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Microsoft Going Its Own Way On Audio/Video Specification

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the you're-not-the-boss-of-me dept.

Microsoft 215

An anonymous reader writes "Several groups are currently working on specifications for plugin-free, real-time audio and video communication. The World Wide Web Consortium has one called WebRTC, rudimentary support for which is found in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Back in August, Microsoft announced its own specification, CU-RTC-Web, because it thought WebRTC wasn't worthwhile. W3C carried out a vote to choose between the two specs, which came out strongly in favor of WebRTC. Microsoft went ahead anyway, and it has now published a prototype for the proposed specification. 'So what's Microsoft playing at, persevering with its own spec in spite of its rejection by the WebRTC group? The company's argument is twofold. First, WebRTC simply isn't complete yet, and Microsoft believes that working on its proposal can shed light on how to solve certain problems such as handling changes in network bandwidth or keeping cellular and Wi-Fi connections open in parallel to allow easy failover from one to the other. Even if Redmond's spec isn't adopted wholesale, portions of it may still be useful. Second, the company believes that WebRTC may not be as close to real standardization as its proponents might argue.'"

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Old dog (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636049)

And something with learning new tricks

Re:Old dog (2, Insightful)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636131)

And something with learning new tricks

What? Microsoft is preserving an alternative format, even though there is competition, on a hypothetical, un-used format? This is not a bad thing.

It becomes a bad thing when one of these three things are true:
1: You are forced to use the lower quality format through hardware/vendor lock in
2: You are forced to use the lower quality format because of widespread adoption
or 3: When a company acquires the "rights" to the better format, and refuses to allow commercial use.

I don't see any of these things happening at Microsoft, with this project, at this time. Sure, it may have happened in the past, but it's hardly a microsoft thing to do - all the big kids do it.

Re:Old dog (5, Insightful)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636257)

I don't see any of these things happening at Microsoft, with this project, at this time. Sure, it may have happened in the past, but it's hardly a microsoft thing to do - all the big kids do it.

It is more a matter of history. Considering what they have done in the past, I am NOT ready to trust them. They are a pernicious monopoly that is now beginning to realize that they are threatened. They are starting to act like a cornered animal, trying to pull out many of their old monopolistic tricks out of their war chest.

Re:Old dog (4, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636355)

They are starting to act like a cornered animal, trying to pull out many of their old monopolistic tricks out of their war chest.

Or maybe they are developing what they believe is better technology in a time frame better suited to their needs. I guess you see what you want to see. Yes, they have a spotty past. If they neutered every project in fear of appearing anti-competetive, they would be dead in short order.

Re:Old dog (5, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636469)

I suppose you could be right. The odds are against it though. Microsoft is like the guy who has been married 10 times and cheated on every single bride. Now they are going to the altar again promising to be true this time. Want to bet on it?

Re:Old dog (5, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636789)

I guess you see what you want to see. Yes, they have a spotty past.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 5-10 times, and I deserve to have a gorilla throw chairs at me.

Re:Old dog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636815)

Yes, and pigs can fly. Now can my post be marked insightful too.

Re:Old dog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636955)

Or maybe they are developing what they believe is better technology...

LOL.

Re:Old dog (3, Insightful)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636555)

I don't see any of these things happening at Microsoft, with this project, at this time. Sure, it may have happened in the past, but it's hardly a microsoft thing to do - all the big kids do it.

It is more a matter of history. Considering what they have done in the past, I am NOT ready to trust them. They are a pernicious monopoly that is now beginning to realize that they are threatened. They are starting to act like a cornered animal, trying to pull out many of their old monopolistic tricks out of their war chest.

Pfft. Who you gonna trust instead? Sony? Apple?

Pick your poison. They've all been abusive in their own special way, at once point or another.

Re:Old dog (2)

englishstudent (1638477) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636489)

It becomes a problem when each browser has their own specification and you have to support all of them.

Re:Old dog (5, Informative)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636665)

Or 4, they think they can get away with screwing everyone else and taking control of a potentially very lucrative market, like they did with:
* Internet Explorer and their custom implementations of HTML/CSS
* Their custom windows-only version of Java
* OpenXML and their subverting an entire standards body to get it ratified as a 'Standard' just so they could go after special government contracts requiring an open format, without having to give up control of the office suite space.
* Custom extensions to LDAP to hinder interoperability with Active Directory.
* Countless other things that anyone could find doing a few searches of Microsoft's history.

There's a reason Microsoft's catch phrase is "Embrace. Extend. Extinguish." and it's sad that, like an abused spouse, people keep giving Microsoft another chance because, "They will do better this time."

Re:Old dog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636731)

If the Microsoft/User relationship is akin to an abusive spouse then Linux/User must be along the lines of Harrison Ford in The Mosquito Coast.

