Monday, May 3, 2010

Open letter to Google: free VP8, and use it on YouTube (via FSF)

Dear Google,

With your purchase of On2, you now own both the world's largest video site (YouTube) and all the patents behind a new high performance video codec -- VP8. Just think what you can achieve by releasing the VP8 codec under an irrevocable royalty-free license and pushing it out to users on YouTube? You can end the web's dependence on patent-encumbered video formats and proprietary software (Flash).

To sit on this technology or merely use it as a bargaining chip would be a disservice to the free world, while bringing at best limited short-term benefits to your company. To free VP8 without recommending it to YouTube users would be a wasted opportunity and damaging to free software browsers like Firefox. We all want you to do the right thing. Free VP8, and use it on YouTube!

It's about time that the debate between Adobe and Apple just ends. Google can end part of it by opening up the VP8 codec. Suddenly, H.264 is not relevant if there is a high performing codec that is being pushed on YouTube.

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