Open Video

Just the other day I was complaining that Ogg Theora/Vorbis hasn’t really proven itself and achieved market penetration to the point where people will still care about it in several years. My concern with less popular file formats is that data is lost forever if future computing can’t view it. Popularity, while it may not be fair does help encourage it. For example I can still open up old WordPerfect files easier than I can Professional Write files (trip down memory lane anyone?)

I’m thrilled to see a push for open video. Better encoders and decoders along with working with the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia’s use of Theora can be very influential) will hopefully provide a boost for these formats which tends to be a cyclical trend once it gains momentum.

Wikipedia’s Multimedia Push

Wikipedia is gearing up for a bigger multimedia push. It’s text based data is rather solid as the world knows, but media wise it’s most photos and even in that respect isn’t as well covered as it could be.

An even bigger concern is what format should this all be stored in so that this data is still relevant and useful in 10 years or more. I don’t see a problem with reading JPEG, MPEG2, MPEG4, MP3, in the next 10 years though I do wonder if some of the lesser known formats might disappear from computing. While I like Ogg Vorbis, it hasn’t really proven itself in my mind that it can penetrate and achieve enough market share for people to care about it in several years. VP6 (used in Flash prior to H.264) will likely be available assuming On2 Technologies is still around or the patent expired (no idea when that is).

One thing that strikes me is that it would really be ideal for it to partner with Internet Archive. They have already started the efforts to document and digitalize lots of media. While Internet Archive’s main goal is to archive, while Wikipedia is to “freely share in the sum of all knowledge”, it seems that there is still significant common ground.

That said, as the Internet itself becomes the record for many things in Wikipedia, the Internet Archive’s WayBackMachine may also become a relevant common ground.