[whatwg] on codecs in a 'video' tag.

Maik Merten maikmerten at gmx.net
Mon Apr 2 11:50:40 PDT 2007

Maciej Stachowiak schrieb:
> It's not immediately clear to me that a Mozilla license would not cover
> redistribution, for instance the license fees paid by OS vendors
> generally cover redistribution when the OS is bundled with a PC. I think
> someone would have to look at the legal language of the agreement to see
> if it covers redistribution.

Mozilla can also be compiled and distributed by third parties. E.g.
Debian distributes a slightly modified version of Firefox as "Iceweasel"
AFAIK. They wouldn't be covered by a license Mozilla buys.

> I don't think Theora (or Dirac) are inherently more interoperable than
> other codecs. There's only one implementation of each so far, so there's
> actually less proof of this than for other codecs.

There's a Theora spec which is freely distributable and implementable
over at http://theora.org/doc/Theora_I_spec.pdf . The implementation is
BSD licensed. That's what gives it high potential for interoperability
because you can either use the existing code or do a new implementation
on your own without needing any permission.

>> - They appreciate that there are a wide variety of distribution models;
>>   for browsers, and do not want to choose technologies which work only
>>   for some of those;
> Unfortunately, Ogg does not work for some browsers either.

Well, for text browsers or on platforms that don't have the processing
juice to decode it (then they couldn't decode MPEG4 whatever-part
either). I'd say that are platforms that usually don't even have feature
complete browsers anyway.

> Isn't this basically admitting that Ogg Theora would fail in the market
> if not legislated in the spec? Still, I would not be so sure of your
> conclusion. The bitrate differences among current codecs have a range of
> 2x or 4x, not just 10%.

Actually I would be surprised if H.264 would have a "2x or 4x" bitrate
advantage at similiar quality over Theora. H.264 is more powerful and I
guess it is outperforming Theora by more than 10% on average, but I
don't expect miracles from any coding scheme (but I guess your "2x or
4x" numbers weren't coined towards Theora but towards the multitude of
codecs being out there in general - spanning from MPEG1 to H.264).

Currently most web video seems to be H.263 in the Flash Video container,
which is pretty lousy compared to all codecs discussed here.

> I don't think that is true, but it would depend on the details of the
> MPEG-LA license agreement. Also, at most the MPEG4 implementation would
> not be free software, this would not have to affect the rest of Firefox.

I think many people would find it absolutely unacceptable if a "free
speech" version of Firefox would miss proper support for a core feature
of the "official" mozilla.org binary (if the free and the official
version diverge at what content they can display something is serious
messed up).

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