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[News] BBC Criticised for Blocking GNU/Linux and Free Software Again

  • Subject: [News] BBC Criticised for Blocking GNU/Linux and Free Software Again
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 10:12:28 +0000
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/4.3.1
Hash: SHA1

The BBC's digital rights plans will wreak havoc on open source software

,----[ Quote ]
| As Ofcom gears up to a second consultation 
| the issue, there's one important question 
| that the BBC must answer if the 
| implications of this move are to be fully 
| explored, namely: How can free/open source 
| software co-exist with a plan to put DRM on 
| broadcasts?
| A brief backgrounder on how this system is 
| meant to work: the BBC will encrypt a 
| small, critical piece of the signal. To get 
| a key to decrypt the scrambled data, you 
| will need to sign onto an agreement 
| governed by a consortium called the Digital 
| Transmission Licensing Administrator (some 
| of the agreement is public, but other parts 
| are themselves under seal of 
| confidentiality, which means that the 
| public literally isn't allowed to know all 
| the terms under which BBC signals will be 
| licensed).
| DTLA licenses a wide variety of devices to 
| move, display, record, and make limited 
| copies of video. Which programmes can be 
| recorded, how many copies, how long 
| recordings can last and other restrictions 
| are set within the system. To receive a 
| licence, manufacturers must promise to 
| honour these restrictions. Manufacturers 
| also must promise to design their devices 
| so that they will not pass video onto 
| unapproved or unlicenced devices â only 
| DTLA-approved boxes can touch or manipulate 
| or play the video.
| [...]
| This is where the conflict with free/open 
| source software arises.
| Free/open source software, such as the 
| GNU/Linux operating system that runs many 
| set-top boxes, is created cooperatively 
| among many programmers (thousands, in some 
| cases). Unlike proprietary software, such 
| as the Windows operating system or the 
| iPhone's operating system, free software 
| authors publish their code and allow any 
| other programmer to examine it, make 
| improvements to it, and publish those 
| improvements. This has proven to be a 
| powerful means of quickly building 
| profitable new businesses and devices, from 
| the TomTomGo GPSes to Google's Android 
| phones to the Humax Freeview box you can 
| buy tonight at Argos for around Â130.



Ofcom knocks back BBC DRM plans

,----[ Quote ]
| BBC plans to copy protect Freeview high
| definition (HD) data have been dealt a blow
| by regulator Ofcom.


Ofcom Fails to Get the Message [Updated]

,----[ Quote ]
| Two days ago I wrote a rather rushed appeal for people to
| write to Ofcom about a BBC enquiry concerning the addition
| of DRM to its HD service.
| [...]
| Cynics might even think that Ofcom didn't really want
| comments, but was just going through the motions of
| carrying out a consultation - and a brief one at that -
| because that's what the rules say it has to do.
| Although this is the first time I've come across Ofcom â or
| anyone else â trying to staunch the flow of comments it had
| solicited, I'm pretty sure it won't be the last time.


Help Save the BBC from HDTV DRM

,----[ Quote ]
| As Watson rightly points out, if this scheme is adopted it is
| highly unlikely free software projects will be able to obtain the
| appropriate keys, for the simple reason that they are not
| structured in a way that allows them to enter into the
| appropriate legal agreements (not least because they couldn't
| keep them). Of course, it will probably be pretty trivial for
| people to crack the encryption scheme, thus ensuring that the
| law-abiding free software users are penalised, while those
| prepared to break the law are hardly bothered at all.


BBC Worldwide Merging with Microsoft?

,----[ Quote ]
| Against this background:
|    BBC Worldwideâs digital sales and business development head Peter
|    Mercier is leaving to be Microsoftâs content acquisitions and strategy
|    senior director - the latest in the revolving HR door between the two
|    companies.
|    ...
|    BBCWW hired Mercier from MobiTV as head of mobile in 2007 before he got
|    a wider digital role in â08. Ashley Highfield left as CEO of BBCWWâs
|    Kangaroo JV last year. Microsoftâs UK online services group VP Chris
|    Dobson went the other way to be BBCWWâs WVP and GM of global ad sales,
|    leading BBC.com ad sales in particular; he later took two BBCWWers with
|    him.
| Rather than try to cover up the symbiotic relationship between the two
| organisations, wouldn't it just be simpler if they merged them together
| now? At least then there wouldn't be any pretensions of independence by the
| BBC Worldwide...



