22 January 2014

MP4 and Wikipedia

Last week when I read about the request for comments on Wikimedia supporting MP4 video I wasn't at my computer, so I couldn't vote and later forgot about it. My position here is simple: supporting proprietary and encumbered formats can only harm the open web, so Wikipedia and all the other Wikimedia websites endorsing it would be a huge blow for the openness and community, so I strongly oppose. However, I acknowledge a lot of the existing devices produce content in such formats, so I guess a reasonable compromise would be allowing such uploads but then transcode the videos in open formats and serve those for viewing.

Today I was reminded about the issue by a message on some Wikimedia mailing list by a message worded in such way, I can easily label as "pro MP4 spam". It was a good incentive for me to finally answer the RFC/vote.

Still, I am disturbed to see a "product manager" at Wikimedia Foundation campaigning for MP4, especially when the public opinion is strong against it (at this moment it records 251 votes for no support, votes for contributing only, no view and only 132 for full support, so more than 2:1).


  1. quote from the page "MP4 (also referred to as H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10 or AVC)".

    openh264 is still patent encumbered and can't be freely distributed in many parts of the world.