Democratic National Convention against GNU/Linux or bought by Microsoft?

I know what most people must be thinking- this is just another crazy GNU/Linux zealot. Well, I’m not. Let me set things straight. This isn’t about GNU/Linux vs Linux, this isn’t about the Democratic National Convention being anti-GNU/Linux or being bought by Microsoft. No. This is about advocating against solutions that are marginalizing groups of people. This is just one example of where Microsoft’s monopoly is abusing its strengths to stifle competition. When we don’t complain loudly about utilizing new or proprietary technology we allow web developers or those in charge the opportunity to stifle our choices. It doesn’t matter if you use GNU/Linux or not- because tomorrow the choice of which technology to adopt will have been made for you- for better or worse.

The people responsible for the Democratic National Convention need to know that not everybody uses Microsoft Windows. Not everybody can upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Windows. A 6 to 48 month gap isn’t that unreasonable to expect for web developers to hold off on implementing new immature technologies such as Silverlight. Until a broad stretch of the population has the technology and remaining segments have a solution available web developers should hold off.

For a convention that claims to be the “most technologically-savvy event of its kind” it certainly isn’t. For any technically savvy entity or person would know that accessibility is a key factor in developing, implementing, or otherwise rolling out a good site-especially one intended for the masses.

Tell the Democratic National Convention to switch technologies- or switch off the video by contacting them and complaining. Use the following contact information to complain:

Telephone:

720-DNC-2008 (362-2008)

TTY:

720-362-2208

Email:

info@demconvention.com

Office Location:

Democratic National Convention Committee, Inc.
1560 Broadway, Suite 400
Denver, Colorado 80202

For those who are interested in the underlying technology here: the problem is the Democratic National Convention is relying on a Microsoft solution to stream video. The technology is Silverlight. A solution competing with the likes of Flash. This combined with the Move Network’s media player plug-in. While Flash may not be the ideal solution it is at least available across a wide range of devices and platforms. In this case Microsoft has released the specifications for Silverlight, but failed to implement a GNU/Linux version. This failure means GNU/Linux developers require time to develop a version. Moonlight- the GNU/Linux solution that is currently being developed will be available soon. So while this technological issue will resolve itself over time for other sites we can’t let up on demanding an open accessible web during migratory periods.

Here is the error message that GNU/Linux users get:

>>>>

We’re sorry, but the Democratic Convention video web site isn’t compatible with your operating system and/or browser. Please try again on a computer with the following:

Compatible operating systems:
Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, or a Mac with Tiger (OS 10.4) or Leopard (OS 10.5).
Compatible browsers:
Internet Explorer (version 6 or later), Firefox (version 2), or, if you are on a Mac, Safari (version 3.1) also works.

<<<<<

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25 Responses to “Democratic National Convention against GNU/Linux or bought by Microsoft?”

  1. CJ Says:

    Your assessment is spot on. If we sit by idly and allow technologies that aren’t available to all to become the defacto standard we’ll soon find ourselves left by the wayside.

  2. daniel Says:

    and one more thing (not a rumor)

    microsoft is almost monochrome, republican (in case you wondered)

    regards,
    daniel

  3. John Hart Says:

    This is a repeat of the same problem that NBC presented to us with the Olympics.

    For a party that wants to be inclusive, this sure was an exclusive operation.

  4. BoulderGrrl Says:

    Done and done. Thanks for the heads up and the techie notes for us non-techie types.

  5. Lachild Says:

    Hey did anyone check out the HTTP headers coming from the site?

    I did… Here’s an interesting tid bit…

    Server: Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat)

    Isn’t that strange?

  6. joe.attaboy Says:

    Errr…Daniel, where did you get that “Microsoft is Republican” crap? Bill Gates is ablut as far from Republican as one of the richest men in the world can get. Don’t talk to me about donating to Republican candidates or lobbying Republican legislators…they do that equally on both sides.

    Just take a look in to some of the projects that Bill and his wife support through their foundation. Nothing Republican or conservative there, sorry.

    Now, *I’m* an anomaly: I’m as conservative as you can get, but I’m completely FOSS, other than what I’m forced to use at my job (I’m a DOD contractor). There are a lot of us out here, and we see Microsoft as a threat to out freedoms, which is a very “republican” belief.

  7. Kees Says:

    In holland the Olympics were also cast with Silverlight.

    Is Microsoft making offers you cannot refuse?

