[whatwg] The issue of interoperability of the <video> element

Geoffrey Sneddon foolistbar at googlemail.com
Tue Jun 26 15:27:35 PDT 2007

On 26 Jun 2007, at 17:46, Maik Merten wrote:

>>     * The spec can be practical about implementing the <video> tag  
>> and
>>       specify H.263 or MPEG4 as a baseline. Existing multimedia  
>> toolkits
>>       can be reused in implementation and thus all browsers can  
>> support
>>       the standard. Users will use the format thanks to ubiquitous
>>       support. The "tax" will be a non-issue in most cases despite
>>       leaving a bad taste in the standard committee's mouth. Up and
>>       coming browsers can choose not to implement that part of the
>>       standard if they so choose or piggyback on an existing media
>>       player's licensing.
> Free Software like Mozilla cannot implement MPEG4 or H.263 and still
> stay free. The "tax" *is* an issue because you can't buy a "community
> license" that is valid for all uses.
> Plus even if you implement H.263 or MPEG4 video - what audio codec
> should be used with that? Creating valid MPEG streams would mean  
> using a
> MPEG audio codec - that'd be e.g. MP3 or AAC. Additional licensing  
> costs
> and additional un-freeness.
> Don't get me wrong: MPEG technology is nice and well performing - but
> the licensing makes implementations in free software impossible (or at
> least prevents distribution in e.g. Europe or North America).

Under the current spec it is merely a "SHOULD" — you can have an  
implementation of the spec that omits it. MPEG4 and WMV are the  
current de-facto standards. We should really just pave the cowpaths  
here, meaning those are the real two options. WMV has absolutely no  
publicly available documentation, so it makes no sense to reference  
that. MPEG4 has publicly available documentation, but is patent- 
encumbered. MPEG4 looks better on grounds that it is at least  
implementable by people outside of MS without reverse engineering it  

- Geoffrey Sneddon

More information about the whatwg mailing list