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Linux Software Government Politics

Council of the EU Says "We Cannot Support Linux" 370

Posted by kdawson
from the penguins-need-not-apply dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Council of the EU has a streaming service so that we can watch its meetings — but the service can only be accessed by Mac or MS Windows users. This is because they employ WMV format for the videos. In the FAQ they express a really strange opinion about this: 'The live streaming media service of the Council of the European Union can be viewed on Microsoft Windows and Macintosh platforms. We cannot support Linux in a legal way. So the answer is: No support for Linux.' An online petition has been set up to create pressure to convince the EU council to change its service to one that is platform independent."
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Council of the EU Says "We Cannot Support Linux"

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  • Ogg Theora? (Score:5, Informative)

    by bcmm (768152) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:34PM (#17419284)
    Ogg Theora?

    And even if you think it is illegal to watch MPEG on Linux in the EU, the crime would be committed by the veiwer, not the broadcaster.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Brandybuck (704397)
      Why limit yourself to just one format? Offer both WMV *AND* Ogg Theora!
      • Re:Ogg Theora? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp.gmail@com> on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:13PM (#17419482) Homepage
        Why limit yourself to just one format? Offer both WMV *AND* Ogg Theora!
        Or, to put it another way: "Why limit yourself to just one set of problems! You could deal with the problems of both WMV *AND* Ogg Theora!"
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by marcello_dl (667940)
          Seen decent resolution (1024x600) ogg-theora clips being decoded without a dropped frame on my humble 667mhz powerpc laptop. Ogg was conceived with streaming in mind. Server software runs well under linux. I see no reason why an organization like the friggin' EU can't set up a server for oggs... unless there's a lack of viewers. But then, don't come up with silly excuses.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by troll -1 (956834)
        Or why limit yourself to proprietary formats? Anyone can use ogg, Windows users included. Been dealing with different video formats for quite some time now and the competition between different formats is not productive in my opinion, The multiplicity of codecs one needs to have is a burden. I'd like to see an open 'independent' format developed in a peer reviewed open environment that everyone can use, kinda like how *nix systems evolved, where the best ideas become the standards. Ogg is open. Anyone can
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:15PM (#17419492)
      When people recommend half-assed or not ready OSS solutions, it hurts the OSS cause. Theora isn't ready to go, it's not even remotely ready. There's a reason why it's still an alpha whereas Vorbis is a full release. It is in no way shape or form a ready competitor to WMV at this time.

      It's much better to admit there's nothing that works out there that's OSS than to recommend a poor OSS solution. The reason is that the number one justification against OSS is shoddy quality. You talk to J. Random PHB and the reason they don't want to use OSS is because it's poor quality/not supported. Well, advocating things that are, in fact, poor quality just provides them with ammo for their argument.

      Also it can hurt a format to get lots of exposure before it's ready. If everyone's first exposure to Theora is when it's buggy, that idea will form in their minds and later when it's stable, they will still associate Theora = buggy and thus give it a pass.

      At this point, we just need to wait on Theora. Vorbis is great, I've no doubt in time Theroa will be its match, however it's not the kind of thing that will happen in a day.
      • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:41PM (#17419600) Journal
        Theora isn't ready to go, it's not even remotely ready.

        Really? Why?

        There's a reason why it's still an alpha whereas Vorbis is a full release.

        And that reason is???

        It's much better to admit there's nothing that works out there that's OSS than to recommend a poor OSS solution.

        That wouldn't be true, of course.

        The patents on MPEG-1 have long ago expired. It has pretty good quality (better than Theora/VP3) when encoded with a recent implimentation (ie. libavcodec for video, twolame for audio). And more than that, it is by far the most widely compatible format around, supported by just about every video player made in the past several years, on just about every single platform around.

        I've no doubt in time Theroa will be its match,

        I, however, do. The VP3 codec is hated by just about everyone who knows anything about video.

        It has really poor video quality, compared to even much older video codecs.

        It is very CPU-intensive to encode.

