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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox] Codeweavers to speak in October
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Re: [vox] Codeweavers to speak in October



Quoting Dave Margolis (margolid@ecs.csus.edu):

> I just wish a native Quicktime player would get done.  

This needs to get FAQed, in part because it reflects misconceptions
about what the issue is.

It's not at all difficult to support the QuickTime streaming protocol.
It's a long-ago solved problem, in fact.  There are all manner of
Linux/BSD open-source packages for both the client and server ends that
support it.

What gets sent out over the Net isn't full-detail video:  That would
require hideous amounts of bandwidth.  Instead, it's sent _after_
running it through one variety or other of lossy compression --
involving a "codec" (compressor/decompressor).  

Almost all usable video codecs are encumbered by patents.[1]  (Why?
Because there's potentially Big Money in it.)  It happens to be the case
that popular streaming techniques (QuickTime, Microsoft Corporation's
alternative-du-jour, Real Networks's thing, etc.) are built so that they
can accomodate various codecs.  The predominant codec used for almost
all video clips of interest (e.g., movie previews) offered via QuickTime
streaming is one from Sorenson Media.  (Why?  Partly because the
Sorenson codec[2] and QuickTime streaming protocols are pretty good.  
Mostly because insanely paranoid Hollywood creeps appreciate the
draconian legal control exercised over Sorenson encoding -- about which
please see below.)  The algorithm used in that codec isn't at all
difficult to implement.  But it's _patented_.  The owner of a patented
algorithm enjoys a pretty much absolute monopoly over _all_
implementations of that algorithm -- as distinct from copyright
monopolies, which apply only to the instance of a creative work one has
created, not to other people's creative works based on the same idea.

After inventing its codec, Sorenson Media sold an exclusive licence
over the covering patent to one Apple Computer, Inc. of Cupertino,
California.  Therefore, no software implementing the Sorenson codec may
be created without Apple Computer, Inc.'s permission.

And guess what?  Apple has declined to allow anyone else to create
software implementing that codec.  So, the only way to lawfully view
Sorenson-encoded video clips on Linux is to find a way to execute on
Linux one of the two Sorenson implementations that Apple _does_ permit.
You have a choice of two:  (1) a client binary for MacOS.  (2) a client
binary for Win32.  

If one is on i386 Linux, obviously it's easier to provide an emulated
environment for the Win32 player binary to run in.  Thus the market for
Transgaming's WineX and Codeweavers's Crossover Plugin.

[1] http://xanim.va.pubnix.com/xa_unsupported.html

[2] There have actually been three successive specs for the Sorenson
codec, designated SVQ1, SVQ2, and SVQ3.  You'll find that movie clips 
available currently are Sorenson SVQ3-encoded.  At least one video
package for Linux -- mplayer -- has taken the extremely legally risky
step of developing support for SVQ1, but even they aren't brave enough
to include SVQ3, yet.  http://mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/codecs.html

-- 
Cheers,      "Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first
Rick Moen     woman she meets, and then teams up with three complete strangers
rick@linuxmafia.com       to kill again."  -- Rick Polito's That TV Guy column,
              describing the movie _The Wizard of Oz_
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