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Will H.264 Codec Support Come To Fedora? Nope.

Fedora

Published on 21 March 2012 08:59 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora
82 Comments

Following Mozilla's decision this week to support H.264 via system codecs in Firefox, it's been brought up within the Fedora camp whether H.264 support will finally be instated. To no surprise, don't be holding your breath waiting on H.264 within the Fedora repository.

There was a long mailing list message by "Fedora Video" with a subject line of "H.264 in Fedora 17!" This mailing list post on Tuesday is about why the author believes H.264 support must come to Fedora based upon the Mozilla's decision.

Among the many quotes sure to spark controversy:

"H.264 is the only video that is good enough for the web and the alternatives are just as patented which is why Google did not make good on their commitments to deploy them. Even Youtube only offers WebM on a small number of unpopular videos: The bandwidth demands of a full WebM deployment would put them out of business and would break their site on apple devices which don't work if WebM is offered."

"Likewise, we see Fedora's market share dwindle as it is supplanted by Ubuntu and Debian both, not coincidentally, ship H.264 while Fedora has not. There can be no question of freedom here since no one doubts that Debian places freedom as the highest priority. It is fedora's continued lack of H.264 which is actually the violation of freedom. Who wants a desktop with zero video support? Ffmpeg, VLC, Mplayer, gstreamer, Blender and almost all free software video programs are based on H.264 and Mpeg. Go look on pirate bay: No one distributes in anything but mpeg formats."

"H.264 is now free for the web and has been free for a long time. It is only foolish religion which has kept H.264 out of Fedora."

"It is time for Fedora to stop promoting low quality, proprietary, and unlicensed video like WebM and Theora and adopt the industry standard x264. Our political preferences are worthless if Fedora is irrelevant. It is time to regain relevance!"

From the Fedora developers that did bother responding, most of them immediately brought up software patents and other issues as to why H.264 will never appear in Fedora, at least until the patents expire, which is still a long ways out.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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