[whatwg] The truth about Nokias claims

Shannon shannon at arc.net.au
Fri Dec 14 10:13:15 PST 2007

> Please look back on the mailing list archives. There's been plenty of 
> discussion about this before, and it's always ended up in the same 
> loop: A group of people wanting nothing but Ogg/Theora/Vorbis, and 
> another wanting one standard that all major implementers will support.
I did, and which of these approaches was finally accepted by the 
majority (and the editor)?

a.) *Suggest* a format that is reasonably considered the only playable 
streaming format in the public domain?
b.) *Insist* on a format that is reasonably considered the only playable 
streaming format in the public domain, but will cause all non-supporting 
browsers to fail compliance?
c.) *Suggest or Insist* on a format that is obviously NOT in the public 
d.) *Suggest or Insist* on a mysterious unnamed format that doesn't 
exist, and never will?
e.) *Ignore* it and hope it goes away?

The majority wanted a.) or b.). However b.) through d.) are impractical 
(politically or technically) and e.) didn't work in HTML4 so a.) was 
added to the draft as being an acceptable, if not perfect compromise.

d.) and e.) fuel speculation of a mysterious solution that nobody can 
guarantee or even name! I'd even help develop it if I knew what is was.

The group insisting on b.) through e.) are either stalling or hopeless 
optimists. You can't invent a codec tommorow and expect it to be safe 
from patents and adopted by all vendors (especially when some of those 
vendors are also video patent holders). You can't extract an agreement 
from existing codec owners to free their rights while they stand a 

I would LOVE a baseline format specified as a MUST that is both 
'real-time' and 'unencumbered' (option b.) but I KNOW that won't happen 
within the timeframe of this standard. You know that won't happen. We 
all know it won't happen.

A 'should' recommendation for Ogg was chosen because it was the most 
popular, reasonable and realistic option. It was accepted (even 
temporarily), the issue was put to sleep. Then Nokia interfered, now 
we're here. What public discussion took place to revoke this prior 
consensus? Where is that archived? I've been reading this list for 2 
years and the first I heard about the revocation of the original 
preference was AFTER it happened. The w3c discussed this? Fine, I'm 
still waiting for that link and I don't understand why a decision 
apparently made on this list was revoked on (apparently) another. 
(Actually I DO understand, I was simply posing THE question that needs 
to be asked - ie, whose in charge here?)

The chosen wording was acceptable to most but it supported a format that 
wasn't obviously patented by incumbents so the incumbents reversed that 
decision off-list. Save your ire for those who deserve it, I want an 
open standard just like you. Can you say the same about Nokia, Microsoft 
or (gasp,shock,horror) Apple? Can you promise me that those who removed 
the recommendation are REALLY looking for a solution when they may gain 
from a lack of one?

I don't expect a format that ALL browsers vendors will support but I do 
expect that this working group will *recommend* the next best thing. 
Something that open-source software and plugins will handle if the 
vendors refuse. Which right now is Ogg.


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