Re:Old dog (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | about a year and a half ago | (#42637219)

Or 4, they think they can get away with screwing everyone else and taking control of a potentially very lucrative market, like they did with: * Internet Explorer and their custom implementations of HTML/CSS * Their custom windows-only version of Java * OpenXML and their subverting an entire standards body to get it ratified as a 'Standard' just so they could go after special government contracts requiring an open format, without having to give up control of the office suite space. * Custom extensions to LDAP to hinder interoperability with Active Directory. * Countless other things that anyone could find doing a few searches of Microsoft's history.

There's a reason Microsoft's catch phrase is "Embrace. Extend. Extinguish." and it's sad that, like an abused spouse, people keep giving Microsoft another chance because, "They will do better this time."

Thank you. Well said.

Re:Old dog (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636699)

You mean like, that the new mega site only "works" with chrome? :P

Re:Old dog (1)

Smauler (915644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636941)

What? Microsoft is preserving an alternative format

Is this a typo? I'm not sure, since persevering doesn't fit in the sentence. Microsoft is preserving nothing. The article is about Microsoft persevering with alternative standards.

Microsoft pushing formats is almost always a bad thing. The OOXML debacle is evidence of this - MS were pushing a shitty open format purely to compete with legitimate formats being proposed - they had no interest in it becoming a standard, they just wanted to protect Office, and sow confusion. They are bound to be against open formats in spheres like this - the Office dominant position is based upon it being the de facto standard, and other software having poor interoperability with it.

Re:Old dog (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636231)

Microsoft Going Its Own Way On Audio/Video Specification

And I too am going my own way. I almost never use Microsoft products, and intend to keep it that way. Bye bye, Microsoft.

Re:Old dog (2)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636447)

this isn't a new trick.

creating their own standard to shoot down the competing standard is microsoft's standard technique.

Good luck with that MS (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636063)

You've lost the mobile war, you've lost the browser war and you're going to lose the OS war soon enough.

No one use IE any more.

Re:Good luck with that MS (4, Insightful)

LocalH (28506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636145)

No one use IE any more.

Sure they do. They don't have the majority numbers they used to have back in the old Netscape days, but they still have market share. Any web developer worth their salt will at least use IE for testing purposes (if you're developing websites, not testing in IE for whatever reason, then you suck as a developer). I also know several people personally who use IE because it's what they're used to, and they're not power users (they have difficulty learning unfamiliar programs on their own). Even after I've spoken to them and advocated the use of Firefox (or of late, I'd advocate Chrome), they chose to continue using IE.

I'm not saying that IE is the best browser out there (although they have made great strides in standards compliance and security since the days of IE6), but to state "no one uses IE anymore" with no facts to back it up is simply short-sighted and borderline zealous.

Re:Good luck with that MS (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636177)

Any web developer worth their salt will at least use IE for testing purposes

If you write to the standards you don't need to test in IE any more than any other browser.
If IE can't handle standard code, its somebody else's problem.

Re:Good luck with that MS (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636265)

If IE can't handle standard code, its somebody else's problem.

Spoken like a man without clients/customers...

Re:Good luck with that MS (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636307)

If IE can't handle standard code, its somebody else's problem.

It is your problem when someone using IE browses your website and the site doesn't look or work well.

Who are they going to think is an idiot, you or Microsoft? After all, most other sites they browse work fine in IE...

Re:Good luck with that MS (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636335)

Please note that I did say Write to the Standard.
MS handles the standard just as well as any other browser.

Re:Good luck with that MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636407)

All the web-standards are only sets of recommendations, you don't really have to comply if you want to make your web site available. If you want your web site to be available to wider user base, you have to handle it, you can't take MS to court for IE not complying to a set of recommendations.

Testing is key (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636453)

Please note that I did say Write to the Standard.
MS handles the standard just as well as any other browser.

That means nothing as to how a site works though, you can "write to standards" all day long, but it's very easy to misunderstand a standard, or to simply have bugs that only surface on one browser because THEY misunderstood standards. You still have to test even when "writing to standards".

Re:Testing is key (3, Informative)

SQLGuru (980662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636991)

Look up the various implementations of the standards for dealing with the offline manifest file. In this particular case, Mozilla actually caches the file (which defeats the purpose of having the offline manifest triggering updates) and Chrome and IE don't. You basically have to reconfigure your server to work around Mozilla's interpretation of the standard.

It's not only the definition of the standard, but the interpretation of the standard by each browser......and then the interpretation by the developer coding to a standard.

Re:Good luck with that MS (1)

nonicknameavailable (1495435) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636393)

Many websites have stopped supporting older versions of IE

Re:Good luck with that MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636635)

Ones that make money? Cite please.

