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Jon Bringing WMV9 to Linux 467

julie-h writes "DVD Jon has done it again. This time it wasn't Apple the target, but Microsoft's WMV9 video format. There is as always a working Proof of Concept program with screenshots."
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Jon Bringing WMV9 to Linux

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  • by cdgod ( 132891 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @10:32PM (#10921616) Homepage
    sit in his chair with those two big brass ones?

  • Nice... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Zen ( 8377 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @10:34PM (#10921625)
    Thanksgiving night, and there's still enough of us sitting around doing nothing better than looking at /. that the pictures are already down.
    • Re:Nice... (Score:5, Funny)

      by FrYGuY101 ( 770432 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @10:36PM (#10921633) Journal
      Hey, some people watch football, we sit around harassing poor server admins.

      Everybody has hobbies!
      • Re:Nice... (Score:3, Informative)

        by B'Trey ( 111263 )
        Uh, some of us sit around broswing Slashdot while we're watching football. I have the WVU/Pitt game on right now.
        • Re:Nice... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Almost-Retired ( 637760 ) on Friday November 26, 2004 @01:16AM (#10922271) Homepage
          Uh, some of us sit around broswing Slashdot while we're watching football. I have the WVU/Pitt game on right now.

          That includes me, experimenting with Ingo's new RT linux kernel patch. Unforch, there enough over head that tvtime loses a frame several times a second, duly reported in the log of course, so now its thursday and I have a 58 megabyte /var/log/messages.

          Yeah, even us old farts take a chance on bleeding edge occasionally.

          OTOH, tvtime is running 10x smoother than it does without the patch. The box is stable, and snappier than I expected, and snappier than if it was running a normal kernel by quite a bit.

          Cheers, Gene
    • No kidding. I figured I was in like Flynn with only a handful of replies to the thread. Maybe the American readers are too turkey-stuffed to type but can still manage to nudge a mouse around?
    • Re:Nice... (Score:3, Funny)

      by mr_exit ( 216086 )
      I dont know what kind of wacky "time zone" you are caught in, somewhere where it is night already! here it's just a normal old friday afternoon.

      What colour is the grass in your world?
    • Use it like this: like this []

      More about Coral: [].
  • wmv9 and a slashdotted site?

    One's a sick duck... I can't remember how it ends but your (you slashdotters) mother's a whore.
  • Slashdotted already (Score:5, Informative)

    by Joel from Sydney ( 828208 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @10:39PM (#10921654)
    When will people learn not to get links to their blogs on the main page of /. ?

    Here's the Google Cache link [].

    • When people who didn't get permission from the site owners stop posting stories. Oh, and when the editors start informing site admins before they post stories and link to mirrors if their site can't handle the load.
  • support? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @10:40PM (#10921662) Homepage
    Is it going to support those annoying-as-piss instructions in some files that open IE and point it to random websites?
  • Go Jon! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tokerat ( 150341 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @10:42PM (#10921673) Journal

    It's people like DVD Jon who make me feel like a total sham everytime someone calls me a "computer genius". What's he got for us next?
  • Mixed feelings (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, 2004 @10:44PM (#10921679)
    I suppose I'm pleased that this will give me access to a wider range of material playable on my Linux boxen. On the other hand, I feel uneasy, knowning almost certainly that this isn't legal (C'mon, this is DVD Jon!). While I might disagree with the law, isn't Linux still trying to regain respectability after the SCO accusations? They may have been false, but claims of pirated software in Linux wrt this are almost certainly true.
    • Well, you might as well get rid of all those MP3s you have too then. Oh, and all those AAC and MPG files. It wouldn't surprise me if someone could find a patent that covered the ogg work too.
      • Re:Mixed feelings (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Almost-Retired ( 637760 ) on Friday November 26, 2004 @12:13AM (#10922059) Homepage
        It wouldn't surprise me if someone could find a patent that covered the ogg work too.

        Go ahead, bet the farm on it, and I'll cover a tenner of it, betting on ogg being clean. That gauntlet was thrown down 2+ years ago by the ogg/vorbis folks who after the mp3 camp claimed there had to be an infringement AIUI, mailed a copy of the code to the fahnhoffer (sp, please, I'm american and I couldn't spell that right if it was painted on the friggin wall) legal folks and dared them to find an infringment. 2 years later, there has been no further saber rattling by the fahnhoffer people.

        Besides, if you'll take a 192 kilobit mp3, and compare it to an about 160 kilobyte variable rate ogg, about a g7 quality, I challenge you to an a/b test where you have no idea which is which. BUT, you'll very reliably pick the ogg as the best sounding of the two, and do it well over 95% of the time.

