EU withdraws claim that Linux support is illegal

EU withdraws claim that Linux support is illegal

Summary: Blames translation mistake, but still fails to support open-source users on its streaming video service

TOPICS: Networking

The European Union has blamed a translation mistake for its claim that it cannot legally support Linux.

As reported last week, the EU had claimed that Linux users could not legally view its video streams — after many thousands complained that they are being excluded. The streaming service offers many important videos of the EU's debates and briefings, but only to Windows and Mac OS users.

The claim, which was contained in a widely viewed questions-and-answers document on the EU's site, has now been amended following inquiries from ZDNet UK.

A spokesman for the Council of the EU, the Union's representative body, told ZDNet UK: "It was originally written in French, and the French version has no such statement. So it is a mistake."

But while the statement has now been removed from the document, the EU is continuing to allow only Windows and Mac OS users to view the videos. Linux users are left out in the cold.

The Council said the reason for its failure to support Linux was the complexity of offering such support. "Streaming in 23 languages is very difficult," said the spokesman. Referring to Windows and Mac OS, he said: "It is easier to take what is used by many, if not all, the people."

The spokesman explained that the service was only fully launched in September, and there was a need to get the service up and running, even if that meant not supporting all operating systems. He also said there was a cost, and complexity, of supporting additional operating systems such as Linux. And he added: "If we change, it is not only for Linux, we would have to open up to all open sources."

The Council's refusal to support Linux has angered the open-source community. Debian enthusiast Stefan Esterer last week started a petition to lobby the EU to change its mind. His petition has now been signed by nearly 12,000 users.

Several ZDNet UK users have also voiced concern about the EU's stance.

Chris Rankin suggested that the EU learned from the experiences of other online content creators, such as the BBC. "The BBC also has a mandate to reach as many people as possible, and so currently supports both WMV and Real formats. However, it is also creating its own Free codec called "Dirac". I'm sure that something like Dirac would serve the EU's purpose as well," wrote Rankin.

Another reader, Moley, was also unimpressed by the situation, commenting: "Bloody disgraceful! Whose interests are the Council serving?"

Topic: Networking

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  • How stupid the IT-managers in EU

    How stupid the IT-managers in EU's headquarters are?
    It should NOT BE SO DIFFICULT to provide Ogg/Theora video format that can be played on ALL operating systems !

    It's impossible to trust the EU-bureaucrats because they hide behind proprietary video formats.

    Open Source multimedia formats = democracy !
  • EU and Open Source

    So now we really do know where the EU stands on Open Source and freedom of choose.

    Enough said as it's all been said before.
    The Former Moley
  • incredulous ..

    It is oftentimes hard to fathom how incredible stupid people on these bloody important positions can be..

    I do not know if I should feel sorry for these public servants (?) or be angry..

    I feel these people should be taken out coated with tar and feather, as a message to really, really try better. However nothing will happen..
  • Videos play fine in linux!!!!!

    Hi there,

    I'm not sure what the problem is. Recently, FFMPEG added functional WMV and VC1 decoders to their codec library. All of the videos on the site play fine using the Mplayer plugin for Firefox on Gentoo x86-64. While I agree that they should be using a less proprietary codec, the "I can't play it and I'm using linux" argument doesn't work for wmv anymore.

    Update your version of FFMPEG.

    Thank you for your time,
    Frank Russo
  • Thanks. VideoLAN works as well.

    Thanks to your contribution, I have been able to watch EU Council Videos successfully with Firefox by installing the Mozilla plugin for VLC. VLC (already including the latest FFMPEG) was previously installed and running on my Suse 10.? box, but without the plugin.

    However, I think VLC packages for some other flavours of Linux are not necessarily available.
    The Former Moley
  • The Linux illegality claim WAS in the original French version !

    And the French in the FAQ is so bad that the first readers thought that the problem was due to a bad translation from English !

    <i>"Le service m