Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

FSF Announces Support For WebM

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the in-good-company dept.

GNU is Not Unix 333

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."

cancel ×

333 comments

frist! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949098)

frist bizznitches!

Re:frist! (0)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949406)

you trolls waste everybody's time!

Re:frist! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949610)

ur just jeliz that u wernet first

Riding coattails! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949100)

A more truthful summary would be:

"The FSF has decided to try and ride Google's coattails by announcing their support for WebM and rebranding their completely ineffectual PlayOgg campaign in a way that won't actually help Google a bit."

With friends like these...

Re:Riding coattails! (2)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949120)

One more stamp of approval you can ad to the list when presenting to your superiors.

Re:Riding coattails! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949156)

Sorry to break this to you, but the only people who care what the FSF gives their stamp of approval to are the neckbeards who are already converts to the FSF's message.

This is why PlayOgg was useless, and it's also why "PlayFreedom," in addition to being an awful, awful, nonsensical, completely pointless campaign name, will also be useless: they're preaching to the choir, and they have a tin ear for connecting with the general public - in other words, they suck at marketing, and if you want to win 'hearts and minds,' it's *all* about marketing.

Re:Riding coattails! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949204)

Actually, no, they won't preaching to the choir. The choir was behind Vorbis. This preached to them and told them to support MebW instead.

Re:Riding coattails! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949272)

Reading comprehension helps before you jump in to disagree, and further demonstrate the lack of comprehension the FSF and its dogmatic adherents display. "Preaching to the choir" in this case means that their message of "openness" is only going to resonate with those who already agree with their message. It will not win them new supporters, and it will do nothing to further the cause of WebM.

Do you think anybody outside the FSF and the normal cavalcade of FOSS neckbeards gives a shit about whether the FSF supports Vorbis or WebM?

This is a "HEY GUYS WE'RE STILL HERE AND WE STILL MATTER... DON'T WE?" press release. Nothing more.

Re:Riding coattails! (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949464)

Not to mention Google and everyone else seems to be missing the gigantic elephant standing over by the potted plants: Hardware acceleration. Pretty much ALL consumer mobile devices support H.264, along with just about every desktop, laptop, netbook, hell I've even seen cheapo DVD players at the Wally World with H.264 support. Now figure in the amount the OEMs have invested in all those H.264 chips, along with the fact that all those consumer devices will have to be chunked (great for the environment) thanks to WebM killing the battery, along with the fact that WebM brings nothing substantial to the table, not better file sizes, not better quality, pretty much the ONLY selling point is "free as in freedom man, yeah!" and even that isn't assured since Google refuses to indemnify users of WebM which opens OEMs to patent trolling, frankly I'd say it has about as much of a chance as Vorbis does of killing MP3 at this point.

If it would have come out 5 years ago I would have given it decent odds, but it is simply too late to the party. Like Vorbis found out if you wait too long so that both momentum and device support is firmly behind a standard, proprietary or not, trying to build any support is damned near impossible. I have a feeling this is gonna be Google's Vista, where they find out that they can't just get the market to jump on board simply by having the name Google. There are simply too many chips, too many websites supporting H.264, oh and did I mention a little thing known as iPad? or iPhone? Maybe Google has heard of those. If they think folks are gonna give up their iPads and iPhones just for Youtube they are in for a RUDE awakening. With H.264 any website developer can simply leave a "raw" H.264 for iDevice users and wrap it in a flash container for everyone else! Tada! everyone is supported. With WebM you are gonna kill battery life or have to toss all the devices supporting H.264 and for what? Youtube? It isn't like there aren't a bazillion other sites out there and if Youtube kills H.264 support I'm sure there will be a dozen new ones happy to take those viewers. The ship has sailed Google, the fat lady is down the street eating a sandwich.

Re:Riding coattails! (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949586)

Question: What is stopping the device manifacturs from coming with a firmware patch to support WebM playback?

Re:Riding coattails! (2)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949602)

You can't patch in hardware acceleration. It's either there or it's not. In the case of WebM, it's not.

Re:Riding coattails! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949718)

The codecs are similar. It might be possible to use some of the acceleration capabilities in some chips, but it still won't be as good as a chip designed for webm.

Re:Riding coattails! (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949642)

Which word in "hardware accelleration" do you not understand? If the on-chip parallel decoding lines aren't WebM compatible, a "firmware" patch isn't going to do a damn thing.

Re:Riding coattails! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949724)

'Which word in "hardware accelleration" do you not understand? '

'AccelLeration' is the word I don't understand.

Re:Riding coattails! (2)

EyelessFade (618151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949672)

So why did we go for h264 then? When it came there was only MPEG2 hardware chips. In your line of thought no change should ever take place. Why buy TV when there is nothing on. That was the big question in the 40- and 50s. And There *are * hw chips for webm. And more is being produced. In 2 years you can bet every phone have it. Hopefully by then no one will even remember h264.

Re:Riding coattails! (3, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949728)

Because x264 is far more advanced - mpeg2 couldn't do HDTV without insane bitrates.

