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Open Source... Television?

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the someone-tell-him-about-mbone dept.

Television 200

jarit0z writes: "In Robert Cringely's latest column he toys with the idea of creating a TV show to go along with his rants. The show would be freely (as in beer) distributable, to hopefully keep bandwidth costs down. And it would also be freely (as in speech) modifiable, since he would also be releasing the "source" or raw footage of the show. Very interesting ideas if you ask me."

cancel ×


pbs (5, Interesting)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208232)

Since taxpayers cover at least part of the cost of these shows via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, shouldn't ALL these shows be free-as-in-everything? We paid for them, after all!

Re:pbs (5, Informative)

foobar104 (206452) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208264)

I don't believe it works exactly like that. The stuff that ends up going out over the various PBS stations is finished programming. Somebody had to produce that programming. I live in Dallas, and the local PBS station, KERA, has been doing a lot of production lately, shooting and finishing various shows.

When a production company or station makes a program, they turn over only the finished piece to the distributor or broadcaster. The production company or station keeps ownership of and rights to the stuff that went into making the program. Sometimes there are agreements between the distributor and the production company, like the production company promising not to turn around and use the same footage to make a different cut of the same program and sell it to somebody else for instance.

So what PBS gets is actually just the finished programs, not the raw footage or anything like that. It's not theirs to release.

Re:pbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208345)

If they are 'free-as-in-everything' they can't be GPL'd.

Because public domain means setting it all free so even your enemy can use it.

All the GPL'd code will be public domain before long anyhow. We're anti-copyright and without long-term copyrights, all the GPL'd code will be public domain quickly.

Re:pbs (2)

blakestah (91866) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208457)

This was a bizarro post.

If they are 'free-as-in-everything' they can't be GPL'd.
Because public domain means setting it all free so even your enemy can use it.

Your enemy can use GPLd works - he just has to make available the source when he distributes them.

All the GPL'd code will be public domain before long anyhow. We're anti-copyright and without long-term copyrights, all the GPL'd code will be public domain quickly.

Dunno about we, but GPL advocates are NOT anti-copyright. The same copyright laws that protect authors allow the GPL to force derivative works of GPL license works to release source code as part of distributing the work. Without copyright law there could be no GPL.

And public domain has entirely different connotations. Yes, certainly, GPL works will fall under public domain 75 years after their authors die, but that is not realistic in the software world. But you should feel free to use any source you like from programs written in the early 1920s.

Re:pbs (1)

sgarrity (262297) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208415)

I've often wondered this about Canada's public TV and Radio entity, the CBC [] . They have a fanstastic archive of radio and television (think: every NHL hockey gave ever). They are publicly funded, but they are for profit. I only hope they haven't nailed themselves to the wall with licsensing agreements.

I'd love to see the whole thing made public someday.

Re:pbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208434)

So then what is the purpose of beg^H^H^Hpledge-week on our local station? They only bring us the "quality" programming that they so often tout like concerts or Red Dwarf during these times, when PBS is actually interesting to watch?

If they really wanted to have a much higher viewership, they should play this stuff more often, then you would see the dollars really roll in from sponsors.

And get rid of the rest of that NEA crap.

Re:pbs (3, Informative)

Yoje (140707) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208439)

Since taxpayers cover at least part of the cost of these shows via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, shouldn't ALL these shows be free-as-in-everything? We paid for them, after all!

Actually, total federal funding to CPB/PBS is about $250 million, only 12.2% of CPB's total budget (figures from CPB). This is less than 0.0005% of the total federal budget.

Personally, I wish Congress would either a) leave CPB/PBS alone, cut funding entirely, and let it do its own thing, instead of this shoestring allowance it gives it (currently, the President picks the head of the CPB board and Congress approves) OR b) keep CPB's current setup, but FUND the organization it founded so they don't have to rely on so many advertisers, and so they can give us better programming. [/rant]

Re:pbs (2, Informative)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208536)

Well it's a lot different to TV in the UK. Here if we want to watch any TV we have to pay a licence fee (about US $150) a year which all goes to the BBC. The government isn't involved in funding them at all (other than the free TV licenced they give to pensioners). Which do people think is a better way of funding this sort of TV - directly from tax revenue or by an imposed licence fee?

Re:pbs (3, Insightful)

Kamel Jockey (409856) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208573)

Actually, total federal funding to CPB/PBS is about $250 million, only 12.2% of CPB's total budget (figures from CPB). This is less than 0.0005% of the total federal budget

It is precisely because of that eency-weency amount of federal funding that the previous poster is able to claim what he/she did. With any amount of federal funding, there comes with it all sorts of regulations, requirements, etc. For example, consider the National Endowment for the Arts, every year come budget time they get hammered for supporting anything even remotely controversial. This too comes with the miniscule amount of federal money it gets.

