Beta
×

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!

BBC Wants Help With Dirac Codec

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the fawlty-towers dept.

Programming 296

Number Ten Ox writes "According to The Register the BBC wants help to develop their open source video codec Dirac. '[Lead developer Dr. Thomas] Davies said the codec could live on anything from mobile phones to high-definition TVs but not before a lot of further work is completed. For one thing, Dirac doesn't currently work in real-time. Davies also reckons that the compression offered by the technology could be further optimised. The BBC is working on integrating the technology with its other systems, but the corporation would welcome more help in developing Dirac.' Sounds like something worth helping with."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

6 gmail invites (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10459984)

redundant (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10459989)

Actually, it sounds like something not worth wasting time on. Don't we already have enough codecs, including open source ones?

Re:redundant (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460005)

Tell that to the people it was stolen from... Tell that to Teddy!

Re:redundant (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | about 10 years ago | (#10460083)

But none supported by an entity as large or influential as the BBC.

Codecs like Theora are great, but it's unlikely they'll enter the mainstream in the same way as something like DivX has - just as Vorbis is lagging behind other closed source audio codecs.

If the BBC started using Dirac for all its streaming video feeds, for example, then suddenly millions of users will have an excellent incentive to download the codec and if people already have it on their machines then others can produce Dirac based media without having to worry that people won't want to view it because it means downloading something extra.

Re:redundant (5, Informative)

FrostedWheat (172733) | about 10 years ago | (#10460149)

The only truly open video codec worth mentioning is Theora. XviD's source may be open, but the codec itself is a patent minefield. Theora is patent free, as is Dirac. Even if the BBC did take out some patents, the license Dirac uses means these patents would be harmless.

So yes, we do need this codec and others like it. Theora is nice but it dosen't hold up against any of the new generation of commercial codecs that are coming out now.

Re:redundant (2, Interesting)

AstroDrabb (534369) | about 10 years ago | (#10460166)

Can you please list all of the Open and non patent encumbered codecs? I can only think of Theora. Of all the codecs out there just about every one is enbumbered by a patent or license fee or DRM which hinders thier usage for distribution of public content such as documentaries.

Re:redundant (4, Insightful)

skids (119237) | about 10 years ago | (#10460259)

Don't we already have enough codecs, including open source ones?

While I agree strongly that there are a lot of reinvented wheels in OpenSource that add nothing new or unique, audio codecs are a wide open area for innovation. There is a lot of complex mathematical theory involved and while many very smart people have more than just scratched the surface, we could see considerable improvement with more development. Each project serves as a test case for the methods it uses.

Personally, I'm dissappointed that the idea of using genetic programming (or related technology) to develop or improve CODECs has not, at least to my knowlege, taken off. Hopefully the people with the expertise in both fields will at some point come together. That would be a worthy use for the resources [berkeley.edu] we have at our disposal these days, IMO.

I used to think this would only be good for lossless CODEC developement, but perhaps automated fitness tests for lossy CODECs could also be practical.

GNAA supports Bush (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10459992)

...and -1 flamebait first posts!

BBC rules! (5, Insightful)

orangeguru (411012) | about 10 years ago | (#10460003)

Compared to many other broadcoasters the BBC has a long and excellent record of producing great programms AND embracing the web/technology.

Certainly a good 'partner' to support ... compared to companies like Real ...

Re:BBC rules! (2, Insightful)

matt_wilts (249194) | about 10 years ago | (#10460146)

Don't be so sure - if that was the case, they'd be streaming their current content using MPG or perhaps OGG. As it stands, they use Real!!

Matt

Re:BBC rules! (4, Informative)

Mike McTernan (260224) | about 10 years ago | (#10460405)

I think the only reason that the use Real is that the streams are more proprietary and harder to rip (for the novice in anycase), and it probably makes some copyright holders happier to let the BBC re-webcast certain content.

See here [bbc.co.uk] :
"What's the problem with Windows Media Player?


