[whatwg] several messages regarding Ogg in HTML5

Shannon shannon at arc.net.au
Wed Dec 12 05:28:50 PST 2007

Ian, are you saying that not implementing a SHOULD statement in the spec 
would make a browser non-compliant with HTML5?
Are you saying that if a vendor does not implement the OPTIONAL Ogg 
support then they would not use HTML5 at all?

I'm not being sarcastic here. I'd actually like you to answer these 
points to understand your position on the SHOULD statement.

I commend you for trying to support all views but you yourself have 
indicated that the Ogg vs. H.264 parties cannot agree - and in the 
absence of an improbable event (the spontaneous appearance of an 
unencumbered, court tested, high-performance, non-proprietary video 
codec) never will. Even if Ogg were court-tested Nokia and Microsoft 
will never change their position while remaining in the MPEG-LA 
consortium. The only other option then is inaction (your apparent 
solution) - which we ALL agree will hand the win to Macromedia (97% 
Flash market share).

One of these parties must get their way, and currently the majority of 
voiced opinion here is that we SHOULD recommend Ogg (as in SHOULD not MUST).

As others have said, if Apple and Nokia (the minority of respondents) do 
want to implement Ogg then there appears to me to be no requirement for 
them to do so while retaining compliance. There is nothing I see that 
prevents <video> being used with other formats. Surely this will not 
destroy the <video> element, it will simply require Safari, IE and Nokia 
users to download a plugin for some sites (which open-source groups will 
be happy to provide) or use an Ogg compatible browser or 3rd-party app.

There is no logical reason we should not *recommend* Ogg while no better 
options remain. It isn't perfect but it is the best nonetheless. If 
nothing else it will give the public (this is still a public spec isn't 
it?) a baseline format for the publishing of non-profit materials that 
can be decoded by all Internet users (yes, even those on Mac) without 
restriction. Submarine patents are irrelevent here as we all agree there 
there is no viable solution for that and there isn't likely to be within 
the useful lifetime of this specification.

As it stands, right now, h.264 is patent-locked, VC1 is patent-locked, 
Flash is patent-locked, h.261 is too slow, Dirac isn't ready. Ogg is 
reasonably fast, well tested, well support and NOT patent-locked until 
somebody proves otherwise. It is not unreasonable to tell browsers they 
SHOULD support it, even though we know some won't.

Apple; How can we make you happy without committing to future h.264 
royalties? More specifically, what other royalty-free, non-patented, 
drm-supporting codec would you prefer?
Microsoft/Nokia; Are you even going to support HTML5, when you seem so 
keen on making your own standards? When have you EVER been fully 
compliant with a public spec?
Ian; Why do you think we are angry with you? What will it take to get 
this (apparently unilateral) change revoked? Finally, what is 
Google/YouTube's official position on this?

I know that's a lot of questions but I feel they SHOULD be answered 
rather than simply attacking the Ogg format.


More information about the whatwg mailing list