Re:Riding coattails! (3, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949224)

The choir may be the WC3 over here at MIT. The FSF putting a stamp of approval on WebM helps allay one of the big hurdles for making it the HTML 5 video standard: questions of quality. While the average consumer may not care, if WebM gets baked into the standard, that would have a large effect on how we get video on the web (and how free it is).

Re:Riding coattails! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949376)

How does the FSF giving a stamp of approval relate in any way, shape, or form to the quality of the codec? They're not video expert.

Unrealistic. (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949574)

If WebM gets baked into the standard, that would have a large effect on how we get video on the web (and how free it is).

No it would not.

Because standards that are not born out of pragmatism, rarely get used. They get ignored.

The reality of what will happen is this - content providers (including Google!!) will continue to produce video in h.264.

Google will also produce video in WebM - almost no-one else will. Because why would they when just h.264 encoding works in EVERY browser thanks to Flash (and thanks to direct support of h.264 in IOS devices).

WebM being part of a standard has zero effect without the outside world having a need for it and a reason to uptake. The video tag had a solid reason behind it, you didn't have to expend efforts working with annoying Flash video wrappers. But Google has gone and tossed that down the drain in favor of forcing a standard on the world at a time they lack the power to do so - and in the process KILLED open video on the web by bringing us all back to the dark ages of Flash video players everywhere.

That's why I'm so upset at Google, because if they had waited four years or so THEN they could have forced a transition to an open video format. All they have done right now is muddied the waters. At this point I don't trust Google farther than I can throw them, and being a company I can't throw them at all.

Re:Riding coattails! (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949124)

Chill out. We're all on the same side here. Wouldn't you, as a video host, much rather have to worry about supporting two open, royalty-free formats than several closed ones?

Re:Riding coattails! (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949176)

Wouldn't you, as a video host, much rather have to worry about supporting two open, royalty-free formats than several closed ones?

Which two formats are you referring to here?

Re:Riding coattails! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949198)

Ogg Theora and WebM—the two being discussed.

Re:Riding coattails! (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949284)

Ogg Theora and WebM—the two being discussed.

As a video host, why would you want to support two different formats, neither of which is widely used or supported in hardware or software, over one format that is both ubiquitous and open? The goal of video hosts is for their videos to be viewed - not to languish in obscurity.

Also, I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that Ogg Theora is being discussed - this article is about WebM vs H.264. The person you were replying to was discussing the FSF's marketing techniques, not the potential for Ogg becoming a widespread video standard (which is nil).

Re:Riding coattails! (1)

dns_server (696283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949392)

You probably want to do both because it would be a bad buisness decision to have all your eggs in one basket.

Both have potential legal/economic threats:
H264 is an open standard and if you pay your money you won't be sued by the patent pool.
The side effect is you are at the wims of mpegla who may increase the fees to use thair format in the future.

WebM is an open formaat with a licence on patents owned by google.
There are no licence fees on using the format but perhaps a risk on getting sued by mepgla.

Re:Riding coattails! (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949426)

The post I was responding to said that the two formats which should be supported are WebM and Ogg Theora. Not H.264.

Re:Riding coattails! (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949478)

The side effect is you are at the wims of mpegla who may increase the fees to use thair format in the future.

Yep, MPEG-LA will raise the royalty by no more than 10% in every 5-year licensing period. This gives you a very easy-to-budget number.

There are no license fees on using the format but perhaps a risk on getting sued by mepgla

I'd say it's almost a guarantee that MPEG-LA will be pursuing legal action if WebM looks like it's going to actually take off. Whether or not they can win remains to be seen, but expect years of back-and-forth in court all the same.

And if I'm a video producer, what do I do in the meantime? Pay my H.264 royalty fees, and wrap that video in Flash for the browsers that can't support H.264 via the HTML5 video tag.

The only site that will transcode its video to WebM is YouTube. And they may drag their feet on it for a while if they get slapped with a lawsuit, as well.

Re:Riding coattails! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949206)

As a video host, I won't do this. I'll leave my video in H.264 format, and serve it up via flash to the browsers that don't want to support H.264 playback via the HTML5 video tag.

The only thing that started breaking Flash's stranglehold was Apple's decision to say "NO FLASH on our iOS devices." Why? Because the bulk of "video hosts" don't give a shit about "openness," they give a shit about "how many people can watch my video," and the iOS devices represented an affluent demographic that video hosts *wanted* watching their video. So they figured out how to serve up their video without Flash.

And now, Google is saying "Let's have a standards war," which basically means nobody will invest in any recoding until the dust settles, which means they've just given Flash another 5 year lease on life. The only people who will transcode to WebM are YouTube. In the meantime, everybody else will serve up H.264 wrapped in Flash, and H.264 via HTML5 video tags to any browser that is smart enough to support it.

Hooray for "openness," enjoy your crashy Chrome-and-Flash browsing experience on any site that's not YouTube.

