[whatwg] several messages regarding Ogg in HTML5

Maik Merten maikmerten at gmail.com
Wed Dec 12 05:11:50 PST 2007

Ian Hickson schrieb:
> 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.

Well, thanks to VP3 having been a commercial product licensed to 
numerous commercial entities (e.g. Nullsoft/AOL) the very existance of 
On2 depended on being clean of patents they don't own. The statement 
that Theora had no exhaustive patent search is in danger of being 

Plus as long as no meaningful metric exists defining how "exhaustive" a 
patent search has been things are a bit hard to compare anyway.

Now, thanks to the commonly accepted ( ;-) ) fact that Vorbis has had an 
exhaustive patent search: Does that mean that Vorbis is a candidate for 
a baseline audio codec? Or is the actual extend of any patent search 
irrelevant? If so: Why is the H.264 patent search relevant?

If an "exhaustive" patent search is a key towards acceptance of any 
format: Why not commision one?

> 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.

I'd say the opposite could just as well apply. H.264 is a sophisticated 
codec using plenty of "state-of-the-art" technologies. Thus H.264 may be 
a much bigger target to submarines than Theora, which quite frankly is a 
pretty straight-forward coding scheme using well-known concepts without 
sophisticated bells and whistles.

That way or another: Plainly saying that one codec is at higher risk 
than the other is a rather dangerous adventure.

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