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Multi-Platform Video Codec Seeks New Home

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the foster-code-care dept.

News 125

Eric Smith asks: "I own a next-generation video codec development company, idea65 (covered on Slashdot as our previous incarnations Opencodex, and Flashingyellow). We have a finished product, but don't quite know what to do with it, and we're looking for someone (or some company) interested in taking it over." Here's the chance for some of you out there looking for a good cause, to contribute something. Loads of people (me, included) would love a good cross-platform video codec.

We started our journey as an open-source project contest in response to DivX, before DivX networks came into being. Due to a variety of issues (not the least of which was our main investor pulling out and funding having to come out of my own pocket), we mutated into a closed-source project that we intended to distribute ourselves through the help of a third party. We finished product development almost a year ago and have a really great portable video codec that runs on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows.

The problem we've run into is that with the economy being as it is, our candidates for distribution assistance have also all dried up. We've considered just GPL'ing it and seeing what the open-source community could do with it, but don't have anyone to oversee changes and official versions, not to mention from the looks of the DivX 4.0 project, there don't seem to be a lot of people interested in (or with the knowledge to) work on video codecs.

More or less, we've got a bunch of very well written CodeWarrior projects that need to find a new home as we don't really have the expertise or financing to sell it or even give it away. So, I'm interested in knowing if anyone has any suggestions for what to do with the project, or interest in taking it over (those with experience with this kind of thing)."

If seriously interested, you can contact Eric using the mailto link at the beginning of this article.

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Don't be so quick to GPL! (3, Insightful)

IIOIOOIOO (517375) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704078)

I'll be getting in touch with you. Don't GPL it, that would be silly. If you guys made the darn thing with the intention of earning money, you should darn well get some money for it!

Re:Don't be so quick to GPL! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704097)

First post, damn you. First post.

Trolling for Chuy... (-1)

Big_Ass_Spork (446856) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704129)

It is a well known fact that Jesus, AKA the Lord, OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, Son of God, Chuy, etc... Was in fact a troll. This whole turn the other cheek thing, for example is a fairly obvious troll. If only they had a moderation system in the first few years of the common era, this could have been mod'd out of our view.

There are other examples of Jesus trolling his disciples. Stopping the flow of blood for that old lady, for example. He invented the tampax, and trolled it as a miracle. The list could surely continue.

In conclussion, let us all make WWJD our mantra. Let us troll for Jesus.


Big_Ass_Spork (446856) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704165)

I do it wrong

Laying here in the shadows of my room, I squint up at my love. My Ms. Portman. I am sore and tired after fucking her for eight solid hours. My chapped and aching dick is soaking in grits to relieve the pain. She gets on her knees and starts lapping the grits up out of the bowl. She places her beautiful hands on my penis and starts to lick the grits off my achy piece.

Massaging my nutsack she....


Yanking my dick out of her mouth I throw her to the ground and shove it in to her gaping freshly fisted ass. []

"OH BIG ASS SPORK!! Fuck my ass, fuck my ass good. DEEPER, my stallion, deeper!! Make a Beowulf cluster of sperm on my back!!"

"Imagine a Beowulf cluster of this baby!"


Au Contraire... (3, Interesting)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704214)

Releasing it under the GPL would mean that there would be a set of "hacker types" interested in deploying it amongst a group that is technically knowledgeable.

That's helpful in getting it known, which is worth rather a lot.

The codec would not in that form be usable outside of the context of freely-redistributable software. Someone who wants to integrate it into their cool, but proprietary viewer would find that they can't, at least not with the GPL-licensed version.

That can't represents the place where they can look for their revenues.

It's not obvious that there can possibly be interest in it without there being some sort of release; the company hasn't money to spend on renting Times Square to show the world they've got a K001 Product.

Releasing under something like the GPL may be the only way to get it into use, and to get any return from it.

Re:Au Contraire... (3, Insightful)

radja (58949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704318)

hmm, since you are the copyright owner you could also dual-licence it. First release as GPL, and allow companies wanting to include it in a proprietary product to licence it from you directly. Basically, you get the best of both worlds..


Dual Licensing, Indeed. (2)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704989)

Just so.

  • GPL, for free products
  • Direct arrangements, for other needs

Re:Au Contraire... (1)

IIOIOOIOO (517375) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704338)

Au Contraire to you as well, my friend! You are forgetting that if he GPL'd the code and allowed outside contributors, he would have to impose restrictive agreements upon those contributors under which they would be forced to give up all copyrights to the code they contribute.

Otherwise, the code they contribute will be released under GPL as well, and he (no longer being the sole copyright holder) would have to gain their permission to release the updated code under a non-GPL license. As copyright holders, they could object.

It's kind of hard to get people to work on a project for free when it's apparent that your intention is to immediately release it under a non-open license. Usually, you have to pay those guys.

The net effect? You've exposed your codec's guts to the world without being able to easily commercialize any of the benefits of being open-sourced.

