January 15, 2011

WebM and AVC: a critical decision

Re-posting an answer I offered at Quora:

Why are Opera & Mozilla/Firefox against implementing the H.264 codec in their browsers? If it's a question of licensing H.264 or losing the HTML5 tag, you would think they'd choose to save HTML5. What am I missing?

Since the beginning of the Web, individuals and companies, commercial and non-commercial, have been able to produce and distribute content in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, and text on the Web without paying licensing fees for the use of any of those amazing technologies.

Since the beginning of the Web, individuals and companies, commercial and non-commercial, have been able to create tools that helped content producers make and distribute HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, and text on the Web without paying licensing fees for the use of those amazing technologies.

Since the beginning of the Web, individuals and companies, commercial and non-commercial, have been able to make clients (like Web browsers) that display HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, and text on the Web without paying licensing fees for the use of those amazing technologies.

This is the critical feature of the Web that makes it different from all other media and communication tools that have come before it. This is what makes it possible for tiny little start-ups to become a Facebook or a Google or a Mozilla.

Simply put, this freedom from licensing requirements is what makes the Web great. We, the community of people who make the Web what it is, should not be so quick to toss that all important foundation aside just because some hardware or OS vendors think it's the easy or most profitable path.

Posted by asa at 5:46 PM

 

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