BBC Trust backs calls for Linux iPlayer
OSC hails positive meeting
Exclusive The BBC Trust met with the Open Source Consortium (OSC) yesterday to discuss the controversy raised by the BBC's iPlayer, which will only work on Windows XP.
The Trust expressed surprise at the strength of feeling raised by the issue and promised to take it up with senior BBC management. The BBC Trust oversees the BBC and: "ensures the BBC provides high quality output and good value for all UK citizens ".
OSC president Mark Taylor told The Register: "We are very pleased with what was a very positive meeting. The trust was keen to remind us of the BBC's commitment to platform neutrality in general and its commitment to making the iPlayer equally platform neutral. But they were unable to explain how this was going to happen."
A meeting between the OSC, the trust, and senior BBC management is being arranged to discuss this.
A spokeswoman for the BBC Trust gave us the following statement:
The BBC Trust had a useful and constructive meeting with the Open Source Consortium. The meeting provided an opportunity to hear the OSC's concerns and explain what action the trust has taken to ensure that the new BBC iPlayer becomes platform neutral as soon as possible.
Officials reiterated that the BBC Trust is fully committed to users of both the Linux and Mac operating systems having full use of the BBC iPlayer. However, the trust is aware that achieving this is dependent on the actions of third parties outside the BBC's control. It was a condition of approval for the BBC's on-demand services that platform neutrality be achieved within a reasonable period.
The Trust will audit the BBC's progress against this objective every six months and publish its findings. The trust welcomed the OSC's offer of help to establish an open-source, cross-platform solution, and offered to facilitate a meeting between the OSC and BBC management. The trust will meet the OSC again after the first six-monthly review of progress.
The iPlayer is due to launch on 27 July. ®
No technical reason for this not to happen.
I can tell you that the video format plays in VLC and mplayer.
Also the DRM has been cracked already.
Trust me when I say I know this because I have legally tested it.
You know what I mean. ;-)
Jeeze, what a lot of fuss. Here are some FACTS:
Hot air and misinformed opinion.There's so much of it in this discussion it could power a small city.
Why whine about OS choice?
The BBC chose a solution with the available DRM facilities to keep the content owners happy on day 1, and the biggest catchment of licence payers - over 80% of UK PC users currently have XP 32bit.
Why whine about not being able to use it 'cos you're a Linux user/Mac fanboy AND a licence payer?
Do you suppose the BBC should only ever do something new if they can guarantee that every last licence payer will benefit from the off? Get real. Think about the digital switchover for a start. They should be obliged to keep the analogue signal on-air because some poor sods in the middle of nowhere can't get a digital signal? I think not. Smell the coffee folks.
Why whine about the application?
The BBC didn't WRITE the iPlayer, they are using an EXISTING application (the same one as Sky, Channel 4 and others). Writing one from scratch would have seen the BBC crucified for spending licence money on systems development when a working alternative was readily available.
Why whine about the use of Microsoft components?
Along the way, the iPlayer solution uses Sun Solaris, Linux and Windows server components, to deliver content to an end user client application which runs under XP 32bit. Anybody got any complaints about using Solaris or Linux servers?
Why whine about the use of DRM?
Download some content. Remove the DRM. Transcode to another format if you have processor cycles to waste. Watch using DivX Player, VLC or whatever you like, whenever you like, for as long as you like.
Now stop trying to make yourself feel more pleased with yourself by writing cobblers on here and GET A LIFE.
not commercial, subscription
The opponents of the license fee are not advocating that the BBC goes commercial, funds itself via advertising or whatever. Most of them probably want the BBC to be subscription funded and without advertising. Most of them are probably perfectly willing to subscribe. They just want subscription to be voluntary.
What they object to is that anyone in the UK who wants to watch TV is at the moment obliged by law to subscribe to the BBC. Even if you enjoy the BBC and would subscribe to it if to do so were voluntary, this is deeply troubling to anyone with a conscience. Why should millions of people who do not want to subscribe to it and are not interested in watching it, be forced to do so, just so I can enjoy what I like?
I do not, after all, demand that every time someone buys the Guardian or the Mirror they pay a fee to the News of the World or the Independent, just because I enjoy reading them. I do not demand that every rock concert shall pay a subsidy to my favourite chamber ensemble or jazz trio. I don't expect every tourist to Malaga to pay a subsidy to my favourite bed and breakfast in West Wales. Tesco does not pay a subsidy to Morrisons, because I prefer Morrisons.
The question about the license fee is, what is so different to justify making people buy stuff they do not want, as a condition of buying what they do want?