A few months ago, we announced a commercial licensing program so that even companies unable to use GPL software in their products have a chance to use the open source x264 instead of proprietary alternatives. The system worked on two basic concepts. First, all licensees would still be required to give their changes to x264 back to us: x264 must forever remain free, with no useful contributions kept hidden from the community. Second, all the profits would go directly back to x264, primarily to the developers who’ve made the most significant contributions to x264 over the years, but also to funding future development, bounties for new features, as well as contributing to other related projects (e.g. Videolan and ffmpeg).
Over the past couple of months, we’ve gotten an enormous response; over 40 companies have inquired about licensing, with more contacting us every day. Due to the sheer volume of interest, we’ve partnered with CoreCodec, the creators of the free Matroska container format and developers of CoreAVC, to make x264 as widely available as possible in the world of commercial software as it is in the world of open source. All of this is already filtering back to benefiting x264 users, with many bugs being reported by commercial licensees as well as some code contributed.
Today, we announce the first commercial consumer encoding software to switch to x264: Pegasys Inc.’s TMPGEnc. Expect many more to follow: with x264 now available commercially as well as freely, there are few excuses left to use any other H.264 encoder. Vendors of overpriced, underpowered proprietary competitors should begin looking for new jobs.