I'm not forgetting anything there. (1, Redundant)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2705017)

You might want to look at the history of Ghostscript, [] which has, for years, taken exactly the approach I describe.

More pointedly, I would direct you to an Interview with L. Peter Deutsch [] which addresses the precise issues surrounding copyright assignment that you seem to think so daunting.

Ghostscript has been not finding them to be a problem for a lot of years now.

Re:I'm not forgetting anything there. (1)

IIOIOOIOO (517375) | more than 12 years ago | (#2705406)

Sure, he says exactly what I did. That in order to dual-license a project in which you accept outside submissions, you must necessarily force them to assign copyrights to you. He simply says that he has not yet been sued over the deal. Has he actually protected himself from liability or a legal challenge? Certainly not, and more power to him! However, not all people are so brave as to make business deals based on murky legal grounds.

Re:Don't be so quick to GPL! (5, Insightful)

mr3038 (121693) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704219)

Don't GPL it, that would be silly. If you guys made the darn thing with the intention of earning money, you should darn well get some money for it!

Well, if you intent to get some money with it GPLing shouldn't ruin the plan. If somebody wants to use this codec commercially they probably sell closed source program with it and cannot therefore use codec without purchasing different license. GPL doesn't restrict from releasing product under another product simultaneously. One could even claim that GPL version would be a full-featured demo to sell codec.

If the codec does something revolutional like not using DCT and interpolation between keyframes then not to GPL it may be a good idea because ideas aren't restricted by copyright. Without money you cannot patent it and that would be only yet another hated software patent anyway.

Whether or not the use of GPLed codec would be legal in Windows or MacOS is another question. Most programs in these platforms are closed and cannot therefore link with GPLed code. Strictly interpreted this means that you cannot use GPLed codec in say for example WMP. On the other hand WMP may be claimed to be part of OS and GPL allows linking with OS libraries...

Re:Don't be so quick to GPL! (1)

Aapje (237149) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704414)

On the other hand WMP may be claimed to be part of OS and GPL allows linking with OS libraries...

That's an interesting loophole. So M$ can claim that IE is part of the OS and link any GPL-library with it. Doesn't this defeat the protection that many GPL-authors seek from the use of GPL?: "M$ can't take x and use it in their proprietary software"

Is there a clear definition of OS libraries in the GPL? It seems that one can 'pervert' this to mean just about any library that is/can be installed in the system and can be called by applications.

Re:Don't be so quick to GPL! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704455)

anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs,

Basically, the GPL OS exception includes anything on the CD. In Windows' case that includes IE, WMP, Notepad, etc.

Re:Don't be so quick to GPL! (1)

mahmud (254877) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704490)

This [] pretty much makes it clear.

Re:Don't be so quick to GPL! (2)

spitzak (4019) | more than 12 years ago | (#2705408)

Certainly MSoft cannot make some of the ie code call any GPL code directly. The GPL code has to at least be some sort of "plugin" that IE can function without, and it probably has to be an easily added & removed component.

The question is if this sort of add-on is allowed. I believe it is, but there may be more information.

MSoft can be a pain and license the header files so they cannot be included by GPL code, their management has threatened to do this but I think their engineers may be showing a little backbone recently and stopping them from being totally mindless assholes.

Re:Don't be so quick to GPL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704355)

Please release it to GPL if the project is to be definitely abandonated! If not... I can't tell you what you should do, I'm sorry.

Re:Don't be so quick to GPL! (1)

Curt Cox (199406) | more than 12 years ago | (#2705097)

The GPL is hardly incompatable with profit.
Prentice Hall would have sold a ton of these [] if they had GPL'd Minix.

frost pist! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704089)

this is a FROST PIST mothafuckers

now wheres my addadictomy?

What I'd like to know is... (0, Offtopic)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704090)

What's the deal with ogg-tarkin? Is it making progress? Is it going to be good when it's done?

Re:What I'd like to know is... (3, Interesting)

Ardax (46430) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704145)

Ogg-Tarkin is still in the very earliest stages of development. It'll probably stay there for a while until the guys over at Xiph get Ogg Vorbis 1.0 out the door.

And if Vorbis is any indication of the quality level that Monty, et al want to achieve with Tarkin, it's going to kick some serious ass. :-)

To be on topic, if you guys aren't getting anywhere with investing, it may be worthwhile to see if the Tarkin guys are interested. I mean, if you're really thinking about giving it away anyway, maybe you can give some another project some serious help.

This wouldn't let me post before (off topic) (-1, Offtopic)

Sk3lt (464645) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704093)

It said I already posted which wasn't true...

Give it to academia (3, Interesting)

eMilkshake (131623) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704094)

The best way is to do a little research to find out if there are any movers & shakers in research and give it to them. Otherwise, find a reputable school, contact their CompSci guys, and ask if their interested (or at least ask their computing group if they'll distribute it).

Isn't that where our favoriate things like fetch came from?

