5 posts • joined 27 Oct 2009
H.264 is not inside anyone's "proprietary layers." There is a thriving H.264/AVC open source community. H.264 is a fully documented, open spec. Anyone can write a codec to the spec. Yes, it is patented, but that's par for the course with media formats. You can't get around that. Quit acting like H.264 is a closed technology. It isn't. It's a damn standard.
And Jobs didn't threaten anyone. He just said what everyone else has been saying for years. The world of patents in the U.S. is convoluted. Anyone making any type of media format or codec, regardless of what license it is relaeased under, is potentially infringing on patents and will become a target for patent trolls. You can thank the USPTO for that.
Good article, but a little off
You make it sound like those in the MPEG-LA H.264 patent pool are getting rich on licenses. Even if there are millions in income from licensing each year, look at how many members are in the pool. Then look at those members' revenues. If Apple made $1 million a year from its membership in the patent pool, they would hardly notice, or care. Smaller shops might benefit from licensing fees, but companies like Apple and Microsoft aren't looking to get rich on codec licenses.
The reason Apple and Microsoft and others promote H.264 is because they fear patent litigation. It is much more costly to fight a long, drawn out patent battle once they start earning revenues from the codec when they can spend a couple million a year on licenses and have peace of mind. Just imagine how terrified Apple would be if they used an "open" codec for iTunes and then, after billions of videos had been sold, some patent troll took them to court. The cost might be enormous. It's much easier to just pay the licensing costs and avoid the headache. They just want legal clarity. That's it.
And the only reason the open source community opposes H.264 is not because of some idealistic vision of "freedom" but because they don't want to pay any licensing costs to produce open source software that does H.264 encoding/decoding. I agree that the patent system in the U.S. is ridiculous and should be revised, but this is not a battle of good versus evil. It's a simple game of economic stakes. Big companies stand to lose much more in patent litigation than do open source advocates, who are likely to use the codec without paying royalties anyway.
Why do you have to ruin a great article with such sophomoric behavior? Your douchebaggery has inspired me to call anyone who supports H.264 a member of the "Jobsian cult" while anyone who supports VP8 is a member of the "Googleplex cult" and anyone who supports Ogg is a member of the "freetard cult." This isn't about the technology, it's about who I can jeer at condescendingly. Go Reg!
Don't be silly
jlocke said: "At Oracle, you have to demonstrate your ability to contribute to profitability, not just create some interesting stuff that will make software engineers notice."
That's a pretty narrow view of business. In some cases -- certainly not all -- creating "interesting stuff that will make software engineers notice" does contribute to profitability, albeit indirectly. There is certainly a benefit to a culture in which ideas are given equal priority as profit. Both Google and Microsoft do the same thing with their employees. Have you heard of Google's 20% time? Sun was really not much different in that respect.
Besides, as a developer who uses the Java stack, I am sensitive to how a company's culture. If people like myself start telling our bosses that Java is no longer a recommended software stack because Oracle doesn't really respect the platform or the developers, then you can certainly bet that it will affect the bottom line.
Spread too thin
Props to Canonical and Shuttleworth for what they have achieved, but trying to engage in so many fronts in one of the same mistakes Microsoft made. Canonical should have stayed focused on the Linux desktop for the end-user, rather than attempting to take on both Microsoft on the desktop, Red Hat in the server space, and Google, Amazon, and others in the cloud. Before branching into other markets, Ubuntu needed to secure at least a good share of a base market. It didn't, and now resources are just melting away while the desktop -- the ultimate product that boosted Ubuntu's popularity in the first place -- just stagnates.
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