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 LWN.net 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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Let's do an end-run around MPEG-LA
by obsidian on Mon 1st Feb 2010 02:04 UTC
obsidian
Member since:
2007-05-12

It's time to get rid of this proprietary codec, once and for all. The amount of money that MPEG-LA is charging for the use of h.264 is ridiculous.

Theora offers a great way to do an "end-run" around h.264.

If the Theora approach can be widely promoted and adopted (and Google will have a crucial role to play there), then that would truly be a big win for a more open and standards-based web. If there is one thing that I utterly despise, it is **vendor lock-in**.

As a comparison, even though Adobe's Flash isn't fully "open", at least there is no charge for the use of Flash, and there are at least two open Flash-players that I know of (Gnash and Gameswf). Adobe also doesn't seem to be too bothered by them either.
Compared to this MPEG-LA outfit, Adobe is an angel.

Let's dump h.264, and dump it *now*.

Edited 2010-02-01 02:12 UTC

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

As a comparison, even though Adobe's Flash isn't fully "open", at least there is no charge for the use of Flash, and there are at least two open Flash-players that I know of (Gnash and Gameswf). Adobe also doesn't seem to be too bothered by them either.
Compared to this MPEG-LA outfit, Adobe is an angel.


That's a good point. It occurs to me that a possible intermediate solution would be to implement support for decoding/displaying Theora video with Flash. While that idea may seem blasphemous to free software purists, I think it could be an effective Trojan horse approach to spurring Theora adoption (in that it would give Theora the ability to take advantage of Flash's ubiquity). It is possible for 3rd-parties to add support for new codecs in Flash - someone has already implemented Vorbis playback in Flash ( http://toolserver.org/~dispenser/view/Flash_Vorbis ).

That would also be an attractive option for web devs/content distributors (a way around h.264 licensing issues, without having to ditch Flash "cold turkey"), and it would allow "Video for Everyone" solutions that would only require a single video file. And that all of that could help Theora overcome the chicken-or-the-egg problem (browser/OS support for Theora is limited because there is relatively-little Theora content available, because browser/OS support is limited... ad infinitum) by leading to the existence of a large amount of content using the codec.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

there are at least two open Flash-players that I know of (Gnash and Gameswf).

Just a minor correction, but Gnash is derived from GameSWF, and GameSWF is meant for custom applications, not for general web browsers. Swfdec is the other major open source Flash implementation that is meant for web use.

On a side note, I would really like to see Gnash and Swfdec combine forces. I think a lot of effort is wasted. But it is their choice, and I respect that. Fortunately, Flash is becoming less and less important anyway. The fact that a company like Apple would not include it in a product like the iPad signifies that it is not entirely necessary anymore.

Reply Parent Score: 2