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Ubuntu Brings the BBC to Linux

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You might the recall the ongoing uproar over the BBC's dissing of its non-Windows-using viewers, its defective math on how many Linux users were among their viewers, the nasty DRM-encumbered iPlayer, and their general bad attitude about being willing to buy into DRM-restricted streaming media, even though they are a publicly-funded broadcaster.

The saga is still unfolding, and DRM technologies are still stuck on being invasive, intrusive, shoddy, and ineffective. Who designs these things? Are the bright developers being foiled by PHBs? Or are the smart developers all busy doing other things, and the only ones left are the janitors? Who are plenty intelligent, but not hip to coding. Or maybe they are hip to coding and making DRM sucky on purpose. At any rate it is lame that in this glorious year 2008 of the 21st century, we are still hearing the same stupid excuses about why non-Windows users don't matter.

But thanks to FOSS (as always) there is a silver ray in the gloom-- Ubuntu 8.10 includes the Totem BBC Plugin:

Totem BBC plugin:

"A while back, the BBC approached Canonical about providing seamless access to unencumbered BBC content for all Ubuntu users (in the UK and elsewhere)....At the moment the content available from the BBC at present is mostly audio, but support for video is in place and the feed is expected to be fleshed out here over time. We have a genre classification scheme in place, and will see how that scales as the amount of available content grows."

There are some geographical restrictions that are handled at the server end. The BBC plugin is available to any Linux distribution that wants it, so if it catches on it should someday appear in your own favorite distro. Another small step forward, hurrah.

Wikipedia has a good overview of the iPlayer follies.

Here is a BBC blog discussing it in more detail-- the short story is no DRM, and no DRM content such as popular TV series.

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