Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Jan 2011 17:44 UTC
Internet & Networking With yesterday's news that Google will be dropping H.264 support from the Chrome web browser, the internet was split in half. One one side, there's people who applaud the move, who are happy that Google is pushing an open, royalty-free and unencumbered video codec (irrespective of Google's motivation). On the other side, there are the H.264 supporters, who believe that H.264 is the one and only choice for HTML5 video. One of the most vocal and public figures in the latter group is John Gruber. Following his five questions for Google, here are ten questions for Gruber about WebM, H.264, and standards on the web.
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RE[2]: Hyperbole.
by steve_s on Thu 13th Jan 2011 09:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Hyperbole."
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Hooking to system APIs is fine for a browser aimed for that platform but it just simply doesn't suit a browser that is aimed at being consistent on multiple platforms. Like for example if Firefox hooked to system APIs one couldn't anymore say "works on Firefox", they'd have to say "works on Firefox if [condition]"

And yet every single cross-platform browser hooks into system APIs for many other aspects of their functionality, such as accessing files, drawing windows, etc. This is done through shim libraries.

Secondly, it would indeed create lots of extra work. At the moment if there is a problem with one or another feature and they get a bug report then it's quite easy to find, but if they hooked to native APIs and there was a bug somewhere there Mozilla would get lots of bug reports that actually have nothing to do with Firefox. Ie. it would mean lots of bogus bug messages and more work to sift through all of them. Not to mention the work needed to support all the different APIs. It does all add up to quite a lot.

Yes, it would create some extra work, but I'm not convinced it would be all that much. All that's required for each platform is a fairly thin shim library that converts to the OS provided media framework. The functionality of all media frameworks is largely equivalent and generally very similar in functionality.

In contrast, cross platform game developers write engines that use either DirectX or OpenGL for rendering - the differences between how those two libraries work, especially in their latest incarnations, is an order of magnitude more complex than media playback, yet they still manage just fine.

As for bug reports, the crash logs would clearly indicate where the error occurred.

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