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Ogg Vorbis / Theora Language Removed From HTML5 Spec 395

Posted by Zonk
from the nice-while-it-lasted dept.
Rudd-O writes "It's official. Ogg technology has been removed from the HTML5 spec, after Ian caved in the face of pressure from Apple and Nokia. Unless massive pressure is exerted on the HTML5 spec editing process, the Web authoring world will continue to endure our modern proprietary Tower of Babel. Note that HTML5 in no way required Ogg (as denoted by the word 'should' instead of 'must' in the earlier draft). Adding this to the fact that there are widely available patent-free implementations of Ogg technology, there is really no excuse for Apple and Nokia to say that they couldn't in good faith implement HTML5 as previously formulated."
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Ogg Vorbis / Theora Language Removed From HTML5 Spec

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  • Ogg mad! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:07AM (#21655557)
    Ogg the cavemen break Apple and Nokia heads with open source CD!
  • Figures (Score:4, Insightful)

    by strikeleader (937501) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:08AM (#21655561)
    And once again the public loses
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I'm sorry, but how is it a loss for the public to remove any reference to specific media formats from a specification that should by its nature be format independent? Ogg had no more business being in an HTML spec than WMV, RA, or some Flash-based video player.

      • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:17AM (#21656717)

        I have news for you: HTML is a format!

        By being half-assed and not specifying a standard for a widely used aspect of the web browsing experience, what is in effect happening is a de-facto endorsement of all of those pet proprietary formats at the expense of clarity and allowing the various companies to rape the public with a million of buggy plug-ins, each with its own flavour of the week. The very anathema of a "standard".

        It does not matter if Ogg/Theora were not the most advanced and efficient of technologies as neither is the whole concept of HTML. What mattered was estabilishment of an open standard which would cut down on the chaos of inane plug-ins and made it impossible for companies like CNN to purposefully block all web browsers other then IE from accessing their video contents, as is the case now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm sorry, but how is it a loss for the public to remove any reference to specific media formats from a specification that should by its nature be format independent? Ogg had no more business being in an HTML spec than WMV, RA, or some Flash-based video player.

        Methinks you are being a bit myopic here. Where would we be today if the HTML spec didn't specify jpg, gif, and png as baseline standards for the image tag? Can you imagine a huge mishmash of competing proprietary image standards, many of which woul
        • Re:Figures (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:00PM (#21657565)

          I'm not sure if you are trying to be ironic here or if you are actually serious.

          Where would we be today if the HTML spec didn't specify jpg, gif, and png as baseline standards for the image tag?

          No HTML specification does that. The farthest any HTML specification goes is mentioning that they are common formats.

          Can you imagine a huge mishmash of competing proprietary image standards, many of which wouldn't even render in free software browsers like Firefox?

          Yes, in fact that's precisely the state of the world today. For instance, Firefox doesn't support JPEG 2000 [mozilla.org].

          That would be a nightmare

          Not really, because all major browsers support JPEG and PNG, despite the fact that the HTML specifications haven't recommended them.

          HTML is a standard; it only works when it specifies exactly which formats are to be used

          It does no such thing. For instance, it doesn't require browsers to implement JavaScript, it provides scripting language-independent hooks that can be used to support JavaScript or any other scripting language. It doesn't require browsers to implement CSS, it provides stylesheet language-independent hooks that can be used to support CSS or any other stylesheet language. It doesn't require browsers to implement JPEG or PNG, it provides image format-independent hooks that can be used to support JPEG, PNG or any other image format. And the HTML 5 specification is taking the exact same approach by not requiring Theora or Vorbis, but providing codec-independent hooks that can be used to support Theora, Vorbis or any other codec.

          The choice of video and audio codecs is outside the scope of the HTML 5 specification. Attempting to more tightly couple independent formats is myopic.

          • Mod parent up! (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AusIV (950840)
            As much as I'd like to see OGG gain momentum over proprietary formats, I think specifying a format is beyond the scope of HTML. If being HTML compliant meant that you had to use Theora and Vorbis for video and audio respectively, I could see that somewhat stifling innovation. If someone comes up with a new concept for delivering web based video or audio more efficiently than can be done with OGG, they'd have to disregard HTML standards in order to implement it. This means that either the standard largely ge
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DragonWriter (970822)

            It doesn't require browsers to implement JPEG or PNG, it provides image format-independent hooks that can be used to support JPEG, PNG or any other image format. And the HTML 5 specification is taking the exact same approach by not requiring Theora or Vorbis, but providing codec-independent hooks that can be used to support Theora, Vorbis or any other codec.

