While I'm a supporter of Ogg Theora/Vorbis & its potential use with HTML5, but mozilla's position is putting current firefox users in a no-win position, (ab-)using them as a stick to beat up other companies. Currently the options for consuming/publishing video on web pages are Flash plugin, Java plugin or HTML5 video. Obviously 99% of the web currently uses Flash and that *already* exposes everyone to non-free codecs. As a user I want to eliminate use of Flash for videos from my browser for a number of reasons
- closed source
- uses non-free codecs
- has a poor security record
- has bad accessibility
HTML5 video + h264 addresses 3 out of these 4 major problems with the current de-facto standard of flash video which would be a massive step forward from the current position. This blog posting focuses only on the choice between h264 and Theora in the context of HTML5 video & the issue of IP/patent licensing around h264, and thus denies firefox users the chance to benefit from other aspects of HTML5.
I'm not suggesting Mozilla distribute h264 codecs themselves, since clearly that's not viable with the licensing scheme. This is not a new problem though & it has been solved by every open source media player that exists today - allow for 3rd party codecs to be plugged in via GStreamer or an equivalent system. If it ends up being a choice between Firefox with either Flash or HTML5/Theora, or a WebKit browser with either Flash or HTML5+option to plugin any possible codec, then Firefox is going to loose.