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Logitech MSN Webcam Codec Reverse-Engineered

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the until-lotus-won't-run dept.

Communications 255

Alexis Boulva writes "Tonight, Ole André Vadla Ravnås of the Farsight project (LGPL), which 'is an audio/video conferencing framework specifically designed for Instant Messengers' for the GNU Linux operating system, finished coding a release candidate of libmimic, 'an open source video encoding/decoding library for Mimic V2.x-encoded content (fourCC: ML20), which is the encoding used by MSN Messenger for webcam conversations.' Ole, on the libmimic site, remarks that 'It should be noted that reverse-engineering for interoperability is 100% legal here in Norway (and in most European countries).' Looks like the Free/Open Source Software movement is very close to closing up one of the most noticeable software gaps remaining from its glorious efforts."

cancel ×

255 comments

Wonderful! (5, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142356)

Yup... just as I thought.

The only thing preventing the free / open-source community from reaching fruition is access to young 18+ sluts on webcam.

Thank you Ole André! You've given us geeks accessibility to the last 5% of the Internet's perversity that we couldn't access before.

God, I love you, man! I knew this glorious day would come!

Re:Wonderful! (1)

JoostSchuttelaar (863737) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142381)

Funny!? +5 insightful!

Re:Wonderful! (5, Interesting)

dmayle (200765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142492)

access to young 18+ sluts on webcam

Yeah, sure, that's funnay and all, but for anyone with friends, significant others, family distant from them, this is a godsend. I use Linux every day at work, and at home, but I used to have to boot into Windows at home every weekend so that I could actually SEE my girlfriend.

You see, I live in France, while my now-ex lived in the U.S. On the upside, I'm now dating a French girl, but I'd still like to be able to see my mother, and my sister and brother-in-law. This way, I don't have to boot into Windows at all... (And even when if I ever have to, I'd prefer GAIM on Windows any day over MSN, which is so limiting)

Re:Wonderful! (4, Informative)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142569)

but I used to have to boot into Windows at home every weekend so that I could actually SEE my girlfriend.


Why? GnomeMeeting [gnomemeeting.org] is compatible with Netmeeting on Windows (both use the H.323 protocoll). You can just use that.

Anyway, it would be grat if this project would be somehow implemented by gaim.

Re:Wonderful! (5, Informative)

ilithiiri (836229) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142651)

Anyway, it would be grat if this project would be somehow implemented by gaim.


gaim-vv is the answer: it's a fork of gaim, specifically created in order to have GAIM capable of doing audio/video conversation.

It relies on external libraries, so the topic's related to the (hopefully near) advances in gaim-vv to support msn and other protocols: as of yesterday you were only able to see other people's webcams from a yahoo! account.

I hope that things will change, now ;)

Re:Wonderful! (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142665)

H.323 is nearly firewall-proof

I tried very hard to make it work at home and gave up when MSN started offering video conference

Re:Wonderful! (3, Informative)

dmayle (200765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142641)

GnomeMeeting is compatible with Netmeeting on Windows

Maybe, but H.323 (the network protocol *meeting uses) doesn't pass through firewalls without an awful lot of effort. It can pass through a Cisco PIX (en expensive, but very good professional firewall), but I don't know a single consumer grade firewall that can pass H.323, which means that at least one of the ends must be unfirewalled (or using firewall software only). In that case, whoever is unfirewalled needs to be the receiver of the call. It's very limiting, and doesn't suit many needs.

Re:Wonderful! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142560)

Dark Helmet? Try relaxing your grip.

Re:Wonderful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142594)

As soon as I saw this article, I said to myself, "The first +4/+5 comment I read is going to be a witty remark about how having [strippers, bored teenagers, bored teenage strippers] is all Linux needed to finally make the big time." /+0, Obvious

First Post!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142358)

OMG Firefox is teh exploitoitable!!!!!

MOD PARENT UP!!!!1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142549)

this is so irconic

video conf between windows and Linux ??? (2, Interesting)

cacrus (705459) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142359)

Can't wait to see video conf between windows and linux platforms . Until now a lil is achieved by Skype , which makes it possivble for linux and windows users tohaev voice chat . period. nothings else.