Re:Good luck with that MS (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636713)

Go launch IE 6 and try to use it? That is my cite.

On VMWare IE 6 crashes on the default MSN news page within 30 seconds. Pretty bad if you ask me since MS makes it and even www.microsoft.com doesn't work properly in IE 6 anymore.

The rule I use is 5%. If you spend 50% of your time with 5% of the market it is time to ignore them and put a polite banner with links to later browsers asking them to upgrade to enjoy the latest features.

You need to draw the line somewhere and 40% to 50% of all customers who use IE 9/10 who do not support this standard is batshit crazy! IE 6 is another matter. IE 7 is going out of support too as it approaches the 5% number too.

Re:Good luck with that MS (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636993)

Ours. We only support IE 9+, any older and we'll send you Chrome Frame so we don't have have to worry about the stupidness that is IE 7/8.

Re:Good luck with that MS (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42637327)

Which site is that if you do not mind asking?

IE 8 seems a little earlier. Especially if you have business users. Even on the internet many sites still work better with IE 8 including Slashdot. Yes, they have standards, but when they see a string that says IE they feed old IE code.

Maybe slashdot.org can fix the comment threading in IE 9?

Re:Good luck with that MS (0)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636337)

Yeah, you tell that to your clients. See how long they remain your clients.

Re:Good luck with that MS (1)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636601)

Even if you were right (and you are not) many people consider "writing to the standards" to mean "it works in Chrome and Firefox" and this is definitely not what it means.

Re:Good luck with that MS (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42637037)

If you write to the standards you don't need to test in IE any more than any other browser.

Clients don't care if a site is standards-compliant, they care if their potential customers will look at their site and see a hot mess. If you can give them something attractive and standards-compliant, so much the better.

Re:Good luck with that MS (1)

evafan76 (2527608) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636229)

No one use IE any more.

Except there are many corporate intranets that are IE only. Hell, I've seen SharePoint 2010 instances that don't even play well with IE 9...

Re:Good luck with that MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636295)

No one use IE any more.

Except there are many corporate intranets that are IE only. Hell, I've seen SharePoint 2010 instances that don't even play well with IE 9...

The proper spelling is "ShartPoint" [urbandictionary.com]

Go to that link. Really. Watch the video of ShartPoint in action.

Re:Good luck with that MS (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636529)

I had FIrefox work just fine with Sharepoint 2010.

It makes me wonder how complex is sharepoint and what does it actually do? If you need a consultant to set it up and programmers to fiddle with it then of course teh guys at work only know IE7 and IE 8 would write the vbscript.

The ones I got to work were compliant and I sincerely hope it is not as complex as I mentioned above as this was Microsofts answer to wikipedia. It should be simple theoretically with templates right?

Re:Good luck with that MS (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636413)

You've lost the mobile war, you've lost the browser war and you're going to lose the OS war soon enough.

No one use IE any more.

You don't get out much. While it doesn't have the market share it once did a lot of organizations/companies still use it as their standard browser. It also isn't all that bad these days. I use all three major browsers but tend to use Chrome more than others, but IE is not going away any time soon.

Not IE only (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636065)

Chrome also supports the standard and can already interface with IE 10 [neowin.net] . WebRTC is not standardized as no one can agree on the exact implementation yet and no 2 browsers can work with it the same. Microsoft did submit this to the W3C with its implementation.

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can care to comment?

Due to Microsofts past with IE 6 and also them buying Skype I do feel a little skeptical. Is WebRTC really that difficult compred to the other one?

Re:Not IE only (3, Informative)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636631)

The issue MS has with WebRTC is that they cannot easily and reliably port the Skype protocol over to WebRTC because WebRTC is relatively high level. They propose lower level API that would allow more kinds of protocols to be implemented. They argue that higher level API would come through libraries. The WebRTC proponents argue that the core use case of WebRTC is browser to browser communication and as such the API should be higher level and if you want to do browser to Skype for example you are screwed. Frankly I think they are full of shit.

Re:Not IE only (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636687)

Which one of them? Both maybe? WebRTC?

Re:Not IE only (3, Informative)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636763)

The WebRTC guys. Lower level API makes more sense in this case for interop with existing apps. The WebRTC guys seem to think that everything should be in the browser anyway so other software be damned.

Re:Not IE only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636811)

SDP and SIP have severe interoperability shortcomings. Essentially, every vendor has their own minor variant of the standard. SDP reliant devices like VoIP phones frequently require a very large, kludgy software stack in order to interoperate with just popular SIP endpoints.