        It's playback performance is horrible. Once you reach resolutions where a full frame can't fit in your CPU cache, you get performance worse than codecs like h.264.

        In some 4 years of Theora's development, Xiph hasn't removed any of VP3's limitations, nor added any advantages over the original VP3 codec. Since they've frozen the bitstream, even the potential for them to do any of that has passed...

        I was somewhat active in the Theora development process some time ago, but I've long since given it up for dead.
      • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:49PM (#17419616) Homepage
        I guess we're supposed to ignore all the people who have been using Ogg Vorbis+Theora feeds for years (many listed on the Ogg Theora website [theora.org] and instead give in to an argument based on a version name and vague goals of "readiness", or for another overmoderated post in this thread, market presence built on violating the law. We're not supposed to advocate for people using unencumbered FLOSS software to do this job across platforms in a non-discriminatory way. Even according to the open source argument which dismisses social solidarity out of hand (something governments ought not do), discouraging use seems particularly unwise.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MidnightBrewer (97195)
          There are only four links listed on the site, and I doubt that any of them are organizations the average person has ever heard of. Their site is also very user-unfriendly to the uninitiated, which means they're doing a rather poor job of trying to spread the word to the masses, as it were. They list four players that will work with Theora, helpfully listed as "Binaries," and no explanation as to which is going to really fulfill their needs. In other words, you're forcing your users to do research in orde
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jbn-o (555068)
            You must be looking at a radically different site than I because the site I see has numerous links to places carrying Ogg Theora files, most (if not all) with Vorbis audio tracks.

            The rest of your reaction basically boils down to complaining about popularity (websites nobody has heard of, codecs that aren't bundled with popular OSes) and oxymoronically complaining that only technical people can read theora.org and claiming I'm speaking only to a technically minded audience here on /.. This is simultaneously
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by killjoe (766577)
        Why not real?
      • by rolfwind (528248) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @10:37PM (#17419818)
        Theora isn't ready to go, it's not even remotely ready.


        Since when did this exact reason stop Microsoft or other software solution providers from pushing their products?

        Sorry, just had to say - this is a chicken and the egg problem. Reminds me of Linux "not being ready for the desktop." If no one picked it up to use on the desktop when it wasn't ready, it will likely never be ready. OTOH, the more people use an open piece of software, the more development it attracts.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iamdrscience (541136)

      Ogg Theora?

      No. The goal here is to make these videos accessible to as many people as possible, ideally, everyone. While switching to Ogg Theora would help Linux users out because they would be able to watch the video legally, it would ultimately make the videos far less accessible because for everyone not using Linux it's making it harder to watch the videos. Streaming WMV is not the best solution, but it's better than forcing everybody to use poorly supported software that's still in alpha.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ultranova (717540)

        The goal here is to make these videos accessible to as many people as possible, ideally, everyone. While switching to Ogg Theora would help Linux users out because they would be able to watch the video legally, it would ultimately make the videos far less accessible because for everyone not using Linux it's making it harder to watch the videos. Streaming WMV is not the best solution, but it's better than forcing everybody to use poorly supported software that's still in alpha.

        I have a revolutionary idea

    • by Shawn is an Asshole (845769) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:29PM (#17419542)
      If you use Cortado [flumotion.net] as the player. It's a java applet that will play Theora+Vorbis files in a way similar to YouTube/Google Video/etc. All the client needs is Java.

      Going straight Theora+Vorbis wouldn't work that well, since the user would have the install the codecs first and Vorbis/Theora support is severely lacking on OS X.

      Quoting the site:


      In order to make your streams as widely available as possible, we provide the Cortado Java applet as free software under the GPL. By embedding this applet in your website, you can give viewers access to streams from either the Flumotion streaming server or play a local file from your server without the need for a locally installed media player supporting the correct formats on the visitori's computer.