        Hell, my ears are 70 years old and I wore out 3 rifle barrels before I ever bought any earmuffs, so they aren't cherry ears by any means (Carhart notches 120 db deep for instance), but I did that comparison and picked the ogg nearly 100% of the time.

        Gawd I get tired of hearing winderz sheeple claim the linux camp is nothing but a bunch of thieves. Is your copy of winderz legal? More than likely its a bit of a grey market from some cloner. If I had any M$ on site, it would be 100% legal, but I've never owned an M$ product other than whats in the roms of some of my vintage computers, and I don't intend to expand that, ever... If I need dos for something, its drdos-7.03 that gets booted.

        You may have intended that to be sarcasm, but it wasn't taken that way.

        No Cheers, Gene
        • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Friday November 26, 2004 @03:22AM (#10922662) Homepage
          192 kilobit mp3, and compare it to an about 160 kilobyte variable rate ogg

          Well I certainly HOPE a 1280 kilobit ogg would win :D

    • They may have been false, but claims of pirated software in Linux wrt this are almost certainly true.
      Does it use Windows .dlls? If not, then it's merely a DMCA violation. [IANAL]
    • On the other hand, I feel uneasy, knowning almost certainly that this isn't legal (C'mon, this is DVD Jon!).
      It wasn't illegal even when you take into account the crappy copyright regime currently being imposed.
    • Re:Mixed feelings (Score:3, Informative)

      by arevos ( 659374 )
      On the other hand, I feel uneasy, knowning almost certainly that this isn't legal (C'mon, this is DVD Jon!).

      IIRC, in Norway reverse engineering is perfectly legal, and there is no DMCA-esque law.

      Remember that the Norwegion courts have ruled before that DVD Jon has not done anything illegal. If he had, you can be sure the movie industry would be on Jon like a tonne of bricks.

      So you can rest well, knowing that DVD Jon's actions are probably quite legal, at least in his country. What other people do with h
  • slashdotting... (Score:5, Informative)

    by |bazop| ( 77229 ) <jdevlin AT iinet DOT net DOT au> on Thursday November 25, 2004 @10:44PM (#10921681)
    Courtesy of mirrordot []: --J.
  • by darkninja2000 ( 818625 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @10:51PM (#10921703)
    Heh, DVD Jon uses gnome and fedora! Noob! ... no wait...
  • What happened here? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by natrius ( 642724 ) < minus author> on Thursday November 25, 2004 @10:55PM (#10921722) Homepage
    From the article linked to the blog post, it seems that he got the reference decoder for the VC-1 standard, which is compatible with WMP9, to work in VLC. The headline makes it look like there was some sort of reverse engineering done here, but after actually reading the article (gasp), it doesn't seem like that's the case.
  • Source code? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by betonme ( 752948 )
    So it is running in a GPL program (VLC) using an open (VC1) standard. Details? Anyone? Link to the source? Hello?
  • by News for nerds ( 448130 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:05PM (#10921772) Homepage
    According to the blog, it seems it uses VC-1 reference decoder to play WMV9 on Linux. IIRC VC-1 is open source now after it was submit to SMPTE for the review. Is there any difference between VC-1 and WMV9 except for four CC code and other trivial things?

    Also, at the first glance at the headline of this story, I'd thought DVD Jon cracked DRM on WMV9 and delighted, but he didn't apparently, so non-Linux people don't have much to rejoice about this story anyway. If I'm mistaken and this story can be related to Windows Media DRM somehow, please point it to me as I'm happy if that's true.
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:28PM (#10921874)
      At least not how you are thinking of open source. It's an open standard, controlled by SMPTE, that you can license. Thus it's probabaly illegal to use this without paying the license fee. So it's open in that anyone can get it, it's controlled by a standards body, not MS, but it's not OSS.

