Did open source win the BBC iPlayer fight?

Did open source win the BBC iPlayer fight?

Summary: Following delivery of a petition with 16,000 names on it, Brown only suggested that the BBC Trust itself was agreeing to support Mac and Linux iPlayers, and said the government would review its decision over the next six months.

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Number 10, from the BBCTo hear UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown tell it, open source advocates have won their fight to force open the BBC iPlayer to other platforms. (The door of the Prime Minister's residence, 10 Downing Street, as shown by the BBC today.)

Yeah. Open source wins. Right?

Not necessarily. Brown was being very clever in his comments today. Following delivery of a petition with 16,000 names on it, Brown only suggested that the BBC Trust itself was agreeing to support Mac and Linux iPlayers, and said the government would review its decision over the next six months.

Thus, this headline from Digital Spy. Government Backs BBC Trust on iPlayer. The BBC's own story on this echoed the spin.

For Americans who have never heard of Dr. Who and who think football means just the Baltimore Ravens, there is a very important lesson here.

Many questions concerning open source are going to be politicized over the next several years. Proprietary platforms will seek to maintain their advantages as government increasingly turns to the Internet as a medium. Open source advocates will fight back.

Thus, what politicians say, how they say it, and what they really mean will have to be parsed carefully. Call it doublespeak, call it gobbledygook, call it CYA, it's all important.

The market momentum for open source can be slowed by governments, or sped up by governments. Thus, open source becomes political, and those in the open source advocates are forced to listen, carefully, to what politicians of every stripe say.

Notice that door at the top of this post again. It's black. It's opaque. Glass might look better, but don't hold your breath for it.

Topics: Open Source, Government, Government US

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2 comments
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  • UK Gov meets Alan Cox and Mark Taylor next week

    Hi Dana,

    See the post on my blog about a eForum meeting to be held next week in London. The UK Gov (and more so the opposition party) are starting to - finally - take notice.

    http://www.theopensourcerer.com/2007/09/07/uk-government-to-wake-up-to-open-source/

    Cheers

    The Open Sourcerer
    lord_alan
  • RE: Did open source win the BBC iPlayer fight?

    My understanding is that there is no credible open source option for the BBC to use. So, the question does seem to be mute.
    digitalbricklayer