But I have to agree... they really should cut off the funding and let these agencies become privatized and do their own thing. If PBS were to go under, it is not as though anyone would become sick or killed, hence, its not really a needed government service. However, there clearly there is a market for people who want to watch stuff on PBS, and with the rise of numerous cable channels which offer the same kind of programming as you can get on PBS (e.g., TLC, Discovery, History Channel, etc.), it becomes easier to make the assertion that the government should not be subsidizing its own TV network.

Re:pbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208480)

All publicly funded media should be free-as-in-everything. That means Public Domain.

That also means that publicly funded source code created on-the-job by public employees, i.e. at Universities, should be Public Domain.

It should be prohibited to release it under the GPL.

Re:pbs (1)

Zspdude (531908) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208578)

If I had a nickel for every tax dollar wasted... I'd be pushing 5% extra value on my tax return.

fuck you (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208234)

fuck you logged in trolls, ac rules

Re:fuck you (-1)

govtcheez (524087) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208247)

Now that's just not nice. Do you want to talk about it?

Re:fuck you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208252)

no, fuck you, I got fp, and it was even on topic. Suck me!

Re:fuck you (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208460)

No Silly did, you don't.

would this be interesting (5, Insightful)

pdice (41822) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208240)

Would this really be all that interesting? Personally, have access to raw footage isn't all that appealing. It's not like open source software where i can change the code and actually change the functionality. Just seems rather pointless to me.

Re:would this be interesting (2)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208337)

Another reason to buy an iBook! Fire up iMovie, modify the show, and watch Cringely say that he loves licking the boots of Big Business and hopes that Bill Gates becomes King of the bedroom, or something. Sounds to me like a total change in functionality at that point.

Re:would this be interesting (1)

t1nman33 (248342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208390)

Maybe not to you. I went to college to get a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and I know that the final product probably uses about 5% of the actual footage that you shoot. If you were interested enough, you might want to see what they didn't show you, as well as what they did.

Re:would this be interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208392)

From what I gleemed from the article, his main intent was not merely to give people raw footage to play with. The raw download is for those who want all the information he has to offer, and the edited downloads are for those who don't want to sit through the downloading and watching of the whole thing but are simply looking for certain topics. It's like being able to fast forward through certain T.V. news bits to get to what interests you.

Utterly pointless... (0)

bytes256 (519140) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208447)

Let's create an open source everything...i mean open source is the cure for world hunger, right?

Some people on slashdot need to get severely beaten with a clue source is great for some software...but not all software...and certainly not much else...aparently all you have to do to get slashdot's attention is announce that you're going to have an open source X where X can be any damn thing you please...when will this pointless hype-fest end?

Start with (3, Insightful)

adamy (78406) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208254)

A Digital Camera, and A Website.

It's called a web cast.

I don't think anyone would want the Raw footage, just the edited stuff. Basically, he's saying it would be freely redsitributeable. This is not the same as open source. Open Source (and Free Software) is a solution to the problem of people getting you dependent on a software product with not way to alter it. But with film, there is not source code.

At least with music, you can claim open source by offering the sheet music or something. Maybe the script for a play as well. But again, that is a little different.

Re:Start with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208310)

No, it's the equivalent of open source for documentary-style TV. The "source" for the TV show is the unedited footage, and that's "compiled" into the final version that's shown on TV. Normally as a viewer you have no choice but to put up with whatever version is shown, but with access to the raw footage and freedom to re-use it you can cut it together however you want, and, if you like, shoot other footage to balance anything where you feel their version is biased.

Seems like an interesting idea to me.

interesting interviews (1)

beko (97041) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208458)

I guess interesting interviews would emerge out of this.

NOT a webcast (1)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208336)

He pointed out that he wanted a downloadable version, not a webcast so the bandwidth-impaired could still get it at their leisure (well their modem's leisure).

More importantly, he has an offer of enough donated bandwidth to support about 400K downloads - considerably more downloads than he has readers.

As to the "source", one of the four versions he is proposing would be the raw unedited footage. I'd love to see the raw footage for just about any regular "news" interview.

Re:NOT a webcast (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208486)

Be prepared for lots of sexual perversions. News reporters are raging homosexuals. You've been warned.

