Will Open Source Video Finally Kill Adobe Flash? Steve Jobs May Be Sorry What He Wished For

Open source video is poised to kill off Flash in HTML 5, but Steve Jobs may not be as happy as you would think

All the buzz is that HTML5 will signal the death knell for Adobe Flash. Many would say good riddance, especially Apple's Steve Jobs, whose steadfast refusal to support the technology has left many iPhone users with a crippled web browsing experience (including this blogger). But Jobs should be careful of what he wishes for. The eventual winner of the HTML5 video standards debate could be an open source standard. This will leave Jobs and his black box, closed system henchman in Cupertino in a bind.

The Open Video Alliance yesterday announced a Lets Get Video On Wikipedia campaign. Wikipedia supports an open video format which is in contention to be supported in HTML5.  If so, folks could use open source tools like Kaltura (open source video publishing platform) and Miro (open source video and bit torrent client) to play video right in most web pages. No more Adobe. BTW, both Miro and Kaltura teamed with the Open Video Alliance in bringing the lets get video on Wikipedia campaign going. Also Mozilla Drumbeat is a supporting member of the campaign.

You can watch a video about The Open Video Alliance:

The OVA describes their mission as:

As internet video matures, we face a crossroads: will technology and public policy support a more participatory culture—one that encourages and enables free expression and broader cultural engagement? Or will online video become a glorified TV-on-demand service?

Open Video is a movement to promote free expression and innovation in online video through open standards, open source, and open content.

Readers, don't think the irony is lost on me that we are using the non-open source YouTube to play this video on why video should be open. But that is what open standards are all about I guess.

Theora is the open video standard that Wikipedia, Kaltura and Miro support. As I mentioned it is one of the contenders for the video tag in HTML5. However, opposition to it is coming from an unexpected source. You would think Steve Jobs and the Apple crew would be doing back flips about a viable alternative to Flash. But that is not the case evidently.

The Apple team says Theora doesn't have what it takes to run video on the mobile web. With HTML5 specs not finalized they are against any specific codec being in the HTML. I think open source is as repulsive to Apple as Flash is. I think "video for the iPhone won't be done, until only Apple will be able to run".

In the meantime iPhone users will watch with video envy as our Android friends run videos other than YouTube and we are shut out of both Flash and open source video.

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