[theora] bad news: IE9 with HTML5+h264

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Thu Mar 18 08:48:59 PDT 2010

On Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 8:57 AM, Michael A. Peters <mpeters at mac.com> wrote:
> IMHO Mozilla should go the GStreamer route. Not because it needs support
> for H.264 but because GStreamer is open source and adding support for
> any new media codecs should be as easy as installing a GStreamer plugin.
> But it is their decision, not mine.

Exactly like they use plugin frameworks for jpg, png, and SVG support!

Oh wait...

It has been possible to use video via browser plugins and the object
tag since darn near the beginning of time.  And yet flash video became
the normal mode of deploying video on the web.   Continuing that same
old practice with new synthetic sugar doesn't solve the problem:
Flash was attractive for video because it was a single choice which
was supported by a super-majority of your users and which could be
quickly and easily installed for most of the remaining minority.

Leaving it up to user installed codecs simply does not solve the
problem.  (Of course, nor does this mix of browsers supporting H.264
or Theora).

Moreover, incorporating any just about media framework increases the
amount of code which must be supported/debugged a factor of 10x or
more over something light-weight... regardless of how much you value
that cost, any cost is a bad trade-off for something that make the
support situation worse (by making it less consistent)

Then you have the issue that most media frameworks ship codec
software, and if they don't the user will still install some, which
hasn't traditionally been exposed to hostile input...

Perhaps over the long term using one of these big media
infrastructures makes sense, but I don't see that it solves any
practical problems in the short term.

It certainly doesn't do much to help solve an author's ability to
distribute in a license free format without worrying that no one will
be able to view his work.

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