Re:Start with (4, Informative)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208365)

If you read the article you'd know it isn't just a webcast. What's open about it is that not only could anyone download any or all of four differnt "cuts" of the same program, they would then be encouraged to share those programs. The biggest problem with webcasting vs. broadcasting is that it costs nothing to reach more people when broadcasting. As long as the viewer is within the radius of the broadcast signal, they get it. Webcasting costs money for every additional stream. By making this "Open", the idea is for everyone to share the files in an organized manner so they are easy to find and the bandwidth burden is spread out. The four different streams would be the Uncut version for geeks wanting to watch every little thing. Then there would be an edited cut for geeks wanting to get the most information and geeky tidbits. A made-for-business cut would be shorter and condense topics down for those with less time, more like TV news instead of the newspaper. Lastly, a Headline News type cut would just cover the basic facts, keeping people up to date on stories.

This is what Open Source TV is good for... (-1)

peepoh (537606) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208255)

THIS! []

FP...! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208256)

This is a great idea..!

When does Cringley get his own Slashdot topic? (-1)

SupportSource (554215) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208257)

And why don't you just fire Katz and have Cringley write a regular column for Slashdot, if you are so awfully fond of him?

Re:When does Cringley get his own Slashdot topic? (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208509)

Who is your daddy, and what does he do?

World-wide public access?? (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208261)

Just what we need a World Wide Public Access channel.... its bad enough that cincy has 4 of them locally!

Man, I can see it now..... (2)

Beowulfto (169354) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208273)

The footage will become just like the REAL Audio and REAL Video segments of SNL. While this is an interesting idea, I just KNOW that a bunch of people are going to take it and run in the wrong direction.

OTOH, it may provide us much amusement.

Makes sense (0)

Dead Penis Bird (524912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208276)

Sharing the downloaded eases bandwidth costs on the original distributor, plus they offer a Cliff notes version for those with short attention spans, like myself.

Public cable? (0)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208278)

Isn't there already something like this? You can buy time on the cable somewhere in the middle of the night and broadcast whatever it is you want the people to see.

And like most open source stuff those "shows" are complete waste of time, too.

Running low on stories??? (1)

MikeDataLink (536925) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208282)

Or does Cringcrustly now work for Slashrot?? :)

allays fears of "nerd paranoia"? (1)

klaviman (543484) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208284)

The first version would be completely unedited -- literally every inch of raw footage presented in the order in which it was shot. This would deal for the first time with the nerd paranoia that they are somehow being manipulated by the media.

but this still doesn't allow for what's not recorded... thus introducing the possibility of media shaping.

interesting idea though... i hope PBS goes for it.

Could twist his words around (2, Interesting)

Logger (9214) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208286)

He better use a license that requires people the reuse the video to place a disclaimer that says this is not his original creation, and hence the content may have been modified to make him appear to espouse something he never intended to.

With some creative editing, I bet someone could make Bob look like a very big closed source, pro-Microsoft, anti-free software guy, if they wanted to. Or at the very least, make some video that makes him sound a little off his rocker, in an attempt to make people discredit anything else he has to say.

Re:Could twist his words around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208362)

Or at the very least, make some video that makes him sound a little off his rocker, in an attempt to make people discredit anything else he has to say.

No editing required for that!

Re:Could twist his words around (2)

Odinson (4523) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208473)

"With some creative editing, I bet someone could make Bob look like a very big closed source, pro-Microsoft, anti-free software guy, if they wanted to. Or at the very least, make some video that makes him sound a little off his rocker, in an attempt to make people discredit anything else he has to say."

Good. Maybe it will make the truth behind others motivations more obvious. Nothing like a little controversy to get people talking.

'Open Source' television already exists (4, Informative)

banuaba (308937) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208288)

It's called the local access channel. And it's full of right wing conspiracy junkies and left wing bean eaters making shows with a handicam. No editing, so the 'source' is released, and many of them encourage you to copy the show all you want.

Re:'Open Source' television already exists (5, Funny)

Luminous (192747) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208323)

Dude, you aren't watching the right shows. Chicago CAN-19 has some great shows, like the guy who interviews local bands and his first question is always 'so do you guys like to get baked?'

Crack smoking moderators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208484)

We should all see this parent comment modded (+5, funny) by all the crack smoking moderators who can relate to it.

Re:'Open Source' television already exists (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208534)

Ours is full of just plain whacko's and a couple intelligent but highly alcoholic psycho's showing psuedo-porn in the background while they go on about how evil the "Fscking! gov't fscking is!!! Fsckers."

Not unlike Slashdot's own underground trolls and crapflooders, actually.

television bitch (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208289)

big titties all day every day even on Sundays.

Re:television bitch (0)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208312)

big titties all day every day even on Sundays

Uh? What's so special about Sundays? You mean TV companies somewhere still actually consider Sundays as somehow "holy" days?

I can watch porn on free public TV every night of the week if I want to. Welcome to Europe.