            Even before mention of Ogg formats was removed, HTML5 would not have required those formats. You correctly note that current the HTML 4.01 recommendatio

            • Re:Figures (Score:5, Informative)

              by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @01:20PM (#21659197)

              You correctly note that current the HTML 4.01 recommendation doesn't require JPEG, PNG, etc., but you fail to note that it does specifically mention three image formats, and they are "GIF, JPEG, and PNG".

              Yes, it mentions them, it doesn't recommend them. Look at what it says:

              src = uri [CT] This attribute specifies the location of the image resource. Examples of widely recognized image formats include GIF, JPEG, and PNG.

              It mentions them as examples to illustrate how the <img> element type is used, not in order to promote them and certainly not to "specify them as baseline standards" as Ignorant Aardvark was claiming.

              And how in hell did I "fail to note" that it mentions them? I explicitly said it mentions them.

              Of course, if you did mention that, it would be a lot harder to use the current recommendations treatment of images to argue that removing the mention of Ogg formats from the HTML5 draft is consistent with the way prior HTML standards have treated images.

              That's simply not true. There is a world of difference between mentioning popular formats as examples and saying that vendors should implement them.

  • An alternative... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drakaan (688386) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:08AM (#21655567) Homepage Journal
    Instead of specifying a specific format, just specify the salient details...how about "...MUST use a non-patent-encumbered format that is released under an OSI-approved license...". Well, not that, per-se, but you get my drift.
    • by drakaan (688386) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:12AM (#21655603) Homepage Journal
      I see that what I just suggested is exactly the change they made. I'm fine with that...off to tag the front-page article with "badsummary"
      • by Vellmont (569020)

        off to tag the front-page article with "badsummary"


        How is this a bad summary? The summary says that ogg/theora is no longer in the HTML 5 spec. The story is largely about just that. No, it doesn't include all the details about the HTML 5 spec.. but that's why we call it a "summary".
    • Part of HTML5 is about getting widely implemented features realized as written-down standards. I think that specifying the encoder is in line with that goal. It fits with naming support for PNG and WAVE files.
    • by Fordiman (689627)
      How about "Must have hooks to access your system's codec/container stack, and support for all fully open formats is suggested."?
      • by Fordiman (689627)
        Hey, look at that. It's exactly what HTML5 currently says.

        Now, I don't mind wrangling users' systems to determine what is the best format to put stuff in; that's how we get a market for these things, how we keep them technically competitive, and the web developers (not the standards organizations) are the best people for the job here (we're used to it, and we're good at it).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    We don't all live in this world and know the players.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ricebowl (999467)

      We don't all live in this world

      You know, I've thought that for the longest time...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Penfold1234 (920794)
      I assume it's referring to Ian Hickson, who's a member of the HTML5 working group.
      If not, then I have no idea...

      The only reason that I am even in a position to guess this is because I happened to go to University with him, so I agree the summary could use some work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:11AM (#21655597)
    there are bigger problems than Ogg!

    For one, it will mean the death of any lightweight web browser. Web will become something like a TV where you are fed with content you cannot filter (because the TV is too complex to hack). Monopoly through complexity.

    A simple new format that is designed from the start for vector graphics and that doesn't try to be backwards compatible with HTML would be the best way for the new web.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:24AM (#21655775)

      Having the web be just like TV is exactly what large companies want. The marketting tards want you to see their company website exactly the way they think it's supposed to look. They certainly don't want people filtering content or anything like that. Why do you think Flash only websites are becoming so popular? The problem is mostly due to management and marketting types having no idea how the internet works.

      On the plus side, it might be a pretty good filter all by itself. The second you see a site using HTML5, you automatically know it's probably not worth browsing.

      • Those flash only sites dont bother me.

