iPlayer On, iPlayer Off
The BBC's iPlayer has long been a thorn in the side of the Open Source community. Since it entered public beta in mid-2007, the BBC has consistently flip-flopped between completely ignoring FOSS users, serving them third-rate pacifier versions, and begrudgingly granting access to what Windows users have had all along. And the flipping continues.
The latest round of iPlayer headaches comes under the guise of SWF verification, a form of DRM used by Adobe to prevent unauthorized use of streaming content. Until recently, iPlayer — which uses Adobe's Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) for streaming — did not utilize SWF verification, allowing non-Adobe media players to stream iPlayer content. This has given users the choice to avoid proprietary applications while still having access to BBC content — content paid for out of their pocket. (Because it is paid for by a public tax, iPlayer content is only available to viewers in the UK.)
As of the 18th, however, that is no more. The developers of XBMC, an Open Source media player, appear to have been the first to uncover the BBC's activation of SWF, which was reported via the project's bug tracker the following day. XBMC relies on the LGPL-licensed librtmp library for RTMP streaming, which does not implement SWF verification due to legal concerns. (Well-founded concerns, it would seem, given that Adobe has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act against at least one RTMP-related project in the past.) As a result of the change, XBMC users — and any other non-SWF implementation of RTMP — have been shut out of the BBC's stash.
A post to the XBMC blog on Thursday expressed the projects disappointment with the decision, saying "While we understand the BBC’s reasoning for the decision, we surely don’t agree with it." The post went on to note the DMCA issues involved, and encouraging users to make their opinions known. A discussion of some form appears to be in the works, as evidenced by Twitter postings between XBMC and bbcbackstage, the BBC's early-adopter network.
iPlayer content continues to be available on all platforms with Adobe support, both through site-based streaming and the service's iPlayer Desktop, a cross-platform Adobe AIR application. Those adverse to Adobe's proprietary nature, as well as those on platforms unsupported by Adobe, will unfortunately remain out in the cold.
In what may turn out to be a happy coincidence, the BBC Trust is conducting a review of the service's on-demand offerings, which it agreed to do after twenty-four months when the new services were first approved in 2007. (That thirty-five months will have elapsed when the review concludes seems to have been overlooked.) As part of the review, the Trust is soliciting public comment, and if the current publicity is any indication, they can expect quite a lot of it.
Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
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