Two months ago, the Free Software Foundation sent an open letter to Google asking that the company open source VP8 and use it on YouTube. On Wednesday, Google open sourced VP8 and it works with YouTube.
It’s called the WebM project. It’s a “broadly-backed community effort to develop a world-class media format for the open web” using the VP8 codec.
Google acquired the VP8 video codec in February of this year when the company purchased the On2 video compression technology.
“Google now has the opportunity to make free video formats the standard,” FSF Holmes Wilson wrote to Google on Monday, “freeing the web from both Flash and the proprietary H.264 codec.”
While Google’s decision was not likely a direct result of the FSF letter, Google listened to the open source community that has been asking for this for months.
According to the WebM project website, “The WebM project is dedicated to developing a high-quality, open video format for the web that is freely available to everyone.”
The developer preview of WebM includes FFmpeg patches, DirectShow filters for Windows, a VP8 SDK and a reference encoder called ivfenc.
You can learn more about WebM by visiting the project website, joining the mailing list or downloading the source code.