When the BBC began publishing audio and video content Real Media was the most secure form of streaming. Unfortunately Microsoft no longer supports Real content. Consequently, many of the later versions of the Windows Media Player will not play our clips. This may change in the future. NB: Some World Service clips are also streamed for the Windows Player. "

Re:BBC rules! (4, Insightful)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | about 10 years ago | (#10460420)

What's wrong with the Real codec?

I've seen things compressed with RMVB which are on par with DivX and Xvid in terms of quality, but RMVB produces smaller filesizes.

Do not confuse the codec itself with the designated player. Real Alternative works too, without spyware, if that is what you're insinuating.

What am I missing? (4, Interesting)

cslarson (625649) | about 10 years ago | (#10460004)

If they want to make an open source video codec, why don't they just support and help further develop the ogg video codec? Would the two codecs be so different that they are both needed?

theres one difference between the off video codec (1)

imsabbel (611519) | about 10 years ago | (#10460075)

and dirac.
And that is: Dirac exists.
(or do you mean that bastard child of a vp codec derivate?)

Re:theres one difference between the off video cod (2, Interesting)

magefile (776388) | about 10 years ago | (#10460293)

Wrong. Theora is nearly there, whereas Dirac isn't even working in realtime (RTFS). And, it lets them stay with one paradigm (I can't believe I just used that word) because Theora has an audio analogue (ogg) whereas Dirac doesn't.

And that's ignoring the benefit of being involved with an OSS project that, while rough around the edges, has a large development community already (both Theora devs and the potential pool of Ogg devs who could be enticed to work on Theora), rather than starting a new OSS project.

You're missing a lot (5, Informative)

Crosma (798939) | about 10 years ago | (#10460177)

Dirac is a wavelet codec. The technology is far more advanced than Theora's. In fact, until On2 came along, Ogg were working on a video wavelet codec called Ogg Tarkin. They want with open sourcing VP3 because it would be quicker and easier, nothing more. As the BBC are demonstrating, putting together a competent wavelet-based video codec is non-trivial to say the least.

Put simply, Ogg Theora is already outdated. The source material (On2's VP3 codec) does not match any decent MPEG-4 codec. The BBC would be wasting their time by messing around with dated tech.

That said, Theora is usable and just about the only decent patent unencumbered video codec in existance. Until Dirac is finished, Theora will remain the sane choice for those who want to stay legal without paying through the teeth.

If and when Dirac is ready, it will blow everything else away. It will be worth the wait.

Re:What am I missing? (3, Interesting)

Ikkyu (84373) | about 10 years ago | (#10460179)

The Theora codec is a discrete consine transform, while dirac codec is a wavelet based. They are completely diffent ways of looking at video data and wavelett coding is showing promise as having higher compression rates and better quality.

What we really need is something that is scales with bandwidth, the more you receive the better your quality.

dirac vs. theora? (2, Interesting)

crayz (1056) | about 10 years ago | (#10460012)

Have there been any comparisons? Do we really need two fully scalable open-source video codecs?

Also - the BBC is funded by the British government. When did they get a mandate to spend money developing video codecs. I don't have a problem with government-funded "arts" but this seems a bit beyond the normal scope of things

Re:dirac vs. theora? (1)

gowen (141411) | about 10 years ago | (#10460063)

the BBC is funded by the British government
Well, by British TV owners actually, but I digress.
I don't have a problem with government-funded "arts" but this seems a bit beyond the normal scope of things
Really? Government sponsorship is one of the major sources of science research funding in many westernised countries. Who do you think pays for NASA, the Lawrence Livermore Labs, and a large proportion of science research in universities (not biotech, sure, but a lot of stuff in computing, high energy physics, astronomy, applied maths etc).

And, in the case of Britain's Natural and Environmental Research Council (NERC), me!

Re:dirac vs. theora? (1)

magefile (776388) | about 10 years ago | (#10460317)

That's like saying that Medicare/Social Security aren't paid for by the government, but by US citizens. True in one sense, but pedantic and moronic, especially since the relationship is understood.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (4, Informative)

aldoman (670791) | about 10 years ago | (#10460484)

Er no, becuase the government _can't_ stop the BBC from doing anything. They obviously have limitations like what frequency they can broadcast on.

