[whatwg] <video> element proposal

Håkon Wium Lie howcome at opera.com
Sat Mar 3 03:29:09 PST 2007

Also sprach Karl Dubost:

 > > I think it'd be cool if the video element *just* supported theora.
 > Why it is not necessary good to mandate a specific format in a  
 > specification
 > * When to standardize, especially an RDF API
 >    Dan Connolly
 > [1] http://www.w3.org/QA/2007/03/orthogonal_specifications_is_good

Dan makes some valid arguments which -- given his record as the chair
of the HTML ERB -- are also valid outside of RDF.

The main arguments against specifying formats is that the market
will sort it out, and the standards would easily be outdated if
they required specific formats. 

Fundamentally, I also believe in market forces. However, in order for
the market to work correctly, there must be a level playing field. In
the case of video content, commercial content providers have insisted
on using DRM which results in closed formats. The market was never
given a choice between open and closed formats in a meaningful way. 

It's true that specifications, if they require the wrong format, may
be outdated. For example, if Theora doesn't see much use in 10 years,
a specification that requires support for Theora is outdated. However,
we have learnt one important thing wrt. web specifications: they can
and should evolve. If the market selects (say) Dirac over Theora, we
can update the specification.

Further, it can be argued that the closed formats already can be
supported by way of <object>. It works, sort of, so we shouldn't try
to change it.

Finally, I think open formats are better than closed formats. The
standards we write should not be neutral on this. Perhaps we should
not name specific formats, however, only require that codecs are
freely available for use across all platforms?

              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
howcome at opera.com                  http://people.opera.com/howcome

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