Is VP8 open source?

From the ‘Open Source Rules‘ files:

One of the big pieces of news out of the Google I/O conference last week was the open sourcing of the VP8 video codec.

With VP8, the promise from Google is a video codec on par with H.264 that will be available royalty-free. It’s a good idea, but there might be a problem.

The license that Google has chosen for VP8 isn’t technically an approved license from the OSI (Open Source Initiative), the group that decides what is and what isn’t a bona fide open source license.  At least that’s the view of former Sun Chief Open Source Officer Simon Phipps.

The actual license that Google is using hasn’t been submitted and approved by the OSI, which is the big issue. At it’s core, as far as I can tell in my own personal opinion, the VP8 license should be considered open source in spirit, if not Open Source by definition. Google is making the code available and making a royalty patent license to any user. On the surface that looks to me to be as good as what the Theora codec is currently providing.

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