Nokia vs. Ogg? Why?

In a recent article on Ars Technica I read that Nokia was fighting the W3C inclusion of the media codec OGG in the new HTML standard. Now this may sound like gobbly-goop to some but let me break it down.

MP3 files are the common media type for music that most people know off (AAC is the one for iTunes). What people don’t really know is that MP3 is a filetype that has a copyright on it and is not free. I have to admit I was enlightened on this subject a couple years back when I met this guy name Christopher Montgomery. He wrote audio codec OGG Vorbis and the video codec OGG Theora. I was shocked to know that video game producers have to license MP3’s for use. I was working a a media company at the time and was totally shocked because I instantly realized that since my company helped make a large amount of the commercials on TV that any audio that we used in these commercial products was liable for MP3 fees. Now more than likely this would never be enforced but the reality does exist for game programmers who license the most.

Now back to Nokia. They were just getting my vote as one of my new favorite companies because of the Nokia N810. It’s a beautiful handheld computer that does everything under the sun AND runs Linux. So, why would they try to fight HTML 5 including OGG? It’s free AND it’s opensource. Reading through their points you’ll be even more confused. They are as follows:

The position paper that Nokia submitted to the W3C touches on a variety of topics and mentions Ogg only briefly. The paper’s arguments can be summarized as follows:

  1. W3C shouldn’t make any standards relating to codecs. Leave that to other standards bodies like ITU-T and ISO/IEC.
  2. There are over a billion PCs in the world today, many connected to the web, but these numbers are tiny compared to traditional video playback devices like DVD players.
  3. This industry is used to paying license fees and royalties for video codecs like MPEG-2.
  4. This industry is used to making money, and it doesn’t care about keeping things free.
  5. Web codec standards should be either free or low-cost to implement.
  6. Web codec standards should support DRM to placate Hollywood, but DRM implementations should be optional.
  7. H.264 for video and AAC for audio would be Nokia’s recommendations for codecs.

Can I start with a resounding WHAT!!!??? This has to be the most convoluted piece of crap I’ve ever read. I think they must have first watch the famous Youtube video of Ms. South Carolina answering a question in a beauty contest before typing this up (watch the video and you’ll understand).

W3C consortium: I hope you see the stupidity in this and run with OGG. It will hopefully pick up adoption of the format so I can listen to my OGG audio in my car.

Xiph and Chris “Monty” Montgomery: Keep up the good work and as I’ve told you before if there’s anything I can do let me know. I think this format is due to take over.

I liken OGG to a concept ahead of it’s time. It’s like Jimmy Carter standing in front of a bioenergy powered car in the 1970’s. Once gas prices went down everybody forgot about it but now it’s all the rage to use Ethanol because we’re conscious of the environment. This is the same situation with OGG. Maybe when media producers start to realize that MP3 is costing them unnecessary money for a lesser codec OGG will rise in usage.

Learn a little more about the format at

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