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Nokia Claims Ogg Format is "Proprietary" 619

Posted by Zonk
from the i-do-not-think-that-word-means-what-you-think-it-means dept.
a nona maus writes "Several months ago a workgroup of the W3C decided to include Ogg/Theora+Vorbis as the recommended baseline video codec standard for HTML5, against Apple's aggressive protest. Now, Nokia seems to be seeking a reversal of that decision: they have released a position paper calling Ogg 'proprietary' and citing the importance of DRM support. Nokia has historically responded to questions about Ogg on their internet tablets with strange and inconsistent answers, along with hand waving about their legal department. This latest step is enough to really make you wonder what they are really up to."
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Nokia Claims Ogg Format is "Proprietary"

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  • by Mesa MIke (1193721) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:35PM (#21634299) Homepage
    They don't like open standards.
  • From Vorbis.com (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fractalVisionz (989785) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:37PM (#21634325) Homepage
    From vorbis.com:
    "Ogg Vorbis is a completely open, patent-free, professional audio encoding and streaming technology with all the benefits of Open Source."

    I lost any respect for Nokia.
  • what a tool ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maharg (182366) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:38PM (#21634331) Homepage Journal

    All these alternatives are, in our opinion, preferable over the recommendation of the
    Ogg technologies, based almost exclusively on the current perception of them being
    free.
    The current perception ? WTF ?
  • Re:proprietary. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by calebt3 (1098475) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:45PM (#21634401)
    The difference here is that Nokia does not own MP3.
  • by cbart387 (1192883) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:48PM (#21634431)
    I don't take much credence to a paper with rampant misspelling throughout. On slashdot okay, but a position paper? I'd also like to know when it's okay to use an emoticon in a paper?

    Closer to theWeb world, dare we mentoned Flash :-)
  • by segedunum (883035) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:57PM (#21634511)
    Yer. I would imagine the web would work brilliantly, and would have taken off the way that it is over the last 15 years, if it was wrapped up in lots of DRM stuff so people didn't have access to any information. Yer, that would really have worked.

    I had a scan through the PDF document, and couldn't really believe what I was reading. They're yet another company being pussy-whipped by Hollywood and the whole DRM issue (and it has now been demonstrably proven that widespread DRM can never work), rather than looking at the realities of the technology and working out how to make money from it. This is a very bizarre section to read: Commercial Constraints of the Web and Video ecosystems:

    In their vast majority, neither the digital video standard implementations nor the encoded content are "free". The forms of payment vary greatly: patent royalties are folded into the device/software prices; content fees (both for patent use and copyright royalties) are part of the subscription fees a consumer pays (i.e. for cable TV), absorbed through advertising, by governments (e.g. public radio/TV stations), and so on.
    Nokia doesn't seem to understand that the W3C is not in the habit of recommending technologies as web standards that are patented and proprietary and that mean that implementation is restricted.

    The perhaps astonishing part of the story is that all these royalties have, however reluctantly, be accepted by the market, and have not significantly hindered the adoption of digital video.
    Digital video over the web has been severely hindered, because it is not as widespread as content available through HTML.

    Compatibility with DRM. We understand that this could be a sore point in W3C, but from our viewpoint, any DRM-incompatible video related mechanism is a non-starter with the content industry (Hollywood).
    No other W3C standard takes into account DRM. Nokia seems to misunderstand the role of the W3C.

    Reasonable content fees, including provisions for royalty free content from non-professional sources.
    Non-professional sources?

    Anything beyond that, including a W3C-lead standardization of a "free" codec, or the active endorsement of proprietary technology such as Ogg, ..., by W3C, is, in our opinion, not helpful
    I think that should confirm that this document is junk, and that Nokia doesn't have the faintest idea what it is talking about.

    MP3 has been ratified in 1991, and that also sets a certain target year (not too far in the future) from which on one can be reasonably certain to be able to use this technology without financial compensation. The disadvantage of this approach is clearly the use of technologies that are two decades old, but that may be at least partly offset by the commercial advantage. And, these codecs are very lightweight on the computational complexity aspect.
    This is just downright bizarre.

    At first, I wasn't not so sure that Nokia was concerned about keeping Hollywood happy, as they are about keeping the current status quo of proprietary video and audio codecs, additionally restricted by patents if required. However, I haven't got the foggiest what Nokia are arguing. They just seem to be squirming over Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora for some reason.
  • by drharris (1100127) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:58PM (#21634527)
    I still don't understand why though. .... Apart from it not supporting DRM

    You have your answer.

