Media plugin

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We aim to make it easy for the average user to view videos on Wikimedia projects. The problem is that Wikimedia—to avoid any licensing issues—have to use an open format which, for now, is highly unusual to the large majority of users.

This page explores ways to help the average user see Wikimedia videos.


Google plugin?[edit]

So google has recently released a video player plugin for Windows. The plugin is a modified version of VLC media player with, if I understand correctly,

  • a much better installer - no fiddling around to get the plugin installed
  • some minor crippling to only let the player view stuff on

Interesting... Now two days after, the famous DVD Jon releases a trivial patch which removes the crippling, and leaves us with an easy-to-install plugin for the masses.

So my question is, why don't we endorse this as the official Wikimedia video plugin? That is, why don't we create links to this player, special download pages to make it easy for Wikimedia people to get it? Then we have something that we can tell people to download so that they can watch ogg theora files in their browser. We could even do like google and rebrand the player to say "Wikimedia".

Making this kind of stuff easy for the average user would a go long way in supporting our official Video policy.

VLC download page[edit]

The VLC download page needs to be simplified. Right now, there are big blobs of text to scroll through, and a bunch of different versions to choose from (operating system choice). It would be useful to simplify the download process a lot.

See for the proof of concept.

Cortado streaming applet[edit]

There's an open-sourced, free Java applet for streaming Ogg Theora video (which is the recommended video format for Wikipedia). This applet works even on older Java runtimes (e.g. the Microsoft one that used to ship with Internet Explorer) and has been used to stream several live events with good success.

If the user has Java installed he can enjoy embeded video without installing anything.

See [1] for overall information and [2] to see how it's embeded into a webpage.

Help pages[edit]

The help pages give too many choices and not enough solutions. We should work on simplifying the page so that the user only has to click on the big, very prominent "Download" link without plowing through reams of text. We have to find a way to do this without stepping on the toes of people who are attached to their favourity media players, or who think that more choice is always necessarily better.


  • 20:10, 2 August 2005 (UTC) : Amgine has gotten the OS detection stuff working. Kowey has modified it to detect SunOS correctly (by sacrificing some OS9 detection, not necc for VLC anyway), and to provide the user with a VLC download link. The next step is to make it so that people can write their own text for the download link (i.e. localisation) -- Kowey
  • 02:51, 1 August 2005 (UTC) : There is a working browser OS detection at pleonasm, it has yet to be integrated into an extension. - Amgine
  • User:Amgine and User:Kowey (well, mostly Amgine) are working to develop a special VLC download page that automatically detects the user's OS and proposes the right version of VLC to download accordingly. This should somewhat simplify the VLC install process, which brings us closer to the goal of making it easy for users to watch wikimedia video.

Future directions[edit]

  1. Endorse it and make it easy for the average user to download (current work)
  2. Get VLC to make their download page a bit user friendlier (this might not be so high priority; if we have our own download link, then we can play around with things like localisation that VLC probably do not have the manpower to do)
  3. Extend it so that Mac users have a plugin too
  4. Make this plugin "official"
    • rebrand the google browser into a wiki video browser (this gives recognisability - we just tell people to go get the wikivideo browser)
    • OR get VLC to make sure their version of the browser is just as user friendly (installer included) as google's
    • OR convince google to uncripple their player (probably better than rebranding it ourselves)

See also[edit]