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FLOSS Codecs Emerge Victorious In Wikimedia Vote

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the quest-for-internal-consistency dept.

Media 235

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Maggs from the Wikimedia Foundation's multimedia team has given a final summary of the discussion and vote about whether to support MP4 video or not. Twice as many people voted against adding MP4 to Wikimedia than voted for full support. Now they can get back to their mission of advocating openness. 'Those opposing MP4 adoption believe that in order for what we create to be truly free, the format that it is in also needs to be free, (else everyone viewing it would need to obtain a patent license in some form to be able to view it). ... From that viewpoint, any software infrastructure in Wikimedia projects must adhere to community norms regarding intellectual property, patent status, licensing or encoding methods. Current community requirements are that free/open standards should be used at all times to encode and store video files on the servers that house our data, so that both our content and software can be redistributed without any restrictions. Proprietary video containers or codecs such as MP4 are not allowed on Wikimedia projects because they are patent-encumbered and their software cannot be re-licensed freely (though MP4 content can be freely re-licensed).'"

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235 comments

Beta sucks (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256713)

Watch them censor me. Soulskill you're a liar

Re:Beta sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257221)

Hi. I'm from the distant future. Your post is still not censored. Beta still sucks.

Re:Beta sucks (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257497)

Only cuz I called them on it. The link to the comment still exists but it gets removed from the discussion. Even during the height of the GNAA days they did not remove comments so arbitrarily - or at all I believe. And yes, Beta still sucks and always will.

Wouldn't that mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256715)

" Now they can get back to their mission of advocating openness"

Including MP4?

--jp

But... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256743)

But my tablet and phone have built-in hardware decoders.
Nothing can compete with that.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256821)

In performance, perhaps. However, some people have other priorities besides performance.

Re:But... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256937)

Some people have priorities beyond people being able to read their website, too.

I thought a website was a way to communicate with people -- a service provided to them. Turns out I'm wrong. Turns out a website is a way of attempting to browbeat people into using hardware that some shadowy collection of self-appointed watchmen have judged pure enough for their tastes.

Gif Licensing. Look it up. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257099)

The popularity of LZW led CompuServe to choose it as the compression technique for their GIF format, developed in 1987. At the time, CompuServe was not aware of the patent.Unisys became aware that the GIF format used the LZW compression technique and entered into licensing negotiations with CompuServe in January 1993. The subsequent agreement was announced on 24 December 1994.Unisys stated that they expected all major commercial on-line information services companies employing the LZW patent to license the technology from Unisys at a reasonable rate, but that they would not require licensing, or fees to be paid, for non-commercial, non-profit GIF-based applications, including those for use on the on-line services.

Following this announcement, there was widespread condemnation of CompuServe and Unisys, and many software developers threatened to stop using the GIF format. The PNG format (see below) was developed in 1995 as an intended replacement.However, obtaining support from the makers of Web browsers and other software for the PNG format proved difficult and it was not possible to replace the GIF format, although PNG has gradually increased in popularity. The libungif library was written to allow creation of GIFs that followed the data format but avoided the compression features, thus avoiding use of the Unisys LZW patent.

In August 1999, Unisys changed the details of their licensing practice, announcing the option for owners of certain non-commercial and private websites to obtain licenses on payment of a one-time license fee of $5000 or $7500. Such licenses were not required for website owners or other GIF users who had used licensed software to generate GIFs. Nevertheless, Unisys was subjected to thousands of online attacks and abusive emails from users believing that they were going to be charged $5000 or sued for using GIFs on their websites. Despite giving free licenses to hundreds of non-profit organizations, schools and governments, Unisys was completely unable to generate any good publicity and continued to be condemned by individuals and organizations such as the League for Programming Freedom who started the "Burn All GIFs" campaign.

Re:Gif Licensing. Look it up. (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#46257719)

Compromise is not always the correct solution, though it is often depicted as the politically correct one.

  While 1995 was a more benign time, today's state sponsored patent and copyright wars, extensions, and lawsuits suggest that the LPF was correct with their uncompromising stance.

Re:But... (3, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#46257725)

Turns out a website is a way of attempting to browbeat people into using hardware that some shadowy collection of self-appointed watchmen have judged pure enough for their tastes.

The same could be said of closed source licensors and their behavior towards users who desire some control over their hardware.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257057)

Unless you have a shitty iThing, you'll probably find your tablet and phone have built-in hardware decoders for VP8/WebM, too.

Really, show us which one (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257713)

NO SINGLE audio chipset has built in support for VP8/WebM.