Oh shut up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949122)

Going to another corporate shill of a codec is not an improvement.

Misguided (1, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949132)

The FSF seems particularly misguided or unaware of the larger context it is working in. Google's position on WebM, realistically, means that Flash's dominance on the web is going to be prolonged. After all, it's not likely anybody is going to seriously adopt WebM while Google continues to support Flash.

So, while theoretically the FSF should be about freedom of the user and the community, the actual implication of their stance is to bolster proprietary formats (Adobe Flash) and monopolistic control of the internet (Google).

Re:Misguided (5, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949194)

Google wants to kill Flash—whether it's as quickly as possible or when they feel the time is right I can't really say, but consider a few things:

1. They've made Chrome users eat HTML5 video on YouTube in the past. If their objective is to get people to use Chrome (it is! my dear, cynical friend, it is! they want to advertise to your brain cells!) then this is strong evidence that they believe HTML5 is the right way to go.
2. Google likes Chrome being clean and minimal. They don't like Flash getting in the way—it's hideously unstable, Adobe has never been on good terms with the rest of the industry (see the origin of TrueType for one example), and, once again, my dear, cynical friend, it obstructs their ability to know what the user is doing because it is an externality.

I think if there's any reason Google delays in making motions to kill Flash, it's because they're waiting for everyone else to be ready for it. A huge (HUGE [webmproject.org] ) number of companies support WebM, both hardware and software—in fact, at this point, Apple and Microsoft are sticking out like sore thumbs by being absent from the list. The writing's on the wall that WebM is going to be the de facto video currency in the next few years, because Google is such an aggressive player—and because the format isn't proprietary [webmproject.org] , contrary to what you said.

You lying, thieving, cheating, scum-sucking, dog-licking, spit-swimming, spider-eating, goat-hugging, dung-smearing, pig-kissing, frog-swallowing, mud-biting, cow-tipping, toilet-swabbing, cud-chewing, window-washing, half-warped, apple-polishing, worm-witted, chicken-hearted, lamb-lusting, nefarious, untrustworthy nasty person!

Re:Misguided (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949228)

I wish I had some mod points for you.

Re:Misguided (1, Flamebait)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949238)

Google wants to kill Flash

Except there is no evidence for that. They publicly attacked an open standard (H.264) and plan to remove support for it, while continuing to bundle Flash with Chrome, and encode videos on YouTube for Flash.

then this is strong evidence that they believe HTML5 is the right way to go.

So, why is the default YouTube delivery in Flash, and not HTML5?

2. Google likes Chrome being clean and minimal. They don't like Flash getting in the way—it's hideously unstable, Adobe has never been on good terms with the rest of the industry

And yet Google chooses Flash over H.264 in Chrome, and issues public statements supporting Adobe over H.264.

because Google is such an aggressive player—and because the format isn't proprietary [webmproject.org], contrary to what you said.

Huh? I never said that WebM is proprietary. I said that Flash is.

Re:Misguided (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949282)

H.264 is less of an open standard than even OOXML. The H.264 specification was developed by a standards body which is only open in the sense that anyone who can pay the $40k per person per meeting fee to get a voting seat can participate. The H.264 specification is hideously complex and terribly expensive. There are no free software implementations of the complete specification, and certainly none which are legally licensed. Unlikely other areas of software, the patents over H.264 are actively and aggressively enforced both in the US and all across Europe.

Flash is far from a paragon of openness. But they too have releases specifications— and for free, if not all that complete. When it comes down to it, the internet doesn't need that much of a push to get off flash, it's going to happen naturally. The only question is what will we have when flash is gone? An web encumbered by proprietary technology (which is absolutely what H.264 is— it is owned and controlled by a single managing agency) or an open and freely licensed web?

So go on, keep spreading that FUD. If you get really good at it perhaps MPEG-LA start cutting buying you houses in Hawaii with their spoils.

Re:Misguided (5, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949342)

There are no free software implementations of the complete specification, and certainly none which are legally licensed.

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

Flash is far from a paragon of openness

That's understatement by a mile. Flash is a closed, proprietary standard. There is nothing "open" about it.

When it comes down to it, the internet doesn't need that much of a push to get off flash, it's going to happen naturally.

That's correct - Apple's refusal to put Flash on iOS devices signalled the end of Flash as the ubiquitous video playback wrapper on the web. Google's refusal to continue supporting H.264 has simply prolonged Flash's lifespan by a few years.

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.

Re:Misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949686)

That's understatement by a mile. Flash is a closed, proprietary standard. There is nothing "open" about it.

Individuals don't care about "open" standards (that is, standards 'anyone' can contribute to). They care about free standards which anyone can take and implement, regardless of platform, sans licensing fees.

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.

Yes, you can... although it's hard. Closed standards have never bothered the likes of us programmers. Freedom in the OSS world is the freedom to use source code or specifications. No one really gives a shit that they didn't have the opportunity to influence NTFS or RDP.

Re:Misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949716)

Closed standards have never bothered the likes of us programmers.