Re:television bitch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208393)

Doesn't your mom get mad about the cum stains on the screen and the carpeting in front of the screen?

We know you still live with Mom. All Europeans do until they're 34.

Re:television bitch (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208426)

His mom licks the cum stains off the screen.

She's a Euro-Mom, ya know.

All sexually liberated and stuph.

Re:television bitch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208522)

Cool! A 'Flamebait'. I'm only a little bit aways from an IP Ban. Go for it, studboy moderator.

Re:television bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208452)

Cool. I got an 'offtopic' for an A.C. post.

Not many A.C. get marked down anymore.

Moderator: you're a fine young man. Keepitup.

Some folks are producing a feature film this way! (3, Interesting)

vkg (158234) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208294)

Seriously! The entire thing is being done in POV-RAY, with both models and renderings available online!

The Internet Movie Project [] has all the rest of the details.

Re:Some folks are producing a feature film this wa (2, Insightful)

Account 10 (565119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208359)

Any movie whose primary motivation is technology and not the story is doomed to be rubbish.

Torvalds Busted! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208295)

Police halt Finn trying to sneak bomb on plane []

HELSINKI, March 22 (Reuters) - A young man was caught trying to sneak explosives onto a domestic flight in Finland in the first such incident recorded in the Nordic country, police said on Friday.

Security officers at an airport near Finland's eastern border with Russia found 200 grams (7 ounces) of explosives, a fuse and primers in the hand luggage of the 19-year-old suspect when he entered the security check on Thursday evening.

"You can do serious damage with that (amount of explosive). If we think in terms of an aeroplane, it would become crumbs if this amount exploded," police officer Jorma Alvila told Reuters.

The suspect, stopped at Joensuu airport as he tried to board a Finnair flight to Helsinki, denied any knowledge of the explosives in his possession.

Police declined to comment on the possible motives of the suspect, who they said was a Finnish national.

Security has been stepped up at airlines around the world since the September 11 attacks on the United States, in which suicide hijackers rammed commercial airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing some 3,000 people.

Since September 11, Finland's national carrier Finnair has begun checking all passengers on domestic flights.

Both Finnair and Alvila said the case showed current safety measures are effective. An airline official said it was not yet known if the incident would lead to tougher security measures.

Is it me or does he look like Lumburgh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208304)

Bill Lumburgh. Mike Brady.

This makes me like him no matter what nutty thoughts he has.

Raw footage? (1)

nochops (522181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208305)

So, if he's planning in releasing the "raw footage", am I free to "recompile" (edit) it in any way I see fit?

Technically speaking it would be very simple to change the entire show 180deg. by simply editing to change the context of sentences, etc.

For instance, what if the "raw footage" contains the phrase "I hate abortion because I love babies.". Would I be free to "edit" this to say "I love abortion because I hate babies"? I'm using the same raw footage that was given to me...I'm just "editing" it.

I don't think this will fly at all.

Re:Raw footage? (1)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208524)

Technically speaking it would be very simple to change the entire show 180deg. by simply editing to change the context of sentences, etc. Would I be free to "edit" this to say "I love abortion because I hate babies"? I don't think this will fly at all.

Yes, exactly, you CAN turn the material around 180 degrees, the same way that you can turn an 80's pop tune into a techno smash.

You sound like George Lucas for being afraid of this.

Re:Raw footage? (2, Interesting)

nochops (522181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208576)

The fear only comes from the fact that with modern video editing technologies, you can't tell what's real and what's not.

Even with today's technology, your average nightly news could (emphasis 'could') be entirely fabricated.

So? (1)

Kizzle (555439) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208313)

Just because you throw in a buzz word like open source dosent mean its going to be anything amazing. Just another tv show

Cool. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208317)

Does this mean I could substitude in any of the alternative Robert X. Cringelys who used to write the column?

I get tired of that logo on the Cringely website, the one with his face crammed in between Gates and Jobs. One of the reasons is that, ummm, there's really no 'Mount Rushmore' reason why his face should be up there. He's a flack, a 'happened to be there' guy who wasn't even important enough to be a has-been.

And people lap his shit up like he has a clue. It's really disappointing.

Just think of all the forks (5, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208320)

"Yet another Friends"
"Yet another Star Trek"
"GNU-ER" (ok, I'm a bit ashamed of that one)

Re:Just think of all the forks (3, Funny)

Surak (18578) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208466)

FINER (Friends Is Not ER)


Good Idea, but... (1)

guamman (527778) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208326)

The idea is great, the excecution of it would be even better, but I fear he will have problems. As in an earlier article on slashdot where a company claimed that all work done by their employees was company property and forbid the participation in open source development. Here [] Somehow I fear that a television station may claim the rights to his show and sue him for giving it away to other stations without charging anything and making money for the original airer of the show.