Re:video conf between windows and Linux ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142418)

You can use Flash for that!
Check out the (naughty) cam software here [adultfriendfinder.com] .

Does anyone know of any other, less dodgy examples?

Re:video conf between windows and Linux ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142451)

Hmm, apparently you need a Macromedia server for this as described here [macromedia.com] .

Under what operating systems will gnome-meeting run?

Re:video conf between windows and Linux ??? (2, Informative)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142449)

Gnome Meeting anyone?

Re:video conf between windows and Linux ??? (2)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142496)

there is NO way I am going to wear one of those silly hats just to chat to my buddies.

Besides, its cold in my garden at the moment.

Re:video conf between windows and Linux ??? (5, Informative)

Sodki (621717) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142455)

Gnomemeeting already played very nice with Microsoft's Netmeeting, present in almost every Windows box, sound and video included.

Re:video conf between windows and Linux ??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142597)

Yeah and H.323 works so well behind any sort of firewall...

Bounty! (4, Interesting)

dsginter (104154) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142538)

I hate to piggyback on your post but I wanted this to be seen.

I am currently working for a company that spends prohibitive amounts of money on videoconferencing. Not because they are stupid but rather because there are no "enterprise" quality videoconferencing products out there at an affordable price. By "enterprise" quality, I mean that the device needs to have the following:

1) PTZ Camera [google.com] (PTZ = pan, tilt, zoom)
2) Complete control from remote control (including PTZ)
3) H.320, H.323 and SIP
4) Massive profit

Currently, we are paying about $50,000 USD for a dual plasma installation. While I realize that the 42" plasmas are a reasonable portion of the cost ($10,000), the rest is just a PC with a camera and some software. We don't even do any advanced multi-party capabilities - just connect to a bridge and let it do the work. It would be real nice if some bright spark would enter this market and offer something at a reasonable price (but still at huge profit).

w00t (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142360)

Good! now I don't have to boot into Windows to cam whore. I just need to get the cam working with Linux now. ;)

Kudos, general.

hardcore gayness (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142361)

i like to grabaulsa

QWNED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142362)

I Qwn u all. First post. OOhh yes.

Re:QWNED (-1, Offtopic)

naylor83 (836780) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142428)

Too slow.

Look! It's a nerd! (2, Funny)

Thijs van As (826224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142365)

So you can now finally watch your fellow linux nerds hacking their fav open source project.

Look! It's a Windows user! (4, Funny)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142506)

No, it's more like: now you can watch windows users re-install in real time!

Reverse Engineered From The Disassembly (5, Interesting)

Pants75 (708191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142368)

So for fun, and challenge, I reverse-engineered the original implementation by studying the massive amount of assembly code involved, and after a lot of hard work I ended up with this implementation in C.

Nice, gotta give the guy props for that.

That is not a trivial undertaking at all.

I tip my hat to ya.

Pete

Re:Reverse Engineered From The Disassembly (5, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142453)

Also, the fact he has a C implementation will hopefully imply portability between architectures, not just OSes.

Linux isn't the only OS without an MSN video client, OS X/PPC could do with one too. As nice as iChat is, unless everyone you know is on the AIM network you're somewhat limited. I understand AIM is the largest IM network in the US, however in the UK I'd (unscientifically) say that title belongs to MSN.

I'm fully aware that having a C implementation doesn't necessarily mean portability (endianess, 64 vs 32 bit etc.), but it certainly helps.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Reverse Engineered From The Disassembly (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142465)

in the UK I'd (unscientifically) say that title belongs to MSN

That holds from my admittedly somewhat limited experience too. A year or two ago, almost everyone I knew who used IM used ICQ; now the vast majority use MSN instead. I know very few people who use anything else.

it is trivial actually (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142460)

Umm, how else do you reverse engineer if not from ASM. (software anyway)

If you can't read ASM then your chances of reverse engineering any IA32 program are slim to none.

Study it for a bit, it is really not as hard as you think. The quality of dissemblers has gotten to the point where they can easily show you the outside calls, params, and windows hooks.

