A Video Tale

Once upon a time there was a sad little digital video file. She had no dress to attend the Web Browser Ball!

Sir Rob of Seattle said “I’ll save you! My dress will give you innovative capability, where anyone can publish, and anyone can see. And, best of all, it’s Progressive!”

The sad little digital video file said “Oh thank you, Sir Rob of Seattle! You have truly innovated! I shall be happy to wear your dress to the ball!”

Then a little apple said “You should wear my dress, because it gives you practical production support — everyone already edits video in a quick time. And, oh, one more thing, I’m very stylish.”

The sad little digital video file said, “Oh, thank you, little apple! Now I have two dresses to choose among, but at least I have standard authoring tool support! And yes, I do think you are very stylish.”

A cube-like borg suddenly appeared! “oh we have that too. but, better. be-cause” (and here the borg hovered closer and whispered, as best it could) “only rich people see the apple’s dress! your dress must be seen by commoners too! so… so… so… so… starting installation now.”

The sad little digital video file grew concerned. “Oh! Now I have three marvelous dresses, how shall I wear them all? Some will want to see me in this gown, others in those shoes, some will want to see me in this hat, oh dear what shall I do?”

The sad little digital video file grew sadder and sadder, as she thought of some people at the ball not seeing her dress.

But just then a flash of red zipped into the room! “You’ve got a problem, I understand, and think I can help. Here, examine this dress — it gives you innovative capability, a full ecosystem of production support, and everyone can see it, no hassle. All the problems of the past will disappear, and you’ll see an explosion of video on the Web. Have fun! Bye!” And zoom he sped off!

The sad little digital video file’s eyes grew wide as she said “Wow, yes, there is an explosion of video on the Web! No one’s disenfranchised, everyone can create, and those handy HTML page addresses can hold every video I’d like to distribute! ooh, a webcam, metadata support, and a pixel-shader language and oh gosh this is fun! I’ll wear the dress from the flash of red!”

And the Web Browser Ball was a beautiful affair, and the sad little digital video file was sad no longer.

But — when she got home — she found King Gecko the Righteous booming from behind the bushes. “You should switch to my dress because it is not proprietary. Proprietary, proprietary, proprietary. Proprietary! The proprietary proprietariness of the open web is itself proprietary, and therefore non-proprietary proprietarituitude is the only correct way to propitiate the proprietary proprietarienesses, and of course it goes without further elaboration that the basic proprietary nature of the proprietary implies further proprietary proprietarienieties, and wait give it up for me developers-developers-proprietary-developers, means more proprietary proprietaries for proprietarily proprietarying you, you, you… you proprietary proprietar, you!”

The now-happy little digital video file thought King Gecko the Righteous rather strange.

But, smiling, she went inside to sleep, after her wonderful, wonderful night, all at the Web Browser Ball.

[I'll update this post with a link when the FAQ from the video team goes live. I agree with the desirability of a patent-unencumbered codec, but just think the level of rhetoric is rather high.]