[whatwg] The truth about Nokias claims

Stijn Peeters stijn.p at hccnet.nl
Fri Dec 14 01:48:40 PST 2007


> What concerns me is that the removed OGG recommendation (specified as 
> SHOULD rather than MUST) was a step forward to the adoption (however 
> reluctantly) by corporations and governments of a set of formats that 
> require no royalties to encode, decode, reverse-engineer or distribute. 
> None of the status quo formats can make that claim.
> Several people on this list have claimed that recommending OGG would 
> have legal implications for vendors. It does not.  Those who feel 
> threatened have the option to not implement it - without affecting 
> compliance. In nearly all cases  the end-user would have been subject to 
> the minor inconvenience of finding an alternate source of OGG support. 
> What concerns me most is that the people making contrary claims know 
> this yet argue anyway. Their motives and affilations, to me, are suspect.
>    [...]
> Supporting OGG now in no way prevents a better option (such as Matroska 
> and/or Dirac) being added in the future. Nor does it prevent SHOULD 
> being changed to MUST.

As I said, a SHOULD requirement in the specification which will (given the
current status quo) not be followed by the major(ity of) browser vendors is
useless and should be improved so it is a recommendation which at least can
be implemented. Changing the SHOULD to MUST means that a lot of browser
vendors would not be able to develop a conforming implementation.
Governments do generally not build browsers or HTML parsers so an HTML
specification would likely not influence them much, and I believe they are
not who such a specification is aimed at.

> Some claim that recommending no baseline format is neutral ground. The 
> amount of outrage this triggered proves that is false. The claim that we 
> have not reached a decision is true (my opponents use this claim to 
> support their 'neutrality'). Yet it is clear to me that NOT setting a 
> standard is as influential in this case as setting one. Indecision with 
> no reasonable grounds for ending it leads to the status quo as I have 
> said. Is it not the purpose (and within the powers of) of a standards 
> body to steer the status quo? Is it not in the public interest that this 
> happens?

Indeed it is, which is why this issue is being discussed on this list right

> HTML4 advocated GIF, JPG and PNG even if the wording made it seem 
> optional. The result was full support for 2 of these formats and partial 
> support of the third. There is no reason to believe that putting a 
> SHOULD recommendation in the text wouldn't result in most browsers 
> supporting OGG (except IE). This in turn would give public, non-profit 
> and non-aligned (with MPEG-LA) organizations justification to release 
> materials in this format rather than Flash, WMV or MOV (all of which 
> require commercial plugins and restrictive licenses).

As stated before, it did not advocate them, merely stated them as *examples*
of image formats. Your claim that HTML4 played a substantial role in
adoption of GIF and JPEG is interesting. Do you have any sources for that?
HTML4 states "Examples of widely recognized image formats include GIF, JPEG,
and PNG."[1], implying those formats were already widely adopted before it
was published. This is different from what HTML5 is going to do, which is
recommending a specific format that implementations *should* support.



[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40-971218/struct/objects.html#h-13.2

> Some claim pro-OGG supporters started this debate. It was Nokia who made 
> this a headline issue.
> Objectors claim they are working towards a resolution that defines a 
> MUST video format and is accepted by 'all parties'. I don't believe that 
> because they know this is impossible and it WILL affect HTML5 adoption. 
> There is no format that can satisfy their unreasonable expectations. 
> There never will be. We live in a world where companies claim patents on 
> 'double-clicking' and 'moving pictures on a screen'. How then can any 
> format ever meet their demands?
> I hope I have made my position clear. I hope my position represents the 
> public interest. I am not here just to nag (I have been on this list for 
> over two years and have only intervened once before). I am writing in 
> the hope that proper discussion takes place and that future decisions of 
> this magnitude are not made without public consultation - in the 
> interests of entrenched cabals. I would like to say I believe all those 
> opposing OGG have our best interests at heart - but that would be a lie. 
> I am too old to believe companies and their spokespeople are altruistic 
> (sorry Dave).
> Shannon

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