FSF to Google: Free the On2 video codec

Free Software Foundation urges Google to open source the video codec acquired with On2

In an open letter to Google, the Free Software Foundation has urged Google to open source a video codec that it acquired in its purchase of On2, completed Monday.

The FSF letter states that by open sourcing the current version of the codec, VP8, Google can provide the Web with an open production-ready standard for high-definition video, as well as a free alternative to the almost universally used Adobe Flash.

"Because patent-encumbered formats were costly to incorporate into browsers, a bloated, ill-suited piece of proprietary software (Flash) became the de facto standard for online video," the letter states. "Until we move to free formats, the threat of patent lawsuits and licensing fees hangs over every software developer, video creator, hardware maker, web site and corporation -- including you."

In its efforts to develop the next generation of the Hypertext Markup Language, HTML 5, The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is including support for running video directly within browsers without the help of third-party plug-ins, such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight.

Browser makers and providers of Internet video services, however, seem divided on which compression technique, or codec, to use.

While Google Chrome and Apple Safari natively support H.264, neither Opera nor Firefox support this high-definition M-PEG video format. Both organizations behind these browsers have expressed concerns they will eventually have to pay patent fees for using the technology.

Firefox developers have put their efforts behind supporting the open-source codec Ogg Theora, though both Apple and Google have been reluctant to support Ogg Theora in their browsers and video-rendering software, citing performance concerns.

VP8 could provide another free alternative, one both technically capable and potentially free of requiring royalty payments from users, tool vendors and video providers, the FSF letter stated.

Internet video sites such as Hulu, Vimeo, Yahoo use On2's compression technology, according to the company.

Google has not responded to inquiries, however, executives have indicated that purchasing On2 will help the company improve "video quality on the [W]eb," according to a blog entry announcing the acquisition last August.

Google certainly seems interested in supporting HTML 5 as well. The company recently announced that it is phasing out its Gears browser plug-in in favor of adopting HTML 5 standards to execute the same tasks. The company also runs an experimental version of YouTube running on HTML 5.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GooglecodecFSFIP videoOn2 Technologies

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?