My feathers have been ruffled. On the ubuntu-uk mailing list was a thread about the 'poll options' on the BBC. The poll in question was about whether users would be buying the new version of MacOS - Leopard.
The options were:
Yes - I need new spots
No - I'm happy with Tiger
No - I'm a Windows user
Now, if you goto the site, you'll also be greeted by:
No - I'm a Linux user
Now I've just noticed that this has been added (after starting to write the post and checking the text of the poll) - but it still annoys me and is an epitome of how the BBC currently view Linux.
I was reading John Humphry's Book last night - "Lost for Words." It's a comment of "The mangling and manipulation of the English Language" as is quite an enjoyable read. It's an "old man's" rambling on the state of the English language today - and how English has lost its precision with the current methods of usage.
Near the end of the book, Mr Humphrys makes reference to the Academie Francaise - a French body set up to look over the development of the French Language. A noble cause, but few French tend to take much notice. In England, Humphrys suggests that the BBC take on that role. Language used in a news-bulletin or on the Today program can signal its acceptance into our language. With the BBC churning out so much language, he argues that it needs to take it's role seriously.
Sir Michael Dummet set up the English Speaking Board to do just that - and wrote to the BBC to make them acutely aware of the significance of correct grammar and lexicon that the BBC broadcast. The BBC replied that it was not its job "to preserve any specific form of the English Language, but to reflect its fluid and ever changing nature." Well I think the BBC (and government,) have failed dramatically. Driving past spaghetti junction in Birmingham on Tuesday evening I saw a sign for the "Youth Offending Service." Due to crappy grammar - this places the youth as the subject, the offending as the verb, and service as the object. (I hope I have object and subject the right way round.. or else I'll have egg on my face). The result is that the service would appear to be for those who would like to offend youths, rather than for youth's that have offended.
L inking back to the point of the post, the BBC have a massive responsibility. The BBC don't follow trends, they set them. The BBC doesn't join new markets - it creates them. The BBC doesn't deliver, it provides.
If the BBC is going to continue to server the British Public in a way that is conducive to positive development, then it needs to realise it's own power - something that it has yet to accept. If the BBC released their content without DRM - other providers in the UK would be forced to follow suit - even BskyB. The BBC have a massive position of power and trust in this country. Use it, but don't exploit it.