Q. Why is Cisco making both source and binary versions
A: The source code is available so that an implementation of H.264 is available for the community to use across any project, and to leverage the community to make the codec better for all. We have selected licensing terms that allow for this code to be used in commercial products as well as open source projects. In order for Cisco to be responsible for the MPEG LA licensing royalties for the module, Cisco must provide the packaging and distribution of this code in a binary module format (think of it like a plug-in, but not using the same APIs as existing plugins), in addition to several other constraints. This gives the community the best of all worlds - a team can choose to use the source code, in which case the team is responsible for paying all applicable license fees, or the team can use the binary module distributed by Cisco, in which case Cisco will cover the MPEG LA licensing fees.
Q. Where can I learn more about this source and binary
A: There is a short video at http://vimeo.com/cullenfluffyjennings/openh264-ipr.
Q: Is Cisco guaranteeing that it will pay other licensing
fees for H.264, should additional patent holders assert claims in the
A: Cisco is providing no such guarantee. We are only covering the royalties that would apply to the binary module under MPEG LA's AVC/H.264 patent pool.
Q: If I use the source code in my product, and then
distribute that product on my own, will Cisco cover the MPEG LA
licensing fees which I'd otherwise have to pay?
A: No. Cisco is only covering the licensing fees for its own binary module, and products or projects that utilize it must download it at the time the product or project is installed on the user's computer or device. Cisco will not be liable for any licensing fees incurred by other parties.
Q. I'm a competitor of Cisco making a
commercial product. Can I still take advantage of the H.264 module in
A: Yes. If everyone has at least one video codec in common, our products will be able to communicate. That increases the number of other people everyone's products can talk to. The network effect helps everyone.
Q. How will the open source project be governed?
A: We will form a board consisting of leaders from the open source community as well as Unified Communication vendors.
Q. What source code license is used?
A: Two-Clause BSD license.
Q. Where will the source code repository be hosted?
A: It is at https://github.com/cisco/openh264.
Q. Which profiles of H.264 will be supported?
A: The initial code has the baseline profile. We look forward to working with the open source community to add high profile and others.
Q. What platforms will your binaries support?
A: Our initial plan is to support Linux (x86 and ARM), Windows (XP forward), OSX, and Android. The governance board can decide to add additional platforms. As long as there are ports of the source code and automatic build scripts contributed as part of the open source, we do not see difficulties in adding additional platforms.
Q. iOS is noticeably absent from the list of
platforms. Why is that?
A: Unfortunately, iOS does not allow for applications to fetch and install modules from the Internet once that application has been installed on the device. Recently, in iOS 8, Apple has provided an update to their Video Toolbox Framework that gives developers direct access to H.264/AVC hardware encoding and decoding.
Q. How can developers downloading OpenH264 binaries to their applications
be reassured the package only contains the matching revision of the OpenH264 code?
A: The best approach will be for the OpenH264 community to ultimately co-develop an automated process to make the binaries from the project's source code on a public, infrastructure service. The automation tools could be developed and stored in github and a log of each build published for the benefit of everyone to ensure the builds only contain OpenH264 code.
In the meantime, Mozilla has built the binaries used by Firefox and Cisco has built binaries for general application use. Cisco's development practices are focused on delivering trustworthy products and systems and strictly prohibit any intentional behaviors or features that allow unauthorized access, exposure of sensitive device information, or bypass of security measures.
Q. What email list can developers use to discuss work on
A: We are using the email list at email@example.com - Subscribe at https://groups.google.com/d/forum/openh264-dev.
Q. What license will be used for the binary?
A: Cisco provides the binary under the terms of a two-clause BSD license. Additionally, the binary is licensed under Cisco’s AVC/H.264 Patent Portfolio License from MPEG LA, at no cost to you, provided the requirements and conditions listed in the AVC/H.264 Patent Portfolio sections are met. Please see the full binary license text at http://www.openh264.org/BINARY_LICENSE.txt.
Q. My application doesn't have an end-user license agreement, so where must I
reproduce all of the binary license text?
A: In the same location where any other licensing information is to be presented to the user. Some examples include in a "description," "about" or "licenses" section or file.
Q. How many back revisions of the binary will kept available for download?
A: Initially, all back revisions of the binary will be available for download. Any exceptions or changes to that plan in the future will be vetted with the community and governance board.
Q. How do I have my application link to the binary module
for downloading to users?
A: Please reference the RELEASES file in the main directory of the openh264 github repository at https://github.com/cisco/openh264/blob/master/RELEASES or the release list in the github repository at https://github.com/cisco/openh264/releases.