  • by neutrino38 (1037806) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:58PM (#21634531) Homepage Journal


    The post focuses on a single detail: the author calls Ogg a "proprietary format". This is of course a regrettable and stupid comment as Ogg, Theora and Vorbis are not proprietary in any sense. But I suggest reading the whole paper which is an interesting and valid point of view. They are AGAINST the decision of the W3C to recommend those format for Web video. They use three arguments:

          1. Theora video is somewhat based on H.261 and is obsolete in regards with recent developments such as H.264 and VP8 from On2. Can someone knowledgable about Theora make any comment on this assertion?
          2. De facto standard of the Web is Flash video and H.264 encapsulated in either FLV or MPEG 4 file formats. This one valid and reversing the trend seems difficult to imagine.
          3. They believe are not at ease with the process of the organisations behind ogg / vorbis / theora development and fear standard forks.

    The last one is partially valid also but I have to add a comment: First, Nokia has vested interest in codec developments itself (they have patents related to the AMR codec). Second one has to remind that they are phone manufacturers. It is clear that they are more at ease with the standard process developed by the ITU. And I understand them: they are not building software but they are embedding chips with hardware codec capabilities. If someone 'forks' the standard and the OSS community decides to create an alternative standard (see Torrent protocol), all the chips that they developped are toasted.

    Emmanuel
  • Re:Apple and Ogg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Petrushka (815171) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @05:58PM (#21634533)

    It shouldn't be hard to add support.

    Of course it isn't. But I hope you weren't under the impression that Apple is actually against DRM in principle. They're only against DRM some of the time, only when it makes them money, and only because they're one of the few companies that have woken up to the fact that they can make more money by doing away with DRM some of the time.

    And that's why Apple opposes Vorbis -- because they're actually on the ball, because they've got the foresight to realise both the pros and the cons of open formats for them, and they know exactly what the consequences would be if open standards were to become dominant.

  • by Marcion (876801) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:09PM (#21634651) Homepage Journal
    Ok after looking at the website, it is probably both. He can't really speak English and he is a nut. However, Nokia is a really big company with lots of divisions, so I would not take it too too seriously
  • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:33PM (#21634879) Homepage
    I ripped my whole CD collection in ogg about a year ago. Last week, I went to buy my first mp3 player, and I can't find a single one in my "budget" price range that has ogg support. I'm stuck re-ripping or downloading my entire library. I think that right there kills it for most people.

    By the way, a lot of people here are focusing on the fact that ogg doesn't support DRM, but neither does mp3. Seems to be a rather tangential argument.
  • by DECS (891519) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:33PM (#21634897) Homepage Journal
    Ogg is not "equal or superior to most other codecs" because it's not a codec. It's a container file that holds content compressed using a codec.

    Ogg is comparable with Apple's QuickTime container format (MOV), Microsoft's former AVI (based on IFF), Microsoft's newer ASF, the rival FOSS Matroska container, or the ISO's MPEG-4 container (MP4, based on QuickTime).

    When you talk about Ogg being a "good codec," it demonstrates the kind of impractical, blind bias for free-sounding buzzword projects, which FOSS advocates are quick favor over real open standards that are accepted and established. Ogg isn't open vs closed MPEG-4; they're both open containers available for non-discriminatory licensing. The difference is that there are only some theoretical uses of Ogg and a single source of documentation and libraries for it, while MPEG-4 is in use everywhere, has support across the industry, and has wide hardware support in silicon, because the MPEG-4 container is paired with a portfolio of codecs that people actually use. Ogg also competes with other FOSS containers such as Matroska, so it's not the lone FOSS messiah at all.

    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).

    After realizing there was no reason to fight MPEG-4 with a proprietary runner up, On2 donated Theora to Xiph to use with Ogg, and Xiph published it as an open specification. However, Microsoft basically did the same thing: it published WMV with the SMPTE group as an "open standard" called VC1.

    If you think Microsoft's VC1--which it's using to compete against the open MPEG-4--is an "open standard," then you can also say Theora is. It's easier to describe both as failed proprietary technologies that nobody uses, although Microsoft is pushing VC1 hard in HD-DVD and in Windows Vista.

