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Steve Jobs, the bad guy?


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yourstrulymi

 
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I read this disturbing news about how Applesoft are against open standards on the internet, have a look at this guys,

Applesoft, Ogg, and the future of web video
Applesoft, Ogg, and the future of web video ? The Register
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Village Idiot

 
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Well duh. If Apple can't profit from it, then they don't want it.

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louishen

 
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Its less an issue of Apple opposing the Ogg codec, and more that it is less efficient and does not support hardware acceleration, making it a no-no for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad

AppleInsider | Ogg Theora, H.264 and the HTML 5 Browser Squabble

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vansmith

 
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I thought the whole issue had to do with patents. Apple is part of, or involved somehow, with MPEG-LA and as such, chose H.264 over OGG. There is also concern about the patent/royalty status of Theora codecs AFAIK.

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Zoolook

 
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OGG should be changed to OMG... this drum has been beaten to death.

What the article doesn't tell you is that OGG was considered by Apple, Google and a whole host of others, and it's a minefield. Aside from the fact it's just not as good as h.264 (objectively speaking in terms of size, quality and CPU requirements etc), no one is too sure whether or not OGG/Vorbis/Theora is truly open source either. There are unresolved patent issues, there are issues with content protection, there are issues with commercialising the content (which TV companies want), it's just a train wreck.

h.264 is about as standard as things can get before you get complete anarchy.

Compare h.264 with OGG

http://static.arstechnica.com/02-22-2010/hd_beth.jpg

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vansmith

 
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Interesting picture zoolook. I will admit that I am an ardent supporter of OSS but I am also of the philosophy that there is a right tool for the job and if H.264 really is that much better, then so be it. My only concern (and hopefully you can clear this up) is your comment about Ogg not being "truly" OSS. The spec is in the public domain and the software and libraries Xiph makes are under either the GPL or a BSD license (see here). I will admit that I have heard about there being patent issues (as noted in my first post) so it is possible that I am missing something.

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Zoolook

 
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@vansmith

There are a number of real issues, some potential issues and then of course quite a bit of FUD around OGG/Theora. I admit that some of this is cloudy, and I have heard many counter-arguments, although that doesn't entirely invalidate the points.

Quality:

As you know, Theora is based on VP3 which is about 11 years old. Whichever way you look at it, it is not as good as h.264 at low bit rates. What defines a low bit-rate depends on who you ask, but in the 500kbps - 2mb/sec there is no comparison. VP3 is about as good as standard MPEG4 - i.e. good, but not good enough. The kind of quality you get from Netflix instant, ABC player, Hulu and even good old iTunes and YouTube is impossible using Theora at the same bit-rate. Now think about streaming over 3G.

Decoding

Most new hardware built for video can decode and even encode h.264 with ease. nVidia, ATI, Intel, ARM etc all have 'hardware' decoding of h.264, which is why the iPad can play back 10 hours of video on a charge. Now in theory, there is no reason VP3 couldn't get the same love, but h.264 has the momentum and that's unlikely to change without a huge switch. The problem is with the GPL/BSD is that anyone can tinker with the codec, making a fixed hardware decoding solution difficult to implement. Who's to say Hulu, Netflix and ABC won't implement slightly different variations, making GPU decoding impossible for all.

Patents

h.264 could bite everyone on the backside, that's known. With such huge players involved, it's unlikely any of them will try and cash in, but perhaps some small IP company will spring up and try and make a play. Who knows.

As for OGG, well ON2 apparently 'gave' the licence for VP3 away in 2001 making it public domain and the way is clear for mass adoption, so you have to wonder why it didn't gain any momentum. Well the reason may be that for it to be commercialised in any meaningful way does increase the chances of infringing some patent or another elsewhere. Either to add DRM, improve the quality or include it in some closed application. But without support from Google, Apple or MS, it's pretty much dead outside of the OS community.

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