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: Best analysis yet...
by Vanders on Thu 13th Jan 2011 19:40 UTC in reply to "Best analysis yet..."
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What an idiotic article.

The reason Google has given for this change is that WebM (which pairs VP8 video with Vorbis audio) and Theora are "open codecs" and H.264 apparently isn't.

Nice rhetoric. There is no "apparently" about it.

In the traditional sense, H.264 is an open standard.

Oh I see. That old trick! Yes, and OpenVMS, OpenWindows and OpenServer are open because they have open in the name.

At the time of its development, VP8 was a commercial product, licensed by On2. Keeping the specifics of its codec secret was a deliberate goal of the company. Though it has since been published and to some extent documented, the major design work and decision-making was done behind closed doors, making it at its heart quite proprietary.


I hope the author doesn't describe Java or C# as Open. Or Mozilla. Or OpenOffice/LibreOffice. Or all those other Open Source projects that started off as commercial products.

(Google) hasn't taken any steps to submit WebM to ISO, ITU, or SMPTE for formal open standardization.

What is now shall ever be.

What H.264 isn't, however, is royalty-free.
The result is that anyone wanting to distribute an implementation of H.264 must obtain licenses for all of the different patented techniques that they use, and these licenses typically come at some cost.

*golf clap* Took him half a page. What a clever boy.

the threat with both of those codecs [Theora and VP8] is that they may, in fact, infringe on one or more patents, in spite of efforts to the contrary. If this turns out to be the case, one or both of the codecs might end up in a very similar position to H.264, as far as royalties are concerned.

Yes, and has been pointed about eleventy billion times:

a) It is equally likely that H.264 infringes on patents filed by On2 and held by Google.
b) MPEG-LA have had ten years to sue On2 and never have. Google purchasing On2 doesn't suddenly make patents appear at MPEG-LA.

Is freedom all it's cracked up to be?

He's right you know. Let's stop with all this silly "open web" nonsense. What has openness and transparency ever done for the Internet?

I'm just going to stop. The article is hilarious, doubly so because the author actually appears to believe what he is writing.

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