I traveled to a secret clubhouse today to take part in a clandestine meeting to discuss exactly how WebM will rule over all that you see and hear on the web. I can’t really talk about it. But I can show you the cool hat I got:
Yeah, you’re jealous.
The back of the hat has an Easter egg for video codec nerds– the original Duck Corporation logo (On2’s original name):
Former employees of On2 (now Googlers) were well-represented. It was an emotional day of closure as I met the person — the only person to date — who contacted me with a legal threat so many years ago. He still remembered me too.
I met a lot of people involved in creating various Duck and On2 codecs and learned a lot of history and lore behind then– history I hope to be able to document one day.
I’m glad I got that first rough draft of a toy VP8 encoder done in time for the meeting. It was the subject of much mirth.
This past week, the internet picked up — and subsequently sprinted like a cheetah with — an unsourced and highly unsubstantiated rumor that Google will open source the VP8 video codec, recently procured through their On2 acquisition. I wager that the FSF is already working on their press release claiming full credit should this actually come to pass. I still retain my “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude. However, I thought this would be a good opportunity to consolidate all of the public knowledge regarding On2’s VP8 codec.
Pictured: All the proof you need that VP8 is superior to H.264
Update: The preceding comment is meant in sarcastic jest. Read on
The Official VP8 Facts:
I have been reading way too many statements from people who confidently assert that Google will open source all of On2’s IP based on no more evidence than… the fact that they really, really hope it happens. Meanwhile, I have found myself pettily hoping it doesn’t happen simply due to the knowledge that the FSF will claim total credit for such a development (don’t believe me? They already claim credit for Apple dropping DRM from music purchases: “Our Defective by Design campaign has a successful history of targeting Apple over its DRM policies… and under the pressure Steve Jobs dropped DRM on music.”)
But for the sake of discussion, let’s run with the idea: Let’s assume that Google open sources any of On2’s intellectual property. Be advised that if you’re the type who believes that all engineering problems large and small can be solved by applying, not thought, but a mystical, nebulous force called “open source”, you can go ahead and skip this post.
I’ve been hearing it ever since last August:
Google owns On2. They are going to open source all of On2’s codecs.