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FSFE Newsletter - February 2011

Drop a container to free web videos

Videos on the internet often prove to be literal nuisance to Free Software users. Several websites required the non-free flash video plugin to view videos. Perhaps also your friends were wondering why you are not able to watch youtube videos within your web browser, and thought you are a freak when you started downloading videos with youtube-dl. With gnash and other programs which are able to play flash video directly the situation improved. But flash is still a pain annoying both for Free Software users and developers.

Developing HTML5 turned out to be a chance to purge this problem. It enables the user to play audio and video directly in your web browser. But there was disagreement which video container format should be used: H.264, WebM or Ogg Theora? MPEG LA organisation requires developers who implement H.264 to agree to a patent license which is incompatible with Free Software. So we might have ended up depending on non-free software again to watch web videos.

But now Google announced to suspend support for patent-encumbered codec H.264 and support free codecs only instead. Being the biggest provider of web videos Google's decision is a huge step to dispose of non-free video software. Our sister organisation FSF issued a press release on this topic and I (Matthias) was interviewed by Dradio Wissen about it (in German).

Now time has come to help adopt WebM as free video format: get in contact with website operators and ask them to distribute videos in the WebM format to get rid of H.264.

New clothes for FSFE

For many people their first contact with FSFE is via website. After months of work by FSFE's Web Team a new website design has been launched including a fresh look, improved infrastructure, and new features. Here is a list of our new features:

Something completely different

Get active - Join the Web Team

FSFE's Web Team needs help! We need new ideas and suggestions as well as developers, designers, and translators to improve fsfe.org even further.

Regards,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE

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