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Council of the EU Says "We Cannot Support Linux"

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the penguins-need-not-apply dept.

Linux 370

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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370 comments

Ogg Theora? (4, Informative)

bcmm (768152) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Ogg Theora? (2, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419354)

Why limit yourself to just one format? Offer both WMV *AND* Ogg Theora!

Re:Ogg Theora? (5, Insightful)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419482)

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:Ogg Theora? (2, Interesting)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419712)

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:Ogg Theora? (2, Insightful)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419592)

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 contribute to making it better, even Microsoft.

I'm somewhat of a libertarian and believe in free market competition but sometimes, when everyone is trying to use their own market share leverage their consumer base with the objective of having their formats accepted as industry standards, the consumer is the one who loses out.

If all these competing companies really believed in technology they'd put everything they know on the table and let the best minds meld a standard from the best ideas. Competition is generally good, but look where it got us with cell phone companies. DARPA did a much better job with the Internet.

Please don't do this (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Please don't do this (5, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419600)

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.

What happened to more eyes, shallow bugs? (4, Insightful)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419616)

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:Please don't do this (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:Please don't do this (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Ogg Theora? (2, Interesting)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419522)

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.

No codecs required, either (4, Informative)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Someone's fired (4, Insightful)

tulare (244053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419288)

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.

Having said that... (1)

tulare (244053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419298)

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.

Re:Someone's fired (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419374)

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?

Re:Someone's fired (1)

tulare (244053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419436)

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.

A blatant lie to cover up for laziness... (4, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#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>

Someone's getting a big bonus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419572)

Who do you think owns more politicians there - Microsoft of the F/OSS community.
I suspect someone's getting a big bonus the next time Balmer visits europe.

Where's the illegal? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419290)

"We cannot support Linux in a legal way."

What's so illegal about a Flash-based streaming player?

Re:Where's the illegal? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419424)

Is there a legal WMV decoder for linux?

I know changing the format would be best, but as for working with what they have, they seem correct in their assertion.

Re:Where's the illegal? (2, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419624)

>Is there a legal WMV decoder for linux?

I have one. I am sure it is legal for me to possess and use it. Why don't you cite the existence of an *illegal* one, and please specify, with the chapter and verse of law please, where and how it is illegal, and what, precisely, is it illegal to do with it?

Re:Where's the illegal? (5, Informative)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419466)

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] )

Re:Where's the illegal? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419850)

Adobe's closed source Flash plugin isn't ported to Linux AMD-64, Sparc, MIPS, PowerPC, etc. - on x86. I have done significantly more development on consumer products that were non-x86.

Until Adobe publishes the Flash standard similarly to PDF then Flash isn't a portable standard.

Not much to be said here (5, Insightful)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419628)

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 in a format that is digitalized by an executable with unknown code written in a country other then your own? Does anyone really want to trust their government or the maker of the file creating software not to include something akin to the SONY rootkit?

Citizens of the world should unite in the cause of demanding that all closed software be removed from all government computers and all government files. Citizens of the EU and other places often throw it up that the US is not as free as its forefathers planned and attempted to maintain with its Constitution and unfortunately too often they are right. Here is a chance for the EU to help lead the way, some of its countries already moving to keep closed formats out of government documents, time to increase that though. In the EU one should not need the permission of a US company to view EU government at work.

The pettetion (1)

smeckert (713620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419632)

>The petition to urge them to use a platform-independent format is a good answer.

I am not sure, but the petition appears to encourage you to
use a valid email address, but then doesn't send a link
as it urges, then replies go to a gmail account.

I wonder if this is just a clever ruse to get email addresses.

Anyone heard of petitionspot.com before?

Hello, there are open-source players for WMV3 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Hello, there are open-source players for WMV3 (1)

SeeSchloss (886510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419776)

Except, except that the Council is the organisation that is trying by any means to push suftware patents laws.

Legal way? (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419318)

Could they be locked in to some proprietary software on their own servers? I doubt it. I suspect they lack the technical ability to produce content other than WMV and their hiding behind lame excuses.

Why is WMV so popular anyways? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419320)

There are so many other options: from .mov to video containing mp3 files. Why .wmv?

Re:Why is WMV so popular anyways? (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419402)

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.

Re:Why is WMV so popular anyways? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419486)

"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.

Youtube!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419324)

Or should I say Eutube!

*ducks*

realplayer (4, Informative)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#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

Re:realplayer (2, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419688)

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.

