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Re: Codecs for <video> and <audio>

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 02 Jul 2009 19:17:25 -0400
Message-ID: <4A4D4005.5090007@w3.org>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
CC: Robert O'Callahan <robert@ocallahan.org>, David Singer <singer@apple.com>, Joe D Williams <joedwil@earthlink.net>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, public-html@w3.org
Hi, Ian-

> On Thu, 2 Jul 2009, Doug Schepers wrote:
>>  >
>>  >  (I've also received requests from browser vendors to not require WAVE
>>  >  support in the first place, though I have up to this point managed to
>>  >  convince them to keep WAVE support regardless.)
>>
>>  Can you please cite the public source for these codec-removal requests?
>
> I don't believe the requests were public.

This is a problem.  Please see rant below.


> In any case, they were not a relevant factor in my removing the
> requirement; apparently mentioning it merely confused matters, for which I
> apologise.

I find that a bit hard to swallow, since you've repeatedly stated that 
the willingness of browsers to implement a features is one of your 
primary factors in deciding whether or not to include something in the 
spec.  Therefore, I have to conclude that it was a factor in removing 
the requirement.


>>  Who exactly has asked for this, and are you sure they speak for that
>>  browser vendor?
>
> Since they did not speak publicly, I don't wish to breach their
> confidence, and yes, I am sure the people in question speak for
> implementors.

Have you changed your stance there?  In the past, you have 
unapologetically forwarded private emails to www-archive, over the 
author's objections.  Or are you affording more respect to companies 
than to individuals?

This group is chartered as a public group (a position that you and 
others in the WHATWG rightfully called for).  This does not mean "public 
when it's convenient".  I won't ask you to reveal private information, 
but if you don't, you also shouldn't make decisions based on it.

I also invite those browser vendors who have discussed this with Ian 
privately to act in both the spirit and letter of the charter and 
process, and make their objections known in public, so that we can 
decide on the relative merit of your arguments objectively.


>>  >  It hasn't really been necessary, browser vendors have historically
>>  >  implemented similar formats without the HTML spec having to get involved.
>>  ...
>>  >  I don't think that mandating formats actually affects what browsers
>>  >  implement, in practice. We can only mandate what they're already willing
>>  >  to implement anyway.
>>
>>  I hold HTML5 to a higher standard of precision than previous HTML specs,
>>  and I know you have as well.  I think it is very ill-advised for you to
>>  change your position now, especially on so crucial an issue as this.
>
> Wave PCM support is hardly a crucial issue, especially given that every
> browser vendor I'm aware of is intendeding to ship support for it.

Not crucial by itself, no.  As part of a larger decision to remove all 
mandated codecs from the HTML5 spec, a link in a critical chain.


> I do think it would be useful to document the formats, codecs, and
> standards supported by all browsers, including things like PNG or Wave
> PCM, and including being specific about what versions or profiles of
> various specs are supported (e.g. the specific sampling frequencies of
> PCM). I don't think HTML5 is a particularly suitable place for such
> documentation, though.

I'd be fine with having that stuff documented in another spec (and would 
even help shepard that along), so long as it is normatively referenced 
by HTML (and SVG).  However, in reality this presents a thorny problem, 
because RF licenses only apply to the spec that the patent holder agrees 
to.  Therefore, to actually gain RF commitment, we would have to get the 
relevant patent holders to agree to a generic media spec that can be 
implemented by anyone who normatively references it, which is unlikely 
to fly.

Thus, these formats and codecs *do* need to be in the HTML5 spec if it 
is going to be a truly open standard, and not just a banner of convenience.

Regards-
-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, SVG and WebApps WGs
Received on Thursday, 2 July 2009 23:17:36 UTC

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