OpenH264 in Fedora

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at
Mon Nov 4 18:57:43 UTC 2013

On Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 10:35 AM, Alberto Ruiz <aruiz at> wrote:
> Google gave up on that battle, Mozilla gave up on that battle, and
> somehow you expect that the Fedora community can somehow turn the tides?
> There are better ways to push for improvements in this effort (like the
> Daala codec).

Google most certantly has not. ( )

Mozilla's position is "In previous discussions of which codec should
be MTI, Mozilla has stated that it could not accept H.264 as MTI,
primarily because we could not deliver H.264 in Firefox. That obstacle
is now removed, and we can accept either codec as MTI."
( )

As I outlined at the thread outset. The most obvious possible outcomes
is one of:

(0) H264 will be selected as mandatory to implement.
(1) VP8 will be selected as mandatory to implement.
(2) There will be no consensus for a mandatory to implement video codec.

(and the market will do what it does but an implementation which was
$not-h.264 only would not be non-conformant with the specification)

The working group had a strong preference going in to have a MTI video
codec (and achieved one for Audio) in order to maximize compatibility.
This benefits is lost if parties will not implement a mandatory one
even if its mandatory.

> Again, the people who have been fighting for open source media
> and the Mozilla organization have already acknowledge that while this
> situation is not ideal, is an improvement over the current situation,
> I'd say we should trust these guys a little when it comes to these
> things, don't you think?

Certainly from anyone's personal perspective OpenH264 existing is
abstractly better than it not existing. It's a hobson's choice: If it
doesn't help you, don't use it. If it does, do. You can't lose.  It
exists now. Hurrah.

I'm commenting here as a Fedora user of many years, but I am a Xiph
developer for many more years (and one of the people working on
Daala), and (as an aside, lest someone think I'm hiding it, a Mozilla
employee). I believe if Fedora developers believe that this will allow
Fedora to ship H.264 that y'all ought to go point it out to the
working group.  The working group can't consider what it doesn't know,
and right now it has been aggressively claimed that that the OpenH264
will make H.264 available at no cost to practical everyone where it
isn't already available.

The question left is will making H.264 MTI be an decision that
excludes free software. I believe that it is— and the comments on this
list suggest other people agree with me. It's hard to make the
argument however when Debian shipping h.264 in the default install and
no one heavily involved with other distributions or working on other
projects speaking up and saying otherwise.

As is was the prior state was Google saying they wouldn't ship H.264
in WebRTC, Mozilla saying they _couldn't_, and a whole lot of loud
legacy equipment vendors (whos stuff is not directly compatible with
WebRTC regardless because of the mandatory DTLS+SRTP, etc) saying that
they won't implement VP8.  Since the OpenH264 announcement the new
claim is that there are no substantial couldn'ts commenting on the
list anymore.

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