> > there is no point in writing an H.264 decoder for gstreamer since such
> > a thing already exists and is in widespread use
> Unless you need a patent license, in which case you're going to want to
> use Fluendo's codec.
See below for details about patent licenses..
Note that Fluendo contacted us (FFmpeg) some time ago to negotiate a patent exception for FFmpeg's H.264 decoder. The request was declined. I think they then licensed some proprietary H.264 decoder from somewhere. Writing one from scratch is an entirely nontrivial task.
What Fluendo offers you is common and garden-variety proprietary software. If this is compatible with your moral standards, fine. But presenting them as the champions of software freedoms is - IMNSHO - tasteless.
> > Fluendo also offers an alternative H.264 decoder that hooks into
> > gstreamer. In exchange for money they take away your freedom."
> Umm, jein. Unlike FFmpeg, they *have* a patent license. So, you know,
> you don't get sued. With software patents, you're screwed either way.
> Pretty sure Fluendo *can't* ship a Free codec; it's almost certainly
> in the MPEG-LA license terms.
> Shipping known-patented code without a license is tasteless IMHO.
> Same as selling your friend stolen goods.
What makes you think that? Please get a clue before making such broad and insulting claims. Patent licenses are completely orthogonal to software licenses and not tied to any software implementation. In fact, you can get them separately and there are companies that do exactly that. The two most prominent users of FFmpeg are YouTube and Facebook, both are MPEG-LA licensees. Also, why would the MPEG-LA care which software you run after they have received their money?
All the claims about a license being required in order to be "legally" allowed to use or even distribute H.264 decoding software are completely made up. Check the MPEG-LA licensing terms yourself:
They only speak of selling products, not of using or distributing software.
I don't need a license from the MPEG-LA, neither does FFmpeg or VLC and neither do you or 99.9% of the world's population. The problem only exists for companies that deal in MPEG technologies, have deep enough pockets and reside in certain parts of the world where the legal system is antisocial. Now I'm very sorry that people find themselves in such a situation and I have personally fought against the problem spreading. But holding the rest of the world hostage to account for the situation of a chosen few is not helpful.
> I've asked the MPEG-LA to clarify their position towards Free and open
> source codecs for their FAQ; we'll see if anything comes of it.
> So, really, either way your freedom is gone.
Send me an email if/when you see results. Or have our beloved editor in chief post it as a news story. It will surely be newsworthy.