Re:Give it to academia (1)

bareminimum (456719) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704133)

BCU in Vancouver has a strong video codec team. RealNetworks and Microsoft used to recruit there. They have a whole bunch of doctorate and post-doctorate students from all around the world.

Give it to Canadians, they're nice people.

Ogg Tarkin (5, Interesting)

Shrubbman (3807) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704103)

If you're codec is patent free, the people over at the ogg multimedia project would be bigtime interested. They've got the audio portion (vorbis) well along but they're still aways away from having their video portion (tarkin) completed. Head over here [] for more info

Oxymorons abound... (-1, Flamebait)

SumDeusExMachina (318037) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704110)

We finished product development almost a year ago and have a really great portable video codec that runs on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows.

If this is what you call "cross-platform", then it is no wonder that people pulled investment money out of your company and left you ultimately failing. You are leaving great media platforms like BeOS out in the cold, not to mention virtually all of the *BSDs. And what about IRIX? Solaris? AIX? Last I heard, they had quite a market share among commercial UNIX platforms.

Thus, I think that the best direction that your project could possibly take would be to GPL all of your work. Regardless of whether people muck it up with their own ill-advised "improvements", there will always be the original code available to anyone interested, so that others may port it to other platforms. Otherwise, all you have is another Quicktime: Good codec, absolutely worthless for cross-platform viewing.

Re:Oxymorons abound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704212)

If this is what you call "cross-platform", then it is no wonder that people pulled investment money out of your company and left you ultimately failing.

Cross-platform means it works on one or more platforms, not necessarily mean every platform. Nothing can be run on every platform as it couldn't run on my brainfuck-only OS ;P

Re:Oxymorons abound... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704614)

"Cross-platform means it works on one or more platforms..."

By your definition, if a program runs at all then it's cross-platform.

Ogg Tarkin (0, Redundant)

orbital3 (153855) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704116)

Maybe the Ogg Tarkin [] crew would be interested. I know they've talked about integrating VP3 and I'm sure any ideas or code that could be used from this codec would help the project.

OK, OK, OK.... (3, Funny)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704117)

You can email it to me, dude.

Re:OK, OK, OK.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704243)

You can email it to me, dude.

You forgot to include email address, sorry.
Awesome public key [] , by the way!

Must....not...say it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2705216)

I send you this codec in order to have your advice.

The problem is... (5, Funny)

easter1916 (452058) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704122)

We have a finished product, but don't quite know what to do with it
Prior to developing the product and forming a company, did anyone mention the words "business plan" to you?

Re:The problem is... (2, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704148)

I'm pretty sure the "business plan" goes like this:

1. Write closed-source codec (just what the world need another one of).

2. Find that you're not able to make money on it.

3. Pretend you're thinking of making it open source so that your slashdot submission gets accepted.

4. Get tons of free exposure; hope that some sucker buys it from you as a result. Who cares if it'll probably be closed source afterwards?

Fortunately, I bet that there aren't any such suckers out there.

Vanilla Ice speaks tha truth again

Re:The problem is... (1)

nonane (305432) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704948)

You tell me how many bussiness men / VCs roam around on slashdot, eh? What good will exposure on slashdot do?

anyswer = little buzz + nothing.

the people who read slashdot are broke college guys, and middle aged sysadmins holding on to the last thread they have in this hell hole of an economy.

no one here but us nerds!

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2705456)

I know one business man who reads the front page of slashdot periodically (he never bothers with the comments pages, since they're full of drivel). He's an ex-employer, quite wealthy (probably a GB£-millionaire, though he'd keep it quiet).

Re:The problem is... (1)

telbij (465356) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704216)

Geeks code for the love of code, if they can convince VCs to give em money to do what they love then good for them.

It sounded to me like they started this company during the tech bubble, but I think they were just trying to cash in on the side. The real goal seems to have been the codec itself. I don't see where they made a mistake.

Re:The problem is... (1)

easter1916 (452058) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704244)

If they coded for the love of code, why are they asking Slashdot for marketing assistance, then?

Food, cats, wife? (1)

DamienMcKenna (181101) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704352)

Some geeks also want to be able to buy food, support their cats, and go to an occasional movie with their wife, so it can't /all/ be for free.

Re:The problem is... (2)

stilwebm (129567) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704508)

No VC is going to give you money if you haven't already invested in your own business. Most VC's won't even touch a business that doesn't have a large amount of angel (family, friends and associates) funding already either.

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704268)

did anyone mention the words "business plan" to you

There's an obvious business plan for codecs that are good. There's a huge demand for better quality streaming video out there.

From the writeup, it sounds like his codec is worse than OpenDivx.

OpenDivx in turn isn't even as good as DivX 3 (based on old beta MS code).

Modern codecs from Microsoft and Apple blow away DivX 3 in terms of quality, and are only 'platform dependant' in terms of marketing.

So, like any good company without a business plan (ahem, Netscape), the solution is to open source it and port it to Linux and wait for the underwear gnomes.

Re:The problem is... (3, Funny)

_defiant_ (120560) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704396)

Step 1) Steal Underpants

Step 2) ...