And btw ... VP8 has a good number of proprietary techs, many that aren't even owned by Google.

Re:Really, show us which one (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257853)

No single audio chipset has support for VP8, a video format? No shit!
And btw... name those proprietary techs.

Re:But... (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#46257887)

My phone has a hardware VP8 encoder/decoder. Since the hardware design is free for chip designers and most of them have promised to make VP8 or VP9 standard there should be no problem going forward.

Need clarification (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#46256763)

Proprietary video containers or codecs such as MP4 are not allowed on Wikimedia projects because they are patent-encumbered and their software cannot be re-licensed freely (though MP4 content can be freely re-licensed).

Is that true? What does he mean by "re-license" in relation to the content of an MP4? (Or maybe I should ask what he means by "content".)

How does the MP4 codec have anything to do with the license regarding the content of an MP4 file?

Re:Need clarification (4, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | about 5 months ago | (#46256777)

Just what it sounds like. You can produce an MP4 and license the video itself (the "content") under a free license like Creative Commons, but the software required to play back that CC licensed video content is patent-encumbered and cannot be freely re-licensed.

Re:Need clarification (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256831)

To be fair, you cannot freely re-license any open source codecs either - at least not without contacting all of the folks who contributed to the project and getting their OK on a different license. If the license is currently GPL3 and you want to re-license to Apache - good luck with that.

Re:Need clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256879)

"but the software required to play back that CC licensed video content is patent-encumbered in America and cannot be freely re-licensed in America."

ROTW here, just fixing things for clarity.

Re:Need clarification (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#46257029)

OK, thanks.

Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (1, Insightful)

Dwedit (232252) | about 5 months ago | (#46256765)

Mobile devices have efficient hardware support for codecs like H.264, and using something else takes a toll on battery life.

Re:Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (5, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#46256811)

Freedom isn't free.

Re:Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256813)

Mobile devices have efficient hardware support for codecs like H.264, and using something else takes a toll on battery life.

Why do batteries hate freedom? The fact that open codecs are not supported in hardware is exactly the kind of problem this stance is suppose to fix. They just decided to provide a motive for hardware developers to support and move to open codecs, since that will get them good battery life when using wikimedia content.

Re:Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256823)

Why do batteries hate freedom?

Because they're terrorists?

Re:Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256839)

Mobile devices have efficient hardware support for codecs like H.264, and using something else takes a toll on battery life.

No, mobile devices have hardware support for SOME H.264 Profiles for playing them efficiently.
Try playing Hi10bit H.264 files on your ipad/i-whatever and see it choke if it even is capable of playing such content in the first place.

Re:Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257329)

Don't even need something quite that extravagant, lots of "modern" hardware decoders can't handle high profile level 5.1...

Re:Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (5, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#46256949)

And?

Wikimedia is concerned (IIRC) with building a library of content that freely accessible and sharable in perpetuity, I'd say that mission trumps catering to current-gen device users. How many hours per day did you say you spent watching wikimedia videos on your phone? The device manufacturers are after all free to implement hardware decoders for open codecs as well, and unlike H.264 they don't even need to pay any royalty fees to do so.

Re:Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257117)

Only if you're using a Microsoft or Apple device. Android devices has support for common royalty free codecs.

Re:Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (1)

drinkmoreyuengling (2768737) | about 5 months ago | (#46257767)

Having Android as the OS doesn't magically make the phone capable of hardware decoding the video. They all have the same problem. Your Faux-open operating system doesn't solve that.

Re:Why does Wikimedia hate batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257843)

From my limited tests I find that some modern Android devices are more battery efficient on playback of VP8 than of H.264. Possibly this happens on budget devices because they aren't paying the IP tax for H.264 in order to manufacture to a low price point. While I expect this trend to increase, I guess iOS devices will natively support H.264 for longer than anything else, but that's unlikely to help me.

How it happened: very encouraging for anti-swpat (5, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 5 months ago | (#46256773)

There was an initial surge of pro-mpeg votes by people connected to the WikiMedia Foundation and the technical team which would have been implementing it, then there were many days of mostly anti-mpeg voting when normal Wikipedia contributors heard about this idea.

As someone who has been campaigning for many years against software patents, it was very encouraging to see that the general Wikipedia populous (i.e. after the initial pro-mpeg surge from employees and pre-briefed technicians) was two-thirds against the use of patented formats.

Re:How it happened: very encouraging for anti-swpa (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256835)

Incorrect to imply that staff were all for it. There are 5 staff opposing it, including from the multimedia team itself, within the first 55 votes.

