBM to neuter Sun...which they managed fantastically. That HP joined in that fun was either really smart or idiocy.

Quote:
d) the entire notion of a browser that doesn't suck (Firefox v IE back in the dark ages)

Back in the day it was Netscape and closed source. Mozilla is tied to the hip to Google because Google is it's only source of real funding. No Google = No Firefox.

Quote:
Seriously. Software patents clearly do not protect progress; all I see them do is retard it (this whol H.264 thing would go away if MPEGLA open-sourced it and everyone instantly adopted it!)

I'll cut it here. Software-patents will give me an aneurysm one of these days

You don't open source H.264. You provide a royalty free patent grant...which they did for free web use. You can open source H.264 implementations if you want...and now that there is a free patent grant you can.

VP8 is open sourced but has potential patent issues. We'll see how that plays out but Apple and MS both have issues with Google. So essentially it's a fight between Google and Apple in another fight instigated by Google. Pushing VP8 vs H.264 was simply a way to take a cheap stab at Apple.

I dunno, but Google hasn't been playing a very smart game IMHO. They're potentially going to get marginalized on both iOS and WP7 in terms of ad share and pissing off Apple for no good reason was stupid.
post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwj View Post

It's not FUD; Mozilla legally cannot include a H.264 decoder in Firefox and also distribute Firefox under a Gnu GPL.

But that's not the problem Shaver describes in his post. He feels the MPEG LA will make H.264 free forever because it will become irrelevant as they move on to H.265, the implication that the licensing terms will be entirely different.


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All of us want to put the terrible era of Flash content behind us; the last thing we should be doing is potentially setting ourselves up for more of the same.

Its the constant questioning of the MPEG-LA future motives which leads to FUD. The implication that they are just waiting to pull a bait and switch. When their is no evidence to support it.
post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwj View Post

It's not FUD; Mozilla legally cannot include a H.264 decoder in Firefox and also distribute Firefox under a Gnu GPL.

Sure they can. They own the code and they can distribute their code under MPL with a GPL exception with a proprietary H.264 plug in. The FSF position on linking = derivative work is not one that the FSF or FLSC is likely to want to take to court anytime soon.

And Mozilla IS spreading FUD when they claim tit is not clear if "H.264 will still be relevant in 2014". Riiight. Pure FUD.
post #38 of 54
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Originally Posted by nht View Post

1) Not all open source projects are incompatible with closed-source software.
2) Not all open source projects are based on GPL or some variant of GPL (L-GPL, AGPL, etc)
3) Mozilla uses MPL and they own their code and can combine it with whatever they want. Firefox and Thunderbird are released under MPL with a tri-license. Meaning you can release Firefox with your own close-source portions under MPL.

All very true. Firefox is not GPL.

But the problem remains that if Firefox purchased a patent license for H.264, it would likely only cover copies of Firefox obtained directly from Mozilla. Third-party redistribution would not include conveyance of the necessary patent license (because Mozilla would not have permission to convey it) and therefore anybody who made use of a 3rd-party redistributed copy of Firefox would be in possession of the unlicensed H.264 codec contained therein. The copyright license (provided by Mozilla) really doesn't have anything to do with the patent license (provided by the MPEG-LA).

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Chrome is a mixture of BSD open source code and Google proprietary closed source code.

Yep, and some of that proprietary stuff is Chrome's H.264 implementation.

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IE9 will support HTML5 and H.264 playback.

IE9 will use whatever codecs are installed in the operating system to render its HTML5 video. If you install a WebM codec in your operating system, then IE9 will use the WebM codec to render HTML5 content as necessary.

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WebKit is protected by copyright

And its copyright distribution license is open source. In other news, the sky is blue. So what?

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You don't open source H.264. You provide a royalty free patent grant...which they did for free web use. You can open source H.264 implementations if you want...and now that there is a free patent grant you can.

The free patent grant is for content distribution only. Ie, it grants permission for people to use the codec to non-commercially distribute content that happens to be compressed using H.264 technology.

It does not apply to the decoders and encoders themselves which were used to produce and display the content. Those two components are still very much not covered by the guise of a free patent grant.
post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Sure they can. They own the code and they can distribute their code under MPL with a GPL exception with a proprietary H.264 plug in.

Trouble is, an open source distribution where a core feature is proprietary is really no different than a proprietary distribution -- anybody who tried to exercise their right of redistribution would be left without access to the proprietary core feature.
post #40 of 54
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Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

All very true. Firefox is not GPL.

But the problem remains that if Firefox purchased a patent license for H.264, it would likely only cover copies of Firefox obtained directly from Mozilla. Third-party redistribution would not include conveyance of the necessary patent license (because Mozilla would not have permission to convey it) and therefore anybody who made use of a 3rd-party redistributed copy of Firefox would be in possession of the unlicensed H.264 codec contained therein. The copyright license (provided by Mozilla) really doesn't have anything to do with the patent license (provided by the MPEG-LA). ...

This is such a non-issue, blown into an issue, just to justify Mozilla's ideology. Ideology is fine, but when it takes over the controls, you know you're in big trouble. The only one that's going to get burned by this ideological pureness is Mozilla, and that giant sucking sound you hear is Google vacuuming off Mozilla's user base.
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