        Search engines cant read them so I never get to see them. :)

        (Yeah yeah Google can read text from flash but most flash devs manage to prevent that unintentionally)
    • Worse, these "rich content" websites are almost always buggy or problematic in some way. Our library search software, "Metalink," will fall apart if you try to open multiple windows or tabs. There is no reason why that web page needs any Javascript whatsoever, but their use of it only makes it less functional. More complex software is more prone to failure, and there is no escaping that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kabloom (755503)

      A simple new format that is designed from the start for vector graphics and that doesn't try to be backwards compatible with HTML would be the best way for the new web.
      That will only solve half the problem with the Web. Personally, I believe that browers today is incapable of enforcing the kind security policy required for e-commerce, since they are vulnerable to things like cross site request forgeries and other such things. Time to design a new open protocol.
  • by the_humeister (922869) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:12AM (#21655607)
    MSFT isn't the only one who pulls crap like this. AAPL and NOK would gladly do the same things if they can get away with it.
    • by base3 (539820) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:16AM (#21655661)
      I've always said that Apple is just like Microsoft, only not as good at it. Of course, saying so is a ticked to -1 as Apple apologists empty their clips of mod points into any post that doesn't hail Steve Jobs as the savior of computing. But I've got the karma :).
  • by binaryspiral (784263) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:17AM (#21655677)
    If the format is free of patents, and is essentially open source (released under the BSD license)... how can Nokia shake its finger around and threaten people?

    This wouldn't be a story if Microsoft had done it, trying to force WMP codecs into the standard - I'm actually kind of surprised they hadn't yet... but Nokia? wtf
    • by MrMickS (568778)
      Ogg has been the poster child of FOSS for what seems like ages. In all that time its not really taken off. In the main people don't care about the idealism behind a format. All people care about is does it work and is it compatible.

      Take off the Glasses of Idealism for a moment and look at it from the Nokia and Apple point of view. They've spent money and effort on implementations of the MPEG-4 standard. They've spent time in committee getting the standard right. If this had gone in they would have to add

    • by Goaway (82658)
      The format also sucks compared to most everything else.

      Plus, it is not actually free of patents, the patent owners have just given a very broad license to use them for free. I'm not sure how that works out legally for companies like Apple or Nokia, it may or may not figure into it.
      • FYI yes its patented but its under a 'free for all' licence.
        Anyone can use it for any purpose for free (both beer and freedom).
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gnasher719 (869701)

          FYI yes its patented but its under a 'free for all' licence. Anyone can use it for any purpose for free (both beer and freedom).

          Who knows if there are any other patents lurking? We know from the MP3 history: Yes, everyone knew there were tons of patents, but you could buy a license for all the patents for quiet a reasonable fee, which for example Microsoft did. Then suddenly someone comes up with a claim for a patent that is not covered by that pool and sues Microsoft for billions.

          Same thing could happen with Ogg as well. Make it part of the HTML5 standard, convince Apple, Nokia and Microsoft to use it, and four years from now w

  • Not a requirement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:18AM (#21655691)

    Note that HTML5 in no way required Ogg

    So what's the point in having it in there then? The vendors who don't want to implement it won't, and the people wanting an open baseline won't get one. The recommendation did nothing for openness or interoperability, it just gave people an official excuse to bash vendors that won't implement it.

    All other things being equal, a smaller specification that everybody can agree on is better than one with unnecessary, contentious recommendations. There was never any need for this recommendation, it just bloated the already massive specification.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      Exactly. "SHOULD" is the dead skunk under the specification porch. Either say "MUST", or just STFU.
  • Web Standards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bunratty (545641) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:20AM (#21655719)

    I don't see that the edit makes much of a difference. Even if HTML5 says that user agents SHOULD support Ogg, it doesn't mean they all will. And even though HTML 5 doesn't mention Ogg, it doesn't mean they all won't.

    As every web developer knows, what you can and cannot do on a web site has less to do with what the standards say, and more to do with what browsers decide to support. There are web standards that have been specified for years that developers still cannot use (for example, much of the CSS in the Acid2 test), and there are technologies that get widely used before being standardized (for example, XMLHttpRequest).

  • Wierd. (Score:4, Informative)

    by ak3ldama (554026) <james_akeldama@noSpAM.yahoo.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:21AM (#21655733) Homepage Journal

    From the page [html5.org]:

    It would be helpful for interoperability if all browsers could support the same codecs. However, there are no known codecs that satisfy all the current players: we need a codec that is known to not require per-unit or per-distributor licensing, that is compatible with the open source development model, that is of sufficient quality as to be usable, and that is not an additional submarine patent risk for large companies. This is an ongoing issue and this section will be updated once more information is available.

