[whatwg] Removal of Ogg is *preposterous*

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Dec 11 04:11:18 PST 2007

On Tue, 11 Dec 2007, Maik Merten wrote:
> 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.

One would imagine that they would happily take new risks if the rewards 
were great (e.g. a better codec). Sadly the rewards in the case of Ogg 
Theora are low -- there isn't much content using Theora, and Theora isn't 
technically an especially compelling codec compared to other contemporary 
codecs like, say, H.264.

One way to get a company like Apple to want to take the risk of 
implementing Theora would be to cause there to be a large pool of existing 
Theora content out there. Obviously, this presents a bootstrapping problem 
(aka a "chicken and egg" problem).

> 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.

I assure you that this is happening, but it's somewhat out of the scope of 
the work on HTML5. :-)

> 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".

Indeed. Work is ongoing to address this. If we had a solution today, we 
wouldn't be having this discussion, the spec would just be updated to 
require that.

Sadly, work to get a solution here is likely to occur mostly behind closed 
doors, since it's principally a political problem and not a technical one. 
I am not actively involved in the work to find a solution here.

> 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.

I think the current wording in the spec is actually biased towards the 
small players more than the big ones, but if you think it's the other way 
around then I probably have struck the right balance.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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