Step 3) Profit!

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704446)

The question did include this; they had a business plan, it fell through because it relied on third parties to distribute the software who either weren't truly committed or just disappeared...

There's a lesson here - don't rely on third parties in your business plan unless they are in it from the start (and you actually have contracts that say that they'll be doing their share, not just "strategic partnerships").

Re:The problem is... (1)

Ivan Raikov (521143) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704639)

Prior to developing the product and forming a company, did anyone mention the words "business plan" to you?

1. Write codec
3. Profit


Have you thought about... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704125)

...making a presentation and taking it to various movie houses for thier online trailers? It may be hard to get them to think about switching from Quick Time, but if you can give a good quality video, with a smaller download, and multi-os support, some of the smaller movie houses may consider it.

Also, what about companies that are working on video colaboration. Generally they have in house codecs that they write, but they are not always targeted for multiple os's.


Re:Have you thought about... (1)

lordpixel (22352) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704368)

Switching from Quicktime?

Oh dear, another ignorant soul who doesn't know the difference between the container format (Quicktime) and a codec (Sorenson).

Quicktime is just a wrapper around any codec you want to use. Currently that tends to be Sorenson 3 as its the best one shipped. I also watch various Divx movies that are in Quicktime format, since I installed the plugin that lets me do that.

Since he says it works on Mac OS, the chances are he already has a Quicktime plugin for his codec. Infact, he'd be insane *not* to package it in one of the major container formats as these have "install on demand" support.

User goes to a page with a movie in their wizzy new codec, and, if he can get the deal set up, Quicktime just says "you don't have the codec you need to see this movie click ok to download and install now?".

Re:Have you thought about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704487)

Infact, he'd be insane *not* to package it in one of the major container formats as these have "install on demand" support.

Uh... thanks, I think you solved our companies direction problem.

Re:Have you thought about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704572)

Actually, I am not ignorant, maybe a little uninformed, but definately not ignorant. I had always been told that the QT container format was also the codec used. I bow to your humble wisdom.

But, I digress.

You bring up a good point while edumacating me (to steal a word from Homer), that a plugin for the container format would be a wise move. If he planned on going this route, he could also discuss with Microsoft about adding his codec to WMF. That would put his codec in lots of houses around the world.


Wrong name! That's a big, big mistake. (0, Offtopic)

HilbertCurve (543162) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704795)

In order to get fast worldwide acceptance they better change the name from idea65 to idea69.
It would be more descriptive what way.
Everybody knows for what a video compression is mainly used for. ;-)


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704126)

I'll give you $20 - think about it


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704502)

you can be mine if you send me $20.


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704606)

I'll give you $23 and my cat's soul.

thoughts (1)

phyberop (535162) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704128)

while its true that most people hare happy with the DivX codec at the moment, if a few people started to use your codec, and it proved to have better audio/video qualityand not as much loss as DivX does, while still keeping the filesizes nice and small, it could take off in a big way.
You should see how it does as closed-source first if that was your plan in the beginning, and open it up later if you decide its not doing as well as you wanted it to.

I'm not happy with DivX (2)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704946)

It's a hacked codec that doesn't work with macs. Not well, and in the case of the confusingly-named DivX 4, not at all. And there is still much room for improvement in all aspects of the codec. You have a real edge over most other codecs in that yours is cross platform - so your main competition is RealPlayer, VP3, and 3ivX for now. If you go commercial you have to beat both of them, if you're going open source you just have to do better than VP3 and 3ivX in at least one respect.

Of course if Quicktime ever officially goes Linux (I doubt WMP ever will) you'll have many more codecs to contend with. And you need to either promote it, or make it so incredibly good everyone switches. DivX sucks compared to newer open source and cross platform codecs but it's very popular because of the name.

Well this is my suggestion.. (0)

Sk3lt (464645) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704135)

I reckon you should just have it open-source and let the community do the rest, with a little bit of advertising on your part you could have a good contender to the DivX codec... well it all depends on what you codec can do.

I have always wanted one that cuts down on the size of the video without losing any sound or picture quality.

So make it open-source as I quote from a film called AntiTrust -- "Code belongs to the world" or something like that :P hehe

Give it to gstreamer. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704136)

There are tons of open multimedia projects such as Gstreamer [] which could benefit from such a codec, assuming it's entirely patent free and unencumbered by copyright liabilities... Depending on how good it is, this could be great for OS...

Re:Give it to gstreamer. (2) (87560) | more than 12 years ago | (#2705225)

It doesn't even have to be patent free as long as you hold the patents yourselves, and you are willing to let an open source project use them royalty free.

Many open source projects use patented technologies; it is just that since they can't afford any license fee for the patents, when a patent owner gets upset the open source project has to code around the patent, (which has been done more than once.)

supply/demand and Erics poor business model ! (0)

Andreas(R) (448328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704182)

Erik has got it all backward; he ignores the laws of supply/demand, so I'll try to explain why:

Technology is the application of knowledge to pratical issues when there is a demand to fullfill. Thus, demand for a certain technology is created when applied knowledge can be applied to improve things.

