Sun Working on a Free Web Video Solution

Apr 14, 2008

Rob Glidden of Sun Microsystems reports in his blog on two new Open Source projects by his employer which will lead to a free media solution with video and audio codecs.

In the scope of the Open Media Commons initiative (OMC), Sun is working on OMS Video; according to Gliddden the abbreviation can either mean Open Media Stack or Open Media System. The open and free video solution for the WWW will include an audio codec and a video codec – similar to Flash – and at the same time handle data transport and control, and content security. The developers of the free codec will not just be paying attention to the codec's technical capabilities, such as speed and quality. OMS will also fulfill the licensing requirements of free software, be free of charge and not infringe on any patents. It relies on the intellectual property rights method developed by the OMC initiative. The initiative not only uses its own license, the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), which allows for a combination of open and proprietary code, but also relies on Digital Rights Management (DRM).

The video codec will be loosely based on the H.26x standard, and the developers are looking into Xiph Vorbis as the audio format. Sun does not want to use H.264 directly as the format is not free enough for the company: "Sun was a part of the 2003 IMTC alliance of the 20+ companies that urged publicly a royalty-free baseline for h.264, which was ultimately not adopted." Projects with similar objectives, such as Vorbis, Theora and Dirac, are not regarded as competitors, but supporters. It is hard to tell from the announcement how long it will take until the first tangible product is released.

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