Don't glorify it just because you can't program in anything but C++ and Java.

Real men can program ASM!

Re:it is trivial actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142486)

that's not reverse engineering at all, that's decompiling.

RE is looking at the behaviour of something and reproducing it.

whether decompiling is legal in Norway I leave to others, but I suspect it isn't as clear as reverse engineering for interop.

Re:it is trivial actually (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142513)

So for fun, and challenge, I reverse-engineered the original implementation by studying the massive amount of assembly code involved, and after a lot of hard work I ended up with this implementation in C.

Just a question, HOW THE FUCK DID HE GET THE ASM without decompiling the program.

Maybe he knows the ASM fairy.

don't be a retard, when it comes to software decompiling and reverse engineering are synonoums.

PS I spell for shit and could care leess.

Re:Reverse Engineered From The Disassembly (-1, Troll)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142464)

A less trivial (and possibly more legal) undertaking would have been to code a new framework from scratch. As it stands right now, this looks to be on very tenuous ground: not only is it questionale from a legal standpoint but it plain old looks bad (we complain that MS "embraces and extends" all the time -- how is this any different?).

I much prefer *actual* open source projects. Not open source derived from disassembly of closed source. If we want this movement to gain more traction, this is NOT the way to do it.

Re:Reverse Engineered From The Disassembly (5, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142529)

I call troll...

A less trivial (and possibly more legal) undertaking would have been to code a new framework from scratch

1. There is no legal problem here - it's completely legal to reverse engineer for interoperability.
2. How exactly is your "new framework" going to interact with existing (closed) systems? Or are you expecting the likes of Microsoft to implement a new open protocol so they can interact with the FOSS community?

we complain that MS "embraces and extends" all the time -- how is this any different?

Microsoft does "embrace and extend" on well defined open protocols and screws everyone over because of their market position (which basically forces everyone else to adopt their extensions). This is simply "embracing" (not extending) a propriatory system so we can interoperate with it - no protocols are being broken here.

I much prefer *actual* open source projects. Not open source derived from disassembly of closed source.

Like it or not, when interacting with propriatory systems you have to reverse engineer them because the propriators are sure as hell not going to give you the specs. The same is true of hardware drivers, etc. (an aweful lot of the hardware drivers in Linux were reverse engineered by looking at how the Windows drivers interacted with the hardware). How would you suggest doing it?

Re:Reverse Engineered From The Disassembly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142540)

The "embrace and extend" dirty trick doesn't work with Microsoft code. Anyway, open source has done embrace and extend before--Linux/GNU is an "embrace then extend" of UNIX.

Legality in US? (3, Insightful)

caryw (131578) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142369)

What is the current status of legality of reverse-engineering of software in the US? I know that hardware reverse-engineering has stood up in court time and time again, but software is a different story. Especially with a powerful plaintiff such as Microsoft.
--
NoVA Underground: Where Northern Virginia comes out to play [novaunderground.com]

Re:Legality in US? (1)

Pants75 (708191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142384)

Microsoft itself reverse engineers stuff all the time to add compatibility with other apps (or it did in the past anyway, they had to when they were the small fish)

Or you could say that they reverse engineer stuff all the time to bring out their own version of the app.

Its all good.

Re:Legality in US? (3, Interesting)

turbofisk (602472) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142450)

Which doesn't really answer his question.... I'd be surpriced if anyone gets sued for this in the US though... The work hasn't been done in the US, so no harm done? It can't be illegal to *use* reverse engeneered software, right?

Re:Legality in US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142604)

Ask the DeCSS lawyers... It was reverse engineered in norway too, and at least distribution sites were sued. Not sure about users, but even if they didn't, it might just be because suing them costs more than the suit might be worth.

Re:Legality in US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142414)

Um yeah dont rain on our parade you asshat.

Re:Legality in US? (3, Informative)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142463)

Norwegian law would be the ones in question here, and it still sane.