Zed on CBC TV (5, Interesting)

InterruptDescriptorT (531083) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208333)

Zed [] bills itself as 'open source TV, v1.1'. (Was v1.0 mothballed?) Anyway, Canadians send in music, film clips, little productions, etc., and they are shown on the show. The Web site has clips of some of the entries.

Definitely a step in the right direction. I think you could only see this on public or semi-public (like the CBC) television. Networks out to make money would never dare put anything like this on the air--the airtime is only for the big stars that pull in ratings. Kudos to my home and native land!

Re:Zed on CBC TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208547)

The chick that hosts Zed tv looks like a stuck up bitch by her acting, but she's hot. Yeah, I would fuck her.

Want to keep bandwidth costs down? (4, Insightful)

abe ferlman (205607) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208350)

Make your data available over the gnutella network. Free, distributed serving. And it gives gnutella users a substantial, non-infringing use. History buffs will recall that the only reason we have vcr's without MPAA padlocks in our homes is because of a substantial, non-infringing use: taping Mr. Rogers for your children to watch later.

Perhaps PBS programming can save us once again from the clutches of the information monopoly industries.

Re:Want to keep bandwidth costs down? (1)

univgeek (442857) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208430)

Now this is a great idea... Two birds in one fell swoop... Never mind I think Im mixing drinks here...

vi /home/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208352)

very stupid if you ask me.

you want everyone logging in, creating their on distro of their tv show ?

bah, you guys take GPL too far.

This is gonna be big! (2, Insightful)

rusty spoon (564695) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208356)

Oh yeah, right up until someone says "so, I like it, but how are we all making money from it"...

What about movies? (2)

epsalon (518482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208369)

One of my friends is doing a project called humanity [] which is an open-source project for creating a movie script (and then filming it).

I can see it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208378)

If everybody can freely modify it, it'll end up as 3-second MTV-style cut of titties mixed with Pokemon and Star Wars.

Open-Source TV/Movies, using CG actors? (2)

Mad Bad Rabbit (539142) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208383)

What about Open-Source entertainment content,
using computer graphics for the actors and sets?
i.e. the participants submit scripts, Povray models, etc. to a common pool, sorta like the
monthly IRTC animation contests.

A somewhat related idea (1)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208384)

CBC Television has started airing a show called Zed which they call "Open Source Television". It's not nearly as open source as what Cringly proposes, and they're still ironing out the kinks, but basically it's a show where viewers create content, and vote about what gets put on the air. Check it out:

Re:A somewhat related idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208453)

there's a reason the people who make shows for abc,nbc,fox,hbo it...they are GOOD at it. zed is pure trash, maybe funny once in a while, but its not like its going to be revolutionary. pure trash.

Re:A somewhat related idea (1)

Disco2k (158722) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208495)

Darn... You beat me to the post! For the uninformed, CBC = Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Anyway, I found the show to be more like "Unstructured Public Access on Acid" rather than "Open Source". Though it is still a novel idea.

To further prevent lucid comprehension of the show, it airs in the middle of the night when your cortex shuts down and you've zoned out in front of the Tele. Not to mention it was being hosted by "Bif Naked"!

Open Souce + [INSERT NOUN] != Genius (2)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208388)

Once again, Cringely misses the point and Slashdot editors whore themselves out like they work in Times Square.

Open source isn't about "freely distributable". It's about having the specifications / plans / blue prints / etc. to something you use to produce an end product. You can take those specifications and produce something totally new and potentially useful, then pass those on... or not.

If we're talking about the stock footage, what can you really do with that? There's something along the lines of cutting the video such that you make Cringely repeat how much of an idiot he is, but you could have done that anyway with the end product. You can't make something totally new like you can with algorithms and existing code. In the case of video, the end product does not obscure the information used to create the product! Just the opposite actually. The restriction of information is what happens in software.

People who advocate freedom of speech do not fight against the MPAA or RIAA or whatever because they don't have the stock material. They fight back because those people want to control ownership and how you can view the product and for what cost. We're talking about apples and goats when it comes to open source and various forms of media.

I'm sorry... Cringely needs to get a clue and /. needs to stop getting paid to publicize him.

Re:Open Souce + [INSERT NOUN] != Genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208533)

I object to that analogy!

Times Square was cleaned up, have go go further west for whores.

Why not open source music while we're at it? (1)

sgarrity (262297) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208391)

See a discussion of the idea of open source music [] (disclosure: it's a link to my own site). The sampling of music has been happening in the world of rap for years - seems like a natural move.

