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

From: Dave Crossland
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] BBC's DRM Iplayer windows only
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 21:19:01 +0000

On 13/01/2008, Jon Grant <address@hidden> wrote:
> 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
> Could you link me to that quote please.

I did not say this was a direct quote of his. But he says things that
are equivalent in meaning to this, by confusing the kernel with the
OS, and a good example of this is the Revolution OS interview as
quoted at


and that idea has spread widely:

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Linux+started+in+1991 pulls up
http://www.amazon.com/review/R223GJFDXQMOOG which is a good example of
the kind of confusion I mean;
pulls up http://cbbrowne.com/info/linux.html

> 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?

The idea of software freedom is alien to most users of the OS.

When we include GNU in the name of the OS, we prompt people to inquire
(at some point, on their own, or now and to us) about what GNU is,
when it was started, who started it, and _why_.

> > > 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,

Flash is a lot more than A/V transport; you're mixing issues I think
:-) A/V integration in browsers is something for the W3C/WHATWG and
browser developers; browser plugins are straightforward to develop and
ship pre configured in default distributions of browsers.

> and it remains that way while organisations fund pure Flash implementations.

Gnash is not a pure Flash implementation; it supports free codecs and
other freedom-friendly things not in Adobe Flash.

> > > 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.

That it doesn't work out of the box is a reason for users I know.

There is a difference between them not switching and using lots of
proprietary software, and switching and using a few bits of
proprietary software. But the latter is still a problem.

> > > or GNU_Multimedia which can only decode WMV files?
> >
> > I can imagine a GNU WMV codec project;
> It would be shame if they promoted such a project 100% to the
> detriment of a non-proprietary like Theora though.

I am unaware of non-proprietary equivalent alternatives that it is
detrimental to.

> > 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.

"Ubuntu and Fedora are a kind of what, though? :-)


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