As we all know, open source software has many advantages and we are all the more pleased to hear that the latest images from the Mars rover Perseverance are finding their way to Earth with the help of the FFmpeg library.
If you don&t know FFMmpeg, please refer to the well-informed Wikipedia page. The FFmpeg project consists of a series of free computer programs and program libraries that can record, convert, stream and package digital video and audio material in various container formats. Among other things, it includes libavcodec, an extensive collection of audio and video codecs."
An interesting side aspect is NASA&s legal situation in the US:
"Since FFmpeg also contains implementations of codecs on which patent claims exist - especially in the US - use of these formats in countries that recognise such claims may require payment of fees to licensing organisations (such as the MPEG LA)."
This, fortunately, should probably not be a problem for the Mars trip.
However, it wasn&t the images from Mars that really made our ears twitch, but a comment about FFmpeg, or rather its creator Fabrice Bellard. As if FFmpeg were not already a life&s work in itself, he also created other extremely impressive projects. For example, software that turns a standard VGA card into a DVB-T transmitter.
The infamous QEMU emulator and the Tiny C compiler were also written by him. Recently, he seems to be increasingly involved with neural networks, as here with the attempt at lossless compression.But codecs such as AV1 also seem to remain on his list of interests.
Whoever programs such dog-cool things can be forgiven for the fact that FFmpeg still cannot process 10 bits internally. He obviously has more important things to do...
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