Microsoft's moves have not at all appeared to be some kind of attempt to leverage Skype, rather the opposite. I think Microsoft would like to replace a lot more of Skype's proprietary, spaghetti underpinnings with something standards based, and they have done the research to have a good direction to go. They would really like everyone else to get on board. Microsoft's distaste for all of the issues with SIP/SDP are one of the reasons they have largely not leveraged themselves as a VoIP vendor. The hoops that VoIP deployments require as far as validating customer hardware and software with upstream vendor hardware is ridiculous and is boxing businesses into a Cisco is the only remotely safe bet (even there, one must frequently pick hardware judiciously)

Re:Not IE only (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year and a half ago | (#42637313)

Microsoft's distaste for all of the issues with SIP/SDP are one of the reasons they have largely not leveraged themselves as a VoIP vendor.

Doesn't Lync (nee Office Communicator) use SIP for VoIP?

How shocking (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636071)

Are we supposed to be surprised by this?

Does anybody even care (3, Funny)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636083)

Does anybody even care what Microsoft does these days? They even seem to fail at being evil, though they still try.

Re:Does anybody even care (2, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636141)

Does anybody even care what Microsoft does these days? They even seem to fail at being evil, though they still try.

Yep. IE is still the most popular browser in the world. g.statcounter.com may say otherwise but others such as netappliances say 55% of everyone on the net including tablet and phone users use Internet Explorer.

Regardless you can't ignore it. If IE wont support it you can't use it PERIOD. Until IE gets below 5% marketshare no sane business will dare cut them off. IT would be like owning a restaurant and telling 1 out of 10 users to leave and go fuck themselves. You will be out of business fast.

So this is a big deal if MS is being evil or maybe brilliant if the standard actually works and Mozilla copies it. FYI webkit supports this standard too as Chrome already works with it as webRTC still has major hurdles.

Re:Does anybody even care (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636377)

IE is still the most popular browser in the world.

No it isn't, it fell off that perch years ago. Nobody uses Microsoft's browser by choice. Face it, Microsoft's sun is setting. Don't let the chair hit you on the way out.

Re:Does anybody even care (2, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636449)

IE is still the most popular browser in the world.

No it isn't, it fell off that perch years ago. Nobody uses Microsoft's browser by choice. Face it, Microsoft's sun is setting. Don't let the chair hit you on the way out.

I think statistics say otherwise [arstechnica.com] . Remember, most people do not hang out on slashdot and are into browsers. Ask any webmaster here who writes internet sites that average people or businesses use? They will say 50 to 60% still use IE. It still sets the standards if you want to be paid by anyone to attract users sadly.

Remember these users are grandmas, 40 year old moms, accountants in the office with locked computers, redneck Joe Six Packs, and little kids at home whose teacher showed them that little blue e = internet. Not techies. Which browser do you think they use? I give you a little hint? It is the one they are familiar with that they use at work or school. Sometimes they geeky smart nephew will introduce this foxfire thingie for many ... but not everyone.

Lets say people who are not grayhairs who hate change and are set in their ways decide to switch to Chrome? IE drops to say 10% of users! Can we still ignore it? Still a NO. Unless you want to use my example of telling 1 out of 10 customers to go screw themselves to a client who is paying you the answer is you support it. 5%? Then maybe you can put a polite banner with a link to Chrome or Firefox then.

Arstechnica, zdnet, slashdot, and engadget are a tiny minority. It is not like the 1990s when the internet was a geek thing.

Lets hope MS has technical reasons for this as Skype would be better support the w3c standard?

Re:Does anybody even care (1)

redneckmother (1664119) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636845)

Hmmm... I am a gray-haired, 50+, joe sixpack redneck, and I don't use MickeySoft at all. I prefer to have control of my purchases (including 'puters), and I support truly open standards.

Okay, I lied. Most nights, a six pack doesn't cut it for me. My native american name is "Ten Beers".

Re:Does anybody even care (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636593)

Sorry Bubba but I do use IE by choice. The 64bit on Win7-64 due to improved security and because the FF Devs gave out the excuse that there wasn't any 64bit plug-ins that mattered. WTF are they smoking as I want some of it. Seriously, Flash has be 64bit for 18+ months, thus their argument is bogus. Then they decided to completely stop work on the 64bit version of Firefox until we screamed load enough at them to get back to work. No, I use IE because Firefox stinks. For those area's where I need the add-on feature, I now use Palemoon64. It supports noscript, ghostery and my favorite down-them-all.

One of the main reasons I actually use IE for most of my browsing is the few sites I actually visit. IE works fine and I don't have to worry about the devs breaking something so badly that the site no longer works as has happened with Firefox. Another reason is that MS has actually tightened things up enough that w/o flash/Adobe Reader and Java, it's pretty damn secure along with stable while working quite well with MS websites.

Re:Does anybody even care (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636707)

Let me know how slashdot works with IE 9 on changing the comment threshold? I have to go into IE 8 compatibility mode to change it.

