[whatwg] several messages regarding Ogg in HTML5

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Wed Dec 12 01:57:45 PST 2007

On Wed, 12 Dec 2007, Jeff McAdams wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > Ogg isn't a choice, unfortunately. I agree that little choice remains, 
> > though. But this is an open issue, and experts in the field are 
> > actively trying to resolve it to everyone's satisfaction.
> Yes, Ogg most certainly is a choice.  Every time you deny this, you give 
> more weight for Apple, Nokia, et al to through around.  Stop.

This isn't a matter of different browser vendors having different weight.

What we are looking for here is a solution that addresses the needs of 
every browser vendor. Ignoring some of the browser vendors isn't an 
option, whether those browser vendors are Apple and Nokia, or whether they 
are Opera and Mozilla.

> We do have the choice of saying that Ogg is the way forward, and that if 
> Apple, Nokia, et al don't want to implement it, then they can choose to 
> not be conformant to the new standard.

Our goal here is not to be able to point to browsers and label them as 
compliant or non-compliant. Our goal is to be able to use video on the Web 
in a royalty-free manner in a way that interoperably works in _every_ 
browser, whether from Apple, or Opera, or Mozilla, or Microsoft, or Nokia, 
or whoever.

> In my mind, this outcome is *far* superior to using a patent encumbered
> codec, even if the patent holders grant a royalty free license on it
> since the Ogg family have had so much research done on them that the
> chances of submarine patents should be at least greatly reduced, if not
> eliminated.

Ogg Theora has not had an exhaustive patent search (you may be thinking of 
Ogg Vorbis). In fact, it is likely the case that H.264 has had a _more_ 
exhaustive patent search than Ogg Theora.

If H.264 Baseline was made available royalty-free, why would we _not_ want 
to use it instead of Ogg Theora? It is technically a far superior codec, 
it has the same or lower risk of submarine patents, and it would have (by 
definition given the context within which I am asking the question) the 
same licensing as Ogg Theora.

> In short, I am absolutely sick and tired of big companies coming in and 
> throwing their weight around in standards organizations and getting 
> their end-user-screwing technologies embedded into supposedly open and 
> free standards.

I understand, but I assure you that that is actually not what is happening 
here. We are in fact trying to find a solution that doesn't involve 
screwing over end users. I am sorry if you find it hard to believe that we 
actually care about end users.

> And, yes, Apple, I'm looking at you here too.  Your hands are not clean 
> in this from past exercises.  No, I don't trust you, yes, I'm going to 
> object loud and long to any move that appears to be moving away from 
> free and open technologies, which is what this is.
> Yes, I'm pissed.  I'm taking an extreme position, but its a position of 
> principle, and I will not back down from it.

That is your right, but please, when posting to the WHATWG list, keep your 
tone moderated and your arguments rational. Accusing other participants of 
being untrustworthy does not help us come to an amicable and acceptable 
solution, it just antagonises people and makes them less willing to 
compromise, something which could be fatal in this issue.

Dismissing Apple's concerns doesn't help us address Apple's concerns. 
Apple are not dismissing our requests for a royalty-free codec, we should 
not dismiss their requests for a codec that doesn't involve unwarranted 
risks of potentially extremely expensive legal action against them.

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

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