Friday, April 6, 2012

Mozilla confirms the failure of WebM

Mitchell Baker, President of Mozilla, and Brendan Eich, CTO, are both back on the discussions that took place within the organization concerning the adoption of H.264 in Firefox (Mozilla read opens a gap in H. 264).

Brendan Eich explains in a note the reasons that led to this shift to 180 degrees in May 2010, Adobe announced that Flash would support the VP8 (this is where the video portion of WebM) and January 2011 Google announced the abandonment of H.264 in Chrome "in the coming months". None of these ads has been happening since.

Eich concedes that it would not have changed fundamentally on the desktop version of Chrome, since in any case most publishers of online content do not encode their videos in two formats (even YouTube does not offer the best half of its catalog WebM), and in the absence of a reading lamp H.264 within the code of Chrome, it's Flash that would have taken the relay. The things are very different cons on mobile Adobe has announced the abandonment of Flash for Android: native support for H.264 is the only way for Firefox. In the absence of enabling hardware decoding chips for WebM, H.264 is not only much more fluid, but also weighs much less on autonomy. To compete on equal terms with other mobile browsers and offer the same quality, Mozilla must therefore abandon certain principles and to embrace the codec against which she fought so long.

The challenge is even more crucial if one considers, as does Brendan Eich, the mobile platforms are expected to dominate the computer market.

Mitchell Baker about it is even more pragmatic yet: Mozilla can not keep passing the sovereignty of the user before it can withdraw the usefulness of a product, let alone to the detriment of the latter. "You could fall into the idea that the only way to hold the values
​​of Mozilla would not deliver the product that we think that people should want," she writes. But what matters in the end it is now delivering a product that users can enjoy it for what it is. A desirable product as such is worth a medicine taken reluctantly.

Mozilla does not integrate the H.264 decoding within Firefox, at most, is it not to take advantage of decoding that comes standard with the OS. However the organization so far categorically refused this compromise alone, which would have weakened. But between the WebM weaken and undermine Firefox, the foundation has made its choice.

Mozilla admits defeat so, not without some bitterness (especially fed to Google for its false promises), but it does not completely lost hope for much: it still has the option to invalidate or circumvent patents or change the legislation. Or failing that, wait until the patents covering H.264 fall into the public domain, which should happen by 2017.

If the case is now on the mobile set, things are still to be determined on a PC, since 40% of Firefox users are still running Windows XP that is not supplied as standard with an H.264 decoder.

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