Last week I talked about Ogg and stirred up a bit of controversy when I suggested we take Linux.com to task for not providing open formats. While it was very effective in getting people to write in showing their displeasure with propriatary formats, it almost failed at achieving the goal of getting them to switch. The problem with language is it can be very imprecise, especially in written form where tone is often hard to assess. While there is a time and a place for strong words we must understand that words can hurt and push people into a defensive stance where even the most innocuous of statements are misconstrued.
The correct words I should have used with Linux.com was that we should engage them. Simply telling them that they had to switch to Ogg was putting them in a defensive stance because of various factors. From what I had found out, this was a small team of hard working individuals with families, a love for reporting and not enough time or resources to do everything they would like to do. What I needed to do was find an way over the wall so we could figure out a way forward. That way was through politeness and an offer to help.
I had e-mailed Robin “Roblimo” Miller, a senior editor at Linux.com, with my offer to help and he suggested I call him so we could speak as two humans. I spent an hour on Friday talking and more importantly listening to Robin, realizing that this was a man who was willing to help push forward the use as open formats where practical. He had talked to Monty during an interview for a piece on video formats and hashed out the quality issues to his satisfaction. But, he has also talked about the need for delivery systems which would make Ogg as ubiquitous as Flash video and make using Ogg as his primary format and easy choice as it would be able to reach the the wider audience which keeps his site going.
What I picked up out of the conversation that was important to me was that Linux.com was moving forward and had a keen interest in supporting open media. I didn’t expect things to happen overnight, I just wanted to know that they were happening. I was pleased to see their last weekly wire go out with a link to the Ogg Theora download which I promptly watched.
But now it is our turn to be “taken to task”. We need to help out by making it more economical for sites to post open media. To do this we need to help improve the quality of Theora and help complete Dirac. We must also help out writing easy to use software to edit video. Two promising contenders in this area is Kino and Pitivi with Kino being much further along though I personally like Pitivi’s interface better. Delivery systems as I have said are also important, whether it be working on Firefox’s video tag support, various plugin systems, video blogging software or simply setting up a “Got Ogg?” campaign to distribute plugins, content and advice on using open formats.
The ball is in our court and we need to keep running with it. If you really care about open media then find a way you can help out. Happy holidays everyone.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]