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[News] Even Adobe Takes the Heck Out of H.264, Ubuntu Escapes Microsoft Extortion

  • Subject: [News] Even Adobe Takes the Heck Out of H.264, Ubuntu Escapes Microsoft Extortion
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2010 19:46:43 +0100
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/4.4.2
Hash: SHA1

Flash Co-Creator Jonathan Gay talks of the challenges they faced in using H.264 standard.

,----[ Quote ]
| The second challenge was selecting a video 
| codec. We wanted to use the cool new H.264 
| open standard but Macromedia did not feel 
| they could afford the H.264 license fee. I 
| believe that the capped $5M per year H.264 
| license fee was similar in scale to the 
| annual Flash engineering budget at the 
| time. The H.264 license fee model is very 
| anticompetitive. H.264 licensing is free 
| for very small users, expensive for medium 
| size companies and inexpensive for very 
| large companies. This model puts the 
| midsize companies who could challenge the 
| dominant companies at a significant 
| competitive disadvantage and is the reason 
| that we implemented the proprietary but 
| affordable On2 codec in Flash instead of 
| the open and expensive H.264 codec.


The Ubuntu Advantage? Canonical Takes On Red Hat

,----[ Quote ]
| When it comes to patents, itâs not just 
| about proving someone wrong. A company like 
| Microsoft needs only put in an application 
| to the court to have all possibly offending 
| products stopped from shipping (remember 
| when Microsoft had to stop selling Office 
| over those XML issues?). The big problem is 
| not whether one is right or wrong about 
| patent infringement, that takes a long time 
| to come out in court. What hurts are 
| injunctions put on the products a company 
| sells. Take Tom Tom for example. They had 
| to settle because if they didnât, Microsoft 
| could have shut down their business by 
| stopping the sale of their products until 
| the court case was settled, but then 
| dragging the court case out for years and 
| years. Few companies could afford to fight 
| that.
| Red Hat on the other hand, has a massive 
| port folio themselves and agreements with 
| other corporations to share pool patents. 
| If Microsoft sued Red Hat, it would be on 
| for young and old. This is why itâs an arms 
| race. If Microsoft sued Canonical, could it 
| withstand the pressure? I highly doubt it. 
| Not unless it has the backing of other big 
| guns. Insurance wonât cut it long term, 
| especially after the first few cases and 
| premiums go through the roof. Of course, 
| this does leave one other option on the 
| table for Canonical. Settle and pay for 
| patent protection. Indeed, this is written 
| into their assurance (emphasis mine):
|     âCanonical will replace or modify the 
|     infringing portion of the software so 
|     that it becomes non-infringing, or 
|     obtain the rights for you to continue 
|     using the software.â
| Microsoft has already approached Canonical 
| pressuring them to sign up to a patent 
| deal, but they turned it down. Does this 
| mean they might have to re-consider their 
| position? Certainly Ubuntu ships with VFAT 
| support.



The Wild Fox Firefox Fork to Bring Support for H.264


Will The Wild Fox Firefox Fork Disregard Patents?

,----[ Quote ]
| Most of us users of Mozilla's Firefox
| browser are used to getting new versions
| of Firefox from Mozilla, but, like many
| open source projects, Firefox has already
| been forked into other versions. Now, as
| OSnews reports, a new fork of the browser
| is taking shape. Dubbed Wild Fox, one of
| the more interesting new aspect of it is
| that it supports the H.264 coded for
| video. However, the way the new fork
| treats patents could cause trouble.


Developer wants to stick an H.264 fork in Firefox


Firefox With H.264 HTML 5 Support = Wild Fox


Wild Fox: Firefox Fork with H.264 Support

,----[ Quote ]
| Mozilla, sticking to its ideals of the
| open web, decided long ago that support
| for the patent-encumbered H264 codec would
| not be included in any of its products.
| Not only is H264 wholly incompatible with
| the open web and Free software, it is also
| incredibly expensive. Mozilla could use
| one of the open source implementations,
| but those are not licensed, and the MPEG-
| LA has been quite clear in that it will
| sue those who encode or decode H264
| content without a license. Software
| patents, however, are only valid in some
| parts of the world, so an enterprising
| developer has started a project that was
| sure to come eventually: Firefox builds
| with H264 support.

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