It's simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419336)

We cannot support Linux in a legal way?

If that was the question, the answer is "you will support linux in a legal way"!!!

The Cost of Government (0, Troll)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419340)

In considering the cost of telling everyone what the EU is going to do, and not do; Maybe it would have been cheaper to just find a common ground for Linux, OS2, and that other high priced solution that is associated with 'Wild Tangent'.

Interpretation (4, Interesting)

DreadSpoon (653424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419348)

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? (3, Insightful)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 7 years ago | (#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!

Re:Realplayer? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419474)

It's morally illegal.

Re:Realplayer? (1, Flamebait)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419558)

Realplayer is a single exclusive provider. That makes it a poor choice.

Re:Realplayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419720)

Microsoft is a single, exclusive provider. That makes it a poor choice.

Compatibility is Illegal Now? (3, Interesting)

myrdos2 (989497) | more than 7 years ago | (#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!?

Use something else? (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419378)

What law would be broken for broadcasting the proceedings in a format like xvid or theora? None, right?

looking at it from their perspecive (4, Informative)

noigmn (929935) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419458)

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:looking at it from their perspecive (3, Insightful)

GotenXiao (863190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419470)

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 default.

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (3, Insightful)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419510)

That's an unbelievably bizarre metaphor - equating operating system support as anything like racial discrimination.

Wait a sec...! (3, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Wait a sec...! (2, Insightful)

alephsmith (937899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419652)

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.

Re:Wait a sec...! (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419696)

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:Wait a sec...! (2, Insightful)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419808)

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...! (1)

seifried (12921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419840)

My last 6 machines shipped without Windows. Before you jump down my throat: 2 came from Sun.com (X2100's, officially they run Red Hat, SuSE, Solaris and Windows, they run OpenBSD nicely as well) - you can actually buy these without an HD now. 1 from Dell (Poweredge 750, officially they support Red Hat, Windows) 3 came from a local shop (memoryexpress, officially they don't support anything, but I asked for machines that would run OpenBSD or Red Hat Linux specifically)

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (1)

porneL (674499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419608)

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:looking at it from their perspecive (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419490)

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?

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (3, Insightful)

jejones (115979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419498)

They are a government agency. A business can decide to ignore some potential customers, but a government cannot decide to ignore citizens.

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (1)

Andrew_T366 (759304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419520)

"The live streaming media service of the Council of the European Union supports...Netscape Navigator 6 and higher...Firefox...will be supported with a minimal of functionalities."

Statements like this make my blood boil slightly from time to time. Mozilla Firefox should FALL UNDER "Netscape Navigator 6 and higher" as far as any site is concerned: It's a continuation as far as technology and popularity go.

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419534)

Statements like this make my blood boil slightly from time to time. Mozilla Firefox should FALL UNDER "Netscape Navigator 6 and higher" as far as any site is concerned: It's a continuation as far as technology and popularity go.

Not to mention, Firefox is vastly more popular than Netscape Navigator. Firefox should be first in the list to be supported by government organizations, because it is the most popular browser which is available for free, to everyone, on essentially every platform.

If the only browser supported is a free cross-platform one, then no one can complain that they are being singled out.

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (3, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#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

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (3, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419674)

Where did you get your numbers?

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

Aggregate IE: 59.9

Firefox: 29.9

Mozilla: 2.5

Netscape 7/8 .2

Opera 1.5

The stats at www.w3schools.com are not representative of what most people are using, they represent what Web developers and other technically inclined people are using. Think about who visits www.w3schools.com.

The grandparent's numbers are risible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419732)

It seems to be quite hard to nail down statistics for linux desktop adoption. I would guess that the main reason is that, since it is free and easily downloaded, statistics based on sales have no meaning. So, we are left with trying to tell which os a visitor to a web site is using. As the site you link points out, that technique is not entirely accurate.

I just googled linux desktop market share. There is a paucity of good hard numbers. The concensus seems to be: less than 5% but more than Apple.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_adoption [wikipedia.org] Given the number of European cities, states, agencies that have switched to Linux, it is strange that the EU doesn't support it. It is even stranger given that the EU is beating up Microsoft over antitrust violations.

I go with the other posters who think this is due to a lone idiot who needs to be smacked upside the head.