    For the WC3 to push an obscure format that nobody uses as the baseline of web video of the future is absurd. It means that rather than having one set of codecs that the world contributes toward, we'll have an official joke that nobody uses decreed the "standard" while everyone actually uses MPEG-4 / H.264 (and probably H.265 by the time HTML5 arrives).

    This is not a case of OpenDocument vs MS-XML, open vs closed. It's closer to a case of GPL v3 vs BSD/Apache: rhetoric vs reality. Trying to rip apart MPEG-4 and install an openly published version of a failed proprietary standard that nobody uses in its place will only hand the lead to Microsoft's VC-1 (which itself is a proprietary version of H.263). What would that accomplish?

    Supporters for Ogg/Theora are voting for a Ross Perot, assuring that we'll really get a George Bush. What we really need is an Al Gore: centrist, workable, functional, capable, and proven to work.

    If that analogy lost you: pushing Ogg/Theora might make you proud to have voted, but it will only distract from the industry's coalition to unitedly back H.264 from mobile devices to HD. There's far more FOSS support for MPEG-4 and H.264 than for Ogg/Theora and the rest of the outdated codecs Xiph has salvaged from the dumpster of proprietary efforts. Having wide support behind one good, open portfolio of standards will make it easier for FOSS to compete with and participate in the desktop computing world.

    Why Low Def is the New HD [roughlydrafted.com]
    Origins of the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD War [roughlydrafted.com]

    ITU & ISO MPEG-4 codecs and container [roughlydrafted.com]
  • Re:From Vorbis.com (Score:5, Insightful)

    by curunir (98273) * on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:36PM (#21634935) Homepage Journal
    From reading the whole position paper, rather than just the one poorly-phrased sentence, it sounds like the poster is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    The actual quote that's being focused on is:

    ...including a W3C-lead standardization of a "free" codec, or the
    active endorsement of proprietary technology such as Ogg, ..., by W3C...
    If you look at what the intent of this sentence is likely to have been in the context of the statement as a whole rather than read it literally, it appears that that he's using Ogg as an example of 'a "free" codec or a proprietary technology'.

    The reason for opposing Ogg, though, is best summed up by another sentence from the paper:

    Compatibility with DRM. We understand that this could be a sore point in
    W3C, but from our viewpoint, any DRM-incompatible video related
    mechanism is a non-starter with the content industry (Hollywood). There is in
    our opinion no need to make DRM support mandatory, though.
    It seems to me that Nokia just wants a standardized way to deliver paid-for video to mobile devices. This kind of service is coming relatively soon and it will involve DRM. And while we like to bitch and moan about how horrible DRM is, the average wireless customer could care less. Nokia just wants the delivery mechanism to be somewhat standardized so that they don't have to have separate implementations for each wireless carrier.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:37PM (#21634943)
    What makes Mp3 easier than Ogg? iTunes. iPod. Ordinary people aren't in love with Mp3 it's just what works. Until Apple decides to allow Ogg on the iPod then forget about it ever being standard. I know, you can get custom firmware that allows it. I doubt the average user, who doesn't know the difference between Ogg, Mp3 or AAC, will really be up for a firmware hunt.

    I wish Ogg ruled the roost. I do. I wish any open, cross platform format ruled, but it's unlikely to happen.
  • by pnis (664824) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @06:41PM (#21634985)
    Good points.
    Also afaik vorbis and theora are not ITU, ISO or whatever standards, that's why they say they are propriatery.
    Regarding patents, just because Monty (of Xiph, the author of vorbis) says there are no patents because they checked, there could easily be. Afaik these standard organisations explicitly ask people to say if they have patents relating to a would be standard - Xiph did nothing like this, they just hired a lawyer who did some searches.

    The point about h.261 not being much inferior to theora is also mostly valid.

    And as the parent said, Nokia is also concerned about the availability of content in the format that is finally chosen.

    All in all, I think nokia does have a point, and I think aac+h.264 would be perfectly fine, as both are technically advanced, and at least h.264 can be implemented without paying royalties afaik.
  • by Dogtanian (588974) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:01PM (#21635159) Homepage

    I ripped my whole CD collection in ogg about a year ago. Last week, I went to buy my first mp3 player, and I can't find a single one in my "budget" price range that has ogg support. I'm stuck re-ripping or downloading my entire library.
    I find it hard to believe that this didn't occur to you a year back. Seriously, anyone who knows enough to want to rip their collection to Ogg would almost certainly know that it wasn't as widely-supported as MP3.

