Heiko Recktenwald on Sat, 23 Nov 2002 23:53:02 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> streaming media software for arts released


> have express permission from RealNetworks in this example and the right to
> stop you doing this my persist long after the companies death.

The old free real producer, the new helix producer for windows sucks.
Couldnt we say, once free, allways free ? The helix producer for limux is

Anyway, standards, code is law, maybe the density of regulation should
rise. Whatever the regulations were in the Microsoft case, regulations
> There is an interesting parallel to this with MAMEs (Multi-Arcade Machine
> Emulators). Arcade games from of all sorts, going right back to PONG, are
> available on the internet for download. However you require a software
> known as a MAME to interpret the file formats of these games, there are
> many of these emulators available but almost no more games (known as ROMS)
> can be retrieved easily from the net unless you know exactly where to go. 
> This is different
> from a few years ago when you could easily get almost any ROM you wanted.

Some friends were addicted.

> However these sites have been systematically closed down by games
> companies protecting their interests. Many of the games companies that
> created the original ROMS have ceased to exist but the ROMS are now owned
> by other companies, and these new owners protect their
> interests by closing MAME ROM sites.

If they really have interests. Money? 
> Could this happen with codecs?

Well, I still believe in the gif case. MAME ROMs are very exotic.
> Its strange that this debate does not often enter the rosy world of the
> 'Open Source' idealists. Strangely Eric Raymond, president and co-founder
> of the Open Source Initiative, has a speech about The Cathedral and the
> Bazaar linked from his site in realaudio format

And theoreticians of open source build their websites with dreamwaever,
why not?

> (http://tuxedo.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/). This on the same site
> that he points out that "Unisys is shaking down websites that use GIFs for
> a $5000 license fee" and links to the well known http://burnallgifs.org/

Yeppo, in many ways. I wish his kathedral bombed by arabs.

> Why is this medium (online audio / video) not debated more often in the
> area of 'Open Source'?

You are absolutely right.
> It seems the potential consequences of closed and /or proprietry codecs
> have only dawned on a few, most importantly those at http://xiph.org where
> the development of the the royalty free ogg audio codec takes place and
> http://www.theora.org/ where the same people are trying to develop the VP3
> open video codec.

I like this as a second codec and cant wait to see oog t-shirts.
> So what can we do about this? Well, if you are a programmer and have some
> time on your hands then you can contribute to the many projects aimed at
> countering the major technology providers in this field. One action could
> be to contribute to the sophisticated Icecast open streaming server
> project, or the various xiph projects. But most of us aren't that
> technical and don't have that much time. The biggest thing we can do is
> understand the issues, support those 'fighting the good fight' and prepare
> to convert our archives from proprietry codecs to 'fully open' (from the
> description of Ogg Vorbis (http://www.xiph.org/ogg/index.html) codecs. Its
> getting easier to do this, many players (not just those on Linux platforms
> but also popular players like Winamp) support OggVorbis already and the
> list of supporting softwares for these free codecs is growing.

I have some ogg tools, ogg123 or something. Supports playlists with a
switch, what do you use as a playlist, m3u as with mp3s, audio/x-oggurl
aka bla.ogu ? Ogu is fun, those t-shirts are mine. But ogg is so old
fashioned. mp4 rtsp streaming is timelines, maybe copy and paste over
the network, try it with quicktime.
> Another strategy, and to bring the point back to what Heiko says, is the
> strategy adopted by the Frequency Clock. In this case, the software takes
> a codec agnostic approach. Given that many people (including myself) have
> archives online encoded with proprietry codecs the next best thing to
> eliminating the archive and starting again is to make the codec
> 'invisible'. Eliminating the interface (the proprietary media player eg.
> RealPlayer, WindowsMedia player) of the respective codec providers
> is a small act of protest and a pragmatic approach to making the most of
> living with some 'necessary' evils. Until the open codecs are well

I like this gesture.

> supported (download yours today!) then ironically media encoded in free
> codecs has a very limited audience. The argument is therefore, that if we
> make the codecs invisible by removing the player interface and
> representing all content within a unified media player (in this case the
> Frequency Clock) we can help mediate a transition to content encoded in
> free codecs. Half the battle for free media on the internet is for the
> codecs, the other half is for the players.

Yeah. This is why I like MPEG 4.
> When you (the content producer) has control over the player interface
> then you can (for example) assist the user to download new codecs
> seamlessly. This is the intention of the Frequency Clock player, to mix the worlds of free and
> closed codecs so the transition from one to the other is easy. Its a lofty

I think mplayer does something similar.

> aim and it won't be achieved alone by the software in this example but its
> one small step and its better to take that step that stand forever on the
> side of RealNetworks, Apple, and Microsoft.

Yeah. But I also think, that the interface doesnt matter so much, and that
the same player should be used everywhere, mpeg 4, hinted for darwin,
with whatever audio. 

The gif case and mpeg 4, mpla in fidji etc, how effectiv are those mpeg 4
patents in reality? Is the ghost allready out of the bottle ? 

> By removing the player interface of these companies, you also remove the
> advertising that is embeded in these interfaces. This advertising generates revenue

Yepp, players are getting more and more awfull. And there are also privacy
issues. Real and WMP and Brussels.

> streams for Microsoft et al. Giving control of the interface to content
> producers means these revenue streams are not built on the back of _your_
> content.

It is a hard business and it is getting harder every day.
But Quicktime isnt better.

Anyway, I like metafiles and players more than to embed and plugins, and
it was interesting that Real seems to think so too. eyedoo.de had popup
windows for plugins, people have popup blocker.
> >
> > That users must open and close is only half true.
> > Well, they must close it if it if the streaming is over, as they must turn
> > off the radio when the day is over, but opening the player is done by the
> > metafile (if the media is not embeded.) Maybe users do associate
> > their new player with the different existing metafiles, as a replacement
> > for the real, win, apple player (will this work, developments of new
> > streaming media by the big companies will be faster than any subcultural
> > approaches..and users will not want to miss it?)..another way would be to
> > create a new metafile for the new player, is this a choise for
> > producers?
> As a small technical note, Heiko asks if new forms of meta-files can be
> created for use by producers. As a summary to what I have said above, I
> can say that this is only possible if producers have control over teh media
> player, so this is not possible for the QuickTime, RealOne, and
> WindowsMedia players but is possible for players (such as the Frequency
> Clock player) which are open and you are free to develop and extend
> yourself (or find a coder to do it for you ;-) ).

Well, Ciscos did put mxu into their mp4player. What can I want more ?
Well, hardcoded extensions suck anyway, the really well designed players
have switches for playlists, do work with all extensions. So is, surprise,
surprise, win 98 se, with real and wmp.

Quicktimes can do minimal smil.
> >
> > IMHO what is needed is a simplification of streaming media, not more
> > confusion. To see what is possible with what the industry does.
> > And to see how frustrated users really are with the many players.
> > IMHO content is more important, so I am keen to see how the content will
> > be organised etcpp.
> >
> > mp3s are patented etcpp, this was and is no problem in reality.
> > Why should it be different with mp4?
> Many thanks to Heiko for raising these issues :-)

But we also have to talk about content.


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