The BBC's iPlayer Goes to Parliament, by Sean Daly

,----[ Quote of one comment ]
| Mr Thompson did his best to not answer
| Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, January 20 2008 @ 08:25 PM EST
| It sure seems like Mr Thompson avoided directly answering any of the
| questions put to him by Dr Pugh.


BBC Director General grilled by MPs on iPlayer

,----[ Quote ]
| During the meeting there is discussion of iPlayerâs total cost to the licence
| fee-payer - the BBC representatives are unable to give a figure, but start
| the bidding at Â20m, excluding staff costs. Thomson gives incorrect
| information - that Mac and Linux versions of iPlayer have the same
| functionality as Windows versions - and has to change his evidence at the
| end. Perhaps it was this confusion that prompted Dr John Pugh MP to follow up
| the encounter with a letter direct to Mark Thomson today discussing platform
| neutrality in greater detail. A copy of this letter has been passed to the
| Open Rights Group.


BBC Corrupted

,----[ Quote ]
| Today the BBC made it official -- they have been corrupted by Microsoft. With
| today's launch of the iPlayer, the BBC Trust has failed in its most basic of
| duties and handed over to Microsoft sole control of the on-line distribution
| of BBC programming. From today, you will need to own a Microsoft operating
| system to view BBC programming on the web. This is akin to saying you must
| own a Sony TV set to watch BBC TV. And you must accept the Digital
| Restrictions Management (DRM) that the iPlayer imposes. You simply cannot be
| allowed to be in control of your computer according to the BBC.


BBC iPlayer Protests

,----[ Quote ]
| Who are the people responsible for creating this mess?
|     * Mark Thompson, BBC director general (DG)
|     * Erik Huggers, group controller at BBC Future Media & Technology
|     * Ashley Highfield, director of new media and technology
| Right now, there is very considerable concern within the BBC that the actions
| of the Director General and his team are sending the corporation in the wrong
| direction. The BBC has been embroiled in a number of recent controversies,
| all linked back to the DG's leadership.


Why Linux Users Should Be Furious At BBC

,----[ Quote ]
| Recently the BBC had a bit of a wake up call regarding numbers and how many
| Linux users were really out there. Why does any of this matter? It has to do
| with something the BBC provides called the iPlayer. Seriously, relying on
| ActiveX is so "1990's" that it's painful, and as luck would have it, the
| Linux users who wish to use this BBC player made sure that the BBC knew that
| they were making the sought after content inaccessible to those people using
| Linux.
| No iPlayer for Linux Users, But There Will Be An Alternative. Based on what I
| have been able to gather thus far, it looks like we will see an Adobe Flash
| option coming out soon. Then again, who really cares? Seriously, if the BBC
| is this foolish to ignore how much Linux growth is taking place both in the
| UK as well as the surrounding countries, then maybe people ought to be
| looking elsewhere? Is it because this is indeed, the BBC? So there is the
| belief that this is the people's media? Up until now, I enjoyed much of what
| the BBC had to offer, but this entire thing is enough to have pushed me away.


Beeb slammed for 'fawning' to Bill Gates

,----[ Quote ]
| BBC viewers have flooded the corporation with complaints over how it
| covered the launch of Microsoft Vista earlier this week.
| In one cringingly servile interview worthy of Uriah Heep, the
| Beeb's news presenter Hugh Edwards even thanked Gates at the
| end of it, presumably in appreciation at being allowed to give
| the Vole vast coverage for free.
| In other TV news items presenters excitedly explained how Vistac
| ould be obtained and installed - details courtesy of the BBC's
| website.
| But British viewers, currently forced to pay a Â131.50 licence
| fee to maintain the BBC's "impartiality", were less than impressed.
| Scores got in touch to complain that so much was Auntie up Bill's
| bum that you could barely see her corset.


BBC: Death by a thousand top-slices

,----[ Quote ]
| So it looks like the end of the unique, state-centric model for funding the
| BBC. An incoming Conservative administration is unlikely to be more
| sympathetic to the BBC, with its stifling bureucracy and monopoly control
| over a compulsory tax.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)


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