Firefox to open up to video...but not (yet) the video you want

Firefox is getting video, but it's getting a format that few care about and even fewer will notice.

The good news is that Mozilla's popular Firefox browser is getting video support. The bad news is that you probably won't notice.

Why? Because the video codec that is coming to Firefox is not commonly used: Ogg Theora. Firefox will also be adding a new HTML tag to make embedding video easier - no more need to launch Javascript - but, again, the video codec is not the ubiquitous QuickTime, Windows Media, or Flash that people use.

This isn't Mozilla's fault, of course. It's not the one keeping the codecs under lock-and-key. And, of course, this won't change the fact that free plug-ins to enable Firefox to play the popular codecs will continue to exist. It's not as if video has been kept from Firefox (well, except for the fact that I must have Internet Explorer to watch Windows Media-encoded Arsenal preseason matches - Firefox won't cut it).

No, it just means that I won't need a plugin to play Theora content anymore. But who cares? Most people don't use Ogg Theora. Whether they should or not is immaterial. I'd rather see Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple open up their codecs than see Firefox include Ogg Theora. But I guess it's the only one on offer....

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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