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FSF Announces Support For WebM 333

Posted by timothy
from the in-good-company dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Free Software Foundation has signed up as a supporter of the WebM Project. They write, 'Last week, Google announced that it plans to remove support for the H.264 video codec from its browsers, in favor of the WebM codec that they recently made free. Since then, there's been a lot of discussion about how this change will affect the Web going forward, as HTML5 standards like the video tag mature. We applaud Google for this change; it's a positive step for free software, its users, and everyone who uses the Web.' The FSF's PlayOgg campaign will be revamped to become PlayFreedom."
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FSF Announces Support For WebM

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  • Re:Misguided (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie.hotmail@com> on Friday January 21, 2011 @03:28AM (#34949706) Homepage

    You mean, except x264, which is by most accounts, one of the most *full-featured* H.264 implementations available... right?

    Feature-wise it's good, yes, but it's not legally licensed and thus it's actually illegal to use in many places, most notably the US. That's the whole point.

    Let's be very clear here: H.264 is an "open standard" - anyone may get a copy of the spec and implement it, and expect that their encoder/decoder will interoperate well with any other piece of software or hardware that implements the H.264 standard. What H.264 is *not* is a "free standard" - it's got patents, and royalty fees required for some uses of the standard- basically, if you're making money off of H.264, you need to pay a fee to the MPEG-LA consortium. There is nothing preventing Google from allowing its browser to support both types of video for playback via an HTML5 video tag, but only providing WebM-encoded videos on their hosting services. You can't say that you're dropping H.264 support in the interests of "freedom" while continuing to embed & support Flash - at least, not with a straight face.

    Of course "we" can. Dropping H.264 is an intermediary step in getting rid of Flash too. There is nothing wrong in doing things in steps.

    And what you're saying about being allowed to freely implement H.264 encoders or decoders is not correct: you may not implement either without a proper license. Consuming H.264 content is also only free if you are using it with a properly licensed decoder, and serving H.264 content to end-users is only free if you cannot make money out of it and all the content must have been created with a licensed encoder.

  • Re:Riding coattails! (Score:4, Informative)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Friday January 21, 2011 @03:31AM (#34949728)
    Because x264 is far more advanced - mpeg2 couldn't do HDTV without insane bitrates.
  • Re:Riding coattails! (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcvos (645701) on Friday January 21, 2011 @05:57AM (#34950378)

    I think you underestimate the size of YouTube. It's way bigger than all other video hosts put together. If a WebM browser gives you the best YouTube experience, that's what people will want. And with Firefox's sizable market share on the desktop, and Chrome's market share on smartphones, I'd say WebM cannot be ignored.

    And if YouTube offers video in either HTML5+WebM or Flash+H264, iDevice users definitely have a problem.

  • Re:Riding coattails! (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday January 21, 2011 @06:38AM (#34950626) Journal

    Hardware acceleration means a wide range of things. It can mean implementing the entire algorithm in hardware - feed in an H.264 bitstream and get out decoded frames. It usually doesn't. Hardware makers are much more keen on code reuse than software makers, because bugs are much more expensive, and most hardware acceleration for video playback already needs to support multiple codecs (H.264, MPEG-4 ASP, MPEG-2).

    In a typical device, 'hardware acceleration' for H.264 means two things:

    • Dedicated implementations of some algorithms, such as DCT, that form building blocks of most video decoders.
    • Stream processors with ALUs tuned to the kind of instruction sequence that you find in a video CODEC.

    The 'hardware decoder' is actually a software decoder that runs in the DSP and uses the specialised accelerator units. For something like VP8, it's relatively simple for to provide a firmware upgrade that adds a decoder using the existing hardware. For something like Dirac (which uses DWT instead of DCT, for example), it's much harder.

  • Re:hardware (Score:4, Informative)

    by u17 (1730558) on Friday January 21, 2011 @06:50AM (#34950702)
    From Texas Instruments [ti.com].

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