      Now VC-1 and WM-9 are pretty much the same, and at this point it's not a huge streatch to take the VC-1 code and develop it to a full blown WM-9 player (which he seems to have done). However MS could chanve the WMV format at any time they like, and break compatibility. VC-1 will remain what ti is and they can't change it without SMPTE's approval (which makes the changes available to everyone), however WMV isn't necessiarly going to be the same thing.
  • by Synbiosis ( 726818 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:06PM (#10921776)
    The worst thing about this is that if software companies actually *supported* Linux, they would never have to deal with any of this. They are forcing people to crack copy protection so they can view media that they purchased online. I don't really understand it. There's Windows Media Player for Mac OS X and its market share is roughly equal to that of Linux. It really wouldn't be that hard for Microsoft to release a generic codec pack for Linux.
  • MPlayer? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OblongPlatypus ( 233746 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:10PM (#10921785)
    Hasn't this been possible all along, with MPlayer? Their codec status table [] lists "Windows Media Video 9 DMO" as working. Is that not the same thing as the WMV9 referred to here?
    • Re:MPlayer? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:24PM (#10921846)
      "Windows Media Video 9 DMO" is simply using the windows dll for playback, this on the otherhand is an open-source implementation so it is much faster as it doesn't need any translation of library/system calls. This is probably better for non-x86 based PCs as they cannot use dll's that were built for an x86.
    • Re:MPlayer? (Score:5, Informative)

      by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:54PM (#10921971) Journal
      While MPlayer (and Xine) have supported playback of WMV9 through Microsoft's DLLs, it's not the perfect solution to the problem...

      Using the DLLs is very slow, which makes a huge difference when you're trying to play 1080 videos on your system. Actually, using the DLLs via mplayer is faster than Media Player on Windows, but with source, it will get MUCH FASTER. A good example is when ffmpeg got native SVQ3 support:

      The decoder is currently unoptimized, but it already outperforms the original binary DLL (which is a shame on Apple, but what did we expect?). 7/news-arch ive.html

      Plus, you will have less problems with bugs, the ablity to playback on non-x86 systems, and the potential for encoding support in the future.

  • by thedj_sd ( 679390 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:10PM (#10921789)
    People people.... Jon just has access (legally this time) to the VC1 reference codec and sources. He simply decided to look at how easy it was to use this in VLC. From what i remember (this was more than 6 weeks ago or something) it was half a days work. Mind you that he didn't release anything. He doesn't need to. He said that the VC1 licensing terms are less strict than MPEG4 and Jon can just use the sources after the VC1 codec is 100% final, which isn't too far off. (btw. MPEG group should really get their act together, cause VC1 truly has better licensing atm and people are getting fed up with the MPEG mess).
  • by tearmeapart ( 674637 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:10PM (#10921791) Homepage Journal

    It does not seem that DVD Jon has completely released his project yet, so if you are want to play WMVs in linux now, try using xine []. Quote from the xine site: "...It also decodes multimedia files like AVI, MOV, WMV, and MP3 from local disk drives...". With the small collection of trailers and a few movies from lmule [] (it's like emule), I have not experienced one problem with xine.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:25PM (#10921852)
      WMV9 is a fairly new codec that does not have native support for anything but Windows. If you have it working in Linux, that's because you're running x86 and are using the Windows dll to decode it. If you're not running on x86 or aren't using a closed source library, you're not watching WMV9, but an older WMV codec.

      Personally, I'm quite happy to see this. For one thing, using the dll is slow; too slow to run on my Epia. For another thing, an open source decoder means it should eventually make it to VNC on my Mac. A fast cross-platform decoder. Yes, please!
    • Except that Xine's UI is annoying and it somehow never plays movies loud enough. I much prefer VLC for playing my movies. I'll agree with most other posters here in saluting DVD Jon; the guy is a machine!
    • Yeah, xine and mplayer can do it, but it's not native. They load the windows codecs from MS's dll files, which is a) probably illegal, b) slow, and c) only works on x86 processors. This new open-source implementation should work with all architectures.
  • Rawr (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:15PM (#10921811) Homepage
    If Microsoft could allow images to run code when viewed, I guess video files are no different. Watch out all you porn viewers using Windows Media Player.

    Your modem is about to disconnect and dial The Czech Republic.
  • by darnok ( 650458 ) on Thursday November 25, 2004 @11:56PM (#10921982)
    ...note that this type of work may become illegal if the EU embraces software patents.

    As you're in the one region of the world that seems to not be bowing down to corporate interests at every opportunity, please do what you can to ensure it doesn't happen.

    I *want* to watch video on my Linux box; I don't want to have to buy MS product just so my kids can watch movies that we've paid for.
  • HDTV content (Score:5, Informative)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday November 26, 2004 @12:09AM (#10922040) Homepage Journal
    Incase you are wondering, why port WM9 to linux?

    Some HDTV quality video is only in WM9, and some HDTV-DVD's also. Also for those pay music services that only use WM9. []
    • Re:HDTV content (Score:3, Interesting)

      Some HDTV quality video is only in WM9, and some HDTV-DVD's also.

      Unfortunately, almost all of those are wrapped up in Microsoft's digital restriction mandates and thus won't play on linux even with DVD Jon's work here.