Every 9 years (IIRC) the government reviews the BBC's progress and what funding method it should have.

Basically what I'm saying is the .gov.uk can't censor, change or stop the BBC from doing anything directly. They do not go to the government to approve TV shows, nor do they go to the gov to approve technology research.

This is in direct contradiction to social security in the US where the government controls it and could (probably) stop paying out tomorrow.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (4, Informative)

onion2k (203094) | about 10 years ago | (#10460073)

The BBC is funded by government, but thats where the relationship ends. The UK government has absolutely no say whatsoever in what the BBC spends its money on. If the BBC wants to develop video codecs then theres nothing the UK government can do about it. Thats one of the reasons the BBC news is able to remain impartial, and often reports on the UK government making a mess off things. See the Hutton report for details. :)

Re:dirac vs. theora? (3, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | about 10 years ago | (#10460099)

The BBC is not funded by the government. It's funded by the public through the licence fee. The government never gets to see it.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (1)

slaad (589282) | about 10 years ago | (#10460283)

The BBC is funded by government, but thats where the relationship ends. The UK government has absolutely no say whatsoever in what the BBC spends its money on

Unfortunetly, that's not how policts work. If the government is directly funding the BBC, then they have lots of say over what goes on. If they don't like what the money's being used for, all they have to do is take it away.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (4, Insightful)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | about 10 years ago | (#10460449)

You are American, right?

There seems to be a cultural difference between the USA and the rest of the Western world, in that Americans are unable to conceive a government funded entity (directly funded or indirectly via 'license' fees) that is substantially free from Government influence. Possibly because there are apparantly no such entities in the USA. But in this matter, the USA is the exception rather than the rule, with respect to democratic governments.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (4, Insightful)

provolt (54870) | about 10 years ago | (#10460310)

That has to be the funniest thing I've read in a long while. I think it's even funnier because it's moderated as "Informative".

For those who don't get the joke, read the wikipedia [wikipedia.org] entry for the Hutton Report.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | about 10 years ago | (#10460328)

On the other hand, it is constrained by its Charter [bbc.co.uk] , which talks about getting approval for some things from the appropriate Secretary of State.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (1)

geomon (78680) | about 10 years ago | (#10460081)

When did they get a mandate to spend money developing video codecs.

Governments have deep pockets.

That issue aside, governments also have an interest in setting a base-level standard (as they have done for other transmission media) that all operators must incorporate into their devices. That "minimum functionality" mandate does not inhibit the ability of the manufacturer to propose, design, and implement their own protocols.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460086)

Seems like a bit of a silly thing to say. The government funds the BBC, they don't really have much say in what they spend the £££ on as long as it within the scope of what the BBC does. What you're saying is nearly as silly as saying that, while it was nationalised, BT couldn't spend time developing new phone systems. Codecs are just another way of cramming tv programs down different mediums... Where's the difference?

Re:dirac vs. theora? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460110)

No the BBC is NOT funded by the UK Government.
The BBC has tax (i.e. the TV Licence Fee) raising powers of it's own - and is entirely independent of funding from government.
If the BBC *was* funded by government it wouldn't be considered trustworthy. It wouldn't be the "gold standard" of news reporting world wide that it is.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 10 years ago | (#10460111)

Have there been any comparisons? Do we really need two fully scalable open-source video codecs?


Dirac is a next generation codec. It is also the only one using wavelets (like JPEG2000). Is there an argument for developing new codecs which compress better than current ones? Very much I'd say, unless you want all technological progress to stop here.

Also - the BBC is funded by the British government. When did they get a mandate to spend money developing video codecs.


They are a broadcasting organisation. Video codecs are very much part of broadcasting. They also did a lot of development on digital TV, which is soon going to replace all analogue TV by law in the UK. If they use this codec to put their archives up on the internet, then they certainly do have a good reason to do this development.

I don't have a problem with government-funded "arts" but this seems a bit beyond the normal scope of things

Is it? What about all that government funded science and tech research?

Re:dirac vs. theora? (4, Interesting)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | about 10 years ago | (#10460167)

> Also - the BBC is funded by the British
> government. When did they get a mandate to spend
> money developing video codecs. I don't have a
> problem with government-funded "arts" but this
> seems a bit beyond the normal scope of things

Really? The BBC needs to stay up to date with technology in order to do the best job possible under its mandate. So that means that they are going to start out doing radio, spend money making television work the way they like it, then start promoting teletext (in the form of Ceefax), brand their own computer, and now they want to do the Internet their way (through an open codec).

It's worth reading their own history [bbc.co.uk]
for a perspective on just how much technical work the BBC has done since 1920. See also here [bbc.co.uk] .

John.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (2, Informative)

martinthebrit (565913) | about 10 years ago | (#10460176)

The BBC has a long history of R&D [bbc.co.uk] , based at Kingswood Warren in Surrey. Many important developments were made, under the funding of the BBC charter and through private industry. I'm sure the BBC's development of an open source video codec can only be good.

N.B I used to work for a broadcast equipment manufacturer, Snell & Wilcox, alongside many ex BBC engineers, and they employ some very good people.

Re:dirac vs. theora? (1)

gosand (234100) | about 10 years ago | (#10460242)

Have there been any comparisons? Do we really need two fully scalable open-source video codecs?

That is true. So why was theora created? From TFA, they have been working on it for 3 years. From what I gather, theora is 2 years old.

"The technology - first conceived more than three years ago - is scheduled to go into beta within the next 12 to 15 months. "
I thought that Open Source code was about choice. Because their codec work is funded and has been being under development for a while, it could actually be better. Why not lend a hand, which is all they are really asking.

H-264? (4, Insightful)

TiMac (621390) | about 10 years ago | (#10460014)

From mobile phones to HD, huh? Sounds a lot like the H-264/AVC codec that Apple is including as part of 10.4 Tiger [apple.com] that is an open standard that's been ratified.

What's the advantage to using Dirac over a standard?

Cheaper patent licenses (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 10 years ago | (#10460054)

Unlike licenses for MPEG standards, some licenses for the Dirac codec will be available royalty-free.

Re:Cheaper patent licenses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460123)

some licenses for the Dirac codec will be available royalty-free

"some" ?

Please define "some" for us, before I consider working on it.

Re:H-264? (5, Informative)

Xylaan (795464) | about 10 years ago | (#10460070)

That depends on if third party implementation of the codec would infringe any patents. One of the goals of Dirac was that it is not supposed to be patent encumbered.

Because Dirac is a next gen codec... (1)

Phil John (576633) | about 10 years ago | (#10460084)

...whereas H-264 is rooted in older technology, DCT and the like.

The BBC guys are doing some really neat stuff that is going to be pushing the boundaries of video compression for some time to come.

Re:H-264? (2, Insightful)

damiam (409504) | about 10 years ago | (#10460124)

H.264 is outrageously expensive to license. Dirac is an open, patent-unencumbered codec that can be freely used for whatever you want.

Re:H-264? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460129)

H.264 is also known as MPEG-4 Part 10. That is they are both standards, but H.264 is a more advanced coding scheme and far more bandwidth-efficient than MPEG-2 video. On the other hand it does require more compute to encode/decode so you might not be able to run it in today's mobile devices as per the article.

Re:H-264? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460139)

The royalty costs for using H-264 are extremely high. Especially if you are trying to deliver to a large audience.

See http://www.mpegla.com/avc/ and http://www.vialicensing.com/developments/avc/licen se.terms.html

Ogg Theora (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460024)

Q: Is Ogg Theora useful for this?

In the great tradition of geek-dom, ... (4, Funny)

reporter (666905) | about 10 years ago | (#10460028)

99% of the files used to test the new Dirac CODEC will be pornopraphy. Most of it will be weighted towards luscious, blonde lesbians engaged sexual acts that almost defy gravity.

Re:In the great tradition of geek-dom, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460204)

> Most of it will be weighted towards luscious, blonde lesbians engaged sexual acts that almost defy gravity.

I'd rather see "Blond Lesbians in Space" ... though the mind boggles at the thought of some "liquids" floating around in perfect spherical drops in the cabin. Could be some freaky "35,000 mile high club" (what with Spaceship one and all that ?).

