Google WebM Calls “Open Source” Into Question
snydeq writes “As open source becomes mainstream, vendors are under pressure to market their offerings using the ‘open source’ brand to the highest degree possible — a trend that may eventually degrade the meaning of ‘open source’ as we know it, Savio Rodrigues writes. Witness WebM, which Google has positioned as an open alternative to H.264. After examining the software license, some in the open source community have questioned whether WebM should be classified as open source software. Google did not use an OSI-approved license for WebM, meaning that, at least in theory, WebM cannot be considered open source under the OSD — the ‘gold standard’ by which many government and business open source policies are defined. Moreover, when prodded for OSI review, Google required that the OSI agree to ‘changes to how OSI does licenses‘ as a precursor to submitting a license for OSI review and approval. ‘When Google, one of the largest supporters of open source, goes out and purposefully circumvents the OSI, what signal does this send to other vendors? How important is using an OSI-approved license likely to be in the future if other vendors follow Google’s lead?’”
An anonymous reader adds: “It turns out that libvpx, Google’s VP8 library, isn’t compatible with the GPLv2. Google is apparently aware of the problem and working on a solution.