Also, IE 9 64 bit uses the older javascript compiler as in the IE 6 -8 one! Maybe that is why it worked for you? THat or it is not optimized and is as slow as IE 8 according to some users. If you must use IE 9 use the 32-bit version even though slashdot and a few other sites are not fully compatible with it yet. Hence, why the corps are sticking with IE 8.

IE 9 is much improved overall even if it has issues with some sites still.

Firefox has 32-bit support still because of plugins. Flash is one that you mentioned. Others are corporate oriented ones that are starting to replace their activeX counterparts. Many of them still use Java 1.4 as that is what Cisco routers seem to prefer which is one of the thorns that is keeping hte beancounters from leaving Windows XP. Those things cost hundreds of thousands to replace.

Re:Does anybody even care (1)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636643)

So how does the fact that "Nobody uses Microsoft's browser by choice" changes the fact that it is the most used browser in the world?

Also I use it by choice and know many people who do too.

How is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636091)

Hasn't MS always went its own way regarding standards and specifications?

Business as usual for Microsoft... (3, Informative)

SmoothTom (455688) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636101)

Microsoft has followed this path from the beginning with standards: Adopt, adapt, expand and control.

Always adding something "extra" so that other software that actually follows the standard doesn't work quite right with stuff built to Microsoft's "standard" so that the stuff built to actually follow the world standard looks inferior. :(
--Tomas

Re:Business as usual for Microsoft... (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636195)

Well, to be fair, ATM it's Microsoft trying to convince others to adopt and adapt to its proposed standard. There's every reason to be suspicious of MS's motives, but the company has released some technologies that have gained wide deployment and yet have not resulted in a botnet of lawsuits against developers companies attempting to write their own implementations. MS might be trying to turn its FAT filesystems into a cash cow, but the RTF spec is free for anyone to use.

This is pretty crazy... (1)

Dwedit (232252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636121)

This is pretty crazy...
Microsoft owns Skype. Skype's technology is half of the Opus codec. Opus is what WebRTC is supposed to use. So why isn't Microsoft all over this?

Re:This is pretty crazy... (3, Interesting)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636681)

According to some articles I've read it is very hard to port the Skype protocol (or other protocols) to WebRTC because WebRTC is relatively high level. MS's proposal is for a lower level API that would allow different protocols to be implemented over it including Skype. They argue that higher level API would be provided through libraries.

obligatory xkcd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636127)

I'm thinking the one where they make a new standard to unify the 15 older ones. I'm on my phone, please link.

Re:obligatory xkcd (3, Funny)

sideslash (1865434) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636247)

Here you go: comic [wikipedia.org]

Real Microsoft name for new spec (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636151)

FU-RTC-Web

big bear times are over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636153)

Microsoft no longer have "big bear" status and you don't need to play according MS rules anymore.

Maybe this is the reason (2, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636187)

WebRTC has Opus, the Open Source audio codec that can outperform MP3 and pretty much any audio codec*. It does seem that the proprietary OS industry will do anything they can to stop open codecs from being net standards.

* Anything but FLAC and Codec2 (because FLAC doesn't compress and Codec2 is voice-only and ultra-low-bandwidth).

Re:Maybe this is the reason (4, Informative)

stms (1132653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636313)

FLAC does compress it just uses lossless compression.

Re:Maybe this is the reason (0)

Bruce Perens (3872) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636391)

Yes. I am out of the habit of thinking of lossless as "real" compression, but I seem to be in the minority.

Re:Maybe this is the reason (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636727)

Yes. I am out of the habit of thinking of lossless as "real" compression, but I seem to be in the minority.

I have to ask why do you think like that? Do you view e.g. the compression method used by RAR/WinRar as not being "real" compression, even though it can achieve quite nice compression rates? Or bz2? Or 7zip? They're all lossless, they all have lots and lots and lots of math behind them, and implementing any single one of them isn't something that you can just do yourself in an hour or two. Or is it that you only view lossless compression as not being "real" compression when it comes to multimedia, as if the content somehow mattered how "real" one or another compression method is?

Re:Maybe this is the reason (1)

Smauler (915644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636995)

I think it comes from the fact that just about _everything_ uses compression now, by default. When was the last time you watched a video that was not compressed? I'll give you a hint... it's probably never. Image formats have used lossless compression forever, too - Windows 3.1 used Run length encoding [wikipedia.org] on bitmaps, for example. Obviously, GIFs and PNGs are lossless compressed.

There's a difference when you're using RAR/zip though. Lossy compression is pretty sub-optimal if you're compressing anything that has to run.