Re:How it happened: very encouraging for anti-swpa (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257679)

I found it quite interesting to go over the comments of the staff. It seems that there is quite a strong push for accepting MP4 from the management of the multimedia people.

Everybody seems to be quite concerned about the lack of video content on wikipedia, but what strikes me is the explanation that they have come up for it: people don't contribute more videos because it's difficult to transcode from some proprietary format to WebM/Theora. I found this justification quite absurd. Imagine you decide to shoot some video for an article in wikipedia. Then you shoot it, edit it, and try upload it; now you discover that the format that you used cannot be uploaded. What do you do? Give up? Come on.

Of course, the other reason is that H.264 has widespread hardware decoding, which makes it much nicer to the users on mobile devices. Which is true, but hardly worth the cost of betraying wikipedia's principles.

MMK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256793)

Gee, what are we fighting for anyway? Video killed the radio star, internet killed the movie star, who gives a fuck.

Tempest in a tea pot (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about 5 months ago | (#46256797)

The whole issue is about idealism, not practicality. In practice, MP4s are available on pretty much any device.

Unfortunately, that idealism is shooting wikimedia in the foot, because there are platforms that don't have open source codecs installed by default, leaving the "average" user unable to view the videos.

So in their zeal to pursue "openness", they've closed the doors on the people who matter most: the users.

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#46256827)

That availability comes at a price. It's almost impossible for a truly open piece of hardware to compete so we get locked down hardware in return for using proprietary codecs. You are right, it does come down to ideology and as I often say most people don't really want to be free as long as they can live in a golden cage.

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 5 months ago | (#46256947)

The whole issue is about idealism, not practicality.

What is practical about freedom?

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 5 months ago | (#46257019)

The question in my mind is whether their mission is to distribute information or promote ideals. I'm disappointed at the decision.

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257299)

It actually works... unlike the crap ton of devices / formats which don't work after a period of time because companies fold / sites go down / companies get sold / etc. At least with a free software friendly piece of software/codec/device you don't have to worry about that. Somebody at least *can* pick it up. That's not an excuse mind you for companies to release crap code and expect the community to pick up the slack. Release good code and the community will maintain it.

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (4, Interesting)

Vanders (110092) | about 5 months ago | (#46257077)

The users are exactly the people they're thinking about. Because in ten years time, it's the users who'll be happy not to deal with some proprietary closed format that isn't supported on their new device, because sadly it's obsolete and no one cares about Intel Indeo, oh sorry, I mean, MPEG-2, oh wait, I mean, h.264. They care because by using an open format they stand a chance of providing support to the latest iBrain 7, without having to destroy the content with yet another lossy conversion.

Of course if your outlook is limited to the short term of less than the next 12 months then I guess the decision looks bad, but then you're not thinking about the long game.

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (2, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | about 5 months ago | (#46257333)

What makes you think the terribly performing FLOSS codec of the day will be more likely to be supported in the future than today? You'll probably find the FLOSS codecs are just as poorly supported in the future as they are now.

There are a few exceptions, where the FLOSS codecs are really quite good; Xiph has done some great things with speech codecs, for example. But Theora and VP8 are terrible, and VP9 doesn't even match h.264, let alone h.265...

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (5, Insightful)

Vanders (110092) | about 5 months ago | (#46257359)

the terribly performing FLOSS codec of the day

I'm not sure which codec you're referring too, so I can't answer you there.

I guess my optimism is based on WebM being an open format, thus allowing anyone to implement it on any future platform. Unlike various proprietary formats, that won't. I mean, does your 'phone support Intel Indeo or RealPlayer G2?

VP9 doesn't even match h.264, let alone h.265

That's really odd, because the benchmarks I've seen show VP8 & h264 to be evenly matched, and no one has produced a finished h.265 or VP9 codec, so I do wonder how you think you've seen those two codecs fairly benchmarked?

Firefox 28 beta has VP9 built-in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257859)

Here's the checked-in patch [mozilla.org] , so check it out [mozilla.org] .

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257587)

What makes you think the terribly performing FLOSS codec of the day will be more likely to be supported in the future than today? You'll probably find the FLOSS codecs are just as poorly supported in the future as they are now.

There are a few exceptions, where the FLOSS codecs are really quite good; Xiph has done some great things with speech codecs, for example. But Theora and VP8 are terrible, and VP9 doesn't even match h.264, let alone h.265...

The fact that we have the code means it can be supported indefinitely on any future device with a compiler. Get it?
As for the iFanboys, someone will let them buy a decoder -- as long as Apple says its okay.