    Personally, I'm happy to accept that Ogg is a better format (in terms of the space/quality tradeoff) than MP3. But I also know that MP3 is almost universally supported and Ogg isn't.

    I genuinely had my suspicions that the quote above was a cut-and-paste anti-Ogg troll; it has the air of masquerading as someone who'd tried out the open source choice and been burnt by it... except that- as I mentioned- most potential Ogg users would already have known about these issues. I'm genuinely surprised that you didn't look into this before you decided to rip your music collection.
  • by rudlavibizon (948703) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:16PM (#21635263)
    Yes, but isn't MPEG-4 encumbered by patents and therefore not free?
  • by thirdrock68 (538466) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:28PM (#21635353)
    Nobody in Western countries has to work multiple jobs unless they are doing something seriously wrong

    Like being born black.
  • by r00t (33219) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:36PM (#21635423) Journal
    Your nerdy protests to the contrary, ogg is an audio format. There is no vorbis.

    In this world, we use file extensions to determine data type. Apple even does it now.

    You think we use MIME types? Bullshit! We pretend to use MIME types. A web server looks at the file extension, maps it to a MIME type, and sends the file. Most web browsers ignore the MIME type if they have a file extension. This is good, because the web server just pulled the MIME type out of its ass. Who can best decide, a server with an old MIME database or a client with all the latest players installed? It's not as if the MIME type was supplied when the file was first created on the filesystem. No, the file was created with an extension. All MIME types do is cause inconsistency.

    Ogg has a small bit of inertia as an audio format, which is good. The "best" you can do fighting that is to sow confusion in the market. What, are you trying to kill ogg? Every silly claim that "ogg is not a codec" is fuel for the competition, which you should note has a massive head start.

  • by Dark_Gravity (872049) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:43PM (#21635471) Homepage

    Apart from it not supporting DRM, ogg has only advantages
    I have always considered *lack of DRM* to be an advantage.
  • by GrouchoMarx (153170) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:45PM (#21635493) Homepage

    Ogg isn't open vs closed MPEG-4; they're both open containers available for non-discriminatory licensing.
    There is no such thing as non-discriminatory licensing. If I have to beg permission of some patent holder to use it, then it is discriminatory. It's discriminating against people building players that do not have a revenue model (read: most FOSS players) with which to pay for licensing fees.

    "Non-discriminatory" simply means that the patent holder can't charge Sony a different price per unit than they charge Microsoft. And they'll charge me that same fee, which is of course set based on the assumption that only Sony and Microsoft and companies of their size and revenue model are going to be licensing it. Can you afford $1 every time your movie player is downloaded by someone through APT on Debian/Ubuntu? I can't. That means that I am being discriminated against in terms of access to the codec.

    When H.264 can be legally implemented by any "kid in his basement" and distributed to the world without any permission, license fee, or NDA involved, then we can discuss it as an "open web standard". Until then, it is neither open nor free, nor should it be a de jure "standard" for anything. Ogg/Vorbis+Theora, however, can be. Their relative technological merits are not in dispute.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:57PM (#21635585)
    From wikipedia:

    MPEG-4 is patented proprietary technology. This means that, although the software to create and play back MPEG-4 content may be readily available, a license is needed to use it legally in countries that acknowledge software patents.

    and

    Ogg is an open standard for a free container format for digital multimedia, unrestricted by software patents and designed for efficient streaming and manipulation.

    I think that projects such as ogg/etc, which aim to produce Free alternatives, should be encouraged. But then again, I have never agreed with the "If you vote for a third party you are throwing your vote away" line espoused by many in the US either. Their whole point is to marginalize alternatives and consolidate power. This is no different.
  • by smallfries (601545) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @07:57PM (#21635589) Homepage

    It's funny that you responded to an article about video with a rambling about audio. It's however hilarious that it got modded Insightful.

    Not as funny as the only person in this thread that actually read the article, which was about Nokia's complaints over Ogg+Theora as a video standard getting modded troll for pointing out that all of the other random drivel about the superior audio format is completely irrelevant...
  • by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:00PM (#21635605) Homepage
    You know, as network speeds and storage capacities have been improving so dramatically, the importance of compression has decreased in a similar fashion. MPEG-4 became pervasive because it allowed people to share movies illegally. Nowadays, you can download an ISO of a DVD and it's no big deal.

