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Re: [Fsfe-uk] BBC's DRM Iplayer windows only

From: Jon Grant
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] BBC's DRM Iplayer windows only
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 17:30:39 +0000


On 13/01/2008, Dave Crossland <address@hidden> wrote:
> Not promoting the idea of software freedom is damaging.
> When he says things that mean "The Linux OS started in 1991 because I
> wrote a kernel for fun" he is misleading people about the difference
> between an OS and a kernel which is confusing, taking credit for the
> GNU OS which is unfair, and not helping to inform people about the
> idea of software freedom.

Could you link me to that quote please. I agree that if he calls it
his OS when it's using many other people's software then that is
misleading. I don't know how damaging it is though, have their been
any negative consequences because of this?

BTW, I'm writing this email in Firefox, which as we all know started
out as being released as "Open Source" by Netscape back in Jan 1998.
I'd say Firefox is now arguably the most popular free piece of
software on the net which consumers will use directly. It's currently
available under the GPL amongst other licenses.

> > I can't think of
> > any instances of his damage doing myself, and to be frank the FSF
> > sponsoring Adobe's Flash format in their  pure Flash GPLFlash/Gnash
> > GNU project (http://www.gnu.org/software/gnash/) seems far more worthy
> > of a damage claim since they are unwilling to aim for anything better
> > for web-multimedia
> I thought we established there isn't anything better for web
> multimedia. Show me URLs of better technology :-)

You're right. Lack of audio/video integration in a browser makes us
not as "popular" as Flash, and it remains that way while organisations
fund pure Flash implementations.

> > Will FSF be sponsoring a GPL_ActiveX GNU project next?
> Being unable to view Active X wrapped media is not a "Top 5" reason to
> not switch to GNU+Linux or to install proprietary software on
> GNU+Linux. So I doubt it. But if it was as much of a social problem,
> I'd expect so.

People have been able to switch to GNU+Linux distros for years and
watch Flash which is available as a proprietary addon package from
Adobe. I don't know of anyone who would refuse to ditch MS-Windows for
GNU+Linux because they would have to "sell-out" and not install a the
same proprietary Flash plug-in they previously did on MS-Windows, to
be frank, it's simply not an issue for users migrating.

> Active X is obsolete afaik; Silverlight seems the equivalent problem
> today. If Novell hadn't done Mono and then Moonlight, I can imagine
> that dotGNU would have grown and then done a Silverlight
> implementation.

Good point.

> > or GNU_Multimedia which can only decode WMV files?
> I can imagine a GNU WMV codec project; if users want to see WMV files
> and will not switch to GNU+Linux or to install proprietary software on
> GNU+Linux, this kind of program needs to be written as  free software.

It would be shame if they promoted such a project 100% to the
detriment of a non-proprietary like Theora though.

> > ...IMHO we need to keep things in perspective (FS vs Open Source), and
> > not squabble with people who are 90% thinking the same because they
> > don't agree with us on 10%.
> The concept of software freedom and the original goal of using
> exclusively free software has nearly been snuffed out, and IMHO its
> important to keep things in perspective and not let it disappear from
> sight.
> Calling the OS GNU/Linux or GNU+Linux is a simple way to do that which
> anyone can do and takes only a few seconds each day.

I call mine Ubuntu recently, I hear others just calling by the distro
name too. It doesn't detract from the fact that it contains X, Gnome,
loads of GNU and other bits.

Cheers, Jon

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