Btw, Pornography is what made Polariod popular, or the VHS or the internet ... why not a video codec ?.

Sounds good (1)

ImaLamer (260199) | about 10 years ago | (#10460338)

Where do I sign up?

again. (-1, Offtopic)

happyfrogcow (708359) | about 10 years ago | (#10460029)

Dupid editors.

Someone explain (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#10460033)

What the major difference with this codec is. Why is the BBC developing their own codec instead of, for instance, throwing a few bucks towards OGM or XVid, or $YOUR_FAVORITE_OSS_CODEC?

Re:Someone explain (4, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | about 10 years ago | (#10460107)

Because OGM is only a package format (like avi) and XVid is everything but legal (thus those "only for learning uses" disclaimers) because they simply decided to ignore the patents ( and divx is adware because divx-networks pays the royalities)

BBC + Codec = Not Free (0, Troll)

L3on (610722) | about 10 years ago | (#10460037)

I'm sure this codec is a great idea, but I'm also sure there is a free equivlent to it that makes alot more sense. The BBC, just like any other rational business, is out to make money off of this while the rest of the world could benifit greatly from it. Then again, the current codec situation isn't that peachy. Divx, one of the more popular codecs is packaged with spyware up the wazoo and has been for sometime.

Furthermore, if and when the BBC has a working codec will they be held responsible for copywrited material translated into it? I'd like to see the outcome from a lawsuit between the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and the BBC reguarding thier codec being used as a good way to view movies.

Disreguard the first section of my Comment. (1)

L3on (610722) | about 10 years ago | (#10460072)

I'm tired and wasn't paying much attention to the article, didn't notice the big words OPEN SOURCE, so yeah, sleep... Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if the BBC tried to liscense and/or sell this codec much in the same way that Red Hat sells linux.

Re:Disreguard the first section of my Comment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460409)

You're still a moron. The BBC isn't a for-profit company.

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460080)

"The BBC, just like any other rational business, is out to make money off of this"

But the BBC isn't a business. It's a state service. THEY DONT'T MAKE MONEY.

"if and when the BBC has a working codec will they be held responsible for copywrited material translated into it?"

No.

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460088)

The BBC isn't a business, and isn't trying to make money. It's a state-funded channel, and is paid for by a license fee. I think it is actually a violation of their charter to get money from anywhere else: I know they're not allowed to run commercial advertisements.

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460238)

They are allowed to sell their programmes (e.g. The Office) and programme formats (e.g. The Weakest Link) to other broadcasters (either just on its own, or through a joint venture such as BBC America [bbcamerica.com] ), as well as DVDs etc. This is done through a separate company called BBC Worldwide [bbcworldwide.com] .

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (-1, Troll)

Blitzenn (554788) | about 10 years ago | (#10460464)

It IS a business. Just because the government runs it does disqualify it from being a business. It competes with other broadcasters. It accepts advertising dollars. They provide a product. They hire staff. They pay bills. But their not a business? Get a life moron. They are a business just like all others. It doesn't matter where the money comes from. Secondly they are actually attempting to become self sufficient, meaning that they generate all of their own dollars and no longer have to syphon off the taxpayer dollars.

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#10460091)

American's don't get the concept of a Crown corporation. They don't act like any other "rational business". They don't really have to make a profit, and the way most are run, making a profit is a secondary objective.

I remember the sucking money hole that was Air Canada before the government chopped it up and sold it off. All of a sudden it's a profitable business, turns out they didn't need to be sending 737s to Beaversnatch, Alberta thrice a day.

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460117)

Air Canada was so profitable it went bankrupt!! :-)

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 10 years ago | (#10460458)

"American's don't get the concept of a Crown corporation. They don't act like any other "rational business"."

The US Postal Service is akin to a crown corporation. It is a nationally-mandated corporation that runs on its own funding (except when things get really bad).

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (1)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | about 10 years ago | (#10460100)

The BBC, just like any other rational business, is out to make money off of this

Uh.. the BBC isn't a business.

