Cisco Somewhat Limits the Affect of Software Patents on H.264 Video Decoding


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It now appears that Firefox will be adding H.264 support for the HTML5 video element with a third-party module licensed by Cisco. It’s been four years and five months since Firefox first implemented the HTML5 video element, and I released UniversVideo, and a year and a half since I’ve been raising awareness of the problems with software patents specifically with video.

U.S. Congress has been working on legislation for a complete and long-term solution to problems with patents, which could help to avoid these situations in the present and future.

Cisco will be distributing compiled binaries that will be licensed gratis to everyone. However compiling, and distributing doesn’t appear to be covered in the licence agreement. This also doesn’t cover distribution of x264 encoding binaries, such as used in FFMPEG. I anticipate that Gentoo, Debian, FreeBSD, Trisquel, gNewSense and countless other distributions will not include the binaries in the repositories, and there will be increased support for next generation video codecs Daala and VP9.