Tras un largo período de tiempo en el que Firefox se había mantenido renuente a incluir soporte para el códec de video H.264 defendido principalmente por compañías como Apple y Microsoft para ser utilizado como el estándar de facto para la reprodución de video en la web con HTML 5 finalmente Mozilla ha cedido a las presiones de la Internet de hoy y han decidido agregar soporte para la reproducción de mp4(h264).

Logo de Firefox

El problema ha sido que ni Google ni Adobe cumplieron con sus declaraciones anteriores. Google había planteado que eliminarían el soporte al H264 en futuras versiones de Chrome mientras que Adobe había comunicado que incluiría soporte para el códec VP8(codec de compresión que usa el formato de video WebM de Google) en Flash.

Hoy en día para los móviles es imprescindibles el soporte para el H264 debido a la amplia utilización que ya tiene. El principal problema es que este códec está atado a ciertas licencias de software que van en contra de la filosofía de la web abierta que Mozilla tanto ha defendido.

Pueden leer las declaraciones de Brendan Eich, Direcor de Tecnología de Mozilla en su post Video, Mobile, and the Open Web que entre otras cosas nos explica que todo se hubiera evitado si Google y Adobe hubieran cumplido con su palabra.

Aquí les dejo además las declaraciones de Mitchell Baker, Presidenta de la Fundación Mozilla que nos explica que se “han visto en un callejón sin salida” debido a que los dispositivos móviles de hoy deben de adaptarse a los usuarios.

Michell Baker:

Video, user experience and our mission

March 18th, 2012

Mozilla is on the cusp of changing our policy about our use of video codecs and making use of a format  known as “H.264.” We have tried to avoid this for a number of years, as H.264 is encumbered by patents.  The state of video on the Web today and in mobile devices in particular is pushing us to change our policy.  Brendan has written a post detailing why many of us have come to support this position.  I’d like to emphasize one point that’s implicit in Brendan’s post and which I think would be useful to call out more specifically.

One key value at Mozilla is giving our users a great experience.  We want to build products that people love and that build openness and user sovereignty into the Web.  “Products that people love”  is a key part of this sentence.  It’s not a throw away phrase.  It has meaning.  It is a demanding goal and it must drive us — just as the latter part about openness and user sovereignty drive us.

For the past few years we have focused our codec efforts on the latter part of this sentence.  We’ve declined to adopt a technology that improves user experience in the hopes this will bring greater user sovereignty.  Not many would try this strategy, but we did.  Brendan’s piece details why our current approach of not supporting encumbered codec formats hasn’t worked, and why today’s approach regarding existing encumbered formats is even less likely to work in the future.

Given this, it’s time to shift our weighting.  It’s time to focus on shipping products people can love now, and to work on developing a new tactic for bringing unencumbered technology to the world of audio and video codecs.  It always feels better when we can build exactly the product we want and people love it.  It’s possible to fall into the view that the only way to live up to Mozilla values is to ship the product wethink people should want.  This aspect is one element, but it’s not the only one.  Another critical element is shipping products that work for people now so they can love them.  This makes our values something people can want, not medicine that one takes because one should.  This element is a key part of Mozilla’s mission.

Our first approach at bringing open codecs to the Web has ended up at an impasse on mobile, but we’re not done yet.  We shouldn’t beat ourselves up for somehow failing to live up to Mozilla’s values.  We’ll find a way around this impasse.  We have some of the world’s most creative and dedicated people working on open video and video technologies.  We’ll rebuild the maze if we have to.  We’ll  keep working hard to bring unencumbered codecs to the Web.  We’ll be more effective at building products people can love as we do this.  We should do so proudly.

Lo cierto es que ahora solo Chrome y Firefox serán los navegadores que soporten los 3 principales codecs de video que hoy por hoy se utilizan en la web con HTML5[.ogg(Theora), .webm(VP8) y .mp4(H.264)], para más información leer HTML5 video.