[whatwg] <video> element proposal

Charles McCathieNevile chaals at opera.com
Sun Mar 4 20:48:10 PST 2007

On Sat, 03 Mar 2007 22:29:09 +1100, Håkon Wium Lie <howcome at opera.com> wrote:

> 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 be outdated.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 a specification that requires support for Theora is outdated.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?

The reason why I support the "must support at least" approach of SVG is that it gives about as much as you can expect. There is something you have reason to believe works. If something comes along, there is nothing to stop the market adopting it, and even standardising on it, which might bring some hold-outs into the fold.

Like Håkon, I think open formats are better. (Surprise ;) ). The issue I have with "freely available for all platforms" is who gets to decide the platforms that count. Are there more OS X devices, or BREW devices? What about FreeBSD? There are still Amiga users and developers. Without a workable definition of platforms, that allows for the fact that people innovate in introducing new platforms, you have a house built on shifting sands...

So we make a compromise, for something that works (there is a format) and is extensible (there is no prohibition of other formats and if some new thing becomes fiendishly popular...). Or we could follow the SMIL approach, of all having our own text format, and everyone having to actually do 3 text formats (plus one, since MS decided they had a better plan unless you cared about i18n or ...)



  Charles McCathieNevile, Opera Software: Standards Group
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