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (2, Informative)

Darkforge (28199) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419862)

Which one of those doesn't pass the Acid2? Only IE.
I've got bad news for you... Firefox doesn't pass it either. (Go on, try it [webstandards.org] .) We're expecting to get Acid2 support in Firefox 3.

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419620)

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 sites, to make them accessable for blind users. The argument is what, exactly? That blindness is a disability and using Linux a choice? Ah! So number of users doesn't matter is what you say? But up there you said Linux userbase is too small and that's why. But that's not true for some other user groups, so it's not the whole story.

Then again, using windos is a kind of disability itself. Something like having AIDS, you know? An immune system deficiency - if you have windos, you're a lot more likely to catch all these viruses...

I think the lack of Linux support from big organisations like the EU is mostly due to mindset. They are used to working with other big organisations, like multinational corporations, and when you say "Linux support" they ask "who can we contract?" and if your answer is "all kinds of people, these and those and lots more" they say "that's too complicated for us. Who produces Linux? Lots of companies? Too complicated. Parse error. Input buffer overflow. Bzzzt." and then you get these bogus reasons like "for legal reasons". I've long made a mental note that "for legal reasons" without any further explanation alway means "don't ask, just go away, we don't want to explain it because it's embarrassing".

Re:looking at it from their perspecive (2)

FFFish (7567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419708)

...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:looking at it from their perspecive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419752)

"...I suppose they have no obligation to make it work for something that is that small minority among desktop users."

By using a given technology, these guys are mandating it for everyone else.

Since you cannot escape this, wouldn't it be better for them to adopt an open no-strings-attached standard? No ties to specific applications or platforms. Guaranteed access in the future.

The EU must mandate the support of these kind of standards for data formats for software sold/used in the EU. After all, nobody wants their precious data hold hostage to any given company.

rur [cannot remember my password for the moment ;)]

Re:looking at it from their perspecive -- Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419796)

>This is the market share for browsers as of Nov 2006... This is the market share for Operating Systems as of Nov 2006...

Please quote the source for those figures. Whose traffic is it? And within their limited view, how well does it represent what people use, versus how often a browser is used? (ie, you may have Browser B users surf significantly less than Browser A users, and thus Browser B use is underrated.)

AFAIK, we just don't have anything like real numbers. (I'd love some!) We just have a really vague ballpark guess.

But anyway, roughly half a percent for Opera? and for Linux? Man, that's one in every two hundred people. Even in a little town of a quarter million, that's 1,250 citizens. The EU isn't selling toilet paper - they have to do better than serving to only 80% of useage stats.

And oh look: the whole frigging point of the W3C standards is you can do exactly that. That, is "looking at it from their perspective."

Only morons code for a browser/version/os (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419800)

Repeat after me : "my web content will meet a standard, not an operating system or browser/version".
Based on my experience with my bank and university, web admins get so bogged down in complaints that they eventually drop their websites complexity down to a level where nobody complains. For my bank that meant dropping java and javascript for online banking and relying 100% on ordinary html forms - it will work now for ANY user.
Only morons code for a browser/version/os.

Only morons code for a browser/version/os (1)

rcbutcher (952782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419820)

Repeat after me : "my web content will meet a standard, not an operating system or browser/version". Based on my experience with my bank and university, web admins get so bogged down in complaints that they eventually drop their websites complexity down to a level where nobody complains. For my bank that meant dropping java and javascript for online banking and relying 100% on ordinary html forms - it will work now for ANY user. Only morons code for a browser/version/os.

not just linux users. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419396)

this is a discrimage to users who dont use internet explorer and activex.. i dont know about mac users but i retired all that microsoft debunkery years ago when i switched to firefox and opera. we're just a few hours (or already for some people) in the year 2007, comeone, when will standards actually become standards!

WTF!? (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419410)

This sort of malicious ignorance makes my blood boil.... And to think that my tax euros are paying for this *service*.

Will not stand in the EU (5, Insightful)

grimJester (890090) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419502)

I absolutely agree. The EU goes to great lengths to satisfy the needs of those who make up a tiny percentage of the population - I'm talking laws which may only affect one or two people with disabilities or complaints of human rights abuse. While I support this, why can't this kind of attention to minorities be universal? Surely the EU - who make the laws - know that it would be entirely legal to support linux with a free format. Ogg Theora highly recommended!

Re:Will not stand in the EU (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419552)

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

Well, you certainly sound as arrogant as the Americans.