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 months ago | (#46257091)

there are platforms that don't have open source codecs installed by default, leaving the "average" user unable to view the videos.

There are fleetingly few of those... WebM support has gotten pretty pervasive. Chrome & Firefox have had it built-in for quite a while, as does Android, and more. In addition, there are native JAVASCRIPT decoders for Vorbis, Theora, and VP8, which could be used for any platforms that lack support, at merely a performance penalty.

Nobody is getting shot "in the foot" here. A small number of users may have a bit of difficulty displaying the content, but only very few. But ANY kind of progress requires someone being left behind, just as selecting MP4 *before* now would have caused some people problems, so too will this choice of FLOSS codecs. And their stand will only help to either encourage further adoption by those minority hold-outs (ie. Apple and Microsoft), or encourage users to avoid those companies.

If there has to be some pain, it's better than the pain is on behalf of pushing individuals and companies towards more freedom, and a long-term sustainable option.

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 5 months ago | (#46257253)

It's a double edged sword. While some users are going to be alienated, some users are going to try to figure out why they cannot play the content, and thus learn the issues surrounding licensing and the decision to use open (unchallenged) formats.

more like tantrum over fizzy pop (1)

rewindustry (3401253) | about 5 months ago | (#46257261)

"user" is a good word for you, more power to the soda pusher and his profits, just cause that's what make you feel good..

the rest of us are trying to make this a better place, sorry if that spoils your day, makes you have to actually install something, for once.

It's ones own fault for choosing a lousy iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257283)

Or Microsoft Windows device. Don't cry to wikimedia because you can't view content as a result.

If your not part of the solution stay out of the way.

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257289)

I always find it telling when the pro-proprietary/patents/etc apologists blame Wikimedia for not supporting mp4 rather than, you know, the fucking browser makers for not supporting webm. Because how the hell could Apple and Microsoft afford to possibly support one extra format!?!?!

Whatever they are paying you folks, it isn't enough.

Re:Tempest in a tea pot (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 5 months ago | (#46257421)

The whole issue is about idealism, not practicality. In practice, MP4s are available on pretty much any device.

Unfortunately, that idealism is shooting wikimedia in the foot, because there are platforms that don't have open source codecs installed by default, leaving the "average" user unable to view the videos.

So in their zeal to pursue "openness", they've closed the doors on the people who matter most: the users.

When I was first starting to use Linux, I tried many distributions, but settled on Debian and Ubuntu.

When I was setting up my desktop, I found Debian incredibly inconvenient. I wanted Java, and Flash... there were a great many compromises that I wanted to make, and Debian made those compromises a real pain in the ass. Ubuntu was perfect, it let me make all those compromises by simply clicking a button.

But I didn't use it on the server when I was doing development. When I was doing development, I realized that I might fail in my endeavors, but that if I succeeded, I was going to end up rolling out to who knows how many different boxes... possibly a great many. If I wasn't careful, some gatekeeper could make my project unsustainable as a consequence of it's own success.

Most people aren't concerned with the second case, only the first. But, the people who ARE concerned with the second case bring a HUGE amount of value to EVERYONE with their creations, including you personally. Their idealism is very, very important, and deserves respect, even if you're not the intended audience for their creation and will never directly use it.

Re: Tempest in a tea pot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257597)

Its important to remember that exactly because of the sole use of free formats and free content anyone can fork and choose to deliver the same content in a non free format if they want to.

so what free codec can/should I use? (1)

rduke15 (721841) | about 5 months ago | (#46256803)

My question is unrelated to wikimedia, but this seems like the right place to discuss the alternatives to h264/mp4.

I often have to encode videos to send to a few people. Most are computer-illiterate, and it needs to "just work". So I use H264 in Quicktime .mov, because most users have Macs, and those who have Windows definitely have Quicktime installed. I guess .m4v might also work as a container, except it doesn't have a timecode track.

But for the codec, is there a realistic alternative to H264 today? A format which can fit a feature-length HD movie in high quality in a file under 4GB so that it fits on any USB stick including FAT32, and that anyone can read?

Re:so what free codec can/should I use? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256849)

VP8/VP9. Include VLC Portable on your USB stick and you're fine.

Re:so what free codec can/should I use? (2, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 5 months ago | (#46256875)

and those who have Windows definitely have Quicktime installed.

Quicktime on Windows is a steaming turd along with its redheaded stepchild iTunes. I definitely don't have it installed. If you can't be bothered to use a 21st century cross platform container format I'll gladly skip watching your video.