    What part of initially suggesting Ogg Vorbis doesn't fit with the new quote? It just seems wierd. Like they could say what they mean, but not explicitly suggest Ogg.

    • Re:Wierd. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ubernostrum (219442) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:48AM (#21657323) Homepage

      What part of initially suggesting Ogg Vorbis doesn't fit with the new quote?

      The submarine patent threat. Ogg claims to be unencumbered, but until somebody big starts using it and lawsuits start flying in the Eastern District of Texas, nobody actually knows whether it's unencumbered. And companies which are already carrying a significant risk of submarine patents from other more popular/profitable codecs don't have much incentive to assume even more risk for sake of a codec that's hardly used and doesn't present compelling technical advantages.

      Some people think this is FUD. I think those people don't pay attention to patent-related news in the US; the only safe position right now is to assume something is encumbered until someone else has spent millions of dollars litigating it to be sure, which is why you get development models like SQLite: SQLite refuses to accept or use any code based on algorithms or techniques that are less then 17 years old, so that they can prove they're using technologies which couldn't possibly be patent encumbered.. Patent reform would be a nice thing to have for cases like this...

  • by Chas (5144) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:22AM (#21655739) Homepage Journal
    Sure there is! Lots of them!

    Greed.

    Avarice.

    Stupidity.

    Need I go on?
  • Forgive my ignorance, I've not been following the topic at all, but why would one even consider it a good thing to have specific support for one format -- free-as-in-beer-speech-whathaveyou -- embedded in HTML in the first place? Aside from the usual not very good hippie-mountain-crunch commun/social/altru-istic reasons, especially when there is likely to be an encoding-agnostic means to attempt to embed objects into HTML? (I'm assuming here, because I can't imagine something like the OBJECT tag going away
    • Best example: Think YouTube and other sites which use Flash Video.

      Its completely taken over the web as a way to reliably watch video on the internet.

      The W3C wants to formalize something like it which anyone can use.
      Makes perfect sense.
  • Lift the cat who was amongst the pigeons up and put him back on his pedestal for now. (remove requirement on ogg for now)

    ... and the replacement text doesn't name ogg, it merely lists codec desiderata that only the oggs (afaik) can meet.

    That said, I can easily imagine that companies are in exclusive-licensing binds and have promised not to support other media formats in exchange for, say, massive price breaks.

  • I have nothing against the Ogg Vorbis format, but how is it the business of an HTML spec as to what file format is used by external links? This is no better than the spec mandating we use PNG instead of JPG. Developers will use whatever makes sense to them and it isn't really the spec's business to mandate what is really outside of its scope.
    • Its not for external links. Its for a style tag.
      Think YouTube.

      Also its not forcing everyone to only use Ogg. They can use Ogg and WMV and MPEG 4 etc...
      The point is having a format that any HTML 5 compliant browser can view (which implies free and open).
  • say ogg WAS official (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <erauqssemitelcric>> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:27AM (#21655823) Homepage Journal
    why does anyone think that would actually carry weight? reference microsoft browsers and previous standards

    make ogg official, and business will ignore it, and marginalize the standard. do we really want the standards ignored?

    so allow the businesses their moronic formats, and use ogg anyways

    it's silly if anyone thinks the war against proprietary formats is going to be won by a standards body. at the very best, business will embrace standards because the standards body play footsie with business desires, which is what happened, which is good!

    at worst, the standards body ignores business on some ideological crusade, so businesses just ignore the standards as well, and we have a worse tower of babel on our hands

    folks: this is the best possible outcome, where best possible outcome = ugly begrudging accomodation of moronic business desires. you can't do any better than what happened, unfortunate, but true
  • Ummmm..... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Solder Fumes (797270)
    Did anyone read the last discussion about this? I thought it was pretty well established that Ogg Vorbis/Theora has no business being defined as the standard for anything, for the following reasons:
    • It's comparable to H.261 in performance
    • No one actually knows what the patent status is
    • No one even uses Theora for anything
    • Other containers and encoding formats are better and more popular and open, like x264
    • Why do we need video requirements for text markup?
    • FUD FUD FUD (Score:5, Informative)