  8. B B Says:

    Microsoft is a pack of lying, cheating *ssh*les

  9. Frank Daley Says:

    Thank you for raising this issue. It is important that sites understand the implications of their technology decisions and Silverlight is part of yet another Microsoft lock-in strategy.

    To support Silverlight is to support Microsoft’s latest anti-competitive strategy.

    We cannot just sit by and let sites be hoodwinked by Microsoft.

  10. Ben Hoffman Says:

    Yeah, they’re supposed to be the party of the common man! Seems like they’re being kind of elitist here. I have an XP box with SP2 and tried to install that Silverlight and got a bunch of errors. Since I run Linux most of the time, I didn’t bother trying to figure out the problem.

  11. orlando_ombzzz Says:

    what about all this crazy netbooks that are selling as hot bread , many of them linux-powered ?

    democrats don’t care about this lost audience?

  12. ixnotes Says:

    Frank Daley: One of the problems with web development is educators use what the industry is using-or is otherwise easy to use. Even when elitist claims are made at university levels about teaching concepts over tools it is the tools that are still taught. It also doesn’t help that most developers (web or otherwise) don’t respect etiquette or good design practices. Most people are doing it for the money-not interest in what they are doing. lets not forget that management isn’t aware or concerned about these things so it is often overlooked. Getting the job done or looking good should not come at the expense of access. What bugs me about job postings is that most companies demand resumes in proprietary formats-even when the jobs are for positions at companies heavily using or involved in GNU/Linux or open source. So while the web developers are utilizing libre software on the web server they aren’t concerned with freedom.

    I won’t say it is reasonable to expect companies to utilize only libre software. I won’t even say you shouldn’t write proprietary software (not that I agree with it). I do expect think however that any services, processes, or information provided be accessible to all minority segments. This include libre software users, the disabled, and proprietary software users (so long as the software supports an open accessible standard).

  13. ixnotes Says:

    Frank: To conclude the above. I completely agree with you that Silverlight despite being open is unreasonably restricting users- and so too any sites that implement it. Adobe hasn’t been much better- but at least Adobe’s specifications are open too and they have been haphazardly (I shudder in recollection) releasing flash for GNU/Linux in a non-free form. One of the things that both Microsoft, Sun, and Adobe have done is fail to release versions, software, or specifications at the time of initial release. Thus preventing adequate access to sites utilizing such “technologies” by all users.

  14. ixnotes Says:

    orlando_ombzzz: As much as I would like to believe that GNU/Linux will be successful in the netbook market I’m concerned we’re loosing battles left and right. We haven’t conquered Microsoft in this market. Customers need to demand GNU/Linux or Microsoft will win. Every person that goes and buys a MS Windows netbook is telling companies to load MS Windows-not GNU/Linux. I still can’t go down to Best Buy (in the USA) and purchase a GNU/Linux netbook. The version of the EeePC they are now making available in store comes with MS Windows XP. In fact some of the stores that carry it don’t even have the MS Windows version on display. Despite this they are selling well.. but once again the BestBuy stores are only selling the MS Windows version now. Until companies actually support GNU/Linux in a meaningfully way the OS will never hit the mainstream.

    Not to be too pessimistic- this netbook success is a success. I’m just not holding my breath it’ll last the way Microsoft controls things .

  15. ixnotes Says:

    Ohh and one more thing- in the last 5 years I have seen the masses go from not having heard of GNU/Linux to actually picking up GNU/Linux systems. I’ve seen customers in my mainstream retail store where I work with GNU/Linux netbooks, asking about GNU/Linux, and even buying hardware for GNU/Linux, I’ve done a number of installs as well. It is here. We just don’t have widespread mainstream adoption. It’s a new niche mainstream adoption by casual non-techy users that I’m seeing.

  16. orlando_ombzzz Says:

    ixnotes

    this is a search of the term “eee pc” at amazon, ordered by “most popular”

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?Recs=10&Nav=|c:17|m:107|&Sort=3

    Come on, don’t give up, man! :-)))

  17. Patrick Says:

    Lachild said:
    >> Hey did anyone check out the HTTP headers coming from the site?
    >> I did… Here’s an interesting tid bit…
    >> Server: Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat)
    >> Isn’t that strange?