Re:Why not open source music while we're at it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208469)

except, you fool, that sampling is the EXACT SAME THING as this STUPID ASS named "open source" music you propose. I'll tell you what ,if Open Source is something you think about w/in the first hour of any given day, you're life is PATHETIC. Fear not, there might be time left to save yourself.

Open porn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208404)

Its what everyone one wants!

Seems like a good idea (1)

speedfreak_5 (546044) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208409)

I like what he wants to do, but to keep bandwidth costs low, and to gain more readers, he could begin with an actual radio broadcast, and gain a bigger audience. I'm not sure how many radio stations PBS has scattered around the U.S., but if there's enough, it seems like it would be a good start.

At long last (2, Funny)

AndyChrist (161262) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208411)

At long last, I can fulfill my wildest fantasy, and edit Bob Cringely into pornography without getting sued.

Video is something that's VERY different. (4, Interesting)

crovira (10242) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208421)

Hmm. I wonder what made him think that up? This sounds like getting on a buzzword bandwagon.

While its a fine concept, letting the viewer have some control, its only control over some of the parameters of the show not really its content and those parameters are narowly defined by the show's producers.

There's really very little that can be done with raw footage. The creative control comes with the direction and that happens before the cameras are rolling.

It would be more useful to be in on the writer's metings or the story/editorial selection.

Raw footage would only be good for people with access to the technology to cut and splice and produce a segment. (Oh wait. that's anybody with a Mac and iMovie. :-)

Bottom line is, if you don't get to pick WHERE to aim the cam, you don't have much control over the content. If you don't get to pick HOW you aim the cam, you don't have much creative control either.

Try it again cringely.

Too bad movies weren't like that (5, Funny)

dark_panda (177006) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208429)

Maybe then we wouldn't have to put up with Jar Jar for another two episodes.


X has a point (2, Insightful)

Denito (196701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208441)

Ok, so the stuff about multiple versions is a bit hokey, but otherwise I love it.

The aspect that I like is that he is calling attention to a really weird aspect of the broadcast => net transition: that distributing a 'free' broadcast show over the net is viewed as nasty piracy.

Example: I happen to be a fan of the CART racing series. There is no broadcast agreement here in Denmark, so I can't see the races. Even thought these races are shown on broadcast TV, people are scared to DivX them and put them out on the net, cuz the rights are in question.

If such a broadcast were GPL'd, the show could be shared, creating fans.

Also, before /. gets into nitpicking the details, remember while that Mr. X may be muy creative, but when was the last time that guy had a polished idea? (aside from the shared dsl stuff)...


Ridiculous (2)

juliao (219156) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208446)

The concept in itself is not too bad, but the whole notion of "open-source tv" is ridiculous.

It's basicaly the same as "open-source cooking". And no, open source cooking doesn't just mean you make the recipe available.

How is open source cooking any different from closed source cooking? Not much.
To have true open source cooking, you need to share the recipe, share the methods, and, more importantly, let other people contribute to the recipe, create derivation dishes, integrate your recipe with their own.

What about open source tv?

What is TV about? Creating? Sharing? No. It's about distributing. If I make a video tape of myself goofing around, it's just a video tape. If I distribute it on a TV network, suddenly it's TV.

So, if you want open source TV, you have to provide a means of open sourcing the distribution process, making it available for comment and participation, for knowledge and for change. It's not about making raw footage available. It's about letting people contribute to the footage, influence the editing process, influence the selection of themes, contribute their own.

That's what open source is. That's not what I read in the article. We're not there yet.

not pointless at all (2)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208450)

Would this really be all that interesting? Personally, have access to raw footage isn't all that appealing. It's not like open source software where i can change the code and actually change the functionality. Just seems rather pointless to me.

It's not pointless at all. Get some content editing skills, maybe you'll appreciate content.

On one hand, it's quite common to remix or remake songs. It's true that anything on a major-label CD has all of the proper consent/royalties taken care of, but major labels are a small fraction of the world of music.

When it comes down to it, nobody *really* controls music. No lawyer is going to harass you for riffing Led Zeppelin or whatever in concert. Ever heard of a tribute band? Concert bootlegs? Deejay mixtapes?

On the other hand, images and movies are tightly controlled, even the quality of consumer-grade video recording devices is being restricted now that major electronics companies have "digital piracy" on the brain.

Yeah, maybe there's not much you can do with Cringely's talking head, but then again, maybe there is. Either way, it's a big statement.

Speaking of TV... (-1)

peepoh (537606) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208454)

I had anal sex with Melissa Joan Hart [] . But this was back in her Clarissa [] days, back when she was cool. Then I gave her a Dirty Sanchez (#23) [] . She liked it.