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (5, Informative)

onion2k (203094) | about 10 years ago | (#10460136)

The BBC, just like any other rational business, is out to make money off of this while the rest of the world could benifit greatly from it.

Nope. The BBC need the codec in order to save themselves a bucketload of cash in the future when they make their digital program archive available over the internet (something they have to do according to their Charter). They're not intending to make pots of money from the codec, they just want it to exist so they can use it themselves.

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (1)

Naikrovek (667) | about 10 years ago | (#10460276)

mod parent up please. +5 Fact

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460202)

The BBC is undertaking Dirac to ensure that it does not have to pay per viewer for the right to use a codec the way it does currently for Real (but not of course the terrestial broadcast TV codec PAL).
So this is about economics all right - the BBC needs to have a codec that does not get more expensive to
run the more popular it gets.
As for copyright the BBC has a huge archive of material to which it owns the copyright....

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460217)

The BBC, just like any other rational business, is out to make money off of this

They're not a business.

Furthermore, if and when the BBC has a working codec will they be held responsible for copywrited material translated into it?

Nope. There are already many codecs used for encoding copyrighted material. They have "substantial non-infringing use".

Re:BBC + Codec = Not Free (2, Insightful)

AstroDrabb (534369) | about 10 years ago | (#10460447)

I think enough people answered your post about the BBC being "out to make money". So I will address this one.
Furthermore, if and when the BBC has a working codec will they be held responsible for copywrited material translated into it? I'd like to see the outcome from a lawsuit between the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and the BBC reguarding thier codec being used as a good way to view movies.
Think about your question. Could the MPAA sue MS because someone violates a movie copyright and just happens to use MS's video codec? Of course not, that would be silly. It is no different with the BBC. If I distribute a movie encoded in Dirac and I do not have the rights to do so, then I am the one that would be liable for copyright violation, not the BBC.

I say help (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 10 years ago | (#10460042)

AKAIK, it's the only high compression video codec to not be encumbered by patents. (Although I've heard whispers from the OGG/Vorbis team.) That right there makes it worth development. Once the codec reaches a stable version, it can be integrated into free player solutions like HelixPlayer and VLC.

Me too! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460053)

I am developing the greatest computer operating system ever conceived. It will run on anything from a can of beer to a space shuttle. It will revolutionize the world. It will feed starving children in 3rd world countries. ...now all I need is a little help to develop it!

Suggestions for Team Dirac: (2, Interesting)

Power Everywhere (778645) | about 10 years ago | (#10460058)

  • Release Dirac for QuickTime.
  • Optimize compression algorithms for individual CPUs. Is Dirac running on a Pentium 4? HyperThread it. Is it running on a PowerPC G4/G5? Optimize for AltiVec. Same applies for Sun's VMX, MIPS' MME, etc.
  • Release the codec under an Open Source license but one that will disallow forking or total appropriation (re: Not BSD or GPL).
  • Start a web community/forum and accompanying mailing list for it.

Re:Suggestions for Team Dirac: (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#10460114)

If the license disallowed forking then it wouldn't be an OSS license. It would be more like MSFT's "shared source".

Whats the use of source code you can't modify, and what would that accomplish?

Re:Suggestions for Team Dirac: (1)

Neophytus (642863) | about 10 years ago | (#10460291)

Modification can still occur, for personal use. Forking a video standard is asinine.

Re:Suggestions for Team Dirac: (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#10460416)

Any more asinine than forking any other major OSS projects or standards like XFree? There might be a good reason to fork in the future, maybe British/BBC politics will become a problem. What if the Free Open video standard includes something to make sure only the BBC can encode.

Even if it is asinine, why shouldn't people have the right to do it if they want to?

Re:Suggestions for Team Dirac: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460443)

Release the codec under an Open Source license but one that will disallow forking or total appropriation (re: Not BSD or GPL).

They're triple-licensing MPL 1.1 / GPL / LGPL.

Start a web community/forum and accompanying mailing list for it.

Dirac project on Sourceforge [sourceforge.net] .

Coders like to be in charge of code (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460059)

How many poeple are going to adopt a codec managed by the television arm of the British government? Not many I presume.