      Cortado currently include Java decoders for Ogg Theora, Ogg Vorbis, Mulaw audio, MJPEG and our own Smoke codec. You can find examples of Cortado in use on the Fluendo demo site.
      • To whom it may concern:


        I am interested in politics - especially on the European level, because political decisions heavily influence the way we, citizens of the EU states, live. As have learnt through Slashdot, a news website [1], the Council of the EU has decided to offer a streaming media service.

        In my opinion, this is a very interesting service with great potential to provide citizens with more information to actual issues.

        Unfortunately, the stream is only avaiable in a proprietary format named Wi
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)
          Please spell-check first. Spelling caught with an 'o' will detract from your argument. Also, write to your MEPs. One of the nice things about the EU is that you have a few of them. Most of mine are useless, but one responds to emails and has a history of campaigning against things like software patents, which brings me on to the next point:

          The only thing stopping them from 'legally' supporting Linux is the existence of software patents, which are not valid in the EU. Remind them of this.

          Finally, re

  • Someone's fired (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tulare (244053) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:35PM (#17419288) Journal
    First off, they didn't hire an interpreter (come on, you going to tell me there isn't a properly-qualified English-language interpreter to fix that garbage? Second, whichever Microsoft zealot wrote that page really needs to expatiate on his reasoning. From where I sit, it looks like a blatant lie to cover up for laziness.
    • The service works acceptably well using the mplayer plugin. But what's up with the badly-translated English all over that webpage? It's embarrassing, frankly.
    • First off, they didn't hire an interpreter (come on, you going to tell me there isn't a properly-qualified English-language interpreter to fix that garbage?

      You mean the FAQ page? That's written like a native English speaker would, even a bit casual. I don't think there was a translation problem. Well, at least between English and another natural language. Maybe a translation error from suitspeak to normalspeak?
      • by tulare (244053)
        Actually, I'm talking about that entire website. It's chock full of broken English that any 12-year-old could correct. Come on - you write coherently enough, you can see what's happening there.
    • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:59PM (#17419428)
      From where I sit, it looks like a blatant lie to cover up for laziness.

      <complete_nonsense>
      You don't know the EU very well do you? You see this has nothing to do with laziness. If the EU replaces it's WMV streaming systems with a competing product it will result in 68 shirt and tie wearing MCSEs with nice conservative Bill Gates haircuts being replaced by a couple of hairy bucktoothed nerds with a nasty armpit malodor problem and the fashions sense of a Portuguese donkey wrangler. So this whole mess is really all about French objections because of the effect such a change would have on the already low fashion standards of EU employees and all the other EU member countries fears that it might make the unemployment situation in the European MCSE community any worse since the job security of the European MCSE community is already badly threatened by the way Linux looks set to exterminate Windows from the EU's desktop computer market.
      </complete_nonsense>
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:35PM (#17419290)
    "We cannot support Linux in a legal way."

    What's so illegal about a Flash-based streaming player?
    • by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp.gmail@com> on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:10PM (#17419466) Homepage
      What's so illegal about a Flash-based streaming player?
      Flash embedded video is not a bad idea, but currently the latest version of flash available for Linux is Flash Player 7 which doesn't have support for all the video features added in Flash 8 and Flash 9. They could do it, they would just have to be mindful of the limitations of Flash 7 when they were setting it up. Either that or set it up as flash video and hope that Adobe releases Flash 9 for Linux soon (they've already got a prerelease available here: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer9/ [adobe.com])
  • by BenoitRen (998927) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:39PM (#17419306)
    I would guess they can't support GNU/Linux in a legal way because they can't offer the codecs. Only parties that have an agreement of sorts or have paid M$ royalties can use it. GNU/Linux doesn't, though distributions like that one that used to be known as Lindows (can't remember the name) comes with closed-source ones.

    The petition to urge them to use a platform-independent format is a good answer.
    • Open Government (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Same arguement applies here as it does with any other form of computerized documentation. All forms of government computerized documention should be done to open standards so it won't become unreadable when the license is no longer supported by the compan/y/ies that owns the patents. Really now, does anyone in the world want their governments computerized/digitized documentation controlled by some company that controls the patents for the method of storage? Does anyone want their governments documentation i
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:39PM (#17419308)
    WMV3 has been opened. MPlayer / FFMPEG support it natively now. Google Summer of Code had a project to make an optimized player for it.

