» Comedy at the British Open Source Consortium | John Carroll | ZDNet.com

I got a heads up for this blog from the OSC-members list and I must say have found it a very amusing read.  Whilst Mr Carroll certainly makes a couple of seemingly logical points (such as the current commercial trend to focus development on the windows OS first) there is a fundamental flaw in his argument.

As a Microsoft Employee, he is not an unbiased representative (and as an OpenSource Consortium Member, I'm not either) but there is a point to be made regarding software freedom.

If the BBC were launching a GCSE revision package, I think we'd all be a little griped if  it were only available on windows - but it's the commerical standard so would be slightly less of an issue.

I think the bigger issue with the iPlayer is that there isn't currently a standard.  The BBC are pioneering a technology that has the potential to be completely open.  The ethernet-TV that will take off within the next few years is bigger than the switch from analog to digital TV - new devices (like the apple TV, mythTV, WindowsMCE) are all popping up in order to access the new information.  This is the problem:

There is a new market being created - and the BBC have the power at their disposal to make or break this new market.  The set-top box is getting clever, and unless the BBC service can be accessed openly (without a single vendor's software) then the whole market for topbox devices is going to be skewed in Microsoft's favour.

If it were just about an end-user PC program.. then there's not really that much of an issue - but it's about a completely new wave of internet-tv synergy.  What a role the BBC will be playing if they're the ones who go down in history as killing it!