[ubuntu-uk] BBC and open formats??

tim matthews tim at tui.co.uk
Thu Nov 2 12:54:21 GMT 2006

the BBC and open source?


they did have a very nice ogg stream for Radio 4 ... and then they got 
rid of it.

however, if the BBC should look more into open source, it depends on us 
the users of the BBC to organise ourselves and do something about it.

The open source movement in France managed to get Radio France to at 
least think of offering Radio France in something else rather than just 
Windows Media.

Then again, Radio France isn't as horribly conservative and arrogant as 
the BBC.


Andy wrote:
> On 02/11/06, alan c <aeclist at candt.waitrose.com> wrote:
>> Something I heard at LinuxWorld recently suggested to me bbc were
>> moving towards more open formats.
>> However, this comments implies otherwise. Anyone know anything?
> Its funny you should mention this, I have contacted the BBC over their
> use of RealMedia and ActiveX, seems they ignored me several times, I
> made a complaint via their website, it appears they actually answer
> complaints.
> I was given a link to download.com with about 500 programs related to
> activeX and was told to install it, (which one? does ActiveX work on
> Ubuntu, I told them I used Ubuntu grr).
> I was told:
> 'As a result, you and other users have asked that we consider
> supporting other software.  The issue faced by the BBC is that we must
> pay considerable costs for the licensing of any software.  Increasing
> the number of software applications means an increased cost to license
> fee payers.' (from info at bbc.co.uk)
> Oddly I thought you could get software to stream ogg vorbis for free,
> I am almost sure that you can. The BBC are now lying to me in response
> to my complaints, despicable!
> However do not despair about the use of non free formats for the BBC
> do offer more than realplayer:
> 'we are currently offering the content of our 'Digital Only' radio
> channels on both Real and Windows Media Player' (from info at bbc.co.uk)
> oh, Windows Media is non-free? well they completely ignored what I was
> asking then didn't they. Why would they think I wanted a different
> proprietary format, these people really are stupid!
> (so yes they are using windows media player as you mentioned)
> and my favourite line:
> 'This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential' (from info at bbc.co.uk)
> I always find this amusing, if this email is confidential why is it
> sent unencrypted? does the BBC always send confidential information in
> a form that anyone can read?
> (yes I know its an auto-added footer, but such footers are laughable).
> This email contained extracts from an email I received from the BBC.
> They may be protected by copyright.
> I consider my use of these quotes as 'review' and 'criticism' and as
> such my use is permitted by the UK copyright act Section 30 [0]
> I have already filed a second complaint with the BBC as there first
> answer was not satisfactory. The proper procedure is to inform the
> person who wrote the response, but my reply was bounced back with the
> message, 'we don't accept email complaints', so I submitted it via
> their website. Apparently the next step is to refer it to 'senior
> management', so I guess that's my only option if the response I get
> this time is still unacceptable.
> I might just write to my MP, but unfortunately there isn't an election
> around the corner so it will probably be ignored.
> Just found some more info on BBC site, not sure if these actions
> constitute a breech of 'fair trading guidelines',
> from the BBC website:
> 'A fair trading complaint is a complaint about the way the BBC has
> interacted with commercial markets or conducted its commercial
> activities'[1]
> Seems both Microsoft and RealMedia are commercial entities aren't they
> interfering with the commercial market?
> I will look into that further when I get the time.
> If only I was a lawyer I might understand all this, legal acts are so
> hard to read, and I don't have a clue whether this falls under Ofcom's
> jurisdiction.
> Any lawyers on this list, any chance of bringing legal action against the BBC?
> Who am I actually meant to be complaining to? I have contacted the
> BBC, who have lied to me in response, second complaint is awaiting
> response, Do I need to write to my MP, some other government minister,
> or Ofcom?
> Tried reading the BBC's constitution thing, might hard to read, didn't
> understand half of it.
> I certainly feel the BBC's actions are highly anti-competitive in the
> software market, and considering that they are funded in part by me I
> am appalled at this. Unfortunately market forces don't apply here, if
> I go to the BBC's competition I still have to pay the BBC (required by
> law), insane don't you think?
> I urge everyone reading this to file an official complaint on:
> <http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/make_complaint_step1.shtml>
> DO NOT use 'send a complaint' or 'make a suggestion' they ignore
> those, they will actually reply to a complaint. (if they don't it will
> make there quarterly statistics interesting won't it).
> Maybe we should add 'getting the BBC to use an open format' to our
> list of things to do.
> Any campaign groups that will be able to help, I subscribed to the FSF
> Europe list, maybe I should post to that (or is cross posting like
> this frowned upon?)
> Sorry for the very long email.
> - Andy
> [0] http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1988/Ukpga_19880048_en_4.htm#mdiv30
> [1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/contactus/fair_trading.shtml

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