We're currently debating wether to implement the new copyright etc laws though. (and be 'we' I mean fringe left and some computer scientists complaining, while the main stream press keep their daily schedule of reporting fairly amazingly trivial and non-important 'news')

Re:Legality in US? (3, Insightful)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142566)

This was done in Norway. It has nothing to do with USA. Your question is as relevant here as asking how legal this is in any other country of the world. Why USA?

Re:Legality in US? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142591)

Simple. He lives in the USA and wants to download it.

Re:Legality in US? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142607)

Are you a f**cking idiot? No? Then don't assume others are! The description states clearly that this was done in Norway, where reverse-engineering is perfectly legal. But I'm sure you already knew that. And I'm sure caryw did too. Now, he was wondering whether reverse-engineering, in regards to software, was legal in the US. This is still relevant, because we are talking, in part, about reverse-engineering.

Re:Legality in US? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142613)

The question is "as relevant here as asking how legal this is in any other country of the world". That is, quite relevant IMO. He's american, he asks about USA. Any problem with that? Ask about your country if you want.

KDE 4.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142377)

Someone needs to get this in Kopete for KDE 4.

yeah (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142379)

yeah but i bet you that this really sucks

Why not use ichat/AIM's video protocol? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142380)

> Looks like the Free/Open Source Software movement is very
> close to closing up one of the most noticeable software gaps
> remaining from its glorious efforts

Why not use ichat/AIMs video protocol. It's a fully open standard, described completely on Apple's developer site. All there ready to go.

Or is it more important to chase what Windows does, rather than what Works?

Re:Why not use ichat/AIM's video protocol? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142431)

Right....

Want to give a reference to the location on Apple's developer site then?

Re:Why not use ichat/AIM's video protocol? (1, Informative)

DrWhizBang (5333) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142444)

These guys have reverse engineered the protocol between the camera and the PC, not between two PC. It's damn hard to convert the video to ichat/aim if you can't get a readable video off of the camera in the first place.

What's cool about this is that Logitech are the kings of decent webcams, and now they can be used with free software like linux.

Re:Why not use ichat/AIM's video protocol? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142470)

The Logitech Sphere already workes fine with Linux.

Re:Why not use ichat/AIM's video protocol? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142524)

For god's sake read the damn article. This is NOT a webcam driver. It is a codec for Mimic V2.x. Which MSN Messenger uses for sending video between PCs.

Re:Why not use ichat/AIM's video protocol? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142469)

Does implementing iChat's video protocol magically make it work with Microsoft's software?

Re:Why not use ichat/AIM's video protocol? (2, Insightful)

Compile 'em all (834137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142577)

>Why not use ichat/AIMs video protocol. It's a >fully open standard,
>described completely on Apple's developer site. >All there ready to go.

Well, It is not about chasing Windows.
Love it or not, MS has 90% of the market and if they didn't decide to use Open standards (ichat/AIMs, Jabber)
then the only way to communicate with those 90% is reverse-engineering MS stuff.

Use WikiCam (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142383)

Wikipedia has a webcam feature. You can view my WikiCam [wikipedia.org] here

Sure, until MSN 7 comes out of beta (5, Insightful)

the_unknown_soldier (675161) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142385)

Looks like the Free/Open Source Software movement is very close to closing up one of the most noticeable software gaps remaining from its glorious efforts."

That is until MSN 7 includes a new codec or in other ways blocks this implementation

Re:Sure, until MSN 7 comes out of beta (2, Insightful)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142408)

How are they going to block a codec? Perhaps they could fudge the codec a bit, but that would break compatibility with MSN Messenger 6, frustrating their own customers. In any case, the differences in assembly code between MSN7 and MSN6 would be seen quite quickly, and the revelant changes could be made to libmimic.

Perhaps they could ban non-MSN clients, but that hasn't worked too well in the past.

I don't think MSN would try something like that. After all, they're all about interoperability right?

Re:Sure, until MSN 7 comes out of beta (1)

fyrewulff (702920) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142430)

This is true. MSN is really big on working with other clients - you have to remember that they spent the good part of a year once pissing off AOL by getting around their MSN blocks. Which I found hilarious.