Re:Maybe this is the reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636361)

I'm pretty sure Microsoft and Apple both pay small fortunes in licensing fees to the Franhauser(sp?) Institute each year; and FTFA:

*snip*
Flexibility in its support of popular media formats and codecs as well as openness to future innovation – A successful standard cannot be tied to individual codecs, data formats or scenarios. They may soon be supplanted by newer versions that would make such a tightly coupled standard obsolete just as quickly. The right approach is instead to support multiple media formats and to bring the bulk of the logic to the application layer, enabling developers to innovate.
*unsnip*

Re:Maybe this is the reason (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636411)

One look at Opus [mozilla.org] is enough to convince me Microsoft is bullshitting. Opus was a collaboration by all stake holders involved.

Re:Maybe this is the reason (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636479)

WebRTC has Opus, the Open Source audio codec that can outperform MP3 and pretty much any audio codec*.

Hmm... I'd like to see solid evidence of this. Outperforming mp3 isn't difficult, obviously; but I had a hard time finding evidence it's been compared against anything but lower bit rate (e.g. 64kbps) AAC, for example. I'd like to see comparisons with both at 128 or higher, if this is really one codec to rule them all, so to speak, as seems to be the claim [octasic.com] .

In some ways the chatter around this seems similar to what went on with WebM. Being open source carries a lot of weight with people here on Slashdot, understandably; but that in and of itself doesn't equate to technical superiority.

Re:Maybe this is the reason (4, Informative)

yourlord (473099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42637309)

Bruce, Microsoft contributed the SILK codec used in Skype to the Opus project and released any related patents royalty free. I would have a hard time trusting MS if they told me the sky was blue, but they basically made the low bitrate capability of Opus legally doable.

As for those who are posting their scepticism about the opus codec's quality, the IETF standardised Opus as RFC 6716 and is making it a mandatory to implement codec for WebRTC based on it's proven performance at every applicable bitrate.

For quality comparison info:
http://opus-codec.org/comparison/ [opus-codec.org]

RFC 6716:
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6716 [ietf.org]

"the company believes".... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636191)

the company will make sure that WebRTC may not be as close to real standardization as its proponents might argue.

There, fixed it for you.

obligatory xkcd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636243)

http://xkcd.com/927/

Annoyingly, they're correct... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636269)

As it stands, WebRTC sucks. I was hoping to utilise it in a current R&D project, but even FF and Chrome have different implementations of it to the extent tha it fails at what it's supposed to do. As such, it's in danger of becoming another mutant web standard that simply isn't, just like HTML5 video...

Re:Annoyingly, they're correct... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636367)

I've been balls deep in WebRTC server-side implementation for 2 months, and oh my god THE HORROR. I'll try to keep this short.

A bunch of telephony stalwarts were brought together to come up with some standards for interoperable, extendable, browser-based real-time media communications. To achieve this aim, they've taken several dozen existing standards & RFCs, and extended / contorted / selectively ignored / creatively implemented them such that they've inherited two decades of digital telephony industry technical debt, gaining absolutely nothing in return.

The bar of implementation has been set so high and so complex the average would-be WebRTC-endpoint-compatible implementor has very little hope of achieving anything without wholesale drinking of the kool-aid. Forget lightweight implementations, and forget being able to innovate around the technology. They've focused purely on the peer-to-peer aspect, entirely neglecting anybody who might want to create more complex topologies and server-side functionality.

The W3C need to reassess their decision to burden everybody with finnicky, complicated, nuanced, potholed standards born in a different time, where connectivity, devices, usage patterns and scalability were all nothing like they are today. They need to take stock of the number of design decisions they've made which fundamentally break compatibility with other implementations of the standards they've chosen. They need to realise this is all completely pointless work: they could have truly revolutionised this shit, for fucks sake!

As for Microsoft's direction: they seem to be attempting to address a few of these issues, but they've also committed the sin of overcompicating the fuck out of it.

Re:Annoyingly, they're correct... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636895)

"they've inherited two decades of digital telephony industry technical debt, gaining absolutely nothing in return."

They gain interoperability with non-browser endpoints. There are multiple implementations of webrtc (Chrome, Firefox, Cisco, Ericsson). Interoperability is coming along, though not there yet.

As for slow standards process, sending delegations to slow things down does tend to do that. Tell Martin, Matthew, and Bernard to push forward instead of pulling back and it would get a good bit faster.

Re:Annoyingly, they're correct... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42637007)

They gain interoperability with non-browser endpoints
Had you actually any experience trying to do this, or had you actually read the rest of the comment, you would understand how untrue an assertion this actually is.

As for slow standards process
I said nothing about the speed of the process, only that it is indisputable that the path chosen was extremely inefficient, with very poor results concerning the original goals.

Re:Annoyingly, they're correct... (1)

Locutus (9039) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636419)

probably very much like HTML5 video since it was corporate greed which fractured the HTML5 video standard and allowed so many differing implementations. IIRC, Microsoft would not accept anything but the ability to use their own codecs so the spec didn't get cleaned up and it was allowed to be a mess.