    Yes I think it still has patent issues or something but in Europe I don't think that matters.
  • There are so many other options: from .mov to video containing mp3 files. Why .wmv?
    • How about Flash? I don't know how suitable it would be for live steams, though.
    • by dr.badass (25287)
      There are so many other options: from .mov to video containing mp3 files. Why .wmv?

      90% or more of the potential audience will be able to view it, and from the producer's perspective, it doesn't suck that much. That's why WMV is popular.
      • "why WMV"

        90% or more of the potential audience will be able to view it, and from the producer's perspective, it doesn't suck that much. That's why WMV is popular.

        And that is why a monopoly abuser like Microsoft must be regulated. The only correct solution to this WMV problem is for the EU to impose mandatory royalty free licensing.
    • There are so many other options: from .mov to video containing mp3 files. Why .wmv?

      Inertia, it works, ... basically people have been successfully using it for a while. Technically QuickTime is older but prior to iTunes QuickTime was a bit flaky on the PC side and Windows Media filled the void. It is harder to displace a "defacto standard" than fill a void.
    • by Air-conditioned cowh (552882) on Monday January 01, 2007 @01:24AM (#17420382)
      I recently had to organise a live webcast for a large (thousands) audience. What I found was that just about every company I approached pushed me into using WMV due to the following reasons,

      1) Also encoding for Real Player means extra encoding fees,

      2) Although Flash claims to support live streaming, the license fees for it's servers to make a viable live streaming infrastructure are completely ridiculous so it is only good for progressive download.

      3) No one offered any other format,

      4) One of the largest networks in the world, Akamai, only has a small number of Real Server licenses left and they are dwindling due to lack of demand,

      5) Live streaming from a whole network is a different ballgame to streaming from one server. Only Real and WMS can handle it properly. I know Icecast probably /could/ but no one was offering any format it supports.

      From my own experience in smaller scale streaming I have not had much success using a Theroa/Icecast solution because there is no basic application just to grab V4L and convert it to a stream (I even tried coding one myself before running out of time and getting stumped since I lack the skills), though you can use ffmpeg2theroa to grab from a DV CAM. I tried Flumotion but it only seems to work with the latest and greatest version of Fedora at any given time. It's also way to complicated. Exactly what is all this "planet", "atmosphere", "streams" stuff about? I got nowhere fast trying to install it on CentOS4 which is what the enocding box runs (and I am not in a position to suddenly change OS since it does lots of other functions).

  • Youtube!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:41PM (#17419324)
    Or should I say Eutube!

    *ducks*
  • Needs rewording (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rrohbeck (944847) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:42PM (#17419328)
    That should be "We're too ignorant to support Linux in a legal way."
  • realplayer (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phil246 (803464) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:42PM (#17419332)
    yes yes, i know. Put the burning torches down :) - Still if the BBC can offer their video services in both WMV and Realmedia formats, why cant the EU? Its certainly supported on linux after all
    • You're not suggesting they offer the videos in realmedia format, are you? That'd be even worse :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by babbling (952366)
      There's no point in offering video in just another proprietary format. The idea is that *everyone* should have access to this. Not just Linux, Windows, and Mac.

      How can that be done? Pick a format that doesn't require royalties.
  • Interpretation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DreadSpoon (653424) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:44PM (#17419348) Journal
    The "legal way" thing probably refers to the inability to provide a legal WMV player for Linux, not that it isn't legal for the EU to stream in another format. I don't think anyone there is trying to say that it's illegal to stream in a different format. Rather, they are saying that since WMV is what they use (for whatever reason - political, economic, or simply fiat), Linux users can't be supported.
  • Realplayer? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Goeland86 (741690) <goeland_86 AT yahoo DOT fr> on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:45PM (#17419356)
    What about Realplayer exactly is illegal? I know it won't solve *BSDs and other *Nix users' problems, but Linux has a realplayer version.
    So why again is it illegal to run something that is not MS specific?
    Hello, welcome to the new year, we're in the 21st century, not in the early 90s, there's something called "interoperability" that has been growing in the tech world... Time for reality to harvest!
  • IT'S OK (Score:5, Funny)