Note: I should have put "closed" in quotes. Most definitions (especially the credible ones) of "open standard" include the requirement that it shall be 'free.'

Re:Misguided (4, Informative)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949706)

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:Misguided (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949746)

This is why Firefox doesn't support h264. The licence terms, while not exactly incompatible with the GPL, are sufficiently complex in their interactions that it's easier to just avoid it altogether.

Re:Misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949752)

From what I read last week I believe it's legal to distribute the code for a H.264 implementation, and you can compile it and use it without issues. licensing costs only seemed to come into play if you were distributing an executable version. Wish I could find the link, but it seemed accurate. Anyone have some real information or pointers as to if this is correct or not?

Re:Misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949744)

I'm not the AC you replied to.
x264 is certainly one of the best H.264 encoders, but it doesn't implement the complete specification. Then again no H.264 encoder does. There are some parts of H.264 that have only limited use. Most video content normal people have access to is 4:2:0, so other colour spaces are only important for studio encoders and only as a intermediate format, not for something that is distributed at the end. Then there is Extended Profile, which offers features that make it easier to deal with packet loss during streaming, but it solves a problem that can be easier solved at the transport level, so nobody uses it.

Re:Misguided (3, Insightful)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949310)

They publicly attacked an open standard (H.264)

Ah yes, the famous open, patented, royalty-encumbered standard. Except for the open part

Re:Misguided (0, Flamebait)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949326)

Ah yes, the famous open, patented, royalty-encumbered standard. Except for the open part

It is open. And if you;re bothered by patents, then WebM is also patent-encumbered. So, isn't WebM equally suspect/legitimate? They are both open standards, and they are both patent-encumbered.

Re:Misguided (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949344)

Google won't act on those patents, though. They've said it time and time again and, most importantly, they have no interest in doing so.

The MPEG-LA? Well...

Re:Misguided (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949382)

Google won't act on those patents, though. They've said it time and time again and, most importantly, they have no interest in doing so.

It doesn't matter what they say, the format is subject to patents. Therefore, it is patent-encumbered. It is not only vulnerable to to enforcement by Google, it is also vulnerable to legal attacks from outside parties.

The only way something could not be patent-encumbered would for no patents to apply to it, for all of its technology to be in the public domain.

I'm also not sure why you trust Google's position not to change. We've just seen Google's executive management change hands. There's no guarantee that future executives and owners will uphold previous promises. None of which are legally binding.

Re:Misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949398)

If google didnt hold patents on it, someone else could easily patent it and sue google.

I trust google enough to take them at their word.

Flash sucks, Im sick and tired of all things adobe.

Re:Misguided (1, Interesting)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949444)

If google released it to the public domain, then their implementation would be prior art, invalidating any subsequent attempt to patent the technology.

My concern with the patents on WebM boil down to the simple fact that Google won't indemnify users. They're flogging their pet standard, but it seems they're not confident enough in it to say, "and we'll help you if anybody comes after you." If they're not confident enough in their patent status to say that... why should anybody else be? It's a pretty huge risk they're asking everybody else to take.

I may have to pay for H.264, but at least I can *plan and budget* for that expenditure. WebM is free today, but if I somebody brings a suit against me tomorrow, I may have to spend way more than I ever would have spent on H.264 royalties to defend myself.

Re:Misguided (4, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949664)

My concern with the patents on WebM boil down to the simple fact that Google won't indemnify users.

MPEG-LA won't indemnify you either. If someone outside their patent pool sues you, they're not going to be helping.

Re:Misguided (4, Insightful)

B2382F29 (742174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949666)

but if I somebody brings a suit against me tomorrow, I may have to spend way more than I ever would have spent on H.264 royalties to defend myself.

So what is the difference to H.264 ? They also don't indemnify their users, so there is NO reason to prefer one over the other, the risks are identical.

Re:Misguided (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949756)

"invalidating any subsequent attempt to patent the technology."

You are assuming the patent system actually works. In practice many patents would be granted - indeed, are granted - for things where prior art not only exists but is widely known. It then falls on the defendents to spend millions of dollars in court to fight the patents.

Re:Misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949492)

It's fairly well known that VP8 (the video codec in WebM) infringes on H.264 patents. No one is willing to sue Google however thanks to that fact that Google has video patents as well and suing Google invites a giant patent war.

You, on the other hand? Unless you've got a patent portfolio to fire back with... you might be in for a surprise.

(VP8 literally lifts algorithms straight from H.264, this is a known fact. It was never developed to be patent-free, it was developed as a proprietary codec from day 1. Only after Google bought the IP was it ever "opened" and even then, there is no spec: only code.)

Re:Misguided (1)

dsavi (1540343) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949632)

WebM may be patented, but is it encumbered? Not if Google doesn't sue someone for using it.

Re:Misguided (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949798)

WebM may be patented, but is it encumbered? Not if Google doesn't sue someone for using it.

