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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 23, 2013
An "enum" for Python 3
An unexpected perf feature
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
The statement is that Firefox doesn't support H.264, and the iPad doesn't support Flash.
iPad does in fact support H.264
Posted Feb 4, 2010 6:25 UTC (Thu) by bvdm (guest, #42755)
Posted Feb 4, 2010 14:35 UTC (Thu) by n8willis (editor, #43041)
Posted Feb 5, 2010 11:34 UTC (Fri) by DonDiego (subscriber, #24141)
Posted Feb 10, 2010 10:00 UTC (Wed) by marcH (subscriber, #57642)
I do not think that the use of English makes much difference; this sentence is just too convoluted (in any language).
Otherwise a very interesting summary.
Posted Feb 4, 2010 6:38 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333)
So it's pretty obvious why they are pushing it.
If Firefox/Mozilla folks want to establish HTML5 as a viable standard for
delivery of video they are just going to have to bite the bullet here and
give into the fact that their market share does not give them ability to
push a political agenda by denying users easy functionality.
Sorry. That is just not how it works.
I support the use of Theora over H.264 very much. But it is not something I
nor Mozilla org has any control over. The good thing is that Theora and
H.264 are not mutually exclusive. Just like PNG and Jpeg are not mutually
The issue with H.264 and what to do about supporting 'patent encumbered'
media has been done to death on Linux. There are effective and widely used
solutions in place for dealing with these issues... it's just a matter of
Mozilla taking advantage of them. (My favorite is of course Gstreamer +
ffmpeg gstreamer plugin)
As far as other platforms XP does not support H.264 out of the box, but
Vista and Windows 7 does. As does OS X. For XP not supporting it that makes
life difficult for Mozilla, but it is a very good reason for people to
support the use of Theora.
Posted Feb 4, 2010 10:08 UTC (Thu) by roc (subscriber, #30627)
In many countries, the MPEG-LA could sue you (and win) for using *or distributing* ffmpeg's H.264 decoder. Is that the kind of regime you want to live under?
> As far as other platforms XP does not support H.264 out of the box, but
> Vista and Windows 7 does.
Posted Feb 4, 2010 15:56 UTC (Thu) by DonDiego (subscriber, #24141)
The MPEG LA has never sued an end-user to date. While in theory they could do that in the future, it's about as likely as getting killed by a meteor hit. Microsoft could also sue you for using Linux. You never know, they do have patents that cover it.
If you are afraid of distributing an H.264 decoder, fine, leave it to others and use what is available on the system.
> > As far as other platforms XP does not support H.264 out of the box, but Vista and Windows 7 does.
> Vista doesn't.
Who uses Vista? ;-p
Seriously, how big a slice of your userbase uses Vista? For the FFmpeg and MPlayer websites I see less than 20% of the Windows users on Vista, most are still on XP and likely to skip Vista on their upgrade path.
So what are the statistics? How many of your users do not have access to a system H.264 decoder and how many will not in five years time?
Posted Feb 4, 2010 16:44 UTC (Thu) by blitzkrieg3 (subscriber, #57873)
They would not sue an end user. End users have no money. They would sue a Red Hat, or a SUSE for giving you access to ffmpeg package.
Posted Feb 4, 2010 16:48 UTC (Thu) by quintesse (subscriber, #14569)
Posted Feb 4, 2010 20:59 UTC (Thu) by roc (subscriber, #30627)
Some people. I was just correcting an error in the poster's facts.
> So what are the statistics?
I believe currently around 60% of our users are on WinXP. Not sure how many are on Vista. The fraction of those people who have installed a DirectShow H.264 code is probably tiny, so we can expect that somewhat less than 40% of our users have an H.264 codec on their system.
Posted Feb 4, 2010 21:09 UTC (Thu) by roc (subscriber, #30627)
There's no way to tell. Five years ago you could have said the same thing about the RIAA suing individual file-sharers, but then they started doing it.
Fundamentally it's a bad idea to bet on the MPEG-LA being lenient forever. Their job is to bring in licensing revenue for patent holders. At some point in the future, if suing users is a convenient way to scare people, or to destroy free competition to products that actually generate license revenue, there's no reason to believe they won't do it. Keep in mind that the optimal revenue-generation strategy changes over time: it pays to be lenient at first, to get the format maximally entrenched, and then you can squeeze the licensees for all you can get (modulo contractual restrictions). History is instructive.
Plus, let me remind you that your guess about the intention of the MPEG-LA to "not require" licenses for free software proved to be completely wrong. Betting on such guesses, no matter who makes them, would be foolish.
Posted Feb 5, 2010 10:50 UTC (Fri) by DonDiego (subscriber, #24141)
The RIAA is not a patent pool, this is a straw man.
> Plus, let me remind you that your guess about the intention of the MPEG-LA to "not require" licenses for free software proved to be completely wrong. Betting on such guesses, no matter who makes them, would be foolish.
I never said any such thing. The MPEG LA patent license question rests on the depth of your pockets, not on the type of software you use.
Posted Feb 7, 2010 22:08 UTC (Sun) by roc (subscriber, #30627)
The point is that "<Large Corporate Entity> would never sue end users, because they have no money" is an argument that has failed in the past.
>> Plus, let me remind you that your guess about the intention of the
>> MPEG-LA to "not require" licenses for free software proved to be
>> completely wrong.
> I never said any such thing.
> You don't need a license from the MPEG-LA (and neither does FFmpeg)
> because you don't qualify for requiring one:
Suing individual users of H.264
Posted Feb 8, 2010 2:07 UTC (Mon) by jhhaller (subscriber, #56103)
Posted Feb 8, 2010 4:01 UTC (Mon) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877)
"In the US, my understanding (IANAL) is that practicing a patent does not require a license, only importing or distributing."
The USPTO Sez (http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/#patent)
The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the United States or importing the invention into the United States. What is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention. Once a patent is issued, the patentee must enforce the patent without aid of the USPTO.
Relevant portions bolded and italicized by me. (See also the the MPEG-LA's response to my query in the other article comments.
Certainly, if I were to write my own H.264 decoder, I am not infringing.
Yes, you would. That would be the non-bolded "making" above, which precedes the bolded "using".
Now, if I were to distribute a software decoder, that would require a license under current case law.
Perhaps under current case law (IANAL), but not under a strict reading of the USPTO's talk (as long as it's not for sale, sold, or brought into the US).
Posted Feb 8, 2010 20:50 UTC (Mon) by roc (subscriber, #30627)
Incorrect. Practicing requires a license.
> Certainly, if I were to write my own H.264 decoder, I am not infringing.
Incorrect. If you used it, you would be infringing.
Posted Feb 8, 2010 21:10 UTC (Mon) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877)
If you used it, you would be infringing.
If you used an encoder/decoder that you wrote, you'd be infringing twice (see the USPTO link above; the act of making a patented idea is prohibited, as is using an implementation without a license).
Posted Feb 7, 2010 12:01 UTC (Sun) by man_ls (subscriber, #15091)
While in theory they could do that in the future, it's about as likely as getting killed by a meteor hit.
Posted Feb 10, 2010 13:00 UTC (Wed) by marcH (subscriber, #57642)
OK this is off-topic but... JPEG and PNG serve two very different purposes. The former is for photographs while the latter is for computer images. Use the wrong one and you will get poor quality or poor compression or both.
You probably meant: "just like GIF and PNG are not mutually exclusive".
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