Eric on the other hand, created a videocodec first, and now he doesn't know what to do with it. The competition are all fullfulling a niche (Mpeg is technology for DVDs, DivX is technology to decrease file-size for piracy purposes (and other stuff that nobody cares about:)
Therefore, it's not that surprising that he is having problems with the finances. Any thechnology has to be used for something.

IMHO, that's what drives all opensource projects: there is demand for software to fullfull certain purposes, (eg Gimp grokks with graphics), and that's where this project has _fundimentally_ failed. It's tough to drive a project that has no goal!

Re:supply/demand and Erics poor business model ! (2)

Junta (36770) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704237)

I think they did have a goal, produce a good, Linux/Mac/Win compatible native codec. The problem is DivX beat them to it, so now the goal isn't so well defined. BTW, I'd replace DivX with MPEG-4, since that is what the MS codec that DivX was based on was a modification of (so many levels...) Of course, MPEG-4 is not only for privacy, but can be legitimately used for saving drive space (duh), but, of more primary interest, streaming multimedia. That is really what the low bitrate, but not as hot quality of MPEG-4 is meant for. And instead of MPEG for DVDs, say MPEG-2, as MPEG encompasses a lot of territory that has nothing to do with DVDs (from VCDs, mpg, mp2, mp3, etc...)

Making money from a codec (3, Interesting)

chriswaco (37809) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704284)

If you don't truly outperform other codecs, you probably won't make money with it. Codec performance is very tricky to measure, with everyone using the codec wanting something slightly different (compression speed, decompression CPU load, image quality, motion quality, etc).

One option is to provide the compressor/decompressor for free and then offer a higher quality version of the compressor for sale. It's a tough market, though. If it's truly revolutionary, you could try selling it to Apple, Microsoft, or Real. You'll need some really good side-by-side comparisons with their current codecs and MPEG4 to get their attention, though.

Personally, I would love to see it open sourced.

Can we download a decompressor and see some demos?

So basically... (4, Insightful)

glowingspleen (180814) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704191)

So basically you just used Ask Slashdot to market a product or further your career.

Just kidding, everyone does that.

quality? (5, Interesting)

crayz (1056) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704200)

Would it be possible to show us the quality of this codec somehow? Maybe start with uncompressed video, and have the DivX, VP3, etc. people all compress it down to a specific bitrate, and you do the same. Then once it's compressed down to that bitrate you could decompress it(since we don't have a decoder...), thus letting the general public see the quality of your codec.

Would that work? Because there are a lot of codecs, and unless you can show that this one is better than the others, I really don't see why people would be interested.

And overhead (3, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704709)

It'd also be helpful if you'd benchmark your codec's playback CPU load versus DivX and the other popular formats. While nowadays PCs can handle some heavy demands, lightweight decoders would still be desirable, especially for embedded applications, etc.

TV time shifting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704203)

Whomp up a TV time shifting application and a linux distribution and sell CDs.

It all depends... (5, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704208)

You mention that now that DivX 4.0 is out, no one cares anymore. Does your codec outperform DivX4.0 in terms of bitrate, quality, and/or performance? If the answer to all the questions is no, then perhaps it would be best to let it die. If the answer is "not now, but with work it could be..." and you want to stop working, you may want to first fish around for interested companies, and as a last resort give it to the Ogg group as something they could hammer into being Tarkin. I guess if you really don't care about the code anymore but really don't want to let it die, you could pass it on to the Ogg people anyway and they can decide for themselves whether the code is worthwhile or at least salvagable. If it isn't, then they can kill it instead of you :)

Waht do you want from it? (3, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704211)

Are you asking how to make money from it, or how to donate it to the open source community?

How competetive is it? DivX/MPEG-4 even if patent encumbered is now available in an open source version from the ffmpeg project, and there are other open source CODECs available that are competetive to or even better than DivX such as VP3 or the amazing CU30.

If your CODEC can compete with the alternatives then it would probably be instantly adapted by the Ogg Tarkin paroject which is looking to deliver an open source CODEC but so far is really only at the research stage.

If your CODEC csn't compete head-in with the state of the art, then maybe you're better off looking to embed it in an application (e.g. a cross platform ICQ video conference helper) where the utility outweighs anything else.

Wow - what a business plan (1)

derek_m (125935) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704228)

So what your saying is that you started a business to develop this video codecs and now its complete you have no idea what to do with the code?

This is insane and shows everything that was wrong with the way VC money was being invested in recent times. What did you expect to happen - that the problems of having no way to turn a profit or even see any income would have solved themselves by the time you had developed the code?

Having had 2 previous companies attempt the same thing (and Im assuming there was more to it than just a simple renaming) this also indicates that things may not have been very well planned - youve clearly failed twice already.

Best of luck finding a way to make use of your product, and hopefully youll think a bit more before going for attempt 4!