Surely Microsoft was involved in the WebRTC spec but then again, for 20 something years they have opposed open standards and felt doing it their own way, and usually a Windows-only way, was how they played. This just sems like the same old Microsoft way of doing it.

The only thing is, they might still own the desktop but the big growth market is mobile and they are not even players on the same field. I mean doesn't RIM have more market share than Microsoft?

LoB

Re:Webkit supports both (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636559)

Chrome and IE 10 interact fine if you follow the link.

Yes, we can bash MS for being evil but the grandparent is right. It is an empty standard with no implementation and is a nightmare as a result.

If Mozilla supports it then we will use that. Netscape and IE supported non w3c standards back in the day aka quirks mode even though they did do things only each browser would do.

It looks like we might have another modern quirkmode in this if everyone supports it.

Re:Annoyingly, they're correct... (2)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42637059)

The ability to use differing codecs is how you allow a standard set in stone to remain relevant for longer than 30 seconds. As for HTML5 video, I'm not sure what you issue is with it, but our websites use it just fine.

Do you think it was stupid of the HTML spec to allow the img tag to use more than just .bmp? I for one am glad it allows .gif, .jpg, and .png as well. Each of those have their own strengths, and we use different formats depending on which format gives us the best experience. I don't see how this is different than HTML5 video.

So what's Microsoft playing at? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636331)

So have you not been paying attention for the last 20 years or what?

Same shit as usual. corrupt a standard, roll it into the os until it becomes the new standard.

Board Meeting at MSFT HQ (1, Funny)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636363)

"We think their standard is crap, so let's make our own"

"But, how will it work?"

"Lots of security holes. compatible with IE only, and make damn well sure that they can't remove it from the OS."

Great job, Microsoft, add another junk program that takes up our precious CPU.

Lots of FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636835)

More like

"We can't make a good product so how can we make other companies products appear to be bad"
"Let subvert the standard, create a shadow standard that's similar and incompatible and force it onto people with Windows"

Trouble is, the Windows franchise is in trouble, the most popular OS now is Android and its more important what Webkit supports than what IE supports.

hedging bets (1, Insightful)

nadaou (535365) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636409)

Microsoft believes that working on its proposal can shed light on how to solve certain problems such as handling changes in network bandwidth or keeping cellular and Wi-Fi connections open in parallel to allow easy failover from one to the other.

... and then patent the method before someone else does ...

So now not only will there be separate internets (2)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636493)

Now not only will we have separate internets for each country, so governments can decide what their people can see, but each company will have it's own proprietary browsers for their particular chunk of the internet. That is absolutely stupid, classic Microsoft! Can we change the name Steve to Wrong Way Ballmer since he keeps going the opposite direction as everyone else, invariably to Microsoft's chagrin?

Multi-Media on the Web is FUCKED (4, Interesting)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636597)

In the post Flash era we are taking HUGE steps back. In-browser support for Video Codecs are neither here nor there, where we quite literally have to encode to two or even three standards. But, at least we have Wowza that can stream to various standards and Codecs. Audio is no better, with Google and Apple are using the Web Audio API while Firefox is committed to the Audio Data API, which has NOTHING in common with the Webkit standard. And the built in audio player on the Android Browser? WHAT. A. FUCKING. JOKE. And of course Apple's "HTTP Live Streaming" is NOT at all suited for actual Live Streaming. The latency is terrible!

And then we have Real Time Communication, an area that Flash excelled at with and RTMP and AMF, as well as various servers such as FMS, Wowza and SmartFox capable of facilitating chat rooms, multi-player games, even MMORPGs.

Getting data and devices streaming FROM THE BROWSER just isn't there. The support is incomplete, undecided and very much in flux. We are quite literally still a few years out from a standard and usable platform across browsers. And now we have Microsoft wading in to offer what will surely be a typical Proprietary Solution only available to Microsoft Partners and Licensees.

Frankly, this rush to kill Flash has been a self-centered money grab to try to take away the video market from Adobe and HAS FUCKED the users, leaving them with a broken internet and competing standards.

The hype of HTML5 has been years coming, with Steve Jobs and legions of techies on slashdot and other sites calling for the death of Flash.
Yet here we are, years out and we don't have anywhere near what we had with Multi-Media and Real Time Communication in 2005 with Flash.

How anyone can sit here and look at the current state of affairs and not see it as a monumental clusterfuck that is HOLDING BACK the progress and innovation we were promised with HTML5 is beyond me.

Re:Multi-Media on the Web is FUCKED (1, Redundant)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636741)

Funny

I view Adobe as the evil money grab trying to destroy internet standards, GPL, hobbiests, and free operating systems.