    by scenestar (828656) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:46PM (#17419362) Homepage Journal
    We don't support the EU either.
  • by myrdos2 (989497) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:47PM (#17419370)
    There's always been a lot of FUD regarding Linux and legality, but this is absurd. Since when does producing media that can be viewed on a Linux machine violate the law? By this argument, that FAQ is illegal since a Linux user is able to read it. Unless they mean that in order to verify that the Linux service works, they would need to install Linux on one of their own systems, which they view as being illegal. But of course anyone knows all you have to do to be legal under Linux is: -buy a license from SCO -only use Novell's Suse Linux -buy a couple copies of Windows just in case Right? Right!?
  • What law would be broken for broadcasting the proceedings in a format like xvid or theora? None, right?
  • by noigmn (929935) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @08:52PM (#17419392)
    "The live streaming media service of the Council of the European Union supports Internet Explorer 5 and higher, Netscape Navigator 6 and higher. If you encounter problems with a lower version of your browser, the browser should be updated to facilitate the live streaming media service. Firefox and Opera will be supported with a minimal of functionalities."

    This is the market share for browsers as of Nov 2006:

    Microsoft Internet Explorer, 80.56%
    Firefox, 13.50%
    Safari, 4.03%
    Netscape, 0.83%
    Opera, 0.67%

    This is the market share for Operating Systems as of Nov 2006:

    Windows XP, 84.95%
    Windows 2000, 5.46%
    Mac OS, 4.10%
    Windows 98, 1.90%
    MacIntel, 1.29%
    Windows ME, 0.91%
    Windows NT, 0.76%
    Linux, 0.37%

    You could argue for better firefox support, but as much as we love linux, I suppose they have no obligation to make it work for something that is that small minority among desktop users.
    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)
      Shouldn't the numbers be based on installed based and not market share? Installed based, particularly in Europe and Asia, has a much higher count of pre-Windows XP installs, at least according to the trade journals. I don't know about the Mac base, there. Obviously, market share would favor XP since every new Windows PC sold ships with it, but what of all of the millions of PCs that were shipped before?

      Out of curiosity, where did you get your market share numbers from?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GotenXiao (863190)
      Here's an equivalent argument.

      90% of a country's population is caucasian, 6% is black, 3% is oriental and 1% is of other racial groups. The EU suddenly decides that it can only offer services to the majority, how fast do you think people's asses would be nailed to the wall?

      They have an obligation to not discriminate between groups of people. By only allowing people using Windows or Mac OS/X to use services, that's discrimination.

      Also, those statistics are misleading, since Opera identifies itself as IE by d
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EXMSFT (935404)
        That's an unbelievably bizarre metaphor - equating operating system support as anything like racial discrimination.
        • That's an unbelievably bizarre metaphor - equating operating system support as anything like racial discrimination.

          I can't understand why anyone would confuse freedom and civil liberties, can you? Is it worse to screw everyone for the benefit of a few, than it is to screw other races? Violating others is wrong, regardless of numbers.

          A government that forces non free software for popular participation is not interested in popular participation or does not mind having a third party as a mediator of th

      • Wait a sec...! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:36PM (#17419568)

        90% of a country's population is caucasian, 6% is black, 3% is oriental and 1% is of other racial groups. The EU suddenly decides that it can only offer services to the majority, how fast do you think people's asses would be nailed to the wall?

        Not so fast dude! The last time I checked, no body has ever chosen to be born caucasian, black, oriental or otherwise...on the other hand, there is likely a huge probability that all these folks that do not belong to the "chosen" platform to support actually chose to use the platform. And now, they are clamoring for support! Jeez!

