Free Software Foundation’s Open Letter to Google Regarding VP8

Free Software Foundation to 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).

There’s a chicken-and-egg problem with regard to client-side support for VP8, but that can be solved over time. (Hardware decoding chips, in particular. The reason H.264 playback is so smooth and uses so little power on mobile gadgets like iPhones is because of dedicated hardware.) Google hasn’t said what they want with On2 and VP8, but it doesn’t seem silly at all to think that they’d want to establish it as a truly free and unencumbered video standard.

Monday, 22 February 2010