[whatwg] The truth about Nokias claims

Jeff McAdams jeffm at iglou.com
Fri Dec 14 05:31:56 PST 2007

Dave Singer wrote:
> At 16:12  +1100 14/12/07, Shannon wrote:
>> Your suggestions are impractical and you are smart enough to know
>> that. You claim neutrality but YOU removed the Ogg recommendation

> In recognition of the fact that work is ongoing, and that most, if not
> all, would prefer a mandate to a recommendation, the placeholder
> recommendation was temporarily replaced with a statement that we were
> working in this area.  That's all.

And that's still disingenious because there was valid (if not completely
agreed upon) text there that was at least in a form that could have be
released in a final spec.  Changing the text to something that clearly
has to be changed again serves no purpose.  If the rules of the w3c
and/or whatwg require that, then the rules are dumb and should be changed.

Additionally, its clear that end-users and web developers see this
change as a major threat, even in its clearly temporary status.  The
message here is that, even though this is a temporary move, it is still
an intolerable move by many people.

If there is still ongoing discussion about other codecs that might be
used, fine, go ahead and have that discussion.  And if by some shocking
process, its found that there is a different codec that does fit the
requirements, then change the text at that time.

More practically, if you want to reduce the heat, revert the text and
have the discussion with the old text in place.

> You're all behaving as if you had
> some toys and they've been taken away, and neither are true.  The spec
> is not done, you did not have a decision, and a decision has not yet
> been made.

No, we're behaving as if a threat to free and open implementation of
HTML5 has been raised, and that is exactly what has happened.  I don't
doubt that the desire is for HTML5 to be freely and openly
implementable.  What is indisputable, though, is that the language in
the spec, while still not final, clearly moved *away* from a freely and
openly implementable point towards at least a much less clear point.

That move is considered, quite rightly, particularly given Nokia's paper
and your (Dave) repeated suggestions that H.264 is better, to be a
threat to the free and open implementability of HTML5 when it is finalized.

In short, Nokia asked for the change, and it was granted, and end-users
are saying not just no, but hell no, unless an equally open and freely
implementable codec is offered.

If you want to reduce the heat and end the firestorm, revert the text
and have the discussion with the old text in place.

> As Ian has said, we are going in circles on this list, with much heat
> and very little if any new light.  Can we stop?  It is getting quite
> tedious to hear see the same strawmen bashed on again and again.

What Apple and Nokia should learn from this is that end-users are
becoming much more involved and aware of the standards setting process,
and specifically with some of the underhanded actions that large
companies take in the processes.  Large companies (including Apple and
Nokia) have a *LONG* history of subverting the standards setting
processes for this own gain and to the detriment of end-users.  The
end-users are starting to array themselves against this, and that,
ultimately is a "Good Thing" as it makes the standards better, although
the process may be a bit more uncomfortable and tedious.

Yes, the w3c is probably getting more of this than most other standards
organizations because of the openness of the process at w3c, again,
though, that's a "Good Thing".

What Apple and Nokia (and others) should learn from this is that
standards being set in a way that allows open and free implementations
is becoming increasingly important to more and more people all the time.
 Moves that threaten that will be met with strong responses.  What these
companies should really think about is how this action affects their
customer base.  Here's a hint (at the risk of taking this into off-topic
land), I've considered buying a fair amount of Apple gear over the past
couple of years and haven't.  The *primary* reason for that is because I
see Apple refusing to implement free and open specifications, instead
preferring to use encumbered technology.  This attitude is costing Apple
at least one customer, and I suspect many more.
Jeff McAdams
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a
little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
                                       -- Benjamin Franklin

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