Re:Will not stand in the EU (1)

iDaZe (721176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419782)

How the hell did you get modded "Insightful"?
We will not have our legislation locked down in ways that force EU citicens to buy software from one specific vendor. FUCK YOU.
Well good thing it's at least two specific vendors then.
Apperarently our legislators are also bought off. If you as an elected politician get your salary from Microsoft Corporation or Apple Computer inc, ...
I really doubt any EU politician has any say in what their IT department is doing. Did it occur to you that maybe, after evaluating all their options, the web team decided that WMV was just the best/easiest/least-sucky tech for the job all on their own?

come on (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419440)

you stupid penguin nuts think signing some stupid online petition is going to change their mind?

find a better way to occupy your time, i'm going to go back to masturbating.

Eminent Domain? (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419504)

Do they have public takings under any sort of eminent domain-like laws there? I would think they must have something similar. Using that, they could just seize the codecs for the public good and just use them as they saw fit. Then, no laws broken.

Haha (4, Insightful)

GeorgeMcBay (106610) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Instead of rallying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419526)

Why don't we just create a world wide class action law suit against companies or organizations that do not support independent OS architecture? The suit could be filed against any company as aiding Microsoft into a monopoly, cutting off/denying users from public domain documents (like the EU vids) unless they purchase a monopoly OS to view the documents, ect ect ect.

Sure defending arguments could be, company/organization is providing software/documents that best suits their bottom line.....but with a few thousand testimonies of users who can't view even public domain documents, it could be a very interesting case.

But, who has the balls to go up against Microsoft and "their" governments...?

Re:Instead of rallying... (3, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419614)

"Why don't we just create a world wide class action law suit against companies or organizations that do not support independent OS architecture?"

The community is not even really asking for *support*; merely to not be explicitly suppressed.

I have a banking site that I must use, which uses the user agent to decide who may and who may not use the web site to pay their bills.
I do not want "support" for my browser, I just want them to stop purposely trying to prevent me from using it. They do *more* work to try to suppress users than they would do to "support" them.

And any banking institution that has IT staff who consider it appropriate to use the User Agent string as part of security, should be approached with great suspicion anyway. This is not some small independent savings and loan -- it is Wells Fargo. The thing is, Wells Fargo's online banking system is pretty good. But their "Financial Services" division is nowhere near at the same level of competence.
Because *I* owe *them* money in this case, it's not exactly like I can choose to walk away. So I sort of have to take it. I'm just waiting for them to accuse me of fraud because instead of using my normal browser user agent string ("Bond/007; UK; Licensed to Kill"), I change it to something close enough to Internet Explorer 6 to get me in. (Great security *there*, Wells Fargo.)

Great work... (5, Insightful)

Pengman (1045438) | more than 7 years ago | (#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...

Players already exist (1)

figleaf (672550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419560)

So here is the opposing petition:
http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/keepstreamin gsolution [petitionspot.com]

Re: Players already exist (1)

sick_soul (794596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419764)

A counter-petition basing on those arguments has no sense.
This is not about whether it is technically possible to play wmv on our system.
What they assert in their web site (and we, or at least I, see as wrong) is (paraphrased):

"since we produced the content in WMV format, and we believe that it is not legal to play
WMV on your system, support for your system is impossible."

See the problem?

Happy new year.

I'm watching wmv video right now... (4, Insightful)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419588)

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?

Werks for me (1)

synonymous (707504) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419650)

Followed the link and the videos seem to work fine for me. I honestly cant remember a file I couldnt play. The lack of support is what has made me happy for using my OS. I could care less for those that don't do anything for us's OS, and those that do care, hey whatever, guess you want your stuff to be seen and or used. Kudos. It's like, how could someone or company even start to care after ignoring for so long when a OSS has taken its place. Theyd be competing against themselves.

TO: streaming dothelpline at consilium europa eu (0, Redundant)

sick_soul (794596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419692)

MAIL TO: streaming dothelpline at consilium europa eu

I'd like to suggest a fix for your FAQ page:

> 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.

I would reword the second-last sentence like this:

"We are too ignorant or too lazy to support GNU/Linux."

The rest seems fine.
Thanks,

--signed--

Is watching it online a Privilege or a Right? (4, Interesting)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#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>

illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17419766)

Am I really breaking some EU law when I watch those videos with mplayer on Linux?

(yes, I am watching them atm with mplayer plugin on Linux in EU)

It works FINE in VLC (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17419792)

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.
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