Anything that is patented is patent-encumbered. Even if Google doesn't sue you for using it, it is still encumbered by patents.

Re:Misguided (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949394)

So, why is the default YouTube delivery in Flash, and not HTML5?

Because it's supported in more places, more stable, and faster?
And it's not part of an unfinished standard. There's that too (not that it stopped anyone else).

Re:Misguided (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949458)

Because it's supported in more places, more stable, and faster?

While it might be supported in more places, your claim that it is faster and more stable are laughable. Flash is notorious for being unstable and slow. Haven't you ever used it?

Performance aside, Google announced that it was dropping support for H.264 in the interests of openness, not performance. Yet H.264 is an open standard, and Flash is proprietary. So, Google's stated intentions don't make any sense. If this are all about openness, why didn't they also drop Flash support?

Re:Misguided (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949600)

Goddamn, this must be like what the Paladin's Lawful Good demeanor writes like. Totally unable to accept compromise, even in the betterment of common good.

FYI, while Flash decoding is still slow in comparison to desktop decoders, it was significantly faster than Chrome's ffmpeg-H.264 decoder. Silverlight does trounce it however.

My guess is Flash will continue its longevity until a suitable replacement for web games is recognized. Video support seems like a big issue most of the time, but it actually pales in comparison to to all of the other things Flash is used for: ads, streaming, sounds, games, mic, cams. Obsoleting Flash video doesn't justify abandoning Flash totally.

Re:Misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949636)

Because there is more to flash than just playing video?

I mean, they have made moves to move away from flash for youtube, by html5.

Yet, there are more things that need flash on the internet than just to show video. Until there's an alternative for those, removing flash alltogether would be maybe too bold of a move.

Re:Misguided (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949638)

Well, maybe not so much "faster" as "more optimized". It's definitely more mature. (I myself generally have had good performance with Flash (with Firefox on Linux, for what that's worth). I tried HTML5 video once, and it didn't work at all.)
And openness isn't necessarily Google's only reason for doing it (and, in fact, the publicized reason for anything is rarely the only reason).

Re:Misguided (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949782)

Well, maybe not so much "faster" as "more optimized". It's definitely more mature.

No. It's neither more optimized or mature. Most Flash video is just H.264 wrapped in a proprietary player that makes it slower and less efficient. Especially on mobile devices, where Flash video barely works at all, but plain H.264 in HTML works just fine.

And openness isn't necessarily Google's only reason for doing it (and, in fact, the publicized reason for anything is rarely the only reason).

So, what's the reason for not telling us?

Re:Misguided (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949624)

Don't mix apples and oranges. FSF is concerned about Free Software, Open Source, not Open Standard bodies. This is not the primary goal of the FSF to support everything from the Open Standard bodies. So, this move makes sense provided the goals of the FSF and the community. And in this very case, seems it maybe detrimental for the Open Standard bodies.

Re:Misguided (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949812)

Don't mix apples and oranges. FSF is concerned about Free Software, Open Source, not Open Standard bodies. This is not the primary goal of the FSF to support everything from the Open Standard bodies. So, this move makes sense provided the goals of the FSF and the community

Yet the result of this statement from the FSF, and of Google's actions is to promote proprietary software in the form of Flash. How is it in the FSF's interests to promote Flash?

Re:Misguided (4, Insightful)

citizenr (871508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949276)

>while Google continues to support Flash.

The day youtube stops serving flash and requires WebM will be the day Flash dies.

Re:Misguided (2, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949292)

The day youtube stops serving flash and requires WebM will be the day Flash dies.

That depends on when that happens. If it is at a time when there is little support for WebM, or little interest in Youtube, it might be the day that Youtube dies.

Re:Misguided (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949432)

>while Google continues to support Flash.

The day youtube stops serving flash and requires WebM will be the day Flash dies.

if that's the case, they could just drop Flash support from YouTube tomorrow.

Re:Misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949818)

orly?

  • Issue 45297 [google.com] : youtube 3d video works in flash but not <video>
  • Issue 57741 [google.com] : there is a pink layer over all html5 videos
  • Issue 55493 [google.com] : ogv 6.1 channel order is wrong
  • Issue 63233 [google.com] : GPU process freezes using 100% CPU while playing WebM videos on YouTube on Linux
  • Issue 68056 [google.com] : Two video instances on same page with same source causes strange interactions
  • Issue 62682 [google.com] : laggy / stuttering HTML5 webm video on Youtube
  • Issue 70217 [google.com] : Chrome does not crop WebM videos to visual area, displays garbage instead (I couldn't confirm this one... could be Linux-only)
  • more... [google.com]

Re:Misguided (1)

matunos (1587263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949568)

Hopefully it's after the day WebM does more than just play compressed video and audio.

Re:Misguided (3, Insightful)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949288)

Google's position on WebM, realistically, means that Flash's dominance on the web is going to be prolonged. After all, it's not likely anybody is going to seriously adopt WebM while Google continues to support Flash.

