BBC iPlayer faces open source protests

BBC iPlayerEarlier in the year we brought you news of the BBC’s iPlayer, which will spearhead the broadcaster’s revolution in on-demand programming. With the player launched today, the BBC is embroiled in controversy with disgruntled open source fans who are petitioning the British government to block it.

The first version of the iPlayer will only work with Windows and the open source community has presented an e-petition with 11,000 signatures to Downing Street demanding action on the issue. The BBC has assured that iPlayers for other platforms will be released in the near future but this has not appeased open source developers. Windows users have also kicked-back by launching their own petition in favour of the iPlayer.

Nevertheless, today the BBC has announced the launch but it has also reported the petition story. Once launched, the iPlayer will allow viewers to watch programs up to 7 days after their original broadcast. Some TV series and programs will be available for download and storage for up to 30 days.

I think the BBC should be given a break here. They’ve assured that other platforms will be catered for starting with a Mac version in Autumn. If Macs are not even supported yet, then Linux and other open source users can hardly complain too much. Besides, petitioning the government is not really the appropriate course of action. The British Government may appoint BBC governors but it has no effective control over BBC commercial policy.

As far as I’m concerned, the iPlayer is going to make it easier than ever to keep track of BBC programming – no more worries about setting the video! You can see a demo of it here.

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