Re:so what free codec can/should I use? (2)

rduke15 (721841) | about 5 months ago | (#46256999)

You are obviously not one of the people who needs to work with these videos, but I'm still interested in learning which "21st century cross platform container format" you would recommend, that anyone and their uncle is able to open (without calling me on the phone first).

I don't like QT much either, but what else can play back ProRes and H264, move frame-by-frame (including backwards), and display timecode and frame numbers?

Yeah I remember this arguement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257017)

We got stuck with realplayer for years

Re:so what free codec can/should I use? (3, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 months ago | (#46257023)

But for the codec, is there a realistic alternative to H264 today? A format which can fit a feature-length HD movie in high quality in a file under 4GB so that it fits on any USB stick including FAT32, and that anyone can read?

WebM is certainly better than QuickTime's H.264 encoding quality. That's VP8 with Vorbis audio in an MKV container.

Oddly enough, your best bet for playback is to use the <video> tag to embed it in a web page. Both Firefox and Chrome natively support WebM, as of quite a while back. Internet Explorer never will, but their market share is dwindling, and all those users need for playback is to install the codec pack first: https://tools.google.com/dlpag... [google.com]

If you want to keep it on QuickTime, there are QT components to support WebM, though I can't speak to their quality: https://code.google.com/p/webm... [google.com]

Re:so what free codec can/should I use? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257049)

" Internet Explorer never will, but their market share is dwindling"

Why, yes! Everyone should ignore 50% of their potential market [arstechnica.com] through some half-assed ideological argument! IE may be "dwindling" but it's still half your potential market, fuckwit. If you want to run a company that only targets half the people it could then be my fucking guest but everyone else wants to actually hit their potential market, not their artificially limited one.

Re:Firefox and Chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257115)

Windows is losing big time, while linux is fixing is own kernel Windows should do the same

Re:Firefox and Chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257257)

>> while linux is fixing is own kernel
hashtag lol out loud

Re:so what free codec can/should I use? (0)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 5 months ago | (#46257519)

" Internet Explorer never will, but their market share is dwindling"

Why, yes! Everyone should ignore 50% of their potential market [arstechnica.com] through some half-assed ideological argument! IE may be "dwindling" but it's still half your potential market, fuckwit. If you want to run a company that only targets half the people it could then be my fucking guest but everyone else wants to actually hit their potential market, not their artificially limited one.

First, a good businessman recognizes that some clients are just more trouble to do business with than they are worth, even if they want to do business with you.
 
Secondly, unless you've got a mental illness, once you've met your needs and those of the people who rely on you, you recognize that money is not something to hoard, but more of a vote than anything else, the means by which you choose which of your peers to elevate and which to diminish.
 
If all you ever do is chase money, you're always another mans tool. You're not setting the agenda, and you have no real power.
 
"So, you're funding Microsoft, empowering them to continue with their vicious behavior, are you? Well, you don't GET any fucking pudding, asshole, and I don't CARE how much money you have. Piss off."
 
Being able to say things like that is the reward for being industrious beyond your needs. It is how you make your power felt.

Re:so what free codec can/should I use? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 months ago | (#46257583)

Why, yes! Everyone should ignore 50% of their potential market

Those figures exaggerate IE numbers by more than 2X, according to practically any other source generating statistics on the topic:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Errors in Summary - Maggs is not staff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256815)

The summary is wrong:
* Michael Maggs is NOT from the Wikimedia Foundation's multimedia team: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Multimedia#Team [mediawiki.org] - He is simply a Commons Bureaucrat (like a super-sysop)

Sensible, in some utopia (0)

yogibeaty (224757) | about 5 months ago | (#46256843)

The choices were between media being posted in every available codec or only approved FLOSS. So now, I get to watch 1/2 of what's available because someone doesn't like my choice of codec. That's true freedom.

Re:Sensible, in some utopia (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 5 months ago | (#46256961)

So now, I get to watch 1/2 of what's available because someone doesn't like my choice of codec. That's true freedom.

That's true whining. Install the proper codec.

Re:Sensible, in some utopia (0)

yogibeaty (224757) | about 5 months ago | (#46256979)

Sure. On every fucking machine I work with, from now until doomsday, because why?

Right, because FLOSS. As if that were actually a reason.

Re:Sensible, in some utopia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257111)

What OS & browser combination are you using that's so shit and ideological that it doesn't already support WebM, and why are you complaining to us about it?

