[whatwg] Ogg Theora vs H.264

Mikko Rantalainen mikko.rantalainen at peda.net
Wed Dec 12 05:10:34 PST 2007

Ian Hickson wrote:
> 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.

A commercial entity may opt to pay royalty for every product they
distribute. A non-commercial entity that distributes a free-as-in-beer
product cannot do that. Nokia or Apple are able to use some codecs that
Mozilla cannot. You cannot change the fact.

> If H.264 Baseline was made available royalty-free, why would we _not_ want 
> to use it instead of Ogg Theora?

IF H.264 was made available royalty-free, THEN I'd agree that it should
be used instead of Ogg Theora. It is a better codec except for the
IP/licensing issues.

However, right now Ogg Theora is the royalty-free option that IS
AVAILABLE. I'd suggest putting the Ogg Theora as the baseline for now
and be prepared to change it to H.264 if and only if that were made
available before the specification is done. I wouldn't count on it, though.

As for the submarine patents: by the very definition of submarine
patent, you cannot know if one exists for H.264 or Theora so I wouldn't
try to use that as an argument for either one. If you're too afraid to
set the baseline to Theora because of possible submarine patents, you
cannot set it to any other codec either! (It's possible that even some
of the aged codecs have new submarine patents because the patent offices
are that good...)

I believe that the baseline codec should be specified.


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