WTF? (4, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142389)

Looks like the Free/Open Source Software movement is very close to closing up one of the most noticeable software gaps remaining from its glorious efforts
Is it just me, or has slashdot started to sound more an more like TASS did in the mid-80s [wikipedia.org]

Re:WTF? (3, Funny)

dos_dude (521098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142535)

Tonight, the federation of the FOSS (farmers operating socialist software) announced that it has fullfilled its five-year plan to produce high quality socialist software that is better than the imperialist's product.

Since the late 90s, the imperialists have been using "web cams" to form monopolies, rage wars, and perform other counter-revolutionary crimes.

With the liberation of the MSN protocol, another battle in the fight against the imperialist pigs was gloriously won. The revolutionary forces may now use the imperialist's network to spread hype and FUD, and to cooperatively work on the liberation of even more imperialistic protocols in a very efficient manner.

Together with the presentation techniques that the FOSS has liberated from the counter-revolutinary Power Point application, the MSN web-cam protocol will give the revolutionary forces the means of production that our great leaders chose to include in their plans five years ago.

I don't want it! (4, Funny)

Pants75 (708191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142394)

It gives me comfort having no evidence that the person I'm chatting with is a trucker called Bubba.

software gaps? (-1, Troll)

tsmithnj (738472) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142396)

Looks like the Free/Open Source Software movement is very close to closing up one of the most noticeable software gaps remaining from its glorious efforts. I'm sorry. How does disassembling a program address mediocre driver support?

Re:software gaps? (1)

caston (711568) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142425)

By allowing more people to move away from Windows and to Linux.

Re:software gaps? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142440)

Much the same way bitching about medicore driver support on slashdot does.

Please Explain The "glorious efforts" uote.... (2, Insightful)

BRock97 (17460) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142397)

"Looks like the Free/Open Source Software movement is very close to closing up one of the most noticeable software gaps remaining from its glorious efforts."

Could someone please explain to me what in the hell this line means? It could be that it is only 6:30 in the morning, but the way I read this line, it makes it out that the FOSS is responsible for the causing gap that they just closed. Anyone else? I would have thought Microsoft is responsible, but maybe I am missing something here......

Re:Please Explain The "glorious efforts" uote.... (1)

Alexis Boulva (873401) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142399)

oh, come on, man... leave me my bias fun ;)

Just how many video codecs do we need? (4, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142401)

This is getting crazy , why do software companies and open source developers keep spewing out endless video codecs. We don't keep seeing alternatives to TCP popping up every week, why is video so different? WHat the hell is wrong with mpeg anyway??

Re:Just how many video codecs do we need? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142472)

Patents. Everyone has his own codec and patents it. Even the "open source" Dirac codec will be patented.

Re:Just how many video codecs do we need? (4, Informative)

aldoman (670791) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142512)

The reason it will be patented is that if they don't, some other company can just go ahead and patent the same thing, and the only way to rectify it is a long and hard court case which will cost lots and lots of $$$.

Re:Just how many video codecs do we need? (2, Interesting)

turbofisk (602472) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142473)

True, but it's also true that better codecs come out. Of course, better is in the eye of the beholder, but alot of people seem to enjoy hrhdtv xvid releases more than dvdr for example... It's of course not a good comparison, but saying that we should stop evolving codecs is just plain silly... Keeping the formats open is however another story. Goverments should force by law open formats to increase interoperability. Would Office be the moneycow it is, if .doc wasn't closed?

Re:Just how many video codecs do we need? (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142478)

Wrong analogy. TCP is a basic framework, standards driven, written to write on most hardware. Video isn't. Most companies take existing codecs and "mold" them around their hardware to get the most out of it (move a pointer here, remove arbitrary lines of code there, etc). It's more akin to the millions of document formats out there.

That said, this is NOT The right to go about this (disassemblying closed source, creating open source from it). It's the same shit DivX got in trouble with early on, and they're lucky to have survived. I give much more praise to guys who can write this stuff totally from scratch.