Re:Sensible, in some utopia (1)

fibonacci8 (260615) | about 5 months ago | (#46257331)

So you're still installing RealPlayer and VivoActive players on all of your machines because they were once the de facto encoding formats? Oh that's right, some people remember the late 90s and the debacle of having to transcode over and over again every time there's a new "best" video or audio format.

In case you haven't gotten the clue.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257669)

The FLOSS version of "freedom" is exactly the same as the ultra left, the actual translation should be "free to be like me, free to do as I say, free to have no other choices".

No different than how the ultra left is "all for freedom of speech"...as long as you are pro LGBT, pro AGW, pro white guilt, etc. If you are not? Then you are a monster who should lose your job and have your speech taken away, you racist hater you!

So until FLOSS has a "free to disagree" attitude? Then they can piss right off along with the ultra left and right as far as I'm concerned, both are forcing their views and stifling dissent, and that is bullshit. All they have done is insure that many poor in many countries that ONLY have a portable media device like a cellphone or tablet, which includes a large chunk of the third world, can't access the content because it won't play on their devices. Way to go douchebags.

Re:In case you haven't gotten the clue.. (1)

yogibeaty (224757) | about 5 months ago | (#46257777)

Thank you. It isn't that I can't, it isn't that I won't, it is "why should I spend more and more time doing what you want me to do to support your ideology, rather than what I think I need to do?"

Re:Sensible, in some utopia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257703)

Back in the day, people who cared about their freedom would write their own device drivers to make Linux run on their machines. Nowadays, people can't be bothered to install a fucking codec...

Ever heard of VLC? Is that too hard for you to install? Now get off my lawn you spoiled brat.

Re:Sensible, in some utopia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257229)

So instead, you want to force everyone else to store double the video data because you're too lazy to install a codec. That's true freedum.

This means (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 5 months ago | (#46256869)

They are only accepting Vorbis/FLAC audio, Theora video, in ogg containers? Or is everything good as long as the container isn't proprietary?

Re:This means (5, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 months ago | (#46257005)

They are only accepting Vorbis/FLAC audio, Theora video, in ogg containers?

You seem to be a few years behind the times... WebM is perfectly FLOSS, and much improved.

For lossy audio, in addition to Vorbis, there is the much better Opus codec. FLAC is the standard for lossless, as there isn't much room for improvement.

For video, VP8 (and soon, VP9) are vastly superior to Theora.

And WebM uses the MKV container... not the horrific Ogg.

Most web browsers support WebM... Chrome/Chromium and Firefox/IceWeasel have support built-in, though the later is lagging a bit behind on VP9/Opus. And IE users can play WebM videos by just installing the codec pack.

The "Video Without Flash" add-on for Firefox will allow you to watch all videos on the most popular video sites in native/WebM format. Not only does this help those who can't get Flash, but also native WebM playback is vastly less resource intensive and far more responsive.

Re:This means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257619)

The MKV container may be greatly improved on Ogg, but my experience with the existing WebM MKV muxer code (e.g., in WebRTC) left me pretty unimpressed. Of course there's nothing stopping you from writing your own or improving what's there, but it was my expectation going in that the code would be a lot more mature. Want to mux some audio and video where there's some slight offset in the audio timestamps? Sorry, the muxer will (if memory serves) fail silently because the input timestamps do not strictly increase monotonically.

WebM is NOT FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257739)

WebM is a cesspool of legal limbo .... because Google doesn't own over 60% of the patents that apply to it.

Firefox 28 beta has built-in VP9 support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257881)

though the later is lagging a bit behind on VP9/Opus.

Opus is already in released Firefox, and here's the checked-in patch for VP9 [mozilla.org] , so check it out [mozilla.org] .

Re:This means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257733)

They mentioned MP4 to simplify a bit the discussion, what they meant was H.264/AAC. AFAIK they accept VP8/Theora with Vorbis audio, in mkv or ogg containers.

Thin. (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | about 5 months ago | (#46256881)

For information only, the raw, unadjusted, uncorrected figures were:

Prefer full MP4 support: 145
Prefer partial MP4 support - viewing only: 4
Prefer partial MP4 support - contributions only: 56
Neutral: 7
Prefer no MP4 support: 309

Total 521

Is the function of a resource like the Wikipedia to serve its larger audience or its ideological purists?

If you know anyone who cannot legally play an MP4 video, I would like to meet them. If you can frame an intelligible argument for refusing MP4 video contributions, I would like to hear it.

Re:Thin. (3, Interesting)

sk999 (846068) | about 5 months ago | (#46256943)

"If you know anyone who cannot legally play an MP4 video, I would like to meet them."

