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“The fight has been around a long time, now the target of Microsoft is Theora”

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 3:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Darwin fish and Ogg

Summary: With Novell’s help, Microsoft continues to retard the World Wide Web, polluting it with .NET and patents-encumbered codecs (like those provided for Moonlight)

THIS morning we wrote about Novell’s use of Mono — not just Moonlight — to mess about with Web browsers and help Microsoft. The Source has just expressed an opinion about it too.

Expand Microsoft lock-in. This is part of the “lock-in” problem: generally speaking, Microsoft technology is designed to work as smooth as possible with other Microsoft technology, and as difficult as possible with non-Microsoft technology. This means that once you start down the road of using Microsoft technology it becomes ever more difficult to step outside of that ecosystem.

Thus, Team Apologista must constantly replace other parts of the development ecosystem with the Microsoft solution. If you learn a Microsoft language (C#), you can’t be using a non-Microsoft language in your browser – have to get C# in there. And that means implementing .NET in your browser. So it goes.

Move from Opt-in to Opt-out to No-opt. Everyone in the world who deals with telemarker calls or shovelware on new (Windows) computers (or uses Facebook and cares about privacy) knows that “Opt-In” is far more preferrable to the user than “Opt Out”.

So, the defense that “if the user doesn’t want Mono they can just remove it” is bogus from the start – “Opt Out” is always the defense offered by those peddling things no one wants. It becomes more bogus when non-Mono apps are replaced by Mono apps, and it explodes in a mushroom cloud of nuclear bogosity when you start sticking it in their browser.

Miguel de Icaza has proven over the past decade from day one that he intends to make .NET ubiquitious – if he gets his way it will be a crucial component of your desktop, your application choices, and even your web browsing experience.

Another subject we have been writing about quite a lot lately is Microsoft’s and Apple’s cultural threat with MPEG-LA:

“Microsoft, Apple Will Never Allow An Open Web,” says one blogger whose explanation goes like this:

There were high hopes with HTML5. It was expected to set the Web free of locked, closed, proprietary formats. That may not be the case anymore. Apple and Microsoft seem determined to put locks on this possibility.

Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager, Internet Explorer, has made it clear that “In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only.”

Apple’s Steve Jobs has already written at length supporting H.264 and bashing Adobe for its ‘closed’ Flash for his own ‘airtight’ products.

The high-profile blogs by the two proprietary companies of the world hints at a conspiracy. It seems an environment is being created to ‘distract’ developers and users from true free formats like Ogg Theora and prepare the ground for a proprietary H.264, in which these companies are stakeholders.

In a typical Microsoftish manner Dean wrote, “H.264 is an industry standard, with broad and strong hardware support.”

No, it is not an standard. Industry standard it may be because more companies use this format. It is not even an ISO standard. The way Microsoft’s OOXML was approved at ISO raises doubts about such standards. How many standards does Microsoft really respect? CSS standards in IE is a nightmare for web developers. That is a different topic. Let’s steer clear from it.

This is especially curious because Apple and Microsoft used to fight one another when it comes to codecs and formats. While it’s being speculated that Apple may create a Web-based iTunes (with MPEG-LA patents, obviously), it is worth recalling Comes vs Microsoft memos that showed Microsoft’s fear of Apple’s media business. “The fight has been around a long time,” tells us a reader who adds this old reference. “Just now the target of Microsoft is Theora,” he asserts while adding the direct testimony of Avadis Tevanian, Jr. (context).

“Point #70 of Avadis Tevanian testimony warns of the problems that lead to the EU anti-trust case.”
      –Anonymous reader
He also claims that “Inferior DirectX, mentioned in the testimonies, is a problem via Picasa. There is no Linux version of Picasa because of that, it has to run inside WINE.

“Point #70 of Avadis Tevanian testimony warns of the problems that lead to the EU anti-trust case. We see more problems from Microsoft and Microsoft partners. These can be prevented by *not* using these products and not accepting excuses from individuals.”

Separately, Microsoft is trying to adapt an ‘Apple defence’ to suppress Datel in a case which we mentioned the other day. It’s not succeeding though [1, 2] and it serves as a fresh example of Microsoft’s anti-competitive behaviour.

To end on a positive note, Webmonkey.com asks, “Who Needs Flash?”

In just months, from seemingly nowhere, Apple’s solo campaign to dethrone Flash as the de facto standard for web video has gathered enough momentum to get over the top. The question is no longer whether HTML5 will or should do the job, but when.

Last week signaled the tipping point, when Microsoft confirmed HTML5 video support would be included in the next version of Internet Explorer, which is due later this year. That move will swing the percentage of browsers supporting the nascent standard well above half, and will rapidly accelerate adoption by publishers, despite lingering technical and legal issues.

The shift is already happening on the mobile web, and eventually — in perhaps as soon as two years — HTML5 can be expected to serve most new video online.

Let us hope that this is true and let us help it become true by requesting that sites provide ‘open’ video and demand that governments do so too (they must work for their citizens and put no barriers on corporations’ behalf). By using our voice we can drive change.

“Microsoft does not like negative or even objective press coverage and they have a tendency to be a bully about it. If something appears that they don’t like, they have the ability to punish the publication.”

Knight-Ridder New Media President Bob Ingle

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  1. verofakto said,

    May 5, 2010 at 11:35 pm


    He also claims that “Inferior DirectX

    Where is old twitter by the way? His “your_friend” nym seems to have disappeared of late. Are they still asking about him on your chat room?

    your_friend Reply:

    I can tell you that twitter is not your friend. If you keep reading, you might learn something and eventually will regret the things you do. I am your friend after all.

    Microsoft’s decision to ignore Theora will finally finish off Internet Explorer. Wikipedia and many other must have sites use theora and many others are moving to it. This is a nightmare for Microsoft in many ways, one they will gamble what’s left of IE on. The FUD attack on Theora is really about control of media and the demise of traditional publisher mindshare. Users will simply download Firefox or abandon Windows itself.

    The missing piece of the puzzle will come when Google switches codecs. I suspect they have held off to let Microsoft paint themselves into their corner. Google also has a TV white space trump to play on Microsoft and traditional media. There are interesting times ahead and users may see both computing and network freedom soon.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    A lot depends on Google at the moment. Google serves over 70% of the Web’s video, according to one source I can recall. A lot of media goes Web based as bandwidth capacity increases.

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