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On2 Releases Codec to Open Source

In an effort to push its codecs to the market, On2announced on Tuesday that it was releasing its VP3.2video codec technology to the open source community.VP3.2 will also be totally free, with no licensingrequired, unlike MPEG, which charges steep fees. The licenses and source code will be availablesometime this quarter, said the company.

"Our contribution of VP3.2 into the open sourcecommunity marks the first time a competitive videocodec has been made available in this fashion. We feelthat it is essential to the success of the digitalrevolution that these enabling technologies not remainlocked into closed, proprietary systems," said DanMiller, founder and chief technology officer of On2."By open-sourcing this recent-generation technologynow, we hope to break the logjam of incompatibleformats and heavily encumbered so-called standards,promoting a true common format that is open,documented, and freely available to all."

Still, On2's more recent codec, VP4, will not beopen-sourced. A company spokesperson said that On2wants to keep VP4 to itself right now. Just weeks ago,On2 announced that VP4 would be available exclusivelyto RealNetworks. As part of the deal, the twocompanies will partner to create plug-ins for Real'sservers and players.

The full impact, or non-impact, of this announcementwill become more clear when source code and licensing policyare available for public consumption. Currently,Ogg Vorbis' audio codec is the only fully opensource codec available.

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