How is someone to know if they are or are not legally allowed to play MP4?

Re:My args (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257155)

Goog is ~1200 dollars a share

Re:Thin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257435)

"If you know anyone who cannot legally play an MP4 video, I would like to meet them."

I think that is exactly the kind of short sighted thinking that Wikimedia and its community was trying to avoid. Can you make the same exact statement 10 or 20 years from now?

Re:Thin. (1)

Jiro (131519) | about 5 months ago | (#46257835)

Yes, I could make that kind of statement 20 years from now (and probably 10 as well), because the p[atents will have expired.

Re:Thin. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257651)

Anybody using Linux, I guess? Right now I'm on Fedora 19, in a machine that I've bought without Windows. So who licensed me to decode H.264?

The MPG4 license (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257755)

They legalize x264.

how is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46256913)

What's next, Slashdot runs some very intrusive video ads to help Wikimedia with their next round of begging?

Self-selected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257001)

Communism was very popular once upon a time. Soon it became obvious that the many freetards will suck the tits of the few until the few are no more.

Summay inadvertantly hits the target. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257013)

Now they can get back to their mission of advocating openness.

This, in a nutshell, illuminates the tender root of the controversy. Who said their primary mission was advocating openness? I thought their mission was building an online encyclopedia. (Or as the Wikimedia Foundation puts it more generally, "... to bring free educational content to the world.") When did it turn into an ideological crusade?

It's like you show up to a benefit potluck for your local library, and people start ranting about how the food people brought isn't vegan. I thought we were all here because we like books - there's no need to accusing people of torturing animals and destroying the environment just because someone brought Guinness. He also brought plenty of beer that doesn't use isinglass*, feel free to drink that instead.

* I'd link to the Wikipedia article, but apparently it's not just an encyclopedia but also a political statment. So I'll just tell you to use whatever encyclopedic resource most closely aligns with your worldview.

MP4 isn't a codec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257015)

It's a container. It would be nice if not only the summary writers but also the headlines writers were aware of this, but then, this is Slashot.

Re:MP4 isn't a codec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257135)

FTFS

Proprietary video containers ...such as MP4 are not allowed on Wikimedia projects

WHo's the dumfuck here? You are you bleeding heart liberal fascist.

Vote reflects a GOOGLE-BOMB (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257043)

There is no patent-unencumbered video codec worth using. Google bought a codec from a company that had illegally ripped off MPEG patents, and used the fact that previously the codec was closed source to hide the fact. When Google open-sourced their hopeless purchase, the extent of the scam became apparent.

What did Google do? Simple- it used its insane cash reserves to strike behind-the-scenes deals with the patent owners, paying the for right to use those patents in non-disclosure agreements. Google NEVER denied its video codec purchase was a rip-off (and a bad one at that) of H264. Google has focused, instead, as selling its codec as the only 'free' codec for video use.

When Wikipedia held a vote on the issue, Google simply 'bombed' the vote - demanding that its patent-encumbered codec be the only one used by Wikipedia.

Here's the thing:
1) Google's fake free codec uses insanely more amounts of energy to decode and display video. Think about this. Wikipedia conspiring with Google means the Earth needs many more power stations simply to cope with the energy demands of using Google codecs. And you betas are constantly told Google and Wikipedia are 'green'.

2) Google's fake free codec has the tiniest fraction of hardware support than is enjoyed by H264. Every modern device decodes H264 in efficient hardware (hence the first point). On the other hand, Google codecs usually decode in insanely inefficient CPU algorithms, preventing most ultra-low power mobile devices from properly processing HD Google video at all. The biggest complaint about ARM based Chromebooks, for instance, is how badly they handle stressful video on Youtube. Yet Youtube and Chromebooks are BOTH Google designs.

3) H264 has the world's best video encoder, which also happens to be both free and open source. NOTHING beats x264. For the same quality, x264 video files are less than HALF the size of videos produced for Google's fake free codec.

Only Google shills, and absolute morons, support the use of Google's fake free codec over H264.

Re:Vote reflects a GOOGLE-BOMB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257107)

I would be on your side, but:

1) Any proof for all these entertaining allegations about Google's "fake free codec"? In particular, I would like to know firstly how it is a "fake codec" and, if that cannot be done, how it is not free. (I would further like you to go back to school and learn how to present what we must refer to as "arguments" in English, but that is beside the current point.)

