Minutes of the Xiph.org Monthly Meeting for October 2003

Author: Carsten Haese
Contact: carsten@xiph.org
Date: October 14, 2003

Table of Contents

1   Introduction

The monthly meeting for October 2003 took place on October 5, 2003, at 21:00 UTC in the IRC channel #xiphmeet on irc.freenode.net. The following people were present, in alphabetical order:

The meeting was moderated by Jack Moffitt.

2   Organizational Update

Jack kicked off the meeting with the organizational update. He reported that Patrick is still looking for a fundraiser to attract donations. Patrick explained that the position is hard to fill, but he has at least one promising prospect.

Additional funding would go to expanded operations, more programmers and the like, as well as for performing patent searches on Xiph's new codecs such as Speex, Flac, and Theora.

3   Mailing List Reorganization

Everybody agreed to restructure the mailing lists as follows: The inactive something-announce mailing lists for sub-projects such as cdparanoia will be retired and replaced with an all-encompassing announce@xiph.org mailing list. The vorbis-faq mailing list will be retired as well.

4   Patent-Free Definition

There was wide concensus that Xiph.org needs to have some sort of statement on the web page that clarifies what exactly we mean when we say that Ogg Vorbis, for example, is patent free.

Since patents are a legal matter, this statement will be prepared with the assistance of Xiph.org's lawyer. Because of the need for legal consultation, no official statement could be made during the meeting, much to the disappointment of several observers who came to the meeting hoping for a more immediate resolution. An official statement will be issued in due course, after the necessary legal consultation.

As Timothy explained, Xiph.org is unlikely to be able to address concerns regarding specific patents, since only patent lawyers are qualified to determine the scope of a patent. Also, since patent opinions that were made for Xiph are confidential (presumably because they are legal advice given under the privilege of an attorney-client relationship), the only way that a business that's interested in Vorbis can be reasonably sure that it is not infringing is by paying for a patent opinion themselves, which according to Jack is still cheaper than the patent licensing fees of competing codecs.

5   libao Release

With the patent discussion being as complete as it could be in the context of this meeting, the discussion was moved on to the release of libao 0.8.4. Stan had requested to uncouple this release from the stalled Vorbis 1.0.1 release since libao is independent from Vorbis. Everybody agreed that this is a good idea and Stan was given the green light to proceed with the release.

Ralph asked about the possibility to phase out libao and replacing it with portaudio. Stan will look into it and decide if it is a viable alternative.

6   Migration from CVS to Subversion

Ralph briefly mentioned that we are still intending to move from CVS to Subversion. The switch will happen when the cvs2svn export-import program works reliably.

7   Vorbis 1.0.1 Status Update

7.1   Windows

Ralph reported that thanks to a series of patches by John Edwards, the Win32 build of the Vorbis 1.0.1 release is almost complete. There was, however, some confusion about which binaries we should publish. Apparently, the DLLs need to be specific to whichever compiler is used to compile the application. It was agreed that we should provide binaries for Visual Studio .NET and Visual C++ 6.

7.2   Unix-like Platforms

Jack asked about reported build problems on SunOS, HPUX, and IRIX. Unfortunately, nobody responded, so the build status on these platforms is still undetermined. On FreeBSD, maxx reported build problems that he was trying to resolve. For Red Hat systems, shank volunteered to build RPMs.

8   Speex Update

For the last agenda item for the meeting, Jean-Marc took over to present an update on Speex. He informed us that he has made it his top priority to write a fixed-point port of Speex for embedded devices. This port would encompass both the decoder and the encoder.

Jean-Marc asked for suggestions for how he can get funding for this work. Suggestions included asking VoIP equipment manufacturers to see if they'd be interested, asking for donations that would go towards this project, or even setting up a license fee. The license fee would be a one-time fee, which would be more competitive than the per-device fees that are customary for competing voice codecs.

Meeting Minutes for the October 2003 Monthly Meeting