W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > July 2009

Re: Codecs for <video> and <audio>

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2009 20:52:44 +0000 (UTC)
To: Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>, Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Cc: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0907072027420.1060@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Tue, 7 Jul 2009, Robin Berjon wrote:
> On Jul 7, 2009, at 01:30 , Ian Hickson wrote:
> > The downside is that it would not match reality.
> > 
> > I think it would be harmful to spec something that is actively 
> > different than what a browser vendor will implement. This is why HTML5 
> > started -- because the W3C wrote specs that were idealistic and did 
> > not match the actual deployed landscape.
> 
> At this point I'm only aware of one browser vendor having said they 
> wouldn't do this. Am I wrong? Since when does a single vendor get a 
> veto?

Unless the W3C gains some kind of enforcement power, the implementors will 
_always_ have the ultimate veto, swayed only by their desire to gain 
market share. Implementors have the ultimate veto on any implementation 
requirements we put in our specs not because we allow them to, but because 
in every literal sense if they don't want to do what we tell them to do, 
then they don't have to.

Specification authors -- the W3C, the IETF, the WHATWG, you, me -- have 
_zero power_ to enforce implementors to do what we put in our specs. We 
only get what we write to be implemented if what we write is what 
implementors are willing to implement. (This is why I work so closely with 
browser vendors and other implementors to find out what they want.)

We could put Theora into the spec, but then the spec would not be the 
description of reality that I set out to make it when we started HTML5.


> At this point we have multiple implementations of a feature that has 
> strong backing in the community, and that we have no reason to believe 
> isn't interoperable. That's reality. I'm all for listening to vendors, 
> but once in a while they'll get something wrong and change their minds.

I'm happy to change the spec when that happens.


> If Theory really does not fly in the end, then there's plenty of time to 
> remove it later. But at this point it is premature and unrealistic to 
> remove it.

I didn't remove it recently. It hasn't been in the spec for over a year 
now, if I'm not mistaken.



On Tue, 7 Jul 2009, Shelley Powers wrote:
> 
> Robin hit on what I think is the most important point on this decision: 
> it gives veto power to a single company. That is a dangerous precedent 
> to create.

The relevant implementors have veto power over the parts they are intended 
to implement whether we like it or not.


> What if Microsoft were to come along and say, "We're not going to
> implement SVG". Do we then pull the SVG section?

Not immediately, but if we can't convince them that SVG is the way 
forward, then yes.


> Yet your own company, Google, is creating a library to help work through 
> issues of one browser company not supporting SVG, and the same level of 
> innovation will help with the video codec, and Apple's reluctance. A 
> reluctance I imagine that won't last forever.

I'm not here to make the specs do what Google wants. I'm here to make the 
specs represent what is actually implemented.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 7 July 2009 20:53:20 UTC

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