Re:Coders like to be in charge of code (2, Insightful)

Smuttley (126014) | about 10 years ago | (#10460280)

If you knew anything about the way the BBC runs and operates you'd realise how dumb a comment that was.

Maybe They Should.... (0, Redundant)

mlauzon (818714) | about 10 years ago | (#10460074)

GPL the thing, but how will this compete with the Ogg Theora codec?!?!

Links to sourceforge and BBC's homepage (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460105)

Sourceforge project [sourceforge.net]
BBC's Dirac homepage [bbc.co.uk]

Why Open Source Codes are essential (4, Informative)

alistair (31390) | about 10 years ago | (#10460128)

Anyone wondering why we need more Open Source Codecs should read the excellent companion article on today's register, a long OP Ed piece on Steve Ballmer entitled Love DRM or my family starves: why Steve Ballmer doesn't Get It [theregister.co.uk] .

In it Steve explains why the Digital Home has to come from Microsoft and specifically Microsoft's committment to DRM everywhere. A facinating, if biased piece.

Re:Why Open Source Codes are essential (1)

Gopal.V (532678) | about 10 years ago | (#10460237)

> a long OP Ed piece on Steve Ballmer entitled "Love DRM or my family starves: why Steve Ballmer doesn't Get It".

I'd read that as more of a "Love DRM or Steve Ballmer gets it" ...

Re:Why Open Source Codes are essential (1)

desdemona (126153) | about 10 years ago | (#10460454)

Or even Love DRM and get it from Steve Ballmer...


oh the humanity

Reasons Dirac is Not Redundant (5, Interesting)

TheRealFoxFire (523782) | about 10 years ago | (#10460145)

  1. Not patent encumbered (compare to H.264 and MPEG2/4 including "open source" codecs like XviD)
  2. Next generation coding techniques (wavelets vs traditional DCT coding) (compare to Theora/MPEG 4)
  3. Capable of scaling down as well as up (compare to MPEG2)

Me too (-1, Troll)

Reckless Visionary (323969) | about 10 years ago | (#10460170)

I'm also launching an effort to create a new video codec, because the more codecs the better, and I only like things that I do because all the other codecs 5ux0r5. But I don't really know ho to make a good codec, and it doesn't really work at all right now, so I need your help, thanks. Oh, I'm against the war, so that should seal the deal, thanks.

Dalek (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460196)

Rename it Dalek [compuserve.com] and you'll get lots of help!

What about high quality profiles for a change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460213)

The world already has N variants of MPEG4 for low-bitrate video. How many of these codecs support super ultra high quality video? American HDTV uses MPEG2, and at its current spec it looks like crap. A near-real-time encoding of a football game just looks abominable on ATSC's MPEG2. Can we start striving for an open-source codec with lossless or near lossless quality? How about 10-bit component, 4:2:2 color or better?

The studio-quality version of NTSC-res DV is 50 megabit per second, but that also includes no interframe dependency. I'm confident if you started with that and gave it P frames or B frames you could get it down to 25-30 megabit easily, which is not that much more than ATSC bitrate and a crapload better quality.

At First glance (0, Redundant)

Icegryphon (715550) | about 10 years ago | (#10460224)

I thought it say draco codec.....Death Death to all other codecs...

realtime lords (3, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 10 years ago | (#10460249)

I will trade codec engineering time for TARDIS technology. In fact, that's where I got my TARDIS from!

outsourced (5, Interesting)

0xbeefcake (672592) | about 10 years ago | (#10460309)

I'm wary of the fact that this "call for help" comes just days after over 1400 BBC technology staff were out sourced to Siemens [theregister.co.uk]

Re:outsourced (2, Interesting)

Blitzenn (554788) | about 10 years ago | (#10460404)

Apparently the managers feel that they can get their work done for nothing now with all this open source stuff going on. Are we putting ourselves out of work?

Theora and Dirac mailing lists and forums... (1)

Spoing (152917) | about 10 years ago | (#10460325)

Dirac project - No mention of OGG media files or Theora video.

