OpenH264 in Fedora

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at
Sat Nov 2 15:11:48 UTC 2013


Cisco has announced that they will be releasing an implementation of a
BSD licensed H.264 (baseline profile) encoder and decoder, along with
offering download of binaries of it under Cisco's licensing umbrella:

The intention is that any parties capable of obtaining and running the
provided binaries (and they intended to be maximally inclusive of
which platforms they build for) can have a fully licensed
implementation of H.264 at no cost.

This is especially relevant for the new WebRTC standard because the
IETF is in the process of deciding which (if any) video codecs will be
(the minimum) mandatory to implement for conformance with the
specification.  There has been a strong push to establish the
royalty-free VP8 codec as MTI, and an equally strong push (primarily
by vendors of legacy communications equipment with compatibility
concerns) to establish H.264 (and not VP8) as mandatory to implement.

The release of properly patent licensed gratis source available
downloadable binaries has removed the strongest pragmatic arguments of
the parties pushing for VP8 over H.264. ("We _can't_ conform to the
spec if it mandates H.264").

It has been argued that no viable platform for WebRTC which cannot
support H.264 already *and* cannot use the OpenH264 library exists or
is likely to arise:

I personally believe it would probably be helpful to the discussion if
Fedora is able to reach a (preliminary?) decision on if OpenH264 (as
described) will be able to be used by Fedora systems (e.g. by having
something analogous to codec buddy go install the codec to give all
Fedora systems H.264 support) in order to provide feedback to the
working group. If a decision to mandate H.264 in WebRTC means that
Fedora systems would be unable to comply with the specification, that
would be unfortunate.

The rtcweb WG session which will discuss MTI video codec will be on
Thursday the 7th at 13:00 pacific. As usual the meeting will be
streamed and anyone can participate remotely via Jabber
(rtcweb at, but feedback can be provided at any time via
the mailing list (and it's probably best to comment earlier rather
than later, links at

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