        Sorry in advance in case you made an application to whoever created you, to create you the way you are.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by alephsmith (937899)
          Not everyone has the financial means to choose the non-free version.

          Or maybe you mean even the poor have the choice to pirate a copy of Windows.
          • Not everyone has the financial means to choose the non-free version. [...] Or maybe you mean even the poor have the choice to pirate a copy of Windows.

            The "poor" do not have the means to choose at all. The poor go to the library. Only relatively wealthy people have computers of their own.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by EXMSFT (935404)
            Give me a break. Find a PC that didn't actually ship with Windows. Then try stating that again... if computers actually came without an OS, that might be a viable argument. But you can't argue that Windows is expensive when it's a cost incorporated into 99.9% of consumer PC's.
        • Re:Wait a sec...! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by kripkenstein (913150) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:04AM (#17420684) Homepage
          Not so fast dude! The last time I checked, no body has ever chosen to be born caucasian, black, oriental or otherwise...on the other hand, there is likely a huge probability that all these folks that do not belong to the "chosen" platform to support actually chose to use the platform. And now, they are clamoring for support! Jeez!

          Nah, that misses the point. Just take the original analogy about "operating systems vs. race" and switch it to "operating systems vs. religion". Religion is something that is a choice - you want to leave yours and join another, you are free to do so - but if the EU would suddenly only 'support' 95% of religions, there would be a heck of an outrage. In modern civilization, it is legitimate to choose your religion. Is the EU saying that the only legitimate choice of operating system is Windows (or Mac)? That's quite a big commercial endorsement there.

          The original analogy/argument is valid, the EU is in the wrong on this one. (Although to be fair it's probably only a few EU computer techs and their managers who even know about this decision.)
      • by porneL (674499)
        Opera doesn't really identify as IE - it just prepends MSIE user-agent string to it's own, so can be detected regardless (if you intentionally look for it).

        Anyway, these stats seem to be for US, not EU. Opera has much higher usage in Europe (3-8%, reaching 15% in some countries). Also Linux is over 1%.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Not sure where you got your numbers???
      Mine are from http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.a sp [w3schools.com]

      2006------------IE7-----IE6-----IE5-----Fx------Mo z*----N7/8----O7/8/9
      November--------7.1%----49.9%---2.9%----29.9%---2. 5%----0.2%----1.5%

      2006------------WinXP---W2000---Win98---WinNT---W2 003---Linux---Mac
      November--------74.9%---8.0%----1.0%----0.4%----1. 8%----3.3%----3.5%

      Mac and Linux seem to pretty close....No?
    • by jejones (115979) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:17PM (#17419498) Journal
      They are a government agency. A business can decide to ignore some potential customers, but a government cannot decide to ignore citizens.
      • Sure they can (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)
        Or, rather, they can decide that they aren't going to support any and every strange thing citizens want.

        There's a real difference between accommodating a minority who's that way because of a physical problem they can't overcome (such as loss of limb use, blindness, etc) and a minority who's that way because they choose to be so.

        For example suppose you tried to mandate that the government had to provide parking at their official buildings for any kind of vehicle someone might want. Now suppose that a trucker
    • by bmo (77928) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:38PM (#17419582)
      This is the market share for browsers as of Nov 2006:

      Microsoft Internet Explorer, 80.56%
      Firefox, 13.50%
      Safari, 4.03%
      Netscape, 0.83%
      Opera, 0.67%


      Yeah?

      Where did you get your numbers?

      http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.a sp [w3schools.com]

      Aggregate IE: 59.9
      Firefox: 29.9
      Mozilla: 2.5
      Netscape 7/8 .2
      Opera 1.5

      Which one of those doesn't pass the Acid2? Only IE. 40 percent of the world uses a browser that supports standards enough to render Acid2, and IE's numbers have declined while the rest have only gained.

      "You could argue for better firefox support, but as much as we love linux, I suppose they have no obligation to make it work for something that is that small minority among desktop users."

