Unofficial Firefox Build with H.264 Support

I’ve written about the battle for a standard video codec for the web repeatedly, with a special emphasis on the need for that codec to be open and unencumbered. Mozilla has made a principled stand on the issue, specifically excluding support for the proprietary H.264 codec in Firefox. I happen to agree with their decision, another reason why I am still a very proud Firefox user.

On the other hand, I do emphasize with your typical user who may not understand why a browser recommended to them for speed, features and security won’t access a still substantial portion of the rich media on the web. For those users, there is now Wild Fox, a build of the browser that specifically does include H.264. As the author notes, there are many countries where the software patents tied up in H.264 are simply not an issue. This build not only allows users otherwise ignorant of the battle for a video standard as well as those unaffected by software patents to have their cake and eat it too.

I am still a bit conflicted on the idea of the build, even though I can see its legitimate purpose and uses. I think we will need some pretty radical action, like pushing much harder for content sites to support Ogg Theora and/or VP-8 and trying to make a dent in the high usage statistics for H.264 online through outright boycott to see even equal consideration for open and unencumbered options.

One Reply to “Unofficial Firefox Build with H.264 Support”

  1. If the web moves decisively toward h264, I will sadly move with it. Firefox is still my main browser, but my loyalty only goes as far as they provide a superior web experience. Been using Firefox since even before it went 1.0 stable so it’s a sad state of affairs.

    (tongue in cheek) However, thank god for IE 6,7,8 for retarding internet development. HTML 5 players are still relatively rare largely (I believe) b/c of IE’s market share thus I can continue to use Firefox at least until IE 9 comes out.

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