[Foundation-l] Re: [Wikitech-l] File format policy

Erik Moeller erik_moeller at gmx.de
Sun Feb 12 10:23:24 UTC 2006

Gregory Maxwell:
> I think that is a *terrible* idea, and I also believe that you're not
> telling the complete story about the complaints about this video: The
> uploader was trying to be helpful and put a note about using
> RealPlayer on the image description page (rather than the more
> carefully thought out text from our media help page).  Most of the
> objections were to real player, it seems that the Windows version is
> perceived as carrying malware. Once it was pointed out that the video
> did not require real player and that it was no different from other
> videos the objections were mostly removed.

Yes, there were misunderstandings -- that doesn't change the facts: that 
Windows does not support Ogg Theora natively, that Theora in particular 
is Alpha software, that we've had many reports of problems with playback 
of both Theora and Vorbis, and that I've been specifically asked by one 
of the concerned users to bring this up. I'm a huge supporter of free 
formats -- I bought an iRiver a while ago only because it supports 
Vorbis, and I exclusively encode audio files in this format -- but we do 
have to keep usability in mind.

Many PC users who access Wikipedia will not be able to follow complex 
instructions to set up new video or audio codecs. When it comes down to 
it, the question is whether some people will be able to view our content 
or not. A dual format policy strikes me as a reasonable compromise.

> We already have had enough problems with Windows executibles being
> renamed .ogg and uploaded, we really shouldn't make it worse by
> actually permitting them.

I don't understand - what does my suggestion have to do with Windows 

> So how long until the suggestion that our article text be distrubted
> in encrypted dupliation locked ebook format?

Neither MP3 nor MPEG-4 necessarily use DRM, and of course we wouldn't 
use or allow DRM for these formats, so I fail to see the slippery slope. 
We're talking about supporting the most widely used file formats for 
audio and video compression. That does not strike me as a radical blow 
against freedom.


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