    Checking the video server explains a bit:

    HEAD http://gallery.demconvention.com/
    200 OK
    Connection: close
    Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 02:44:07 GMT
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    ETag: “022d25b102c91:000″
    Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
    Content-Length: 2618
    Content-Location: http://galleryorigin1.demconvention.com/Default.html
    Content-Type: text/html
    Last-Modified: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 15:29:24 GMT
    Client-Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 02:44:07 GMT
    Client-Peer: 8.12.206.126:80
    Client-Response-Num: 1
    X-Powered-By: ASP.NET

  18. PAndy Says:

    Well I wouldnt expect anything else. Microsoft, US Government, ect, ect. It’s all the same. Maybe well evolve soon….

  19. xenon155 Says:

    man.. for 0.83% of the market you guys sure do make some noise…
    if you want free content, be prepared to play by the rules. what a bunch of whiny OSS zealots…

  20. ixnotes Says:

    xenon155: for your information we are more than 0.83% of the market by even the LOWEST estimates. By other estimates we have even exceeded the Mac user base primarily because Apple was or is a US centric company. GNU/Linux on the other hand is spread throughout the world-some areas more so than others though. I know I shouldn’t have even approved this comment, but I’m OPEN minded to even arrogant jerks. (Yes, I am playing into zenon155 hands by responding to these infuriating remarks). I don’t know what interest you have in spreading with this Microsoft FUD- are you a Microsoft administrator or .NET developer or something? Do we scare you? We’re aren’t all locked into our education- apparently you are. That is why you get taught theory in college- or supposedly that is the idea anyway-not tools.

  21. xenon155 Says:

    ixnotes:
    xenon155: for your information we are more than 0.83% of the market by even the LOWEST estimates

    Where are these estimates? Lets see them…

    Linux makes up 0.83% of the desktop worldwide. Or did you think US is the entire world?
    ——

    ixnotes:
    I don’t know what interest you have in spreading with this Microsoft FUD- are you a Microsoft administrator or .NET developer or something? Do we scare you? We’re aren’t all locked into our education- apparently you are. That is why you get taught theory in college- or supposedly that is the idea anyway-not tools.

    What has this got to do with microsoft? I’m calling you out on your bullshit claims.

  22. Michael Mann Says:

    Don’t complain to the Democratic Convention. I did following a story about this on SlashDot and got this today:

    “Your message was deleted without being read on Thursday, September 25, 2008 7:20:11 AM (GMT-07:00) Mountain Time (US & Canada).”

    They deleted the message without even reading my email. Here is what I wrote, so I don’t understand their response:

    “I recently visited the video section of the demconvention.com website
    and was disappointed by the fact that my operating system/web browser
    was not supported. As a professional web designer, I understand the
    need for allowing the largest target audience access as possible.

    I utilize the Linux operating system as a healthy alternative to Windows
    or Mac OS. Please do what is possible in your power to allow for myself
    and others utilizing linux or other open-source/free operating systems
    to be able to utilize the website to the fullest possible extent.”

  23. ixnotes Says:

    I don’t know what interest you have in spreading with this Microsoft FUD- are you a Microsoft administrator or .NET developer or something? Do we scare you? We’re aren’t all locked into our education- apparently you are. That is why you get taught theory in college- or supposedly that is the idea anyway-not tools.

    What has this got to do with microsoft? I’m calling you out on your bullshit claims.

    ——————-

    My claims? You are the one making bogus claims. You show me a recent estimate that has GNU/Linux at .83% of the market or a lower number. The only reason I can think of that you would be posting such a derogatory remark is if you had some interest in Microsoft or Microsoft technology. That is how it relates to Microsoft. I’m not going to approve any more of these comments that clearly have no value and are aimed at getting me all worked up for nothing. Your comments are nothing more than spam.

  24. Stephen Says:

    I agree with ixnotes! Anyone with a decent Browser can easily find out in seconds that this .83% share estimate is total bullshit. Just take a browse around the worlds most informative sites and you will find out.
    I wonder how this comment even managed to make it to this site?

  25. ixnotes Says:

    Stephen: I have no issue with any rationale person who poses an opinion that differs. Even an irrational opinion would have been fine. Censorship is not the goal here. I allowed it for that reason alone. This was more like Microsoft spam. It had no value and was only meant to infuriate. He could probably have cared less about the issue- and if I let it continue with a back and forth he just would have proved his point about us being ‘zealots’. Failure to let him post further saves us all that trouble of wasted time. both sides got to react. Now it is over. I’m not respond to comments regarding him/her any further… I’d appreciate it that nobody else does either. It just distracts from the more important issue.

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