Microsoft has agreed to purchase a big chunk of AOL's intellectual property for a big chunk of cash. Left unremarked in most business news coverage is a little matter of history: A closure of sorts for the fiercest -- and possibly the most expensive -- tech rivalry of the dotcom era. Microsoft will own Netscape. [more inside]
We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies. - Google's Chrome is will be joining Firefox in no longer licensing the MPEG-LA H.264 video codec favoured by Apple and Microsoft for use in the HTML5 <video> tag (previously). Not everyone is seeing this as a good thing.
The <video tag>, as defined by the HTML5 spec, is an element "used for playing videos or movies". Which codec those videos or movies are in is currently undefined, with the two contenders being the free open source Ogg Theora and the proprietary H.264. With the unveiling of Internet Explorer 9 both Microsoft and Apple are supporting H.264 in their browsers, and comparisons of the standards seem to bear out H.264 as the better of the two. However Mozilla have taken a stance against incorporating H264 into Firefox on the grounds that it is patented and has to be licensed. Arguments are now being made for and against Mozilla sticking to its ideals. John Gruber of Daring Fireball points out that Firefox already supports proprietary formats such as GIF. Um, perhaps not the best example.
Can a firefox extension extend rationality? Wherein intel labs attempt to add rationality to the web. Good freaking luck. [more inside]
You can't just give away free software! Or can you? Firefox's copyleft premise destroys U.K. anti-piracy laws. Gervase Markham takes on a U.K. official who wants to arrest pirates for distributing firefox.
50 Million Firefox Downloads. At 8:58 AM PST this morning, we rolled over the 50,000,000 downloads line.
Firefox 1.0 Preview Release is now available. The Spread Firefox site hopes to see a million downloads, and they've already passed the halfway mark. The advantages of Firefox have been previously discussed on MeFi, but this version includes an interesting new feature - Live Bookmarks, which allow you to view RSS news and blog headlines in the bookmarks toolbar or bookmarks menu. Obsessively checking MetaFilter is now easier than ever.