      MS's DRM is particularly nasty because it enables "phone home" authorization just to play the video thus you end up with silliness like the HD-DVD release of Terminator 2 not working (without a proxy) outside of the US or Canada as well as HD movie trailers (not actual movies, just the "pre
  • I wonder what Microsoft is gonna have Jon charged with?
  • Could somebody who actually made it to these web pages post their content so that the rest of us can read them.
  • I know this is going to be modded as flamebait or whatever... ...but...

    Who cares?

    First, don't FOSS alternatives exist?

    Second, from personal experience lavc's mpeg4 is good enough even at relatively low rates [sub 1 mbps].

    Third, I'm tired of one person getting credit for shit. I'm sure it wasn't just Jon sitting at his puter typing away to make this happen.

  • The group of hackers that uses DVD Jon as their scapegoat has hacked WMV?
  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Friday November 26, 2004 @12:50AM (#10922186)
    It can be useful to ask how much it would cost to license Microsoft's media.

    The answer for a video decoder is 10 cents per unit with a $40,000 cap. Windows Media Licensing Fees and Royalties [] (September 2004)

    You want to see Linux on every desktop? Would it kill you to admit that shelling out the bucks to license proprietary technologies that might actually get you there makes some sense?

    None of the commercial Linux distros are going to touch a decoder that has "lawsuit" written all over it.

    • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Friday November 26, 2004 @07:22AM (#10923344) Journal
      Would it kill you to admit that shelling out the bucks to license proprietary technologies that might actually get you there makes some sense?

      That is most definately the WRONG way to go about it.

      The RIGHT way is to push content providers to use technologies that we don't have to license, such as Vorbis, Theora, MPEG-1, Dirac, etc.

      Imagine if all the percieved gaps in Linux were fixed the same way... People using Linux will want photoshop, so license Photoshop for Linux, rather than creating The GIMP.

      Pay the license fee to get DVD decryption in a Linux player, but it must be binary-only, and limited to the same features you find in Windows DVD players (no DVD-backups for you!).
  • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) on Friday November 26, 2004 @02:08AM (#10922463) Journal
    Oh, I hope we're a step closer to freeing up DRM restricted WMV files and here's why...

    I bought (as in I paid for) WMV files from of this year's baseball playoffs because I didn't save my TiVo'd copies and wanted to have the games in my personal archive. At, they used advertising verbiage like "watch them whenever you want!" and "burn them to CD!". Apparantly I didn't read the fine print close enough (or maybe it wasn't in the fine print), but those files are heavily DRM restricted. I have to be connected to the internet and log onto to watch them. And even then, I can't even fast forward. Pathetic.

    All I wanted to do was to convert them DVD-compatible MPEG2 for MY USE. I want to watch them on my TV instead of my computer. I paid for them and I should be able to view them somewhere other than my PC. I searched high and low and couldn't find a way to break the DRM. Sheesh, it's not like I'm trying to do anything that could be construed as illegal, at least by any rational person. Really frustrating.

    If Jon's thing helps free these files in a way that will allow me to media-shift them, then I'm all for it! Even if it's not so I can watch them on Linux. Heck, I've had to use DeCSS to extract MPEG files from DVDs of MY OWN HOME VIDEOS because the original tapes were damaged. How pathetic is it that I needed a tool like that in order to view files that I and I alone own copyright on?

  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Friday November 26, 2004 @03:30AM (#10922686)
    Dude, this site is all Slashcracked. How come /. doesn't have a Google-style cache (you could easily set it up using the Squid [], with all links on the front page leading to the cache, rather than the original? Nobody would ever get /.ed that way.

    If you're worried that owners of the linked sites won't get usage statistics, the cache could be set up to count how many times it was accessed, and the statistics could be emailed to the site owner. The email would look something like this:

    Subject: You were /.ed!
    Date: Today

    From the because-your-site-rocks-and-we-cached-the-damn-thi ng department:

    Guess what? Your site was /.ed! But don't worry, our cache prevented millions of users from bringing your servers to their knees. Here are your usage statistics:


    You get the idea.
  • by DeeKay ( 263782 ) on Friday November 26, 2004 @04:28AM (#10922840)
    The Video Codec is WMV3, the whole shebang together with the new audio Codec and lots of DRM is just called Windows Media 9!

    Thank you, Jon! ;-) I've been waiting for that for a long time, and the WMV3-videos that wouldn't run with Mplayer and VLC REALLY started to piss me off...

Counting in binary is just like counting in decimal -- if you are all thumbs. -- Glaser and Way