2) The claim that H.264 is "the world's best video encoder" is... extravagant, to say the least. What can you present to back that rather wild claim up? I would appreciate comparisons against not only direct competitors but also the likes of, let's say, H.265. I would also very much appreciate the word "best" being properly defined before such a study is performed, so that there are no misunderstandings along the way.

3) I'm a bit bemused by your conflation of H.264 and x264. Would you like to clarify this issue? I would like you to go into more detail on your sentence "H264 has the world's best video encoder", the claim "which also happens to be... free and open source", and then the sudden jump to statement such as "x264 [sic] videos are less than HALF the size of videos produced for Google's fake [sic] free codec". In each of these cases I require both firm evidence and firm argument, and additionally require a logical connection between your statements concerning H.264 and your statements concerning x264. I would further appreciate a brief discussion of the difference between H.264 and x264, although I understand this may be beyond your ken.

As I say, I would be on your side, but you're not helping those of us who think Wikimedia's opposition to a closed "codec" such as MP4 -- to be fair, Wikimedia never called MP4 a codec; that's purely the fault of whichever ignoramus wrote the Slashdot headline -- is ridiculous, and I don't like people being on my side and making me look like a moron by proxy.

Re:Vote reflects a GOOGLE-BOMB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257147)

I guess the shill shoe is on the other foot once you shill it like that.

Re:Vote reflects a GOOGLE-BOMB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257245)

Oh look, it's the "VPx stole mpeg patents" troll again. Ho hum.

Riddle me this: if VPx used H.264 patents, why isn't it as good? After all you're the one claiming it's shit, is H.264, using these patented encoding techniques also shit?

It's obvious to anyone who actually followed the news of the whole process what really happened is VPx was H264, with the patent encumbered bits removed. That's why it's not as good. It's also why your rant is a blatant lie.

FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46257745)

It's obvious to anyone who actually followed the news of the whole process what really happened is VPx was H263, with the patent encumbered bits removed.That's why it's not as good. FTFY

Freedom!!! (1)

CHIT2ME (2667601) | about 5 months ago | (#46257161)

Keep it free! Don't let any 3rd party have any "foot in the door" to possibly restrict content.

Re:Freedom!!! (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about 5 months ago | (#46257353)

Freedom is letting people use what codecs they want, not forcing them to use a handful of really terrible ones.

Re:Freedom!!! (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 months ago | (#46257621)

Freedom is letting people use what codecs they want, not forcing them to use a handful of really terrible ones.

It's the formats that are mandated. The "codec" is not. You can write your own VP8 codec from scratch, using the specs, if you choose. Do that with H.264, though, and you're liable for patent royalties. What's more, the MPEG-LA won't sell an individual a license to begin with, so there's no practical way for you to go legit.

And your terms are mixed-up... everyone does anything they want is called "anarchy". Calling that "freedom" is completely misusing the term. Being "free" to impose onerous terms onto others isn't any flavor of "freedom".

Re:Freedom!!! (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 5 months ago | (#46257691)

Freedom is letting people use what codecs they want, not forcing them to use a handful of really terrible ones.

Wikimedia are serving up data. Accusing them of forcing people to use terrible codecs is like accusing someone of restricting your right to eat beef because they opened a fish and chip shop.

There's plenty of free decoders (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 5 months ago | (#46257387)

File formats aren't copyrightable, and therefore the "FLOSS" label does not apply. Only specific software is copyrightable, and last I checked, there's a plethora of Free Software encoders and decoders, including ffmpeg, x264, etc.

What the maintainer of the codec wishes to do isn't my problem, and it's not Wikimedia's problem.

WTF are they talking about (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 5 months ago | (#46257787)

They seem to use "MP4" and "H.264" in a pretty much interchangeable way in the original article. This does nothing but make things difficult to understand. Here's what they really need to standardize upon:
- a container format (such as mkv or mp4/m4v)
- a video codec (such as VP8 or H.264)
- an audio codec (such as Vorbis or AAC)
In order to make it "open/free", they need to chose all three components in this respect, such as an mkv container with VP8 video and Vorbis audio inside. Which will guarantee that the result won't play on any device right out of the box. OTOH if they chose something like m4v with H.264 video and AAC audio inside, it will play right out of the box on about anything from Windows PCs to tablets to PS3s to WD TV live boxes. The patent stuff doesn't affect the end user as these devices are already licensed to use the mentioned containers/codecs (and in a pretty efficient way such as having hardware accelerators). Now even if they figure out the video part, I'm curios what they're gonna use for audio codec/compression. There isn't much to chose from that isn't patented either.
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