[whatwg] Codecs (was Re: Apple Proposal for Timed Media Elements)

Christian F.K. Schaller christian at fluendo.com
Fri Mar 23 02:24:00 PDT 2007

Hi Vladimir,
Lets put any idea of using MPEG4 in the standard at rest right away. 
Unless someone has a brilliant idea for who the open source and freely
distributable Firefox would avoid becoming non-distributable in large
parts of the world, and still conform to the standard by including MPEG4
support, then that is a no-go from the beginning. Firefox is the major
participant here dwarfing for instance Safari's market share.

Theora/Dirac/Vorbis is the only solutions which can be chosen which has
any hope of working out for all comers, while MPEG4 is dead-on-arrival
for major participants from the get-go.

All w3c standards are royalty free and there is no reason why this
proposal should be different in that regard. And as Håkon Wium Lie
pointed out in another email, the latest SVG standard already mandates
Vorbis support, so half of what is needed is already specified in
another major web standard.

Personally I don't have strong preferences between Theora and Dirac as
they both have their strenghts and weaknesses. But I think both could
feet the needs of this standard well.


On Fri, 2007-03-23 at 07:09 +0000, vladimir at pobox.com wrote:
> I actually agree with this -- I think that MPEG-4 already has lots of heavy weight behind it and is quite a good format with lots of existing implementations.  Theora/Vorbis are definitely the upstarts in this; they should live and die on their technical merits and adoption, not because of philosophical (i.e. open source) reasons.  Personally, I think that Theora is quite strong quality-wise, but it's severely lacking on the adoption front.
> To that end, I'd suggest that the spec not specifically require Theora support, but instead /suggest/ that implementations support Theora, MPEG-4, or both.
> I don't agree with the earlier comment that Theora would be good for 'everyone' -- there are far more content producers out there with MPEG-4 software, hardware, and knowledge than there are Theora content producers.  Specifying Theora as the baseline could just as easily have the opposite effect than intended: content authors could simply say 'thanks, but no thanks' and continue using their plugin based solutions.  I think that is a far, far worse alternative.
>     - Vlad
> Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless  
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs at apple.com>
> Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 13:49:00 
> To:Håkon Wium Lie <howcome at opera.com>
> Cc:whatwg at lists.whatwg.org, robert at ocallahan.org
> Subject: Re: [whatwg] Codecs (was Re: Apple Proposal for Timed Media	Elements)
> On Mar 22, 2007, at 2:16 AM, Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
> >> I think having a single baseline codec will make <video> immensely  
> >> more
> >> attractive to authors than it otherwise would be. I also believe  
> >> from the
> >> point of view of Mozilla (or any other open source project) Theora  
> >> is vastly
> >> more attractive than MPEG. If we don't ship MPEG and other vendors  
> >> don't
> >> ship Theora, then the <video> element will be hobbled from the start.
> >
> > Yes, a baseline format seems good for everyone -- users, authors, open
> > source and closed source browsers -- except for vendors pushing a
> > proprietary media platform.
> I think you are implying that Apple's arguments against Ogg as a  
> baseline are made in bad faith. That is an unfair implication.
> To the extent we have a media platform we want to promote, it is  
> MPEG-4, a format and codec family that is an ISO standard. This  
> format family is available in many hardware and software  
> implementations, including open source implementations. While it is  
> covered by patents, you certainly cannot call it proprietary.
> Our concerns about Ogg are legitimate, and should be addressed  
> directly rather than insinuating that we have ulterior motives.
> Regards,
> Maciej
Business Development Manager
Fluendo S.A.
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