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technical point of view. In fact, you'd likely lose some functionality. AppleScript, for exam-
ple, is only available on Mac OS. Building workflow automation systems without it would
be much harder work, and you also would lack many of the other popular applications
and tools that Mac OS supports.
So actually the question “Does QuickTime work on Linux?” applies mainly to play-
ers on personal desktops. If open-standards video is deployed, even this becomes moot; if
you choose to build on a Linux platform there is more support available. Open-source
projects such as M-Player may provide a solution if you want to have a Linux client play-
ing proprietary formats.
H.264 Implications for QuickTime
How does the emergence of a new open standard for video coding and multimedia affect
Apple? Many people are unaware that MPEG-4 is related to QuickTime through the file
format that Apple allowed the MPEG-4 standards body to adopt. At that point, the file for-
mat diverged slightly from the QuickTime model, but the fundamental object-based
nature of it remains largely the same. Architecturally, QuickTime is very well placed to
take advantage of everything that MPEG-4 has to offer.
A wired QuickTime movie and an MPEG-4 systems-layer interactive package are
very similar in capability. The authoring process is functionally similar. The differences
mainly lie in the data structures rather than the platform architectures. Since Apple has
already stated that it supports open standards wholeheartedly and has already imple-
mented some MPEG-4 capabilities, it is possible that the company will provide further
support in future operating-system releases. But this, of course, is speculation until such a
release is announced.
This is important because a lot of software manufacturers have built tools on top of
the QuickTime architecture. All of these capabilities are available to tool builders on the
Windows platform once they install QuickTime there as well.
With the release of Mac OS 10.4 and QuickTime 7, Apple supports the H.264 codec
as a built-in component within the QuickTime architecture. This makes it available to any-
one who wants to take advantage of the improved coding capabilities.
QuickTime Risk Factors
If you use a codec that is proprietary and only available in QuickTime, you are implying
that the only audience you are aiming for runs Mac OS or Windows. In fact as QuickTime
goes forward, it will be increasingly difficult to retain compatibility with the version run-
ning on the old Classic Mac OS. Careful choice of codecs will stave this issue off for a
while, but eventually it will become compelling to use newer codecs, and these are
unlikely to ever be ported to Classic Mac OS.
Choosing QuickTime containment for your media somewhat disenfranchises Linux
users. Interestingly, the operating system core and the streaming server have both been
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