      by a known emus (1201615) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:25AM (#21656837)
      This is a point by point reply to your FUD.
      • Theora is almost an order of magnitude better performing that H.261 and this is a critical difference for web video.
      • No one actually knows what the patent status of any software is! ... In fact, several paid up licensees of mpeg codecs have been sued for patent infringement over these codecs *and lost*, so it's hard to argue that those codecs are better off.
      • It's true that Theora isn't very widely adopted, but it has been shipped by Linux distributions for years, so there has been plenty of opportunities for people to sue over patents. Theora is used by Wikipedia, one of the most viewed websites in the world. Of course, Vorbis is orders of magnitude better on this point.
      • What are you Nokia? An expensive and heavily patented codec like H.264 is not "open" in any meaningful sense. It's true that Ogg/Theora+Vorbis is not yet amazingly popular, but that is part of the point of standards. There is a chicken and egg, and first-mover takes all problem for file formats and standards help fix that problem.
      • Why does HTML have an image tag? What would the world be like if images on the web required various incompatible proprietary plugins? Why should video and audio be any different from still media?
      • Re:FUD FUD FUD (Score:5, Informative)

        by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:43PM (#21658423) Homepage Journal

        And countering yours:

        • From it's inventor [mit.edu]:

          Unlike Vorbis and Speex, legitimate best-in-class codecs, Theora's coding quality is obviously poor relative to contemporary competition. This poor performance stems both from implementation and design deficiencies. As a seperate problem, Theora is also poorly integrated with Ogg due to incomplete multiplexing software and documentation on the Ogg side. Without guidance from Xiph.Org, outside development and implementation of Theora-in-Ogg has been chaotic and of low quality.
        • It's safe to say that MPEG4 and it's codecs have been more thoroughly researched than Theora. Remember the FOSS mantra: "many eyes make all bugs shallow"? That applies to lots of things, such as many video producers' legal teams checking this stuff out.
        • I absolutely, positively promise you that Youtube serves more video than Wikipedia, and they don't stream Theora.
        • You're imagining that Theora is equivalent to H.264, etc. It's not. There's no first-mover advantage to it because it's already been overtaken by, well, pretty much everything.
        • There's no standard web image format. By convention, most people use GIF and JPG (with a few PNGs sprinkled about for good measure), but that's just the way it happened to work out. I'm not sure why people have this wrong impression, but it's simply not true. Don't believe me? Read the spec [w3.org] yourself. If that isn't clear enough, W3 explicitly states [w3.org] that

          The HTML specification does not prescribe or limit which graphics format you can use.

        I'm a huge FOSS buff, but that doesn't mean I have to blindly love everything pushed out the door as "freedom friendly". I don't have anything against Theora except that it's just not very competitive. I wouldn't want to see it as the official video file format any more than I'd want to see ASCII text as the official document file format; both have clear limitations when compared to their competitors.

        The W3 made the right choice. As much as I like the idea of Theora, I'm glad we don't have to be saddled with the reality of it.

        • Yeah, that's FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

          by xiphmont (80732) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:38PM (#21663817) Homepage
          Hi. I'm the 'inventor' (not really, On2 originally wrote vp3 and we're riffing from there. I'm the hacker working on it now).

          1) That is in comparison to h264. And I call it 'embarrassing' because Theora *could* easily be just as good, but it isn't right now. That document is a call to arms and because of it, a new encoder is rapidly taking shape. Its improvements are already making it back to mainline. We'll catch up rapidly.

          2) "It's safe to say that MPEG4 and it's codecs have been more thoroughly researched than Theora" Bullshit. MPEG is simultaneously inefficient and narrow in their focus. MPEG-4 / h.264 is a decades old chassis with a few recent research papers tacked on. _Several of the items I identified as 'embarrassing' and 'obsolete' ironically apply to MPEG-4 too_.

          3) "I absolutely, positively promise you that Youtube serves more video than Wikipedia, and they don't stream Theora." Irrelevant. This is an argument against Google (Altavista dwarfed them), Microsoft (IBM and even Apple dwarfed them), Toyota (GM dwarfed them), etc.

          "As much as I like the idea of Theora, I'm glad we don't have to be saddled with the reality of it."

          Why does everyone here think this is a battle of individuals? These are huge multinationals and your puny insignificant selves don't even appear on their radars. Sure, the public will indeedy benefit from a standard multimedia codec set with no proprietary/encumbered strings attached, but that is entirely irrelevant in the process of making money. They're *for profit corporations* doing what for-profit corporations do. Making money. And that is entirely orthogonal to morals, public good, or even competent engineering. They don't have any interest whatsoever in what you think.