It might just be late, but I have no idea how you are reaching this conclusion. Are you aware that Adobe is one of the companies that has pledged to support WebM?

The fight to adopt WebM has nothing to do with WebM vs Flash. The fight is h264/html5 vs WebM/html5. Take a quick look at this page:

http://www.youtube.com/html5 [youtube.com]

Re:Misguided (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949312)

Are you aware that Adobe is one of the companies that has pledged to support WebM?

Only as a means of prolonging their Flash player. I wasn't aware that Adobe makes a web browser, so I'm not sure why we should care about Adobe's position. Also, Adobe has been very hostile to open formats, so again, why should we take those statements seriously?

The fight to adopt WebM has nothing to do with WebM vs Flash. The fight is h264/html5 vs WebM/html5.

That's fucking ridiculous. The argument should be HTML5 versus proprietary plugins. This is the whole point. Google (among others) is trying to re-frame the debate as a war between different video CODECs, when HTML5, as a standard, should be CODEC-neutral.

Basically, partisan forces are fucking with HTML5, and HTML5 will suffer because of it.

Re:Misguided (2)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949434)

That's fucking ridiculous. The argument should be HTML5 versus proprietary plugins.

Nobody is arguing this because everything will be HTML5 eventually. I linked you to youtube's page where you can test drive their HTML5 player with h264 content or WebM content depending on your browser. Google owns Youtube.

This is the whole point. Google (among others) is trying to re-frame the debate as a war between different video CODECs, when HTML5, as a standard, should be CODEC-neutral.

HTML5 is codec neutral, it can embed h264 or webm content. The debate is what to embed. It's simply GIF vs PNG all over again.

Re:Misguided (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949476)

Nobody is arguing this because everything will be HTML5 eventually. I linked you to youtube's page where you can test drive their HTML5 player with h264 content or WebM content depending on your browser. Google owns Youtube.

Have you completely missed what this article is about? Google announced that it plans to drop support for H.264 in favor of WebM.

HTML5 is codec neutral, it can embed h264 or webm content. The debate is what to embed.

And Google is trying to push against embedding H.264 in favor of WebM. And its public arguments are that HTML shouldn't support H.264.

Re:Misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949780)

when HTML5, as a standard, should be CODEC-neutral.

Trying to be codec neutral is what got us in this situation in the first place. They tried to define one video standard to use and people bitched and yelled so they decided not to specify one. Now we've got three different versions fighting it out. The HTML5 group needs to grow some balls and pick one so we can move forward. It may not be the best, but it would be better than what we are getting.

Awareness (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949338)

It might just be late, but I have no idea how you are reaching this conclusion. Are you aware that Adobe is one of the companies that has pledged to support WebM?

Are you aware how many mobile devices today can only play h.264 when Flash is not present?

So Adobe is supporting VP8 playback in Flash, it means nothing - because anyone encoding video will say "if I encode in h.264 it will work in all browsers, across all devices". What is the incentive to also encode in WebM/VP8? There is none.

So as stated, what will happen is that web producers will go back to using crappy flash video players on the web for everyone except mobile users, who will get straight-up video without a horrible wrapper.

Re:Misguided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949454)

The FSF seems particularly misguided or unaware of the larger context it is working in. Google's position on WebM, realistically, means that Flash's dominance on the web is going to be prolonged. After all, it's not likely anybody is going to seriously adopt WebM while Google continues to support Flash.

So when Flash supports WebM then, what, the universe will explode? Here's how it will play out:

1. The majority of HTML5 browsers will support WebM in the video tag natively (Firefox 4, Chrome, Opera).
2. The minority of HTML5 browsers will support WebM in the video tag if the codec is installed (IE9, Safari).
3. Adobe will add WebM support to Flash.

So the only reason to bother with H.264 at that point is to support web users on mobiles who can't play WebM content. Mobile users of any variety make up a paltry 5% of web traffic at best. So for video producers a good option will be HTML5 support with WebM of all resolutions the site supports and a low quality H.264 version for mobile and WebM playback in Flash of all resolutions for non-HTML5 browsers.

Re:Misguided (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949482)

I'm tired of this moronic repetition. H.264's alternative: WebM. Flash's alternative: Nothing at the moment. Until something ACTUALLY CAN replace Flash (HTML5 certainly can't right now) then supporting it is better than not supporting it.

And as a positive side effect, supporting Flash inside the browser is better than supporting it outside the browser, because Google can then kill Flash at a moment's notice (whereas they can't single out the Adobe-installed one without drawing lawsuits).

All of this is shit you should know however, seeing as you're such an expert on Flash and Google matters. Google has made the second biggest effort after Apple in terms of killing off Flash via their contributions to the HTML5 standard.

Well that's great because... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949148)

...everything the FSF supports is massively successful.

Re:Well that's great because... (5, Insightful)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949262)

Hmm... I'd call GCC pretty successful...

Re:Well that's great because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949656)

Yeah, explains why everyone uses MSVC on Windows.