      If you scroll down to the OS stats:

      XP: 71.6
      Win2K 13.6
      Win98 2.6
      WinNT .3
      W2k3 1.7
      Linux 3.2
      Mac 3.3

      But then it's not about "supporting linux" it's about using _standard_ codecs and standard files. Wmv is "Windows Only" and not a standard where other codecs are actual standards and are cross platform as a _result_ of being standards.

      But hey, you're here to troll for Microsoft instead of contribute any facts to the discussion.

      By the way, even though it has the least market share, Opera kicks all other browsers.

      --
      BMO
    • by Tom (822)
      I laugh at those statistics every time I see them.

      Let me think... might the low number of Linux visits probably be related to the bad Linux support? You know, if it doesn't work for them, they're less likely to return for another visit? Those circular causation chains are a bitch, aren't they?

      Sure, Linux is small. But it's not exactly as if nobody would use it. For example, I dare to say that there are more Linux users on the Internet than blind users. Yet a lot of effort is made, especially on government s
    • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @10:10PM (#17419702)
      Linux, 0.37%

      Your numbers are suspect. According to the market research company IDC, 25% of servers and 2.8% of desktop computers ran Linux as of 2004. [wikipedia.org] This is consistent with the 3.3% share of web hits that w3schools measures as of last month.
    • by FFFish (7567)
      ...as much as we love linux, I suppose they have no obligation to make it work for something that is that small minority among desktop users.

      Honestly, that's a strawman argument. It doesn't matter to anyone at all whether linux is supported.

      What we want supported are OPEN BLOODY STANDARDS. In today's day and age it is inutterably stupid to lock oneself to a particular platform.

      The viability of providing future access to information depends upon the use of open standards.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nchip (28683)

      Linux, 0.37%

      You could argue for better firefox support, but as much as we love linux, I suppose they have no obligation to make it work for something that is that small minority among desktop users.

      Eu translates all documents to 20 languages, including Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian and Maltese. With 450 million people in EU and about 400 000 people speaking Maltese, we have EU caring for even 0.1% percent. Even the streaming service includes translations for those languages!

      I don't really care about EU stre

  • Linux users won't be able to watch paint dry over the net?
  • by grimJester (890090) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:03PM (#17419438)
    Obvoiusly soneone has wanted to point this out, if it's explicitly written on the EU site. At the risk of sounding trollish:

    We will not have our legislation locked down in ways that force EU citicens to buy software from one specific vendor. FUCK YOU.

    We like to think we're better than the US. Apperarently our legislators are also bought off. If you as an elected politician get your salary from Microsoft Corporation or Apple Computer inc, please report directly to me for your ticket to Baghdad and the Saddam Hussein rope massage. Thank you for your incompetent attempt at running a democracy, please don't come again.
    • by kjart (941720)

      We like to think we're better than the US.

      Well, you certainly sound as arrogant as the Americans.

  • Haha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GeorgeMcBay (106610) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:18PM (#17419508)
    The really funny part of this story is you also can't watch those videos if you've got the version of Windows Vista with media player ripped out due to the EU's antitrust rulings (unless you download media player or some other WMV-capable player, of course). Hah hah.
  • Great work... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pengman (1045438) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:28PM (#17419540)
    First they (the EU) force MS to marked a version of Windows without media-player... and then they release content that needs that very media player...
  • So here is the opposing petition:
    http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/keepstreamin gsolution [petitionspot.com]

  • by FunWithKnives (775464) <ParadoxPerfect.terrorist@net> on Sunday December 31, 2006 @09:38PM (#17419588) Journal
    From the linked site. It has been relatively easy to get .wmv, .mov, etc. working in Linux for quite some time now. Check out the MPlayer plugin [sourceforge.net] for Firefox. For K/X/Ubuntu or other Debian-based distro users, "apt-get install mozilla-mplayer". I do agree, however, that all government websites should make their content available platform-independent. But then, that would require common-sense, now wouldn't it?
  • by RealGrouchy (943109) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @10:15PM (#17419728)
    Many people are throwing around OS usage statistics, like from www.w3schools.com. These statistics are worldwide, and do not reflect the [potential] visitors to this geographically-specific site.