          Although we're a non-profit (and exist on behalf of the common good), our argument in this battle happens to concern rallying all the sub-$100M companies that will be frozen out by the very biggest players getting their way. When big companies win, little companies generally lose. Although the little compaines greatly out-mass the big companies, they tend to be fragmented. If we can get them all together to fight for a uniform technology recommendation, way more people win.

          But you might want to run for cover, 'cause Godzilla has his squishin' boots on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sloppy (14984)

      No one actually knows what the patent status is

      No one actually knows what the patent status of any codec is. More generally, it is virtually impossible to write any computer program longer than "hello world" and be sure it doesn't infringe on someone's patent.

      What we do know, though, is an attempt has been made to find patents that Vorbis infringes, and that attempt came up with nothing. Furthermore, Vorbis has been deployed and used for many years now, and no one has sued. As for Theora, it is known

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilviper (135110)

      It's comparable to H.261 in performance

      That's only according to some guy from Nokia, who clearly has a massive bias.

      No one actually knows what the patent status is

      On2 had sold VP3 licenses for years, as well as for newer versions (VP4/5/6/7) based on many of the same methods as VP3. Those codecs have long been licensed, and widely used by very large companies like AOL (Nullsoft TV, AIM Video), Macromedia, Adobe (Flash v7), BBC (QuickLink field broadcasts), eBay (Skype Video), and no doubt many many more.

  • Patent FUD at fault. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The actual removal can be found here [html5.org].

    "we need a codec that is known to not require per-unit or per-distributor licensing, that is compatible with the open source development model, that is of sufficient quality as to be usable, and that is not an additional submarine patent risk for large companies."

    The sad thing is that Ogg/Theora is strong on all these points, and it's probably the only somewhat modern codec set that even comes close. Theora might not be state of the art, but it is orders of magnitude b
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:32AM (#21655915)
    Just to point out what it currently happening, here is the mail from Ian Hickson from this morning:

    "I've temporarily removed the requirements on video codecs from the HTML5
    spec, since the current text isn't helping us come to a useful
    interoperable conclusion. When a codec is found that is mutually
    acceptable to all major parties I will update the spec to require that
    instead and then reply to all the pending feedback on video codecs.

        http://www.whatwg.org/issues/#graphics-video-codec [whatwg.org]
    "

    The title of the news is a bit misleading :) In other words "temporarily removed until a consensus has been found".
  • by trybywrench (584843) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:34AM (#21655939)
    In the last story about this there was a guy who made a really good comment about mpeg4 and how Ogg/Theora isn't actually that good for HTML5. He basically said that the video codec was patent encumbered but the company who owned it made it available to the public under a free nonrevocable license since it was DOA anyway when compared to mpeg4. see here:


    "Ogg's video codec is Theora, which was proprietary. On2 developed it as its closed competition to MPEG-4's H.263 (DivX) and H.264 (AVC) codecs, alongside other competing proprietary codecs from Real and Microsoft (WMV). The winner to shake out of all that competition has been the MPEG-4 standard, which includes both a container and different sets of codecs. MPEG-4 is open and supported by lots of companies, and is also supported by FOSS (x264 is among the best implementations)." - DECS


    I get the feeling that if people would actually sit down and look at the issue objectively then it would be obvious that Ogg/Theora being included in the HTML5 spec isn't that great of an idea. The problem is the Ogg crowd has a huge chip on their shoulder since no one has really given them the time of day. So, here's a chance for them to get some validation for all their hard work but they've been cut out yet again so everyone's all up in arms.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:49AM (#21656161) Homepage Journal

      MPEG4 is patent encumbered and does require license fees. While there may be patents for Ogg Theora, On2 has made it clear Theora is a genuinely open standard that doesn't require payment of royalties to them.

      MPEG4 is only open in certain senses. It is not usable from the point of view of a web standardization body, given the dependence the web has on the free software world.

      BTW, DECS runs the supremely awful "RoughlyDrafted" website, a kind of brain damaged Apple advocacy thing. I'd take anything he writes with a pinch of salt.

    • ...If it was, our problems would be over.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cheater512 (783349)
      I agree with your intentions but if Mozilla implemented MPEG 4 or x264 then they would immediately have a dozen lawsuits from different companies.

      Not exactly desirable. With Theora there isnt that problem.
    • by a known emus (1201615) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:40AM (#21657129)
      It's true that H.264 is better than Theora. But H.264 has zero chance of being made the baseline because it is expensive as hell and certainly not free as the W3C requires.

