Idealism vs. Pragmatism: Mozilla Debates Supporting H.264 Video Playback

Ryan Paul, at Ars Technica:

Google’s major investment in advancing its unencumbered VP8 codec gave open Web advocates hope that H.264 could still be displaced, but it hasn’t happened. The lack of follow-through from Google on its promise to remove H.264 from Chrome has eroded faith in the search giant’s ability to popularize VP8. Gal says that it’s no longer feasible to wait for the open codec to gain additional traction. “Google pledged many things they didn’t follow through with and our users and our project are paying the price,” he wrote. “H.264 wont go away. Holding out just a little longer buys us exactly nothing.” John Gruber commented on this article in a post today: “Idealism vs. Pragmatism” is exactly what’s going on here. Because as time goes on, the practical arguments in favor of supporting WebM exclusively over H.264 are looking worse and worse. No one is serving WebM. Everyone is serving H.264. And while Mozilla is both talking the talk and walking the walk with regard to their ideals regarding open video, their supposed partner Google is merely talking the talk, shipping a wildly popular browser (Chrome) and mobile platform (Android) that fully support H.264.