Re:Wow - what a business plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704514)

This is insane and shows everything that was wrong with the way VC money was being invested in recent times. What did you expect to happen - that the problems of having no way to turn a profit or even see any income would have solved themselves by the time you had developed the code?

Hey wait a minute, you just descibed most OpenSouce companies...

Re:Wow - what a business plan (4, Informative)

misterye (260449) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704787)

Actually, we did have a very detailed business plan, that we thought was actually going to make money and contribute something to the open-source community. But, as with many things, and as someone said earlier, don't depend on third parties. We didn't have much choice but to rely on third parties for distribution and funding. In the end, all the funding came out of my pocket, and the distributor went under. We have a good product, we actually beat DivX to being done by about 3 months, but we got stuck there. The codec is very light and highly portable, the original version was less than 16k compiled and out-performed DivX and was patent and copyright free.

Though I guess that is something that people will want to see for themselves, and that's where we are stuck, we don't even have the funding for the legal help to get it into testers hands. After working on this as hard as I have, I would hate to see the project just die w/out it seeing the light of day. That's why I asked for possible answers from Slashdot. Maybe someone can think of something we haven't. Its happened before.

Website incomplete? (1)

telbij (465356) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704245)

I checked out the website, but it seems mostly incomplete. I am particularly interested in comparisons with Sorenson on Mac OS.

Sadly in today's world success in a venture like this depends largely on marketing, but I think the /. community (if not IT purchasers at large) is primarly concerned with the quality of the codec. Can existing codecs be beaten across the board when they seem to be optimized for different platforms?

An idea... (5, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704258)

Since really the only way as I understand it that such a product could make money is embedding in successful closed source projects, I think this would be an ideal candidate for the TrollTech business model. Release a GPL version that is embeddable only into GPL and GPL compatible Free Software products. This will gain you recognition and acclaim if your product is good. Now you've stirred up interest. You should release, simultaneous with the GPL release, a press release indicating your intention to issue commercial licenses for embedding in closed source products. Hell, you can even claim your commercial licensees will get access to the "Plus" form of your codec.

Now pimp the hell out of the GPL version and everyone that whines about how they can't use it in their closed source products, point them to your web page explaining how to contact you/your company for commercial licensing terms. Also perhaps consider a joint distribution agreement up front with some commercial video tool providers whereby you will develop plug ins, etc. I gather your point is this might be hard in this climate. Also consider getting pr0n distributors to use it. No, I'm not kidding. Honestly, people download pr0n from usenet, etc. If there is pr0n out there in your video format, people will get players for it. This will eventually convince commercial users that your format is worthwhile. There are plenty of Linux/Mac pr0n viewing folks out there, so you definitely will find some rapid fans if you take this tactic.

Anyway, this is my advice for a bootstrapped marketing technique that you might find effective. I make no promises, but it sounds like you don't have much to lose if you are posting to Ask Slashdot for marketing advice (hint: lots of /. readers can tell you about GPL violations, some can tell you about how the Linux kernel is put together, and very few can tell you how to successfully market a product).

Re:An idea... (1)

oneself (104209) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704419)

I allways thought that once you GPL a roduct you can't sell the same product with a commercial license. Is that true?

Re:An idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704583)

You can do anything you want if you own the copyright. But you couldn't accept patches from other people and release those under the commercial license (unless they assign the copyright to you).

Re:An idea... (1)

Mr. Fred Smoothie (302446) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704613)

No, it's not true. You, as the copyright holder, can distribute the product under any terms you see fit. People to whom you distributed it under the terms of the GPL, get to use it under those terms. People to whom you've distrubuted it under alternative license terms get to use it under those terms.

The only issues that arise are when other people start to have some copyright interest in your product; then, in order to distribute it under proprietary terms, you must have their permission as well.

This is why, for instance, Sleepycat Software requires patch submitters to assign the copyright for the patch to Sleepycat before they apply the patch to the official Berkeley DB code. Something like that approach seems neccessary unless you want to end up maintaining two codebases: the GPL one and the proprietary one.

Contact TrollTech! (1)

oddityfds (138457) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704700)

I think you should contact TrollTech [] and ask them if they are interested in marketing your product the same way the marketed Qt [] (a GUI toolkit).

Qt is available under GPL for X11/Unix and for commercial licensing for X11/Unix, MacOS and Windows. Anyone could actually port the X11/Unix version to Windows, but noone have, AFAIK.

Or release it under a BSD license like Ogg [] ! The codec will get more widespread use, but it will be harder to make any money from it.

Screenshots? (3, Interesting)

MagerValp (246718) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704271)

Lovely placeholders, but wouldn't it make more sense to have actual screenshots of the codec in action? The web page is totally devoid of any useful information.

Yet another video codec. Does anyone really care?