Re:Just how many video codecs do we need? (3, Insightful)

lurch_mojoff (867210) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142581)

That said, this is NOT The right to go about this (disassemblying closed source, creating open source from it). It's the same shit DivX got in trouble with early on, and they're lucky to have survived. I give much more praise to guys who can write this stuff totally from scratch.
Not to troll or anything, but just how can one write from scratch something, he doesn't have knowledge of? Consult Miss Cleo? Do you really think if there was a detilled how_to_implement_mimic guide, this guy, Ole André Vadla Ravnås, would go to such extremes as to ponder over a buch of Assembly code and try to create a working C program out of it?! Such a feat is worth the praise.

Re:Just how many video codecs do we need? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142650)

It is called clean room reverse engineering. Instead of disassembling the codec you treat the codec as a black box encoding known values and examining the output. What he did is known as dirty room reverse engineering and has some legal issues in the USA.

Re:Just how many video codecs do we need? (1)

Vampyre_Dark (630787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142530)

The MS_P_ON_U protocol has been used for two decades now!

Re:Just how many video codecs do we need? (1)

WillyW0nka2003 (873514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142622)

As many as possible, so long as they provide added benefits. Codecs are used to compress and decompress the bit stream and as new compression techniques are found and implemented as a codec the smaller the bandwidth needed to carry that compressed data. The issue is how to get these codecs to be made public given the investment that the companies make in developing them.

Wait ... (5, Insightful)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142402)

Until MSN changes the protocol again. Timothy's byline is imho the most insightful part of the document: it's an extract from an ancient quote that goes, "DOS isn't done until Lotus won't run". [ref [dgl.com] ].

MSN's frequent "we won't let you run messenger because we need to install crucial updates for which you need to be administrator" errors is why I use Yahoo these days, but I can see how the videocam feature would be helpful to people - and how easy it would be for MSN to change it's protocols around.

Of course, GAIM had the same problem with Yahoo messenger, and they just fought them tooth-and-nail. What I'm saying is, unless somebody really puts their muscle behind this, MSN will just keep screwing around with them.

patents? (2, Interesting)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142435)

Reverse engineering is legal, but have they no patents or copyrights? Usually they slip in some meaningless junk so they can patent it and/or copyright it. And I think most contries do have some form of patents?

Re:patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142487)

I think you can only patent software implementation, not some abstract principle.

Re:patents? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142515)

Er. Hence the storm of european software patents! - they _aren't_ currently enforceable in most european countries, but the patent office has been granting the patents anyway. Right now, mimic or whatever it's called is likely 100% legal in europe.

And just to make another point, to those who say FOSS is "just playing catchup" or "always copying" or whatever: Many early Webcam-style applications were BSD-licensed, things like VIC/RAT from the MBONE suite. If it weren't for the installed base of proprietary users, this package would be unnecessary. This is why Microsoft is usually careful not to care too much about "piracy" (and why you shouldn't "pirate" software even if you disagree with copyright...): network effects which dominate the computing market establish lock-in of their proprietary tools.

Re:patents? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142555)

Reverse engineering is legal, but have they no patents or copyrights?

Thankfully software isn't patentable in the EU (yet).

Glory of open source? (0)

Meor (711208) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142441)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, that's just funny.

one of the very important stumbling block removed (2, Insightful)

krayfx (694332) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142445)

i say its most important, because this will help desktop users use the linux box for regular home usage. i used to find this an impediment. being able to use the webcam will help me move to linux completely for communication purposes. this has been the case for many people. for the average home user - not being able to access the webcam is a major impediment, i hope all the open-source communication sfwares, use the same! this will help change the perception for average joes and janes that linux is indeed user friendly and works as well as ms stuff

Just great. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142447)

Now where is the Linux driver for the QuickCam Pro USB [logitech.com] (dark focus ring), so that I can actually, you know, use Mimic?

Re:Just great. (5, Informative)

Alexis Boulva (873401) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142462)

This site [sourceforge.net] has links to sites with linux drivers for several Logitech webcams... It's thanks to this site that I got my "QuickCam Messenger" working in linux... IMO it's running better in linux... But no big surprise, there, eh...

Re:Just great. (1)

Surgeon606 (768924) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142680)

Which ProductId does your QuickCam Messenger have? Mine has "08f0", which is not in the list of supported devices. I thought no QuickCam Messenger could work in Linux.

