A Flurry of Open Source Video-Related News

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 08, 2008

There are a number of new moves afoot regarding video formats and standards for open source browsers and operating systems. Last week, we covered comments from Sridhar Vembu, CEO of AdventNet/Zoho, about how improved Javascript in Google's Chrome browser could be a threat to both Adobe's Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight. Meanwhile, the new alpha version of Mozilla's upcoming Firefox browser update has HTML 5 video support, and One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) has entered a partnership to to advance the open source video format Ogg.

Mozilla is expected to deliver Firefox 3.1 within weeks, and there is already buzz being generated about the browser's HTML 5 browser support. According to ITWire, video features are "probably the most hyped and certainly the most highly-anticipated features of the forthcoming HTML 5 specification--not least because it allows for far more compelling video manipulation than Flash has at the moment." You can get a sense for how HTML 5 weaves video functionality in with HTML tags here.

In our story last week, Sridhar Vembu, CEO of AdventNet/Zoho, had this to say about Google's Chrome and its impact on Javascript and video formats:

"The biggest losers in Google's announcement are not really competing browsers, but competing rich client engines like Flash and Silverlight. As Javascript advances rapidly, it inevitably encroaches on the territory currently held by Flash. Native browser video is likely the last nail in the coffin — and Google needs native browser-based video for its own YouTube; so we can be confident Google Chrome and Firefox will both have native video support, with Javascript-accessible VOM (video object model) APIs for web applications to manipulate video."

Meanwhile, One Laptop Per Child has partnered with French video company Daily Motion to advance the open source video format Ogg. OLPC systems don't support Flash, and it is likely that Ogg will become the native video format on them.

All of this points to some shakeups in how video is handled and distributed in several prominent open source applications and platforms. I've got my eyes on Firefox 3.1 and the HTML 5 video support. That should be one of the biggest improvements in version 3.1, and should allow more flexibility in how video is handled on the web.