Commons uses the freely-licensed Ogg and WebM formats
<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:File_types#Sound> for media
files; unfortunately these are not supported by default in Safari and
Internet Explorer, as Apple and Microsoft favor a competing format. Manual
codec installation goes against modern user expectations, and isn't
possible in some environments.
I've spent some research time working on ogv.js
<https://github.com/brion/ogv.js>, which uses Mozilla's emscripten
<http://emscripten.org/> and Adobe's CrossBridge
<http://adobe-flash.github.io/crossbridge/> to cross-compile the Ogg Vorbis
Ogg media in the browser without additional software installation.
Here's a live demo wiki with ogv.js embedded into the player widget:
On Firefox, Chrome, or Opera you'll continue to get native Ogg or WebM
Ogg player, and on IE 9/10/11 you get the Flash Ogg player. (Microsoft
lists Web Audio as "in development <http://status.modern.ie/webaudioapi>"
for future IE versions, which will enable use of the pure JS version there
This is very much a work in progress, but I'm pretty confident this is
something we can deploy later this year to get basic A/V playback to "just
work" for another chunk of our users.
I'll be presenting some further status updates & related topics at my
Note that the Flash code used for IE is entirely open-source and uses none
of the proprietary multimedia codecs built into Flash. I consider this a
delightfully subversive use of Flash, and it would please me no end to get
it deployed on Wikimedia. :)