XMPP (1)

defsdoor (737019) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142471)

While this is a good thing we really ought to be pushing everyone towards XMPP - its just the right way to do instant messaging (peer to peer and not all on one server).

Is there Video support in the XMPP protocol ? Or a proposed extension ?

Finally! (1)

QJimbo (779370) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142489)

MSN Messenger is pretty unreliable with cams in my experiance, hopefully this breakthrough will allow more Win32 MSN clients as well as Linux ones. I wonder how long it will be till aMSN adds webcam support now...

All professional VTC is open source anyway...??? (4, Insightful)

J Barnes (838165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142493)

90% of all video conferencing done in the professional world is based on open standards already, H.323 and H.264 are much more viable options then a propriotary microsoft product.

If linux and other GNU/GPL/open source projects are to routinely tout the viability of open source standards, why not simply use the existing and tested open sources already in use in the vast majority of VTC solutions?

Unless it's a bunch of linux users that want to taunt microsoft fans on MSN.

One small step for camwhores... (1)

ThomS (866280) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142500)

People can laugh and make camwhore references but at the end of the day, a large majority of windows users use it primarily for chat. With another major step towards a client that matches msn messenger in usability and functionality, I'm sure a lot more people will begin to be converted.

Over reacting? (3, Insightful)

Chris Kamel (813292) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142501)

Looks like the Free/Open Source Software movement is very close to closing up one of the most noticeable software gaps remaining from its glorious efforts.
Don't u think that's a little over reacting to call a video codec for videoconferencing, one of the most noticeable software gaps?

Re:Over reacting? (1)

Alexis Boulva (873401) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142567)

...I guess you didn't get that having an msn webcam codec is a big advancement for the Farsight project, which I am told will be ready for use with many IM clients within 2-3 months.

Re:Over reacting? (1)

mrselfdestrukt (149193) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142617)

Thanks Chris Kamel,
You just broke my brain with your sig.

Re:Over reacting? (1)

Chris Kamel (813292) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142668)

No prob, anything I could do to help self-destrukt :P

Trillian? (0, Offtopic)

Sandman1971 (516283) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142503)

Hopefully the Cereliun Studios folks are aware of this and will finally implement MSN Messenger webcam to Trillian. It's the only thing that's been missing from Trillian.

Re:Trillian? (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142547)

The big thing missing from Trillian currently and for a while is reliability with regards to sending messages over the MSN network. Take a look at this thread [trillian.cc] where the issue has been ignored for well over a year, while present far longer.

Credit where credit is due. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142505)

Looks like the Free/Open Source Software movement is very close to closing up one of the most noticeable software gaps remaining from its glorious efforts.

Seems to me the Free/Open Source movement only achieved this goal by ripping off Microsoft.

Re:Credit where credit is due. (2, Informative)

orasio (188021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142580)

Dumbass.
Gnomemeeting already worked.
Gaim-vv already worked.
The videoconferencing was already available.
The issue here was _interoperability_ with MSN using friends, where Microsoft played as an obstacle, now removed.

Economic Realititties (2, Insightful)

olderphart (787517) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142551)

100% legal in Norway?

We're obviously going to have to nip this terrorism in the bud. Actually, kudos to our new Norwegian overlords...

In the unintended consequences of moronic special interest legislation department, is this the first tech breakthrough we can point at and say "Congrats DMCA, you have definitively moved progress out of the US!"?

--
OP
I had a .sig somwhere

Time to download and archive the code... (1)

DarkEdgeX (212110) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142562)

...in case this turns into another international incident like DeCSS. :P

Hail the King! (1)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12142587)

"remaining from its glorious efforts"

And I thought I was the only one that was a member of the People's Republic of GNU.

Glory be unto us! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12142673)

Looks like the Free/Open Source Software movement is very close to closing up one of the most noticeable software gaps remaining from its glorious efforts.

Wonderful! The war on proprietary software is going well. I'm looking for a press release, does anyone know where I can contact the Open Source Ministry of Truth? Hmmm... I seem to be there.
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