    DVDs are still significantly compressed. And speak for yourself; if I downloaded DVD ISOs on a regular basis I'd fear that my ISP would come after me.

    The technical inferiorities of Theora just mean your perfectly good looking video streams are a little bigger than MP4 streams. With bandwidth and storage as cheap as it is, that's cheaper to deal with than licensing for distribution.

    So instead of an HD movie being 50GB, it'll be 100GB? I think broadband has a long way to go before people will stop caring about compression efficiency.
  • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:04PM (#21635629) Homepage

    they are doing something seriously wrong (in which I'd incluide living in expensive small-town American and/or getting married and having kids)

    This is a reasonable economic conclusion in much of the United States, and that's a serious social problem. Any society where people frequently make a practical decision not to have children is basically doomed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:20PM (#21635777)
    So, to put your comment into real world speak: "I want the ability to do anything I want with the work of other people, and I want to decide the terms, and until I get it, I'm going to complain."

    Good for you, let me know how that works out.
  • Re:Apple and Ogg (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:29PM (#21635851)

    If all Apple was interested in was having content available for its hardware, then they wouldn't have had any objection to Real's Harmony downloads.

    Did you even read my previous post? I wrote that if there was DRM, Apple wanted to control it. Real was trying to enforce DRM, using Apple's own authentication servers without permission, via an exploit in the system. No company in their right mind would tolerate that. It is one thing to allow content from another supplier, another is to tolerate a security hole and pay the bandwidth costs for another company to authenticate their DRM.

    Steve Jobs came out against DRM only after Apple was approached through channels by EMI about non-DRM sales.

    That is actually not true. Jobs spoke out against DRM, calling it doomed to failure and unworkable, before Apple even released the iPod.

    Sure, none of the labels had any objection to Harmony, and Apple was blatantly manipulating DRM to maintain its monopoly on legal digital iPod downloads, but Apple never had any interest in DRM.

    Apple's interest in DRM was in keeping the labels willing to supply content. Downloads have always been legal on the iPod, for other companies, Apple just has refused to support other DRM. Contrary to what most people think, Apple even licensed fairplay to several other manufacturers, mostly for cell phones. Their DRM was predominantly a counter to MS's attempt to monopolize music DRM in the first place.

    After all, St. Jobs said so.

    *Poof* there goes your credibility. My post was explaining why Apple's best financial interests were to get rid of DRM, and you try to portray it as if I was claiming they were being altruistic. You seem to be lacking reading comprehension. Why do I bother responding to ACs?

  • by Paco103 (758133) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:36PM (#21635911)
    That's still not really debunking the parent point. There are players that support it, there are players that support whatever format you want to use. If they don't do it natively, there's surely some hack for some player to make something do it. The difference is that MP3 is supported by pretty much everything. You can't hardly buy a digital media device that can't play MP3's these days. DVD players, phones, digital picture frames, any digital music players (even ones that aren't marketed as MP3 support it as an alternative format), in dash CD players (if they support anything more than CD audio), some digital cameras, some GPS units.

    I have considered switching my collection default to Ogg or other "superior quality" formats in the past. Fact is, if my music collection is 100% MP3, it can be played on anything that can play digital audio files. If I use ANY other format, I'm restricted to a PC and a very small subset of digital audio players on the market. Quality does not win format wars, convenience does. I'm not saying quality doesn't matter, but it takes a large differential for the market to care. Quality doesn't matter if it's inaccessible, and it's inaccessible if I have to work too hard to get it.

    Would anyone care about a 60" plasma TV with surround sound if the only way to see it was to sit on a milk crate? My guess is they'd go for the 5 year old 27" TV in front of a nice recliner.
  • Re:Apple and Ogg (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:48PM (#21635995)

    If that is all true, then why is the largest part of the itms still drm'ed? If the goal of Apple is to make it easy for the users, they'd have removed it eons ago.

    Look, Apple needs the content from the music publishers. They are pushing to remove as much as possible, but they're rather have DRM'd content than no content at all. Apple cn only release music without DRM when the publishers agree and they have only so much influence.

    No, the only goal that Apple has; is to make as much money as it can, and it doesn't care about DRM or open formats. It's all about the bottom line and the shareholders.

