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Wikipedia's Assault On Patent-Encumbered Codecs 428

Posted by timothy
from the because-they-hate-the-march-of-progress dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Open Video Alliance is launching a campaign today called Let's Get Video on Wikipedia, asking people to create and post videos to Wikipedia articles. (Good, encyclopedia-style videos only!) Because all video must be in patent-free codecs (theora for now), this will make Wikipedia by far the most likely site for an average internet user to have a truly free and open video experience. The campaign seeks to 'strike a blow for freedom' against a wave of h.264 adoption in otherwise open HTML5 video implementations."
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Wikipedia's Assault On Patent-Encumbered Codecs

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  • Re:HTML5 Video (Score:2, Informative)

    by kickme_hax0r (968593) <simon@welsh.co.nz> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @04:56PM (#31515114) Homepage
    YouTube [youtube.com]
  • Re:HTML5 Video (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @04:56PM (#31515116)

    Yeah, they're all running Flash (which is closer to H.264)

    What do you mean "closer to"? Flash has been using H.264 in MP4 for quite some time now.

  • Re:Um, no (Score:3, Informative)

    by arose (644256) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:03PM (#31515258)
    They have a Java fallback. I Even without a fallback Theora will play on more machines then HTML5 only H.264 would (supported by Safari, Chrome and Opera, where the user cares to add the codec, as opposed to Firefox, Chrome and Opera).
  • Re:HTML5 Video (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:09PM (#31515360)

    What? Flash Video is a CONTAINER format, not a video format. Most sites that use flv containers do so with h.264 video streams.

    Everything supports h.264 video. All of the modern mp3 players, phones and video game consoles do. Most software media players and video editors also support h.264 right out of the box.

    To be honest, it doesn't sound like you know what you are talking about.

  • by OverlordQ (264228) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:16PM (#31515472) Journal

    They could even host some of the relevant bits of system software and web browser glue-ware.

    It does already. Wikipedia uses the OGGHandler extension which tries to determine automagically what method for displaying video the client supports. It supports attempting to use the following clients:

    • Cortado (bundled Java applet)
    • VLC
    • QuickTime with XiphQT
    • Totem
    • Kaffeine
    • KMPlayer
    • (ko)GomAudio

    And then some more generic support for other cases [mediawiki.org]

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:18PM (#31515504) Homepage Journal

    H.264 is already included in any recent Windows

    At least two-thirds of PCs run Windows XP, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Business, or Windows 7 Starter. These operating systems do not include an H.264 decoder. Among Windows operating systems, only Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate, and Windows 7 Home Premium or higher include an H.264 decoder.

  • Re:HTML5 Video (Score:4, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:22PM (#31515558) Journal

    The cost is still paid by the average user, it's just tacked onto the cost of the O/S or whatever you buy from Apple, MS, etc

    Assuming the latest amount of 1.9 billion internet users (and not even accounting those not using internet), the $5 million cap per license, and Windows market share of 98%:

    $0.002 per user.

    I just don't see so many people caring.

  • Re:HTML5 Video (Score:3, Informative)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:38PM (#31515748) Homepage

    Gstreamer in Linux

    Illegal in the US...

  • Re:HTML5 Video (Score:4, Informative)

    by Xtifr (1323) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:47PM (#31515884) Homepage

    To be fair, the format is entirely open, but patent encumbered.

    A bit of an oxymoron there, but I know what you mean. The technical specifications are open; use is not. The latter may not be a factor for the typical home user whose license fee was bundled in with their hardware or OS, but it's going to be a factor for Wikipedia.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:53PM (#31515954)

    Know what? People pay 0 dollars for a browser. Exactly what costs are they bearing due to Apple or Google or Microsoft including H.264 support in the browser?

    I would assume that the licensing fees for MPEG are a part of the Windows and Mac OS X price tag.

  • Re:HTML5 Video (Score:3, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:41PM (#31516560)

    Which is not FREE software, is it?

  • Re:HTML5 Video (Score:5, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:54PM (#31516686) Journal

    No-one said that it is.

    The point is that browser remains FOSS. If user is a FOSS purist, he doesn't install the "evil" codecs, and doesn't go to websites which only provide H.264 streams. If user is a pragmatic Linux user, he either buys the codec (freeness of browser not affected), or ignores the law and installs it from "non-US" repositories (legality of browser is not affected).

    Most people, of course, just use a mainstream desktop OS, where this all is provided out of the box (and they've paid for it when they purchased their PC/Mac with that OS preinstalled).

  • Re:HTML5 Video (Score:3, Informative)

    by qbast (1265706) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @07:22PM (#31516932)

    It's all nice and all, but if open video technology really wants to win, they have to be technically better. There is no other way.

    No, actually as long as Theora is not significantly worse than h.264 it does not really matter.

    However it's nice to see Open Video Alliance trying to partner with Wikipedia. In addition to being technically better, that's another aspect you need to take care of. You need to make sure websites, TV, phone, computer and so on manufacturers support your technology. You have to work with them to get it supported - not just put it out there and hope it catches up because its "open", because that's not going to happen.

    Yeah, just look how popular Vorbis Ogg is in portable music players.

    Personally I would also hate to see technically inferior solution being used, as it would eat huge amount of bandwidth. Theora just isn't on the same table with H.264 for Internet video. Theora is based on VP5 from On2 and now that Google acquired them, they're going at VP8.

    Actually it is based on VP3 and it is way behind h.264 - it does not even support B-frames! Also being at least one generation behind, Theora is dead end - all that is being done at this point is tweaking the encoder.

    What I'm more worried about is that I cannot watch Wikipedia videos with any other device than my PC. Want to see a video clip of a place you're traveling on your phone? Not possible. Want to see videos from Wikipedia with your PS3/360? Not possible.

    Well then, make sure you complain to manufacturers of these devices. If enough people care, they will add Theora support.

    It will create some serious problems, and I don't think Wikipedia is big enough to push the change alone.

    Actually I think Wikipedia is about the only site that can push the change. It is biggest and most popular encyclopedia on the net, has no real competition and would be extremely hard to recreate. There is already bunch of Youtube-like sites, so even if YT switched to some unpopular format, lots of people would just go elsewhere. In case of Wikipedia there is nowhere else to go.

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