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[GNU/FSF Press] Open letter to Google: End the web's dependence on paten
Free Software Foundation
[GNU/FSF Press] Open letter to Google: End the web's dependence on patent-encumbered video formats and Flash
Fri, 19 Feb 2010 16:48:55 -0500
Thunderbird 220.127.116.11 (X11/20090817)
## FSF open letter to Google: You can end the web's dependence on
patent-encumbered video formats and proprietary Flash
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Friday, February 19, 2010 -- The Free
Software Foundation (FSF) has just posted an open letter to Google in
light of the successful On2 acquisition, calling on it to free the VP8
codec with an irrevocable royalty-free license, and to promote the video
codec through YouTube.
The open letter is available here:
"Google's purchase of On2 gives it the power to end the web's dependence
on patent-encumbered video formats and proprietary software such as
Flash. If Google cares about free software and the free web -- a
movement and medium to which it owes its success -- it can take this
bold action," said FSF executive director Peter Brown.
"Google can launch VP8 and use YouTube to make it a global standard,"
said FSF campaigns manager Holmes Wilson, "Until we move to fully free
web standards, the threat of patent lawsuits and licensing fees hangs
over every software developer, video creator, hardware maker, web site
and corporation -- including Google."
On2 makes video compression technology and has a history of helping the
free software movement. In 2001, it released its VP3 compression
technology to the Xiph Foundation, which became the basis of the free
Theora codec. Google, as owner of On2, is now in a position to do the
same with On2's next generation VP8 video codec. VP8 is touted as
superior to H.264, a patented yet widely used compression standard.
The letter challenges Google to "do the right thing": "Free VP8, and use
it on YouTube!"
### About the Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting
computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute
computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as
in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its
GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF
also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of
freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org
and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux.
Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at
<http://donate.fsf.org>. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.
### About Free Software and Open Source
The free software movement's goal is freedom for computer users. Some,
especially corporations, advocate a different viewpoint, known as "open
source," which cites only practical goals such as making software
powerful and reliable, focuses on development models, and avoids
discussion of ethics and freedom. These two viewpoints are different at
the deepest level. For more explanation, see
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