Why? In 1999 Linux/FreeBSD was the ulitmate web development platform. So many tools and a cutting edge Netscape and Mozilla browsers, codecs (yes distros including them back then), and php modules galore. Today employers demand Adobe flash, adobe dreamweaver, adobe photoshop, adobe preimere, for any web development job. You need WIndows or Mac only to learn web development. Windows preferable as IE is standard.I have to pirate as I wont blow $2,000 to learn things and the cool tools of linux have to run on an ISP or another computer. That is messed up if you ask me.

Flash is terrible, insecure, hardware acceleration non existent on many platforms, non mobile friendly, and controlled by a corporation. HTML 5 is coming a long way but its a start.

Re:Multi-Media on the Web is FUCKED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636969)

For the exact same reason, I had been wondering why people tried/are still trying to kill Java instead of improving it altogether. And I came up with a pretty obvious conclusion that people are selfish, egotistic, and arrogant. If we knew how to cooperate with the others, the world would definitely be a much better place.

Re:Multi-Media on the Web is FUCKED (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42637245)

For the exact same reason, I had been wondering why people tried/are still trying to kill Java instead of improving it altogether. And I came up with a pretty obvious conclusion that people are selfish, egotistic, and arrogant. If we knew how to cooperate with the others, the world would definitely be a much better place.

We have HTML 5 and ajax to do just that. We do not own Adobe or Oracle. That is the difference. Java needs to die too. It had its chance but Sun and Oracle never improved it outside the 1990s and it is time to move on to something we own and control instead.

Re:Multi-Media on the Web is FUCKED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42637069)

+1

Re:Multi-Media on the Web is FUCKED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636959)

Yet here we are, years out and we don't have anywhere near what we had with Multi-Media and Real Time Communication in 2005 with Flash.

I don't have Flash, but my internet looks just the same. Well, I do run AdBlocker.

Media streaming is the clusterfuck (2)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42637039)

"How anyone can sit here and look at the current state of affairs and not see it as a monumental clusterfuck that is HOLDING BACK the progress and innovation we were promised with HTML5 is beyond me."

If you're going to rant about taking a huge step backward, look no further than media streaming. Media streaming, where every time you want to watch the SAME video you have to download it again, wastes bandwidth, a much more precious resource than the 32GB micro-SD card you slip into your smartphone, much less the 3TB hard disk in your PC.

You're right though about "vested" interests preventing the progress of technology, from energy production to file sharing to medicine.

Re:Media streaming is the clusterfuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42637275)

More precious how? My hard drive doesn't magically increase in size and I can download a youtube video once, twice or fifty times for the same monthly price. In fact, I'd fill my disk before I hit my monthly traffic cap.

Re:Multi-Media on the Web is FUCKED (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42637291)

I have news for you.

  Adobe does not set the standards.

Fuck them and there monopoly. Yes monopoly. How is this different saying Firefox is ruining the standards that we all agreed upon by Microsoft with IE 6? Yes, I remember such posts saying we sucked as supporting anything non IE would double development efforts and how W3C was broken anyway.

Thank you for HTML 5 and CSS 3. It is not perfect but in the coming years we can start to have real freedom without having to use Adobe products that are out of reach for young people or anyone not rich to learn how to develop websites. Adobe has caused a lot of harm and flash is the problem. Not the solution.

The REAL reason? (4, Insightful)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636627)

How about the REAL reason Microsoft went their own way?

Because they want to control the plan form so that if they successfully gain traction, they can start locking everyone else out. Just like they do with everything else.

WebRTC isn't just browsers. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636711)

WebRTC isn't just for browsers, but ATAs [obihai.com] is well.

...and here we are again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42636823)

Of course they are going to create their own standard.....

Plugin vs. built-in (2)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636919)

Why should *any* codec at all be built in?

Make them ALL plugins. For really popular formats, just ship the plugin with the browser by default. Browsers are bloated enough as they are - trim the binary down to the minimum possible, and only load the plugins when they are needed. This also forces the browser developer to optimize the codec plugin path well enough to stream live video, instead of optimizing the builtins and leaving the plugin ones with half-baked support.

It would also allow users to remove support for formats they don't like/want/need. Apple fans could delete everything except aac, Microsofties could delete everything except their own. RMS could delete all the non-'Free' ones.

OMG ! MS being a asshat, unbelievable ! (1)

musmax (1029830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42636987)

said no one, ever.

Microsoft VML failed, they'll fail again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42637301)

Microsoft submitted Vector Markup Language to the W3C. The standard that came out was SVG with SMIL integration.
Not only did Microsoft not implement SVG in IE6 at that point, they came out with a bastardised version of SMIL called "HTML + Time". Remember that? How well did that go? That's right, every other browser now has SMIL integrated SVG except IE.

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