[whatwg] Removal of Ogg is *preposterous*

Maik Merten maikmerten at gmail.com
Tue Dec 11 05:04:02 PST 2007

Ian Hickson schrieb:
> The difference is that while Apple (for example) have already assumed the 
> risk of submarine patents with H.264, they currently have taken no risks 
> with respect to the aforementioned codecs, and they do not wish to take on 
> that risk.

Which surely means that they won't ever support any new codecs or new
features at any point in the future. This would be the only way to stop
adding new risks.

I totally understand that companies want to keep their risks low. If
this gets abused as cheap excuse as why they won't support anything but
their pet-formats things are getting pretty shallow, though.

If patents are such a threat to big companies they better should drive
serious efforts to get the patent lottery into a more sane state or they 
innovation potential is endangered.

> As much as I am personally a supported of the free software development 
> model, I cannot let that control the spec's development. I agree, however, 
> that any codec selected absolutely must be compatible with free software 
> licenses, as is clear in the paragraph that you so rashly called FUD.

The problem is that the requirements describe the emtpy set, as is
correctly described with "However, there are no known codecs that
satisfy all the current players".

MPEG codecs are non-free, incompatible with free software and are
carrying additional submarine risks for all those who haven't yet
licensed them. The requirements ask for codecs that are "not an
additional submarine patent risk for large companies". What about small
companies? Why should e.g. Opera or Mozilla want to license MPEG and be
subject of MPEG submarines instead of choosing codecs that were designed
to avoid patents since the initial planning stages? I guess it may
appear to be more desirable to take the submarine risk of free codecs
and in exchange get all the benefits of not getting into the IP
licensing mess.

To put it into a nutshell: To respect the needs of the big players for
sure is important - but same shall apply to the needs of the not-so-big
ones. I know you don't intend anything else, but the current wording may
be a bit unfortunate.

> There are codecs that have been in existence for longer than the patent 
> lifetime, for instance. Dave Singer posted a quite thorough analysis of 
> this issue recently.

I doubt those old codecs can help implementing video and audio
functionality in a way satisfying current demands. I can't imagine
streaming e.g. audio with ADPCM or GSM ;-)


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