    What is wrong with people's reading comprehension today? As I said Apple wants to get rid of DRM because it makes them more money in the long term. That's the whole point. Apple makes more money without DRM, thus the argument that Apple is against Ogg formats because they want to add more DRM is flawed, assuming Apple is working to make the most money.

    Don't drink the "Apple is good for you" Kool-Aid(tm)

    Sigh. I argue that it is in Apple's best financial interests to get rid of DRM they are probably doing that, and people respond by claiming I'm blindly in favor of whatever Apple is doing or I think they're being altruistic, despite that is exactly the opposite of what I've said.

    Apple's interests coincide with ours on the topic of DRM. DRM hinders users and thus hinders Apple's hardware sales. Thus, we can benefit from Apple's interest in their own bottom line as they work to get rid of DRM. That doesn't mean we should blindly support them. In fact Ogg as part of the HTML5 spec may be the best option. Apple's objection to it may not be in our best interests, but it isn't because of DRM for multiple reasons I originally stated.

  • Nobody in Western countries has to work multiple jobs unless they are doing something seriously wrong
    You're a student, and someone who occludes "veteran" and "conscientious objector."

    To put it plainly, you don't know what the hell you're talking about. Not having well-off parents to foot the bill for college to give you a unique skill-set is not "something seriously wrong." A good portion of any country lives in poverty, and if you're not a member of a welfare state, when you hit rock bottom you really do need to go work full time just to survive.

    Note that most folk who work multiple jobs don't have a single full-time job. They may average 50-60 hours per week among their 2-5 jobs, but since none of their jobs pay benefits and they have higher-than-ordinary travel expenses, they need to work that much just to survive.

  • by ChronosWS (706209) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @08:54PM (#21636029)
    Um... *cough*

    The article was referring to Ogg Theora, not Ogg Vorbis. In fact, the whole article was plainly talking about VIDEO.

    Sorry to pick on you, I just had to see if this thread was going to be reined in or not...
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:24PM (#21637141)

    Maybe I'm missing the entire point here, but why the heck does the next version of html 5 even need to define a standard format for video?

    HTML5 is a very practical attempt to define additional elements and set a standard for all the things Web developers do today, but in a wide variety of ways that leads to incompatibility problems or just really complex code. I like it because when I built some XHTML for uses I needed I came up with many of the same basic tags, even using the same, fairly logical names as what they did.

    I don't think anyone would argue that one common thing Web pages do today is provide streaming videos. I don't think anyone would deny that depending on the format used and the way it is embedded, different video behaves differently, not all video will play on all browsers and OS's, and it is really hard for browser and OS coders to create easy, standard ways to manipulate that video as a result. Would it be nice if the Firefox team made a way to make embedded videos fullscreen with a key press? Maybe add some translucent controls that will pop up over it when you move the mouse? Maybe allow you to right click on videos and add them to a fullscreen viewing queue that will all play end to end? Standardizing on a video format that can play everywhere is the first step to making that a reality.

    Are they also going to recommend what browser I should use, what operating system I should run, or what brand of coffee I should drink?

    No, they're recommending the exact opposite. By standardizing on the "img" tag for embedding images or on the Ogg-Theora format for streaming video they're insuring that any OS and any browser that conform to the standards will let you view streaming video. You theoretically won't have to worry if the browser on your smartphone supports Silverlight, or if Firefox on Linux supports MPEG in a QuickTime container, or if your game console supports Flash videos. So long as they support the standard, they'll all show streaming video, which is what standards are supposed to be about.

    Now I'm not endorsing Ogg as that standard and I'm not convinced it will lead to better results than standardizing on H.261. I think ignoring the wrapper component, or choosing a wrapper that cannot support DRM, might lead to the standard being ignored. I'm not sure the big players in the industry will buy into Ogg-Theora. Still, standardizing on a wrapper format and specifying Ogg Theora at least as a preferred option, might well do a lot of good for end users.

    I mean, seriously, I don't see what this even has to do with html.

    Yeah, and implementers of the first version of HTML would not have seen what images had to do with it, since they were only supported as links and everyone was doing them differently. Times change. Browser don't generally run in a terminal anymore. A big use for Web pages these days is displaying video, and the new standard should reflect that and make it easy and uniform.

  • by 49152 (690909) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @11:41PM (#21637255)
    You simply did not understand his point at all.