If it were you... (3, Informative)

darkov (261309) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704299)

If I were you (which I am patently not) I would not bother trying to sell a codec. I think there are many out there today and without some sort of corporate backing or a really compelling difference, you probably will not have much impact in a crowded marketplace. What would make more sense is developing a product that uses your codec, but provides a different sort of product or service. Maybe build a video confrencing system, or a monitoring and logging system. These ideas are off the top of my head, but you get my drift - add some sort of additional value, some application that makes your codec shine while solving a problem. Then you'll have a market and getting inverstors and customers will be a whole lots easier.

You're posting to the the wrong site... (3, Funny)

YouAreFatMan (470882) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704348)

I believe the site you want is here []

ways to give it away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704381)

Print it on t-shirts and sell the t-shirts.

Talk to the Pron industry.

Browser nazi! He blocks Netscape4.7 from his site! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704410)

I tried to go to their site and it bounced me to some stupid webstandard page claiming my browser suck. Well, it might, but it's not a good reason to completely bar me from seing his site. Fuck, where are we going? Car wash will require car of the year?

Screw you, mister Open source codec guy! Your claims seems fake and you sound like a typical case of business failure due to STUPID NON-EXISTENT business plan. Now you want our sympathy because you love open source, but you block all browser excepted the most recent!?! Damn I didnt believe so much clueless people had access to VC funding, but now you convinced me!

Re:Browser nazi! He blocks Netscape4.7 from his si (2)

Oscaro (153645) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704472)

Same here. I hate this kind of web sites.

nothing to see anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704587)

the site isn't complete anyway. just some dumb flash thing and ahrd to read white text on a yellow background

Re:Browser nazi! He blocks Netscape4.7 from his si (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704586)

WTF? It blocks Netscape but not lynx or wget? And seriously, you'll have a lot easier time getting around the site with Netscape 4.7 than with lynx. Until they get around to adding Javascript support to lynx, that is...

I have an idea. (2, Funny)

MartinG (52587) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704418)

We have a finished product, but don't quite know what to do with it

Have you thought about using it to encode and decode video. video codecs a can often be quite useful in that respect. Why not give it a try?

Re:I have an idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704733)

No way, dude! You haven't lived until you've used a video codec to compress audio, an audio codec to compress images*, and JPEG to compress voxel data!

*I have actually done this (stuck in the image data in after a RIFF header and compressed it with BladeEnc). Didn't turn out very well, though.

quick ca$h (1)

donabal (116308) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704468)

you could sell it to microsoft.

they win in that it is
1. less competition
2. borrow the technology

you win
1. you can swim in a lake full of cash


Re:quick ca$h (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704935)

"Like my hat? It's made of MONEY!"

With apologies to the good folks at Penny Arcade [] , of course. If their archive search wasn't a Windows-only executable (whatever happened to web-based searching, guys?) then I'd even link to the right comic. But alas, it was not meant to be.

FLASH BULLSHIT (0, Offtopic)

Carbon Unit 549 (325547) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704517)

It's a shame the site is choked up with flash bullshit. If the content is compelling why obfuscate it?

Your sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704721)

Funny should NOT max out at 4. I'll bet you're the miserable S.O.B. that mods my +5 Funnies down as Overrated. Just wait'll I get my Mod points on you. Grr.


Re:Your sig (1)

Carbon Unit 549 (325547) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704850)

I get a good laugh every now and then, but I can't count the times a serious topic has been spammed by a bunch of thoughtless nonsense that has been modded up by people too lazy read thoughtful comments.
Oh and about your last comment--you bet I do! ;) Bwhahahah!

The only think that makes your CODEC worthwhile... (5, Interesting)

oddityfds (138457) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704821)

Possibly, the only thing that makes your CODEC worthwhile is if it is patent free. The only CODEC to date that I know of that is free of software patents is the H.261 [] .

If we're going to use an algorithm encumbered by patents, we might as well use MPEG-4 [] .

However if your CODEC is not covered by any patents, then please consider releasing it under a BSD [] or GPL [] license.

For information on why software patents are bad for free software, please visit The League for Programming Freedom []

I think these guys are the Underwear Gnomes. (3, Funny)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 12 years ago | (#2704868)

Was this the business plan?

Phase 1 - Develop new video codec
Phase 2 - Do some, uh, business stuff
Phase 3 - Make LOTS of money!

Re:I think these guys are the Underwear Gnomes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704908)


Re:I think these guys are the Underwear Gnomes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2705394)


How NOT To Attract Attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2704986)

Well, I went to the site using Netscape 4.75, and was subsequently bounced to, who informed me that I'm behind the times. I didn't even have a "Risk It And Continue Anyway" option.

Consequently I don't give a damn about your codec, and when I see "idea65" in the future, I'll equate it with immature thinking and poor business skills.

Well done. Let's hope you learn a little about marketing before you try to find capital.

Do it like BerkeleyDB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2705128)

Open source *and* license it to software companies and make some money! Dual licensing muchacho, LGPL and whatever, get the picture?

I know what you really want (1)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 12 years ago | (#2705204)

Give it to me, and I'll convert my entire porno collection and send em over to ya! After all, that's what making video codecs is all about, right??

