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Fwd: Re: Bug#769716: iceweasel: downloads Cisco's OpenH264 video codec


It seems Mozilla, and Debian have an issues with the MPEG patent. When 
might Debian distribute openh264 and MPEG LA source and binaries?


----- Forwarded message from Chuck Peters <cp@axs.org> -----

Mike Hommey said:
> a) it's not in any release of Debian, and it's not in any upcoming
> release of Debian either. It's in a package from experimental.

I had no idea I was running experimental packages on a machine with 
wheezy and a few wheezy-backports (openssh-server and 
debian-security-support).  I followed the directions at 
Add to sources.list:
deb http://mozilla.debian.net/ wheezy-backports iceweasel-release
$ apt-get update
$ apt-get install -t wheezy-backports iceweasel

So I have iceweasel 33.1-1~bpo70+1 installed.

And this confirms the binary blob.
$ ls -l ~/.mozilla/firefox/*/gmp-gmpopenh264/1.1                                                              
total 1000                                                                                                               
-rw-r--r-- 1 cp cp     114 Sep  2 16:36 gmpopenh264.info                                                                 
-rwxr-xr-x 1 cp cp 1018138 Sep  2 16:37 libgmpopenh264.so  

> b) everyone knows what's actually contained in that binary blob, since
> it's built from open source code, and the build is (supposed to be)
> reproductible.

I'll assume you meant s/knows/can confirm/ because I certainly don't 

> So it's not as bad as you make it sound.

That's good to know!  However I think many of us would be more 
comfortable if the Debian systems built the source.

http://www.openh264.org/faq.html explains that "In order for Cisco to be 
responsible for the MPEG LA licensing royalties for the module, Cisco 
must provide the packaging and distribution of this code in a binary 
module format (think of it like a plug-in, but not using the same APIs 
as existing plugins), in addition to several other constraints."

http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/M2/Pages/Agreement.aspx says the 
license fee would be $2.00 per unit.  

http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/M2/Pages/Agreement.aspx also says:

License Term

Coverage is from June 1, 1994 through the expiration of the MPEG-2 
Patent Portfolio Patents and may be voluntarily terminated by the 
Licensee after December 31, 2015 (Sections 6.1 and 6.4).

If what I am reading is correct, unless someone gets a MPEG LA License 
that allows Debian to distribute the source and binaries we may not see 
it until 2016 or perhaps later...  According to 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Term_of_patent#United_States the patent 
term is over, so how is it more than 20 years and why can't Debian 
distribute it now, ie. after June 1, 2014?


----- End forwarded message -----

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