Anger as EU ignores open-source video

Seven-thousand Linux users have signed a petition in protest, as the EU claims it cannot support Linux legally
Written by Richard Thurston, Contributor

More than 7,000 angry Linux users have protested against the European Union after it excluded them from viewing streaming videos.

The EU makes streaming videos of many of its most important council debates and press conferences available online. However, this service only works on Windows and Apple computers.

Stefan Esterer, a member of computing staff from Austria's University of Salzburg who is also involved with Debian, created an online petition last Friday which calls on the EU to stop excluding open-source users. At the time of writing, 7,600 people had already signed up.

Jonah Naylor is one of the latest to sign the petition. He wrote: "Linux is about freedom and choice, something that the EU should be trying to protect for its people, not steal away from them."

Another, Tony Pikus, said: "It is wrong for you to support only a closed system, which is owned and controlled by a company outside of the EU. You should support open standards so all can see and read."

Although the EU Council could not be reached immediately for comment, its website stated: "The live streaming media service of the Council of the European Union can be viewed on Microsoft Windows and Macintosh platforms." It added: "We cannot support Linux in a legal way. So the answer is: No support for Linux."

The EU uploads the videos in the .wmv file format, meaning only Windows and Mac users can view them.

The streaming service also properly supports just two browsers: Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. Individuals wanting to use Firefox or Opera, for example, will find that only minimal functionality is offered.

For those browsers: "No possibilities to use the Table of Contents for positioning the streaming. All the buttons for the player will disappear," said the EU's site.

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