Bad idea. (2)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208475)

He shouldn't release the raw footage. At the very least, don't download it from they might be tempted to do a little "creative editing".

Not TV but real multimedia (3, Interesting)

maggard (5579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208477)

  1. When is /. just going to get rights to post Cringely's columns? 50% of them make the main queue, he's certainly more popular then Katz.
  2. Cringley is careful in the beginning to make it clear the video isn't meant to streamed but downloaded and watched later, shared around, put on p2p networks. Then he goes on to explain that the necessary bandwidth has been made available. So what of it; just make it streaming in an easily savable format and ask folks to share, why make a big deal of it?
  3. Four versions is an interesting idea. More interesting would be to use something like SMIL [] to let folks navigate their own way through the video, in effect hyperlink it. If the intro blurb interests you get the expanded version or go right to the source material. Embed citations and links to outside material right in the stream so folks can pop out to follow up references. There's no need to make it just like linear video-only TV, stick in real material folks can pull out.
  4. Personally I'm glad it appears the column will be kept, or perhaps expanded. Frankly I'm never excited to watch things on my monitor but prefer to read them. I've got a TV tuner and plenty of codecs, a fine screen and all but still I prefer my video on the TV laying on the couch with my feet up. Even when I do watch webcasts I find myself cutting out halfway through to come back later and read the transcript, check the commentary. Indeed I'd prefer this the other way round: Read the column and jump to the video if I'm intrigued.
  5. Finally comes the dreaded format issues: Which? I suppose this depends a lot on the sponsor really. If it's Apple then will there be non-QT or at least non-Soronson versions? (QT 6 with MPEG4 anyone?) If MS non MS-specific versions? If Real ones that don't require their ghastly "Player" miscegenation? There are lots of possibilities here, I just hope we don't get a talking-head production aping "The Computer Chronicles" or TechTV.

googlewhack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208488)

hubers asmo

Dang! (2)

GMontag (42283) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208498)

Just goes to show ya, I should follow my own advice at least *some* of the time.

I was going to do almost the same thing, a couple of years ago. The only people that heard about it were my friends in Northern VA and East TN that were going to participate.

Primary difference was that the finished product would be licensed only to be cut or "bleeped" for use on broadcast medium or to satisfy policy requirements of sites that served it. No other editing. No additional material could be added. But, like Cringly, all origonal material would be available.

Yes, I knew full well that people may cut/chop/enhance/otherwise-butcher in spite of the license, but all a license really amounts to is a "wish" in writing, so no big deal there.

Now I have an apartment full of various computers in various states of disrepair (projects that delayed work on the show) and never got to step 2 of getting the "Montag and Scary Dave Show" onto the small screen (step 2, get a camera).

Anyway, my advice to others is to write this stuff down, publish it on the net and let others use your idea no matter if you ever get going on the project. Well, let others use it if it is going to be an Open project that is.

Slashdot has that handy journal thingie, use that if you don't want to mess with anything else (yes, mine is still empty).

A great example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208506)

Is POT-TV [] .

These guys produce tons of content on a small budget. Of course, there are a lot of volunteers, which is a great source of content.

I thought about this recently (2)

glwtta (532858) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208514)

Larger and larger parts of movies are now computer animated, and there are more and more completely computer animated movies as well; home hardware will only be getting more powerful (I know because I've read that in some prediction lists), so it should be just a matter of time, until someone (probably an indie movie maker) starts releasing the "source code" to their movies? i.e. whatever pre-rendered format the movie is in which can be modified to produce the movie you like.

This probably won't be technologically possible for a few years yet, and it would need a commonly accessible (likely open source or free - speech and beer) 3D platform, which will eventually emerge (I would think). Right now these movies are still voiced by actors, but certainly text to speech software, with some sort of "intonation markup" that's good enough for a movie isn't far behind the visuals?

Think about it, this actually has uses beyond making all the women in the movie naked all the time (though that will undoubtedly be the most popular) - let's say after the movie enjoys it's theatrical run, and makes the money it was going to make, the creators release all the characters, both the models and the voice "engines" (whatever shape that make take), the objects and the environments for it - sure it will be a few hundred gigs, but we are talking several years from now, hell they could even stick it on the DVD5 (or whatever it is by then) rental disk. And voila - you can have the Episode I without Jar Jar and with an actual plot - your imagination is the only limit.

I know none of the studios would ever go for anything like this, but that's not what I am rambling about here (besides, by that time they've either evolved with the times, or they already have all our money and own our children anyway). But it's not hard to see movies being created in our familiar sort of "community process" You could think of the traditional movie sequels as the major versions of commercial software, and the "free" movies would be constantly "patched" and evolve with time. Wouldn't it be cool for your favorite movies to be slightly different each time you rewatch them?

