Re: [rtcweb] Opinions are fine, bypassing a vote is not (was: H.261)

Stefan Slivinski <> Sat, 23 November 2013 16:58 UTC

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From: Stefan Slivinski <>
To: cowwoc <>, "" <>
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2013 10:50:02 -0600
Thread-Topic: [rtcweb] Opinions are fine, bypassing a vote is not (was: H.261)
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Opinions are fine, bypassing a vote is not (was: H.261)
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As an individual with a deep background in video compress and someone who works for a company that builds products across a wide variety of architectures that do indeed incorporate H.261, I am in a good position to voice my technical knowledge as it relates to H.261.  I have nothing personal against H.261, it was a great technology when it was ratified and for many years after but it is no longer.  I don't think anyone wants H.261, they are simply pushing for it out of frustration about the lack of consensus regarding H.264/VP8.  

The reality is the concerns raise over the license terms with H.264 are valid, some people might be taking things to the extreme but regardless they need to be addressed.  There is IMO a lot of FUD floating around here, most of it is probably unintentional but in any event we need more accurate information.  I have setup a meeting with our patent attorney's to get their perspective on some of the licensing concerns raise as they relate to H.264 in the hopes of getting a more accurate analysis.

-----Original Message-----
From: rtcweb [] On Behalf Of cowwoc
Sent: Friday, November 22, 2013 11:00 PM
Subject: [rtcweb] Opinions are fine, bypassing a vote is not (was: H.261)

This post is not meant to target Stefan specifically. It is a general statement based on what I've noticed over the past 200+ posts on this topic.

I am ... concerned ... by the apparently attempt by certain individuals to have options removed ahead of a possible vote. It is one thing to explain your opinion in order to encourage/discourage people from voting for it. It is another matter to imply that an option is a "waste of time" because only a "vocal minority" seems to care about it or that "given the choice between what you are proposing and X, most developers would prefer X". If no one is in favor of H.261 "except for a vocal minority" or "most developers would prefer X" then you have nothing to worry about. Let the community vote and see where the chips land. I don't think it's safe to rely on "vocal minorities" to gauge what the community at large prefers. The only way to find out is to ask them (and that's what the vote is all about).

Everyone should be free to express their opinion for/against an option, but no option should be removed ahead of a vote.

Just my 2 cents.


On 22/11/2013 4:14 PM, Stefan Slivinski wrote:
> Why don't we add the "must support both H.264 and VP8 decode and must support at least one of H.264 or VP8 encode" to the list of options and ask for a show of hands as to what people are in favor of.  This would be non-binding, simply a status check.  Maybe no one is in favor of H.261 except for a vocal minority in which case we're wasting time arguing about it.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: rtcweb [] On Behalf Of Basil 
> Mohamed Gohar
> Sent: Friday, November 22, 2013 12:57 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [rtcweb] H.261
> On 11/22/2013 03:44 PM, Stefan Slivinski wrote:
>> Thank you for the link.
>> The point I'm trying to make is H.261 will harm the proliferation of webrtc far more than it will help.  This is purely a technical argument speaking to quality and error resiliency.
>> Has anyone listed the concerns surrounding H.264 and have these been raised with mpeg-la to see if they can make adjustments to the license agreement.  They have certainly done so in the past.
> Believe it or not, the MPEG-LA is currently trying to establish a royalty-free subset of H.264 called "Constrained Baseline Profile", which is very similar to the most commonly-used subset of H.264 features out there.
> The problem is, it's not done yet, and there's no indication whether or not it will be successful or not.  This would require all existing stakeholders in H.264 licensing to agree to this royalty-free variant for it to matter.
> There's another effort to do the same with one using MPEG-1 as a base.
> The problem is, none of these formally exist in royalty-free forms as of yet.  Everything else we've discussed, though, does, including H.261.
> And, for what it's worth, I disagree about H.261.  Yes, H.264 and/or VP8 (and a whole list of other codecs) will look *better*, but I think being able to communicate via video over H.261 is better than not being able to all.
> And we are at a point where "not at all" is going to happen because the WG is effectively split over using VP8 and H.264.
> --
> Libre Video
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