Steve Jobs email dismisses VP8 video codec

Apple boss Steve Jobs has dismissed Google's much-trumpeted open source video codec by referring to a technical analysis written by a third-year college student.

According to Apple Insider, the Messaianic chief Macolyte was asked what he thought of the VP8 WebM video in an email, to which Steve simply replied with a link to a posting on Jason Garret-Glaser's Diary Of An x264 Developer blog.

From what we can tell, what Jason (aka Dark Shikari) doesn't know about video decoding probably isn't worth knowing, and he pretty roundly castigates the VP8 code for being poorly doucumented, badly written, slow and buggy. He also questions whether the codec is really open source and suggests that the patent trolls are currently waiting to pounce as soon as the standard gets a foothold. "VP8 copies way too much from H.264 for anyone sane to be comfortable with it, no matter whose word is behind the claim of being patent-free," said Glaser.

Glaser's in-depth analysis of the codec's strengths and weaknesses bemoans the code's lack of proper adaptive quantization, lack of B-frames, lack of an 8×8 transform, and its non-adaptive loop filter.

As we reported yesterday, some of the biggest names in the tech world - including chip makers the likes of ARM, Nvidia, MIPS, and Texas Instruments, and browser builders Mozilla and Opera - are queueing up to support the project.

Perhaps they would do well to take note of Glaser's conclusion which warns, "VP8 is not ready for prime-time; the spec is a pile of copy-pasted C code and the encoder’s interface is lacking in features and buggy. They aren’t even ready to finalise the bitstream format, let alone switch the world over to VP8.

"With the lack of a real spec, the VP8 software basically is the spec–and with the spec being 'final', any bugs are now set in stone. Such bugs have already been found and Google has rejected fixes."

Either Jobs doesn't like the sound of that, or he spends too many late nights noodling about on the Interweb.