    IT DOES NOT MATTER one single iota that ogg is a container and not a codec, it is simply pointless unless your an engineer (a real geeky one at that).

    He did not contend the fact that this is incorrect, only pointed out that to the majority of people (who ever heard about ogg) then:

    ogg == audio codec == compressed audio.

    The fact is, you should be über happy if most people makes this connection, even if it is technically imperfect.

    It is a market awareness that is worth is weight in gold, don't squander it away by being a stereotypical geek that picks on technical issues that no one really cares about.

    That it is wrong is completely pointless for most people and only confuses the issue. At least 90% of people associates content type with the file ending and .ogg files is associated by the public with audio files. Again this is not technically correct but the only ones really caring is other geeks.

    It would be much better if xiph declared that only .ogg files containing audio should be called .ogg and came up with a new file ending and name for files with video (or audio & video) in them, perhaps .ogv or something.

    You are technically correct but 'joe sixpack' wanting his 'mp3 player' to play ogg files does not care or even understand the difference.

    To the majority of people mp3 is synonymous with audio files for portable devices, just like they think .avi and .mov is video files. They have no idea it is really codecs and containers. If you want people to question why their ipod does not play ogg files, you don't want to confuse the issue with fighting long lost battles over semantics.

    This is just like the old battle about what being a hacker means. To much more than 90 percent of the population it means someone breaking into computer systems. Now you and me probably knows this was not the original meaning at all, but it does not matter because the 'wrong meaning' is by now so enforced by media that people only stares strangely at you if you try educating them.

    Now if you want ogg, vorbis and theora to succeed as open standards used everywhere, it would be a much better strategy going with the flow and not against it.
  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday December 10, 2007 @01:54AM (#21638439) Journal
    The article, and the discussion, and the whole shebang, are meant for professionals, not ignoramuses like you and the dude you're defending. The fact that you do or do not know what container or compression format we use to deliver websites to you means absolutely nothing at all. So, take your self important bullshit about "market awareness" and shove it up your ass. My mom doesn't know what MPEG2 compression is, but she still uses the DVD player I bought her. This is no different, and your collective ignorance is of no more consequence than hers.
  • by LordSnooty (853791) on Monday December 10, 2007 @07:29AM (#21640057)
    But you'd be seriously lacking in technical intelligence if you assume that file extension = media format. What codecs were used in this .avi, for example? can you tell without analysing the file?
  • by Andrew Cady (115471) on Monday December 10, 2007 @08:02AM (#21640189)

    Ogg Theora is a product of a single company. It has not been standardized by any recognized standards organisation. That indeed makes it "proprietary".
    Proprietary \Pro*pri"e*ta*ry\, a. [L. proprietarius.] Belonging, or pertaining, to a proprietor; considered as property; owned; as, proprietary medicine.

    Theora may be the product of a company, but that is not enough to make it proprietary; the question is whether the company maintains control over it as its own property. As it stands, while the company could change or supersede the current standard and people would probably follow along to the extent that the changes are reasonable, this is not owing to any special "intellectual property" rights they have, but only their social position. Moreover, if Theora was adopted as the standard, it would then be standardized by a recognized standards organization. By your logic here, the C language would have been proprietary before its standardization, yet its status at that point was the polar opposite of what is normally called proprietary (e.g., the .doc format). This is a severe abuse of language.

  • by LarsG (31008) on Monday December 10, 2007 @08:50AM (#21640481) Journal
    Yes Ogg is completely patent-free

    And how do you know that to be true?

    It would be more correct to say that the creators of the Theora/Vorbis codecs and the Ogg container format hold no patents on it (or in the case of Theora, RF-licensing of On2's patents). It does not however mean that noone else holds a patent. And the way that patents work (i.e, unlike trademarks which must be actively used/protected lest the (TM) holder lose it) a patent holder might choose to keep quiet until the format/codec becomes popular. Remember gif/Unisys? Or the more recent jpeg/Forgent?

    In that sense, h.264/aac (which has been through a process where the participants developing the standard are obligated to disclose all covered patents) or older codecs (where any potential patents are expired, or soon to be expired) holds less business risk for device manufacturers like Nokia. Being torpedoed by a submarine patent is expensive, so going the mpeg/iso/iec/itu path and paying a license fee to mpeg-la is seen as safer.

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