Re:Well that's great because... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949324)

Worse, the people who need to be excited about WebM (big corporate media) will actively be repulsed by the FSF's stamp of approval. The way these people think, open = free = piracy, and more open = more free = more piracy. They hear "FSF" and envision a large, bearded hippie with his middle finger raised in their direction.

Even ignoring that problem, unless Google is willing to stand behind it with indemnity from patent suits, those media giants going to see WebM as a giant target painted on their chests. Video compression is a patent minefield, and indemnity is pretty much an absolute requirement these days if you expect to be taken seriously. So now those media giants will see a large bearded hippie flipping them off, with a bomb strapped to his chest.

The FSF putting their stamp on it is just the final nail in WebM's coffin. Stick a fork in it. It's done. Google has really screwed the pooch on this one.

Re:Well that's great because... (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949408)

They hear "FSF" and envision a large, bearded hippie with his middle finger raised in their direction

Your post seemed more rant then substance, but this made me chuckle.

Re:Well that's great because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949796)

I don't think anybody really equates the FSF with piracy. I *do* sense the large, bearded hippie vibe. All of their websites and many of their writings have this slightly childish feel, which trots out outdated and discredited arguments as soundbites, does not consider rebuttals, and spends a lot of time on weird semantic pedantry rather than real arguments until your vocabulary has been replaced by a NewSpeak where everything they dislike has some hideously juvenile wordplay. Of course, they accuse a conspiracy (intentional or unintentional, but with a Beck-ian "I'm just asking questions" implication) of doing NewSpeak ourselves and they are just counterbalancing. Or something.

I honestly think this is more of a no-op. If anything I'm kind of mildly surprised that they'll support a non-standard codec which is imperfectly open/non-proprietary. I didn't think they'd support H.264, because of patents, but it ticks most of their other boxes much better than WebM. I thought they'd demand a third path.

Let the flame war begin! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949168)

It doesn't matter how this free / not free debate goes. One is a formal ISO standard, the other is whatever Google decides. How that makes H.264 somehow not open escapes me, but...

  If I'm engineering a hardware codec, I want the standard that's set down in stone, just like my design is going to be (well, silicon, but you know what I mean).

Re:Let the flame war begin! (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949366)

Considering a large part of Google's strategy relies on Android, they will make sure your hardware codec works. Mobile phones would be far less viable for web video if they didn't have hardware support for video codecs.

Also, OOXML is a ISO standard. Being an ISO standard apparently doesn't mean much nowadays.

Re:Let the flame war begin! (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949606)

If it's patent encumbered, then it's not open.

hardware (1)

gbelteshazzar (1214658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949244)

so where do i get a chip that plays webm?

it's open but a crap product without hardware support, awesome

Re:hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949274)

I predict any hardware that's going into the Nexus line or other mobile device that supports Android or ChromeOS will have hardware accelerated WebM playback.

Key word "will" (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949360)

The original post was asking WHERE he get a chip that plays WebM, not WHEN. As there are not even any chips to be had WebM looks to have a very long and hard road ahead to gain any traction - even (or especially?) with Google pushing it.

The truth is that today if you encode in h.264 it will work in any browser. It will work on iOS devices with hardware accelleration. It will work in Mozilla and Chrome using the Flash player. It will work in Safari and IE directly.

Unless you shut off h.264 support in Flash WebM adoption is simply not going to happen. And Adobe has no interest in doing that, they like just fine how everyone has to come to them for video players now.

Re:hardware (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949286)

Right when somebody implements the codec on OpenCL or something, I guess...

Re:hardware (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949466)

so where do i get a chip that plays webm?

http://www.nvidia.com/object/tegra-2.html

Re:hardware (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34949526)

Re:hardware (1)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949742)

Well, that's one down. Where's Google's patent indemnification to protect the chip makers from MPEG-LA patent suits? Oh, that's right. Google has so far refused to do so. Good luck with that.

Also let me remind (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949748)

Google made Chrome x86 only before any other company on OS X land dared to post a non universal binary except Adobe who uses a lot of shared code between Win/OS X.

They didn't even bother to ship a Symbian player/demo/whatever. They could say "Youtube player, with WebM support" and release update to already established Youtube.

Of course, ARM CPU will choke to death when you get this marvelous idea of doing everything on CPU. Even a netbook with a tegra chipset will lose half of its promised battery life/performance as it will have to fallback to CPU.

The absolute comedy is, we are arguing about it while World's true media distribution giant (Apple) has no intention to re-invent the wheel and they agree to Microsoft on that. Apple has put considerable time&money to H264, it isn't like acquiring some unsuccessful codec company and release their stolen codec trusting to how big you are.