    Nevertheless, the number of people using Linux--and probably MacOS as well--pales in comparison to those who do not have a computer at all. (or hispeed internet, or a fast enough machine, etc.)

    Assuming the CotEU is required to provide streaing video for those without Windows or MacOS, then who's to say they shouldn't have to make it available to those without a computer at all?

    In my city (Ottawa, Canada), City Council meetings are open to the public. Anyone can go. Can't participate, but you can watch. You can also watch Council meetings on the local Cable channel (which means you have to purchase cable from Rogers--and this has been the case for decades without public outcry) You can also watch online. I think they use a RealMedia format.

    If you don't have a computer (or cable TV) at home, there are computer terminals at all the public library branches and at many community centres. Assuming the City has a right to make these meetings available for live viewing to all citizens (which, really, is covered by letting any citizen attend meetings in person) then they have done so by making these computer terminals available at local libraries. Not incidentally, this would also cover off the Linux-using population in the case of the CotEU.

    If your computer cannot access the stream (because it can't run on Linux, or is too old, or your internet connection isn't fast enough), then you can go to one of these places to view it. Or, if you want equality, the Council can stop streaming online, and everyone will be unable to watch it.

    - RG>
  • I just tested one stream out and it works fine.
    I had to dig out the URL form the "Page Info" in order to test it, but that's just user-interface issues, not codec ones.

    Try it yourself with the current release of VLC:

    vlc mms://ceu.streampower.be/ceu/archive/CEU_PRESS_CON FERENCE/ceu_video1_or_20061221_573.wmv

    The EU does not have software patents (yet, at least) so there should be no legal issues with using VLC to decode this stream.
  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @10:53PM (#17419870) Homepage
    Numerous times, I've seen people who were considering Linux ask whether they would still be able to play their media files from Windows or Mac. And they are usually told "Yes! Linux can handle them! It's easy...just get mplayer and install the right codecs...they are easy to find, and you'll be watching your video in no time".

    But whenever we see some site choose to make new content available in those very same Windows formats, many of the same people who were telling potential new users that all these things were easy on Linux suddenly switch and say that Linux users are locked out.

    If we want to get people to use Linux, we have to get our story straight as to what Linux can do!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilviper (135110)

      many of the same people who were telling potential new users that all these things were easy on Linux suddenly switch and say that Linux users are locked out.

      Not at all. Linux users can play WMV video and audio. As of a few months ago, you don't even need the binary codec DLLs or an x86 system for the large majority of WMV video and audio formats.

      The reason that's not openly supported by organizations, of course, is the patent licensing fees, which prevent most distros from including programs like MPlayer

  • Oh the noes. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kewagi (1010125) on Sunday December 31, 2006 @10:55PM (#17419884) Homepage Journal
    This sounds like a typical middle-class IT fuckup - the task of creating a video streaming solution was assigned to the boss' cousin, who doesn't know there are operating systems besides Windows and always watches his porn as WMV streams, so the solution was clear for him. I'm far from being a mindless EU basher, but the quality controll still leaves a lot to be desired.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:42AM (#17420786)
    First they hammer microsoft for almost a billions of dollars in fines.

    Then they say it is is required to play the video.

  • by jopet (538074) on Monday January 01, 2007 @05:57AM (#17421154) Journal
    If you are really concerned about this, do not just calm yourself by quickly signing the petition.

    Send a protest by email, or better yet, written letter to them: streaming.helpline@consilium.europa.eu (technical) or Public.info@consilium.europa.eu (organizational),
    Council of the European Union
    Rue de la Loi, 175 B-1048 Bruxelles
    Telephone (32-2) 281 61 11
    Fax (32-2) 281 69 99

    Contact your local/national members of the european parliament or even better, members of the council directly.

    Microsoft and related industries has a lot of well paid lobbyists at the EU, open source advocates and private people who just want to use Linux as an alternative have nothing.

    Make some pressure.

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