Anyway, I've been up for like 30 hours, needed a good ramble.

Content-to-bandwidth ratio seems low (1)

realgone (147744) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208526)


Call me old-fashioned, but I still prefer the "printed" word for in-depth exploration of most issues. Once you put people in front of a video camera, intelligent discussion seems to give way to buzzwords, soundbites and bears (oh my). Heck, I've even foresworn that old standby "The NewsHour with Jim Leher" ever since it turned into a non-stop parade of talking heads. (Formula: take a topical issue, get someone from the left and someone from the right, let them spout the party line and provide absolutely no meaningful insight into anything. Repeat.)

What's more, the proposed outlay of effort and bandwidth here doesn't really seem worth the end result. Would the TV show really add enough value to Cringely's intellectual content to justify a weekly 80MB video download as opposed to an 18KB HTML file? For what: so we can see a few animated infographics?


Raw Footage (2)

Null_Packet (15946) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208540)

From an ameteur film editing perspective, it is a wildly creative idea to have someone share their raw footage.

It seems very akin to sharing source, with the exception that it's far easier for the end user/viewer to ascertain where the original source footage came from.

Cool idea- I hope it works.

Don't think "Open Source" applies well here (2)

DeadVulcan (182139) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208545)

I should admit beforehand that I haven't read the article, because I don't like Cringley very much, but I have given some thought to the application of "Open source" to things like books, movies, and TV.

I think my conclusion is "No."

Software is something we use every day, and if there's a new improved version, then it's eagerly snapped up and put to use.

Movies, stories, and TV aren't like this. People don't re-read a book unless it's an absolutely exceptional one, and given that that's the case, you're not likely to believe that it should be touched up.

Granted, recent movie trends might be proving me incorrect, but if they started releasing E.T. every few years, insisting that it's improved from the last one, would you continue to go?

The only way the "Open" concept applies, IMHO, is in facilitating a more two-way (or N-way) communication, instead of the traditional one-way medium, and I think there are only very superficial resemblances with the philosophies of open-source software.

Wonder how the MPAA would feel about this one. (3, Interesting)

IPFreely (47576) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208551)

Hollings and the MPAA are going on about how broadband is being hindered because large video content is not available online.

If the MPAA is suddenly flooded with lots of open media and home grown video with a somewhat open license, would it kill yet another one of their lame excuses?
I'd like to see something like this take off just to see how the open content would fly in an open environment. If open video content takes off like open source has, then the MPAA would not be able to restrict hardware as much as they would like to.

The MPAA would like to see home entertainment as read-only, not only to make it that much harder to copy, but also to eleminate competition from independant producers. Private individuals would demand to have high performance mixing/editing studios in their PCs and home entertainment systems to edit home movies and private projects. Congress would have a harder time shutting down that type of demand. Once the editing capabilities are available, the content protection becomes that much harder to maintain, and that much more obvious to those facing it. It would no longer be a "hacker" problem, but visible to a large percentage of the population.

The TechTV of Community Access (3, Interesting)

babymac (312364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208559)

I submitted an "Ask Slashdot" story along these same lines months ago.

Every time I read a story that relates to technology and politics, one discussion thread always floats to the top: "We need to educate the public!"

My suggestion is that the Slashdot community organize and form their own local community access TV shows. A web site should be started that:

1. Gives tips on how to start your CATV show.
2. Tries to form a consistent show format.
3. Discusses show story ideas.
4. Offers on-air graphics for download.

The purpose of this show would be to educate the public about technology and the law. Teach the people how to install an open source OS! Have a call-in section of the show. Discuss the impact of the DMCA and the SSSCA. Discuss the impact of monopolies and intellectual property restrictions. Broadcast clear and direct means of contacting your local politicians. You get the idea...

If a show that looked consistent enough from city to city were to take hold, it could be a significant force in shaping public opinion.

Cringely Icon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3208567)

/. needs a Cringely Icon!

Why not his articles? (2)

TheAwfulTruth (325623) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208577)


Should I be able to take one of his articles and rearrange it anyway I like (as you're suggesting for this tv show)? You know that by rearranging the words I can basically make Cringly say anything I want! Does he really want that? How is that useful in any way? Some of the worst posts on /. come from taking things out of context or combining mixmatched quotes. Not we're going to have OSS news shows and (why not also) articles that anyone can take any part of and rearrange to suit their own interest reguardless of the intent of the original author? What's the point? Don't we have enough disinformation already?

To save bandwidth... (1)

Catmeat (20653) | more than 12 years ago | (#3208580)

Why not a 5th version. An audio only
radio show?

(Somebody who misses Geeks in Space)
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