      Theora is substantially better than any other codec which has a chance of being included. As such it's silly to say that Theora shouldn't be used because it isn't the best... thats a bit like saying "I won't drive any car but a Ferrari" when all you can afford is a used Ford Escort.

      Obviously most implementations will also include a better codec than Theora, but Theora is a generally respectable codec at web streaming bitrates and it will provide a viable option for those who can't or won't pay the licensing fees for better codecs. In other words, Theora will be a reasonable baseline which is all it's supposted to be in this context.

      Furthermore, the inclusion of Theora will also help keep the licensing costs down for better codecs. Everyone Wins, except companies that make money licensing codecs... and in the long run they'll probably win too, since web video that Just Works will increase the popularity of web video.

  • by starseeker (141897) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:40AM (#21656031) Homepage
    Oddities of writing style aside (and possible DRM agenda nonwithstanding) I actually thought the idea suggested in the original Nokia paper to use older techniques that are or will very soon be based on expired patents was a pretty good one.

    Whatever we may want to think, it is true that someone COULD challenge Ogg Vorbis on patent grounds, valid or not. A technique 20 years old and based on expired patents is absolutely unambiguous - the patent office itself is the documentation that the technique is now unrestricted.

    For most of what is done on the web the older technologies would work just fine. They are also mainstream, which means they stand a better chance of being used. The HTML standards process is not strong enough to push forward Ogg Vorbis, IMO.

    Remember, this is big corporate lawyer turf here. Ogg Vorbis is thought to be free of patent claims but there is no way to prove that. Expired patents are the safest possible way to proceed.
  • The Babel is even worse with video. I've almost given up on watching shows with torrents. Every fricken geek out there tries to use the newest and most obscure codecs they can find for some reason, but maybe they're just jackasses. I downloaded a television episode recently, and had to search the web to even figure out the file extension. Turns out it was some new codec where the only players available were at 0.0.1 alpha stage. Great. :-\

    The **AA doesn't really have to do anything anymore. The file traders
  • by devjj (956776) * on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:55AM (#21656285)
    I'd rather have a spec that clearly defines how content is embedded, rather than what content to embed. Specifying a particular format reduces freedom. There's nothing to say you can't use Ogg. The only benefit to having Ogg in the spec itself would be to get the format more well-known, but that should happen on its merits, not because a standards body decreed it so. What is unfortunate in this instance is just how much sway a single company or pair of companies can have over a spec as a whole, and how quickly they can make changes happen. It just smacks of impropriety. I don't think anyone's going to argue that H.264 is a bad codec, but isn't the point of a standard to ensure interoperability? Why do these companies have so much clout?
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @10:58AM (#21656341)
    I am so sick and tired of people saying silly things like "Its only an operating system," or "use what's best," or other justifications for taking crap that we MUST STAND UP AGAINST.

    Every little one of these things matters, they all add up like links in a chain. There are people actively trying to destroy freedom and they are doing it slowly with incremental steps. This is just another step. I'm sorry, if you can't be bothered to take an active participation in protesting and exploring alternate systems, then you are letting everyone down. You know the expression: "No one snow flake in an avalanche feels any responsibility."

    The *big* picture is democracy itself. Once the information is controlled, the people are controlled. Make no mistake, people are actively working against the free exchange of information. While most are just working for their own self interests, there are others capitalizing on these actions in more nefarious ways.

    I know you think this is tin foil hat stuff, but look around, look at what's happening. We have to work against these sorts of things because rust never sleeps.
  • How can anyone involved in objective analysis of a standard "cave"? Was there money involved? Because if Ogg was the best choice than there has to be some other major deciding factor outside legitimate consideration.
  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:59AM (#21657533)
    Wrong icon and everything!

    "Widely available patent-free implementations of Ogg".

    First, saying "Ogg" means Ogg Vorbis to most people. This is about Ogg Theora.
    Second, whether something is patent free is not determined by the implementation. You're thinking of copyright!

    Ogg Theora uses patented technology. We don't want to enter into a Rambus-type situation where once something becomes popular a company can come back and start dinging people for money.

    And the icon doesn't make sense. This isn't about trying to patent existing or trivial things, it's about whether a standard should make mandatory a patented codec that isn't even widely used.

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