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Re: [gNewSense-users] Playing Youtube videos from Totem .

From: Jason Self
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Playing Youtube videos from Totem .
Date: Fri, 6 Nov 2009 13:23:11 -0800

> Why it couldn't be Gnash?

The primary reason not to support Flash is that Flash is not a
standard. It is not recognized by any standards body, there is only
one complete implementation (IETF's RFC 2026 Section 4.1.2 requires
"at least two independent and interoperable implementations from
different code bases" to be considered even a "Draft Standard"), the
source code for that lone implementation is not freely-available, and
the complete specification for making a compatible Flash player is not

> FLV/F4V specs have no restrictions on implementation anymore.

Adobe's Open Screen Project may have confused people into thinking
that the Flash specification is totally open. But, according to the
Swfdec and Gnash project leads, it omits "huge amounts" of information
needed to implement Flash. Namely, the Real Time Messaging Protocol
(RTMP) and Sorenson Spark video codec (the most widely-used Flash
codec, used by default on YouTube) are not mentioned at all.
Additionally, the Flash specifications available from Adobe are
distributed under a very restrictive license:

"This manual may not be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated,
or converted to any electronic or machine-readable form in whole or in
part without written approval from Adobe Systems Incorporated."

So there isn't even a stable version of the specification that you can
use unless Adobe agrees to always keep a particular version of the
specification on its website.

When people try to create their own independent implementation, Adobe
steps in to stop them: Back in May, Adobe submitted a takedown notice
to requesting that the rtmpdump project be removed
from their site. complied.

The major implication of this takedown notice is that Adobe has
definitively told us that a fully-compliant free software Flash player
is illegal. This is because RTMPE is part of Flash, circumventing
RTMPE is illegal (in the US at least), and Adobe will never give a key
to a free software project since they cannot hide the key. As a
result, Flash cannot truly be a standard even if we ignore the codec
patent problems.

Another major problem with the current Flash specification is that it
does not allow for the use of royalty-free audio and video codecs.

As a result, anyone who implements Flash must either pay for a license
to use the audio and video codecs specified in Flash or they must pass
that cost onto the distributors and/or consumers. Before Flash is
considered an open format, it must support at least one set of open
audio and video codecs, such as Vorbis and Theora or Vorbis and Dirac.
Unfortunately, companies like Adobe are taking a "better the devil you
know than the devil you don't" approach to purported royalty-free
codecs, claiming that they are too risky patent-wise.

This issue is made clear in the HTML 5 video element controversy.

> I completely agree with that. BTW, why are you using Apple software then (no
> offence, just curious ;-))?

Don't worry: I have a Neo FreeRunner on me as well. :) To answer your
question, I have an iPhone because I'm working on a
Theora/Vorbis/Speex/FLAC player for the iPhone/iPod Touch (assuming
Apple doesn't reject it once it's submitted to the App Store.)

Adoption of fully open, non-proprietary, patent-free codecs (which is
what this thread is really all about) depends on the end user's
ability to access the software necessary to play it. Currently, the
iPhone/iPod Touch can't do this.

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