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 we think 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.

115 comments for “Video, user experience and our mission”

  1. 1

    phedledge said on May 28th, 2012 at 10:11 pm: Fantastic stories, keep them coming 🙂 This is the initial time i have commented, b¨´t i have been lurking for a even though.

  2. 2

    foro relojes said on June 1st, 2012 at 5:49 pm:

    Commented through Mozilla!

  3. 3

    phedledge said on June 1st, 2012 at 6:50 pm:

    kasbajuki foruntaly that is really a good idea more savii

  4. 4

    phedledge said on June 3rd, 2012 at 9:00 pm: – zetaclear versus fungisil all about building Facebook Fan-pages I would do the same thing
    Once you find your main category will be asked to define a sub-category. Going through this process of sorting your fans help you find the page when performing a search fan page. Then (according to their sub-category) will have to provide the fan page name, address, website, and any other relevant information. You also have to agree with the terms of use which is very similar to the standard personal Facebook page, but also says you have the legal right to represent whoever the fan page is about.

  5. 5

    работа said on June 5th, 2012 at 8:17 am:

    хороший материал

  6. 6

    TataOritameJX said on June 11th, 2012 at 8:33 am:

    You could invest in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign – if you’re going to pay for advertising at all. But anyone who has tried to find a good keyword with competition that isn’t overwhelming, then register a dot com domain for it, knows all too well that finding that keyword unregistered is akin to winning millions on the lottery. – this

  7. 7

    Pingback from Mozilla 将拥抱 H.264 | PHP |

    […] Web使命相矛盾。Mozilla主席Mitchell Baker和CEO Brendan Eich承认, […]

  8. 8

    Cüneyt said on June 22nd, 2012 at 3:44 pm:

    Detaylı bir anlatım olmuş.Eline sağlık.

  9. 9

    Pingback from Cómo incluir un vídeo en un blog de wordpress » Blog OpenAlfa

    […] será soportado […]

  10. 10

    Pingback from Flash Player for Android: Adobe calls time, declares it dead – Lucrative blog

    […] Google has been trying to edge some of that out with its WebM video format, but even Mozilla decided to throw in the towel and adopt H.264 despite its patent […]

  11. 11

    Piotr said on August 29th, 2012 at 9:50 pm:

    I expected this feature for Firefox 15… when is this coming out? When will it be launched?

  12. 12

    Hank said on November 14th, 2012 at 11:26 am:

    About damn time!

    Thank You Mozilla! Maybe I will start using Firefox again.

  13. 13

    Daniel said on September 29th, 2013 at 6:15 am:

    Great program!I have 2 gilechts (or I don’t know what I’m doing issues), both in Options/Time Format/Custom format for the tooltip.1) Preview isn’t live, and isn’t a preview. Eg if code contains , when the preview catches up all that is shown is [colbreak]. When first installed there are three default time zones and they need to shown in the preview. As the workaround is to press Apply and hover over your icon, the easiest fix might be to remove the Preview!2) I’m attempting to code this information :The information after is identical to one of the standard formats and is left justified. That’s the way I’ve always used it up to now. The code and daylight saving data (3 to 5 characters) is to the left of , and is right justified. I want it left justified. I tried adding another to the start, but that effectively disables the second and the data just runs together. SUGGESTION:Foxclocks is marvellous because it is ideal for two purposes (I only use the tooltip hover mode to avoid clutter).1) A shortlist of timezones that one works with regularly (generally a short list);2) A general reference tool (a long list).The use of Foxclocks for both purposes simultaneously would be greatly enhanced if the formatting of individual status bar clocks could be extended to tooltip entries (eg make entries used most bold, and/or a different colour).Thanks

  14. 14

    Concetta said on February 6th, 2014 at 1:17 pm:


  15. 15

    Merrill said on February 7th, 2014 at 1:28 pm:


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