Canonical clarifies its H.264 licence

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Ubuntu

With the current controversy over H.264 patent pools and open source codecs, some observers have noted that Canonical is listed as a licensee of H.264 from MPEGLA, the patent pool which licenses out the codec patents, causing some to ask if Ubuntu users were covered by this license. The H talked to Canonical's Chris Kenyon who handles OEM services at the Linux distributor who explained the answer was 'it depends'.

If a user downloads Ubuntu and installs it themselves, then as Ubuntu is free software, no MPEG-LA licence is included. Kenyon says "The good news it that there are other ways of enjoying video content and we strongly believe in the work to establish open source codecs". He noted that the company already "offer strong support for Ogg Vorbis in our standard images".

Where the H.264 licence comes into play, says Kenyon, is if a device has been bought with Ubuntu pre-installed.