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Firefox Media Mozilla Patents

Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264 194

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the monty-does-it-better dept.
NotInHere (3654617) writes As promised, version 33 of the Firefox browser will fetch the OpenH264 module from Cisco, which enables Firefox to decode and encode H.264 video, for both the <video> tag and WebRTC, which has a codec war on this matter. The module won't be a traditional NPAPI plugin, but a so-called Gecko Media Plugin (GMP), Mozilla's answer to the disliked Pepper API. Firefox had no cross-platform support for H.264 before. Note that only the particular copy of the implementation built and blessed by Cisco is licensed to use the h.264 patents.
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Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

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  • Re:So Kind of open? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @09:57AM (#47515075)

    The source is open: you can read it, you can compile it and compare binaries, etc.

    In fact, it is BSD licensed.

    But that only covers the copyright. The patent is not opened (nor owned by Cisco), and seem to prevent derivative works.

    Cisco paid the fees to use the patent in this one application, and open-sourced it to the world. Seems like a great solution, security-wise, and clever legally.

    And, it becomes just more BSD code when the patent expires in... what, a decade? Or if the new Supreme Court ruling is found to invalidate the patent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @09:58AM (#47515087)

    (reads summary)

    Hum, Interesting...firefox 33 integrates, mumble, mumble...wait, something's not right with this picture.

    (Scrolls back a few lines on the RSS feed)

    Firefox 31 Released [slashdot.org]

    Aha! I knew it. Latest version is 31! Must be a typo...

    (One angry RTFA later)

    Oh, hang on...They are referring to the yet unreleased, possibly future version of Firefox. With no indication whatsoever of that fact in the summary, even though a (stable?) version of Firefox was just recently released, as highlighted on this very same website less than 24 hours ago.

    ...

    Would it have killed anyone to point this out somewhere? You know, for those of us at home who don't keep up with Firefox's versioning madness?

  • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @10:05AM (#47515133)

    Cisco heard your concerns and has responded: Development and maintenance will be overseen by a board from industry and the open source community.

  • Re:At fucking last (Score:2, Informative)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @10:07AM (#47515149)

    Always really preview before clicking submit.

    Can we finally use the the <video> tag with H.264 files and just forget about the rest?

  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @11:16AM (#47515705)

    No. In fact it's absurdly difficult to reliably create reproducible builds [debian.org]. Debian has been working on this since at least 2009 (afaict) and has been plowing through issues but you still can't get an identical Kernel [debian.org] as the .deb. Heck, it was 8 weeks just for the Tor browser [debian.org].

    It's not just the compilation tools, it's the entire build environment that needs to be homogenized. All kinds of components will insert uname/hostname and paths into the binary, filesystems list the contents of a directory in undefined order, timestamps and permissions are embedded into tarballs and documentation, different locale produces other weirdness.

    tl;dr: it's much harder than just installing an identical version of clang and hitting make.

    [ And, as an aside, this goes back decades. The infrastructure around builds was never designed with reproducibility as a design goal. We are basically retrofitting this new requirement on decades of legacy code that never even considered that we would want such a thing ... ]

  • Re:bad for standards (Score:5, Informative)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @12:05PM (#47516105)

    It also still doesn't give anyone permission to generate their own h.264 video files (outside of webrtc "video-chatting" inside the browser) legally without paying someone a patent "poll-tax" for permission, so this is still "consume-only".
    I'm also under the impression that there are,absurdly, potential patent-license issues with the .mp4 file format that h.264 video is most often stored in.

    Finally, of course unless the usual obstructionist Apple and Microsoft ever implement opus codec support, this also doesn't give you the legal ability to include sound (mp3 or aac, typically, for h.264 videos) with the video. Hope everybody likes silent movies...

    If you have a camcorder, the license to create h.264 is present as part of the camcorder. This includes phones and everything else people submit to YouTube, for example.

    The only constraint is that if you post content online, you cannot take payment on the content itself - i.e., you can put it online, you can put ads around it, but you cannot force someone to pay to view that content (commercial activity). So those videos on YouTube where you have to pay in order to view them come under a different license.

    As for the Mp4 format being patented - it's RAND by Apple ages ago (MP4 is a subset of the QuickTime MOV format). If Apple's asserting any patents on the format, that is. But since people mass-license the h.264 patents through the MPEG-LA, that means any patents Apple has on MP4 are included in the license fee you pay to create or display the content.

    Sound is licensed under a separate agreement - MP3 or AAC. Again, your typical MPEG-LA license for h.264 will probably include use licenses for AAC (most typical format) so you can have a soundtrack.

    If not, there's always PCM as well - handled by the format just fine.

  • Re:So Kind of open? (Score:4, Informative)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @05:43PM (#47518597)

    ... all software is implemented on hardware. Even the instructions you send to your processor get translated into other software (microcode) which is what actually gets executed.

    Hardware acceleration still runs software.

    H.264 isn't 'amazing' because of the hardware acceleration built into everything, its extremely convenient. If OGG was built into everything, we'd be using that instead because thats what would allow us to have long battery life and lower heat dissipation.

    H.264 isn't software anyway, its a collection of algorithms and protocols. There are multiple software implementations of H.264, of which cisco's is only one.

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