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

Gervase Markham gerv at mozilla.org
Tue Apr 3 14:33:33 PDT 2007

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> This isn't the first time you've restated something in what seems like a 
> needlessly inflammatory way. Your earlier message in the thread 
> basically said that unless Apple implements Ogg Theora, we "don't 
> actually have a commitment to interoperability".

Close. "Unless Apple implements a codec which is implementable by the 
other browser vendors, they don't really have a commitment to 
interoperability" would be about it. I didn't mean Theora specifically, 
although only two freely-implementable-in-free-software codecs have so 
far been suggested (Theora and Dirac).

Again, I deny this is inflammatory. You cannot say both "we have a 
strong commitment to interoperability" and "we are only going to 
implement a codec which it is impossible for other browsers to ship". 
They are contradictory. One or the other has to give.

You may dispute the "impossible" - but if we were trying to mandate a 
standard which required a patent which was available only to free 
software, and we told you "just make all of Safari open source", that 
would probably be a lesser level of impossibility than "make Firefox 
closed source" (which would be required to allow it to ship MPEG).

(Regular reminder: only speaking for myself.)

But you are right; this is an impasse, and there's not much point going 
on. Barring a miraculous change of heart from either the members of the 
MPEG-LA or from Apple, there will be no standard codec for <video> 
across all browsers and platforms. Pity the content authors (well, 
either them, or the users of minority platforms).


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