The Real Battle (1)

benjammindean (1800908) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949254)

Here's what we don't see. There is a battle going on, and it has nothing to do with which codec to use. The real battle is between Apple and Adobe. Apple wants to control everything on iOS (and everywhere else...can anyone say AppStore?), so Flash doesn't play so nice on those 64bit gizmos eh? Flash has embedded itself into the web because of video. Sooo...how do you beat Flash, in comes the MP4 wrapper for H.264 encodings (and Apple's on the patent bandwagon). Google is drawing a line firmly between them in many ways: Google Apps, Android, Chromium Tablet...and now they've closed the door on H.264 moving to WebM. Adobe will make the switch...why? Because f4v flopped, Flash Media Server bows down to MP4 encoding, which makes it an open target against Apple who doesn't support Flash on their cool little gizmos everyone buys. Hrmm...the real battle is over the mobile market and who dominates. Google is using their muscle to push open standards, which I for one will always vote for VS Apple's system (CoCoa, WebKit). We'll see who wins.

Sort of right, but between Open and Closed (1, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949386)

The real battle is between Apple and Adobe

That is true from the standpoint of Apple fighting for open technologies backed by large groups of companies (HTML5, h.264) where Adobe is fighting for maintaining control over the stronghold of Web Video, where they are the ones who provide players everyone needs to operate universally.

That's why Google, Apple and Microsoft were together in supporting the video tag. But then Google got greedy, and thought "Why can't I have Adobe's position"? So under the guise of being open, Google is pushing for a standard controlled by them.

The end effect is now the same standoff we had before, where neither Apple nor Adobe can get the upper hand. And that is a shame because when all three were standing together you could actually see a chance of Flash being booted off the internet.

Re:Sort of right, but between Open and Closed (2)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949584)

Is it funny he mentions webkit - maybe you should really look into what the engine of Chrome is based on. The same for mentioning Cocoa what the fuck has this to do with a videocodec ? And OpenCL also closed ? The fact that Apple doesn't use its weight to introduce closed tags, events like MS did with IE, ... .

But then again this Slashdot - new for people with delusions and where everything is black and white.

End of the world? (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949404)

Motherfucker! Mine is more open; no MINE is; no they BOTH are; no NEITHER one is; take THAT; BIFF, BANG, POW, SLAP. I have never seen so much bickering since the last time Democrats and Republicans were in the same room together. The world will end not with a bang, nor with a whimper - it will end with everybody savagely attacking each other over every single issue.

Horse shit (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949504)

H264 decoding is a one time payment. If google decides to start fucking with webm licesning then we are fucked if we go to webm.

Otoh. The h264 codec is so encumbered with everyone else fighting it that open source developers are going to skate by and only hardware vendors are going to pay h264 costs. Software other than big names like adobe and apple are going to pay.

Somebody need to read the license of WebM (1)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949560)

If you or your agent or exclusive licensee institute or order or agree to the institution of patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that this implementation of VP8 or any code incorporated within this implementation of VP8 constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, or inducement of patent infringement, then any patent rights granted to you under this License for this implementation of VP8 shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.

http://www.webmproject.org/license/additional/ [webmproject.org]

So the moment that somebody files a suit or have a valid claim you are in the same licensing pool bed as h.264 with the only difference that this format is controlled by a single company. And I really couldn't see anything going wrong that what... . And I always see the same link to a blog for a h.264 so it is automatically discarded as FUD but the matter of fact that it isn't the only source for that argument, even independent observers have stated that WebM may be not royalty free for long as it is unsure if it is not patent encumbered.

And being a webdeveloper that sometimes also deals with video I'm gonna burst a lot of bubbles. I will not be bothered by converting video anytime soon into WebM just for the simple fact that supporting Flash & h264 I can support the whole spectrum. Because it is free (for the time being ?) my software and hardware already supports h.264 so why should I care ? For that couple of cents that I pay more when buying videosoftware licenses ? That is a drop in a bucket... . Streaming is free (as long as your streams are free for consumers)

Re:Somebody need to read the license of WebM (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949764)

I don't know about you, but I'm reading that as "If you or one of your pawns sues anyone over WebM, you will not be allowed to use it yourself.". That seems reasonable enough to me.

Re:Somebody need to read the license of WebM (1)

jellyfrog (1645619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949766)

If you or your agent or exclusive licensee institute or order or agree to the institution of patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that this implementation of VP8 or any code incorporated within this implementation of VP8 constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, or inducement of patent infringement, then any patent rights granted to you under this License for this implementation of VP8 shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.

This just says that if you (attempt to) sue someone for using WebM, you don't get to use it anymore. Like the GPL for patents. Ooooh, scary.

As Google is rich (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34949720)

Can Google provide us, h264/mpeg sp accelerated device owners, such as less than a billion feature+ phone owners a software to play WebM?

There should also be some kind of remote chip attachment innovation as satellite boxes, dvr and like billion of devices won't accept "new software" as they do their job on hardware level.

Next, they should replace the satellites as entire industry adopted h264 a long time ago.

I have absolutely no idea which "deeper,evil" plan Apple has on this h264 debacle but let me say, I agree to SJobs and Apple on h264. Even Microsoft who is famous for re-inventing the wheel, didn't push their codec further and added h264 support. Ask them why, because it is superior to anything which is on market today and established. On hardware that is!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...