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I heard a rather interesting argument advanced during the codec BOF that I wanted to comment on.

It went something like:

"Open source is nothing holy, it is just another business model. My business model is opposed to the commodization of codecs. There is no reason the IETF should favor that business model over mine."

I found that this position was advanced without loud opposition to be quite interesting.

We have a situation where a tiny number of companies have a commercial interest in non-existence of low-cost high-performing liberally-licensed codecs. The entire rest of the world could reasonably be expected to benefit from the lower costs, reduced barriers to innovation, and increased interoperability which could be expected from making this infrastructure as freely available as possible.

This has nothing to do with open-source. Commercial developers are also best served when codecs are as easily chosen and adopted as IP is for their applications.

Of course— commercial codec developers would tend to be over-represented, relative to the billions of codec users, in discussions about codec development so perhaps this is why someone was able to get away with framing this as an issue of favoring open source when it is clearly not.

Here we have a group of people from the public and from industry who wish to collaborate and build this piece of common infrastructure for the Internet. The efforts, so far, are strong evidence that the people assembled have the skills and the willingness to make their goal a reality even without the contributions of those few toll-booth-operators for whom this infrastructure would hurt profits.

The question is not "Why would we favor open-source?" the question is "Why are we favoring the minority that profits from the lack of public cooperation?"