A free software fixed media format for HD video, based on open standards, with metadata and localization but no DRM restrictions Read more
This project was successfully funded on June 3, 2012.
Richard Stallman weighs in on Lib-Ray...
Apparently news about the project is getting around. I wouldn't classify Stallman's interest as an 'endorsement', though he did say that "It sounds very good...".
Of course, that was followed by "but there is a pitfall that is important to avoid." So, let's see if we can avoid it. :-)
RMS: "Some video formats have a scheme for the menus which is so general that it allows programming. Even simple menus are implemented with a program.
"This means that videos always come with a program -- and since the people who make these are not thinking about free software at all, they don't put a free license on those programs. Thus, most videos come with nonfree software that's effectively gratuitous.
"In the old days, when menus were menus, this problem wouldn't have happened in the first place."
A little background: what he's talking about is similar to the way DVD menus work -- and I presume it is also how Blu-Ray menus work, though I haven't signed any NDAs to be sure about that.
Me: "Lib-Ray menus are HTML and CSS, and thus are declarative documents rather than executable programs."
RMS: "That is good news!"
RMS: "If it's normally the same for all videos, and you make it free software, then it is ok. But why include this in the videos? Why not make it part of a player module?"
And we addressed some of the reasons for this declarative design for the video medium:
Me: "1) If it were a program, we'd have to trust every video release not to be a "trojan horse" -- e.g. the bootable disk image could easily be designed to take over and/or corrupt your computer."
Me: "2) Even assuming good faith, a program-based standard would have to be continually updated to keep up with support for new hardware."
RMS: "That only applies if the standard is low-level."
[True, but the suggested bootable GNU/Linux approach would be]
Me: "3) Letting the disk take control of your system is buying into the same non-free ethos that brought us unskippable menus and the like. I want to keep the control in the hands of the user/viewer."
RMS: "I agree."
Can't get much better than that.
He further reiterates in a later follow-up: