Tag Archive for 'patents'

Trying to kill Theora – MPEG LA extends royalty free use of H.264 for Internet streaming

So the MPEG LA has extended the royalty free life of Internet streaming H.264 video from the end of 2010 to the end of 2016. The majority of patents expire in 2028, so that will still give them plenty of time to collect on royalties, if we let them.

Make no mistake, this is about stifling the adoption of Theora in order to become the de-facto standard. MPEG LA is trying to kill Theora, but we must not let that happen! We need an open web.

If you use H.264 for ANY OTHER PURPOSE today, you still need a license. Yes, that means you Mr. Linux user ripping your DVD’s to H.264..

Christopher Blizzard: HTML5 video and H.264 – what history tells us and why we’re standing with the web

Christopher Blizzard has a great article about H.264 and what it might mean if it becomes the de-facto standard for video on the web.

Remember, this is still very early in H.264’s history so the licensing is very friendly, just like it used to be for MP3. The companies who own the IP in these large patent pools aren’t in this for the fun of it – this is what they do. They patent and they enforce and then enjoy the royalties. If they are in a position to charge more, they will. We can expect that if we allow H.264 to become a fundamental web technology that we’ll see license requirements get more onerous and more expensive over time, with little recourse.

Novell to split Mono

Miguel de lcaza has written on his blog about Microsoft’s announcement to include C# and CLI under their community promise.

The promise itself aside, Miguel has announced something very interesting, Novell will be separating the Mono C# and CLI parts which are covered under the promise from the rest of their .NET implementation which is not.

He writes:

Astute readers will point out that Mono contains much more than the ECMA standards, and they will be correct.

In the next few months we will be working towards splitting the jumbo Mono source code that includes ECMA + A lot more into two separate source code distributions. One will be ECMA, the other will contain our implementation of ASP.NET, ADO.NET, Winforms and others.

So there you have it. Mono itself does indeed implement more technology than just C# and CLI (we all knew that) and those extras are not covered under this “promise” from Microsoft (obviously). They still pose a significant risk to free software (and so still might C# and CLI, but that for another day).

The good thing about this is that distros (if they aren’t already) can more easily leave out all the extra .NET stuff from their Mono implementations, which is good news.

If you are going to write .NET applications, I think it would be smart to stick to C# and GTK.

This promise from Microsoft vindicates the anti-Mono crowd’s point of view as it shows that there is/was an issue around patents, even for CLI and C#. For this promise, pro-Mono people should be thanking the other side.

Of course, when it comes to the promise itself, I’d like to see the word “irrevocable” put in there somewhere. No doubt over the next few weeks we’ll see people far more intelligent than I doing some analysis on the promise and what it really means for free software.


Mono: An infectious disease

I’ve been reading around the Internet for a while now about folks asking why some people don’t like Mono.

I have written an article which expresses my opinion on the situation as it relates to free software.

By all means, let Linux run Windows .NET applications through Mono, but let’s not make our own software dependent on this proprietary programming framework.

The article itself is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia license.

Trimming the FAT: Linux and Patents

My first article for Linux Magazine has just gone live.

The TomTom case exposed a long-simmering problem resulting from the combination of patents, proprietary software companies and open source. Andrew Tridgell recently patched Linux’s VFAT implementation, but the cult of silence that surrounds intellectual property will bedevil open source projects for some time to come.

Feedback welcome!