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Media Open Source Wikipedia

FLOSS Codecs Emerge Victorious In Wikimedia Vote 235

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Maggs from the Wikimedia Foundation's multimedia team has given a final summary of the discussion and vote about whether to support MP4 video or not. Twice as many people voted against adding MP4 to Wikimedia than voted for full support. Now they can get back to their mission of advocating openness. 'Those opposing MP4 adoption believe that in order for what we create to be truly free, the format that it is in also needs to be free, (else everyone viewing it would need to obtain a patent license in some form to be able to view it). ... From that viewpoint, any software infrastructure in Wikimedia projects must adhere to community norms regarding intellectual property, patent status, licensing or encoding methods. Current community requirements are that free/open standards should be used at all times to encode and store video files on the servers that house our data, so that both our content and software can be redistributed without any restrictions. Proprietary video containers or codecs such as MP4 are not allowed on Wikimedia projects because they are patent-encumbered and their software cannot be re-licensed freely (though MP4 content can be freely re-licensed).'"
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FLOSS Codecs Emerge Victorious In Wikimedia Vote

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  • by Zocalo (252965) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @06:16PM (#46256777) Homepage
    Just what it sounds like. You can produce an MP4 and license the video itself (the "content") under a free license like Creative Commons, but the software required to play back that CC licensed video content is patent-encumbered and cannot be freely re-licensed.
  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @06:34PM (#46256875)

    and those who have Windows definitely have Quicktime installed.

    Quicktime on Windows is a steaming turd along with its redheaded stepchild iTunes. I definitely don't have it installed. If you can't be bothered to use a 21st century cross platform container format I'll gladly skip watching your video.

  • Thin. (Score:5, Informative)

    by westlake (615356) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @06:35PM (#46256881)

    For information only, the raw, unadjusted, uncorrected figures were:

    Prefer full MP4 support: 145
    Prefer partial MP4 support - viewing only: 4
    Prefer partial MP4 support - contributions only: 56
    Neutral: 7
    Prefer no MP4 support: 309

    Total 521

    Is the function of a resource like the Wikipedia to serve its larger audience or its ideological purists?

    If you know anyone who cannot legally play an MP4 video, I would like to meet them. If you can frame an intelligible argument for refusing MP4 video contributions, I would like to hear it.

  • Re:This means (Score:5, Informative)

    by evilviper (135110) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @06:55PM (#46257005) Journal

    They are only accepting Vorbis/FLAC audio, Theora video, in ogg containers?

    You seem to be a few years behind the times... WebM is perfectly FLOSS, and much improved.

    For lossy audio, in addition to Vorbis, there is the much better Opus codec. FLAC is the standard for lossless, as there isn't much room for improvement.

    For video, VP8 (and soon, VP9) are vastly superior to Theora.

    And WebM uses the MKV container... not the horrific Ogg.

    Most web browsers support WebM... Chrome/Chromium and Firefox/IceWeasel have support built-in, though the later is lagging a bit behind on VP9/Opus. And IE users can play WebM videos by just installing the codec pack.

    The "Video Without Flash" add-on for Firefox will allow you to watch all videos on the most popular video sites in native/WebM format. Not only does this help those who can't get Flash, but also native WebM playback is vastly less resource intensive and far more responsive.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @07:03PM (#46257023) Journal

    But for the codec, is there a realistic alternative to H264 today? A format which can fit a feature-length HD movie in high quality in a file under 4GB so that it fits on any USB stick including FAT32, and that anyone can read?

    WebM is certainly better than QuickTime's H.264 encoding quality. That's VP8 with Vorbis audio in an MKV container.

    Oddly enough, your best bet for playback is to use the <video> tag to embed it in a web page. Both Firefox and Chrome natively support WebM, as of quite a while back. Internet Explorer never will, but their market share is dwindling, and all those users need for playback is to install the codec pack first: []

    If you want to keep it on QuickTime, there are QT components to support WebM, though I can't speak to their quality: []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15, 2014 @10:06PM (#46257713)

    NO SINGLE audio chipset has built in support for VP8/WebM.

    And btw ... VP8 has a good number of proprietary techs, many that aren't even owned by Google.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday February 15, 2014 @11:08PM (#46257911) Journal

    All major ARM chipset manufacturers have committed to including the VP9 hardware codec. [] My Nexus 5 already has the VP8. Soon even the $40 tablet will have it. The license is free, the hardware design is free, so there should be no problem including this high-value IP.

    These new hardware partners include ARM, Broadcom, Intel, LG, Marvell, MediaTek, Nvidia, Panasonic, Philips, Qualcomm, RealTek, Samsung, Sigma, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday February 15, 2014 @11:16PM (#46257943) Journal
    VP9 is going to be supported for both encode and decode on the next generation of chipsets and devices from ARM, Broadcom, Intel, LG, Marvell, MediaTek, Nvidia, Panasonic, Philips, Qualcomm, RealTek, Samsung, Sigma, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba []. That's a long list of heavy hitters. Maybe they know something you don't.

Successful and fortunate crime is called virtue. - Seneca