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Re: the end of life for flash player (HTML5)

On Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 5:47 PM, Ben Boeckel<MathStuf gmail com> wrote:
> Nokia argued against it for patent worries. Probably worried
> that if it did get done, some patent troll would come out of
> the woodwork with some obscure patent and sue all OGG the
> distributors.

If you're going to play the numbers the MPEG codecs have a far worse
track record of attracting litigation from trolls.

The argument was actually more nuanced than that. It's more along the
lines of "We're already committed to shipping H.264 and taking
whatever surprise litigation risk there exists from that; even if the
risk of negative surprises with Ogg/Theora is lower it would still be
an addition to the risk we're already assuming, even evaluating the
risks of alternatives has a cost to us, so the adoption of anything as
a baseline other than what we're already using is not in our

Which isn't an insane argument, but it does have a simple solution:
Sufficient market adoption will justify those costs.

It's also positive that the only companies who have taken a clear
public position against adopting Ogg/Theora as a baseline are
companies whom receive payments for the use of MPEG-LA licensed
technology. Those who merely pay to play are still shipping Theora.

> Apple's biggest complaint was that hardware decoders for Theora
> were far and few between (despite there being specs for it).
> Their excuse was that H.264 has hardware implementations in
> current hardware and handhelds don't have the power to do the
> decoding in software.

This isn't a correct knock in any case: Typical mobile devices (er,
like the iphone) implement H.264 using the regular SIMD instruction
sets of pretty boring general purpose CPUs or fairly common off the
shelf DSPs (I.e. the c64x on TI OMAP). The existing handhelds very
much do have the power to decode Theora in software, at least if
someone would bother adding neon versions of the assembly optimized
parts.  (Although even my anaemic openmoko can *decode* Theora in real
time with a totally unoptimized implementation; though display has
bandwidth problems; most modern handhelds have far more horsepower.)

Direct "hardware" support for non-trivial parts of the decode is
something that seems to have been largely abandoned in the late 90s
after everyone realized that this stuff changes too fast for economic
silicon implementation.  When people say hardware support these days
usually mean "carefully optimized versions for my embedded processor"
or possibly "use of hardware overlay and colorspace conversion" which
works equally well for Theora.

That said, there is a synthesizable VHDL implementation the back half
of the the Theora decoder available:
http://svn.xiph.org/trunk/theora-fpga/  (most of the rest of the
decode process is more easily and effectively done on a general
purpose CPU).  So it's not even "there exists a spec" it's "there
exists a hardware design needing only integration and manufacture".
But as I said, generally true hardware implementation isn't done for
decoders anymore. Even the $0.10 vorbis player on a chip is just
software on a tiny DSP.

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