Theora project (OGG video) - A couple passing references to Dirac, one in relation to the OGG media container and combining OGG vorbis and Dirac.

The Theora and Dirac projects have similar goals, so even if they both go it alone I would think that discussions would spur new ideas in both. Wouldn't it be a good idea for these folks to talk together -- if only so that Dirac files are by default packaged in OGG media containers?

Re:Theora and Dirac mailing lists and forums... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460418)

Dirac project - No mention of OGG media files or Theora video.

Actually they have a FAQ entry "What about Ogg Theora?" [bbc.co.uk]

codec modules? (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 10 years ago | (#10460332)

Codecs are modules that fit into apps. Consistent with the three-tier architecture, they have APIs called by apps, and data access to the streams on which they operate, both of which are fairly generic (and ought to be completely standard). Their cores are different, depending on their transformation, their source/destination data formats, and their transformation technique, as well as metadata produced/consumed.

New codecs come along infrequently, and are usually too little, too late. There's a lot of duplicated effort across these projects. It seems a better strategy for everyone to share a skeleton that gets populated with codec core "plugins". An easy install mechanism might even let new datatypes deliver the smaller cores for codec'ing on the fly.

My contribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460365)

Can't help with the codec, but my top compression tip is to use gifs or pngs in the documentation rather than jpegs:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/dirac/doc umentati on/algorithm/wlt_transform.htm

Look at FFMpeg's snow codec (1)

physicist (126494) | about 10 years ago | (#10460366)

It's a superior wavelet based codec.
With ideas from Dirac.

Lets stop paying for all software (-1, Troll)

Blitzenn (554788) | about 10 years ago | (#10460368)

Then I can be out of a job too. Yea lets all help the BBC put their staff of IT people out of work too. Companies have to learn that Open Source doesn't mean you, as a company, can get everyone to do the work you need for free. Here is a blatant case of a company that needs a product but is unwilling to pay for it because they believe they will get it for nothing if they sweet talk the open source community.

Re:Lets stop paying for all software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460455)

The BBC isnt a company in the traditional sense.

its basically a nonprofit

license? (1)

ambrosius27 (251484) | about 10 years ago | (#10460446)

Ok, but first a couple questions:

1) what license will the Dirac codec be released under? (GPL, GPL w/ linking exception, LGPL, MPL, BSD, MIT X11 license, non-open source license?)

2) where is the code repository?

(The Register link froze on me; so, I apologize if these questions are answered in the linked article.)

Re:license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10460459)

1) what license will the Dirac codec be released under? (GPL, GPL w/ linking exception, LGPL, MPL, BSD, MIT X11 license, non-open source license?)

Triple license: MPL 1.1 / GPL / LGPL.

2) where is the code repository?

Sourceforge [sourceforge.net] .

This CODEC is a good thing! (1)

francisew (611090) | about 10 years ago | (#10460472)

I'm going to work on this if I have free time.

It seems interesting to me for several reasons:

  • Open source.
  • Higher compression level than current methods.
  • Interesting technology.
  • Project has a financial base and centralized development point.
  • Project already has large exposure.

To those who don't think it worthwhile: they aren't forcing you to join in, and they aren't excluding you from the eventual benefits.

The wavelet technology they are using is IMHO a very good idea. I'd like to see Neural Network based compression operating to further compress the data stream (I'm not sure if it would be able to compress much more after the wavelet algorithm has already compressed the stream).

At the very least, by reading the code, lots of open source developers will be exposed to wavelet compression algorithms, and learn a bit about video representation. Doesn't seem like a losing prospect for anyone.

Good ol' tax-funded science at work (0, Flamebait)

Cryofan (194126) | about 10 years ago | (#10460482)

This is what you get when you pay taxes--REAL SCIENCE. The BBC is of course funded by tax dollars.

As opposed to the so-called free market vaporware hype science that is the main focus in America.

Now tell me about all the great accomplishments coming out of American media....

Don't let the free market, neoliberal, laissez faire scammers hoax you, my fellow Americans. Real accomplishments were made in the past with tax funded research. And when we go back to Keynesianism and protectionism, just like what is being done in Europe, we will get America back on track.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?