The best plan (-1)

Genghis Troll (158585) | more than 12 years ago | (#2705334)

Print out all your source code and a copy of the GPL on some fairly soft, absorbant, paper. Erase all the source code from your hard disks, and destroy any cds containing source code. Now get everyone involved with your project to use the printed out source code and copy of the GPL as toilet paper, until every sheet is well coated with shit. Gather up all the shit-stained paper, put it in a big envelope, and mail it to RMS. He will get a real kick out of that.

I'm sure we can fit you in somewhere... (4, Offtopic)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 12 years ago | (#2705348)

I'm sure there's room around here...maybe under the couch? Maybe between 3ivx and DivX? Or between MPEG-4 and Sorensen? If not then surely there's room between MJPEG and Indeo? Oh, I feel like breaking into song over the wonderful video codec situation! []

Oh! 3iv1 3iv2, aasc abyr and aemi too! afli, aflc boy those are old! AMPG, ANIM, AP41 and you! Think of how your home videos will look, in ASV1, ASV2 or ASVX!! Mine look great, and I'm sure yours will too, with AUR2 or AURA!

And out of the A's and into the B's la da da do do do deeee! Bink, bt20, btcv bw10, boy those b's are short! Those B codec makers better get a move on! But onto the c's like the birds and the bees, cc12, cdvc, cfcc, cgdi, cham, cjpg, cpla, cram, cvid cwlt, cyuv, cyuy! Boy these things multiply fast! Makes me wonder, why the're called video codecs, and not WABBITS!

But D's come along, DIV2 and DIV4 and DIV5, with venerable DIVX short behind. DMB1, DMB2, DSVD, DUCK, DVAN, DVSD, DVE2, DVX1, DVX2, DVX3, DXTN, DXTC, and no more D's do we have! And the E's are short, because normal people don't start video codecs with vowels, ETV1, ETV2, ETVC are all that survive.

Only 3 F's, because F stands for Flunk, FLJP, FRWA, FRWD are fun! Oh my! GLZW, GPEG, GWLT from Microsoft? But videoconferencing still lives H260 goes plop, followed by H261, and H262, H263, H264, H265, H266, H267, H268, But finally everyone knows H269! HFYU, HMCR, and HMRR round out the H's!

(Egad, am I done yet!)

Not hardly buddy! There's I263, IAN, ICLB, IGOR, IJPG, ILVC, ILVR, IPDV, IR21, IV30, IV31, IV32, IV33, IV34, IV35, IV36, IV37, IV38, IV39, IV40, IV41, IV42, IV43, IV44, IV45, IV46, IV47, IV48, IV49, and IV50 rounds out Intel's evil contribution! But wait! There's more! Call now and you'll receive this free JBYR, JPGL, KMVC, and LEAD, LJPG.

Not to worry, M is here! Here are all the ways Micro$oft can fuck a standard! M263, M261, MP42, MP43, MP4S, MPG4, MRLE, MSVC Oh my! I like MJPG, cause my marvel uses it, but Matrox also has MTX1, MTX2, MTX3, MTX4, MTX5, MTX6, MTX7, MTX8, MTX9! More M's! mJPG is not the same as MJPG? MCAM, MC12, MPEG, MRCA, MWV1, nAVI, NTN1, NVS0, NVS1, NVS2, NVS3, NVS4, NVS5, NVT0, NVT1, NVT2, NVT3, NTT4, NVT5, PDVC, PGVV, PIM1, PIM2, PIMJ, PVEZ, PVMM, PVW2, qpeg, QPEG, RGBT, RLE, RT21, rv20, rv30, RVX, s422, SDCC, SFMC, SMSC, SMSD, smsv, SPIG, SQZ2, SV10, STVA, STVB, STVC...oh god I'm getting bored...STVX, STVY, SVQ1, TLMS, TLST, TM20, TM2X, TMIC, TMOT, TR20 TSCC, TV10, TY2C, TY2N, TY0N, UCOD, ULTI, V261, VCR1, VCR2, VDOM, VDOW, VDTZ, VGPX, VIFP, VIDS, VIVO, VIXL, VLV1, VP30, VP31, VX1k, VX2K, VXSP, WBVC, WHAM, WINX, WJPG, WNV1, x263, XLV0, XMPG, XXAN, Y41P....almost there! Y8, YC12, YUV8, YUV2, YUYV, ZLIB, ZPEG!

And that ends my really bad song. But wait! Thre's more! Those are only the ones with FOURCC definitions! That doesn't include file types! There's MPEG-PS, AVI, Quicktime, and the venerable Microsoft format heist asf.

I think the statement "I developed a new video codec!" should be punishable by death.


You can... (-1, Flamebait)

dedicke (91848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2705374)

...stick it up your ass!

Poor management (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 12 years ago | (#2705442)

Really, your site does not accept the cross platform corperate browser (Communicator), don't expect sponsorship from the technical community.
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