Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 31st Jan 2010 14:20 UTC, submitted by lemur2
Internet & Networking Despite the recent interest in adopting HTML5's video tag, there is still one major problem: there is no mandated standard video codec for the video tag. The two main contestants are the proprietary and patended h264, and the open and free Theora. In a comment on an article about this problematic situation, LWN reader Trelane posted an email exchange he had with MPEG-LA, which should further cement Theora as the obvious choice.
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From TFA:

Are web developers really that ignorant? History suggests yes - Flash, IE6 - but I had hoped we would've learned from all this by now. I'd rather face some technological difficulties now that we can actually overcome (hardware, quality) than face a patent and lock-in mess down the road.

Web developers, the choice is yours. Are you ignorant and short-sighted, or are you willing to make a stand for keeping the web open, and finally breaking video loose from its proprietary shackles?

Why is "breaking video loose from its proprietary shackles" the responsibility of web developers? That's like claiming that it's the responsibility of plumbers to ensure that their customers use low-flow shower heads or water-efficient toilets - when that's really the responsibility of the manufacturers of said devices, the standards organizations that govern building codes & the standards that the devices are built to, etc.

And in most cases, it's not the individual web developers who are making the decisions - it's the people who pay the web developers, who in turn make their decisions based on factors like cost & out-of-the-box compatibility (factors which are, in turn, largely determined by decisions made by browser and OS makers).

So what unique power do most web developers really have to change the situation? Not much, at least not unless the day comes when you can implement codecs in Javascript. So should web devs refuse to work for clients who request the use of Flash or h.264? Provide every video in 2 or 3 different formats anyway & eat the additional cost of doing so? Evangelize to their clients about the evils of proprietary technology on the web?

Edited 2010-01-31 20:15 UTC

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