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

Gervase Markham gerv at mozilla.org
Tue Apr 3 09:47:44 PDT 2007

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>>> What I mean is that unlike the case for other browser vendors, it 
>>> won't cost us anything in patent license fees.
>> Ah, right. So you want MPEG because it gives Apple (and Microsoft, I 
>> guess) a financial competitive advantage over other browsers.
> Why do you have to spin everything in such an inflammatory way? If you 
> are actually trying to make an argument and not just grandstanding you 
> might want to assume some minimum of good faith on our part.

I really don't think that's spinning - it's just a restatement of what 
you said. You said "[Apple would prefer MPEG because], unlike the case 
for other browser vendors, we don't have to pay fees.", which is pretty 
much the same as "[Apple would prefer MPEG because] other browsers would 
have to pay fees and we wouldn't" - which is a financial advantage.

Where's the spin? If you don't want us to read those words at face value 
and draw the obvious conclusions, then don't list "not having to pay 
fees" as an advantage for you of MPEG.

If Firefox were GPL only, and there were some Foo Codec which only had 
GPLed implementations, wouldn't you think it quite rude if I listed 
"MoFo and KDE don't have to implement the codec, whereas proprietary 
browsers do" as a reason for wanting Foo Codec as the standard?

> Most of your post illustrates reasons why you think Mozilla couldn't 
> implement MPEG-4 codecs. Mostly these are based on speculation about 
> what the actual patent license might say. 

Is the patent license document available to read, or confidential? If 
the latter, then that itself is a massive sign that it wouldn't work. 
How could the license rights be transferable to downstream users of our 
code if we can't tell them what their rights are?

>> What is it about the distribution model of Safari that is incompatible 
>> with shipping Ogg?
> Is "distribution model" the only kind of reason you consider valid?

No; sorry.

> We're fine with the current spec language. Saying nothing at all would 
> be better, but a SHOULD is fine. I followed up on this thread because 
> you seem to be advocating a mandatory requirement.

I believe my first comment in this thread talked about SHOULD. I haven't 
mentioned MUST.

Although I guess it's fairly academic, because it's now pretty clear 
that Apple doesn't plan to support Theora unless it's forced to by sites 
not providing an MPEG alternative, and users complaining. Which is a 
great shame, because Theora/Dirac is the only chance we have of a single 
codec across all implementations.

If people want to look into it further and make 100% certain, that's 
fine, but I think it's pretty clear that terms which allowed MPEG4 in 
Firefox would be "no thanks, we don't want any more MPEG revenue" terms 
- and the MPEG-LA would never offer them.


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