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So, there are people out there who enjoy watching me rant about technology. Current rants are being shelved until we go public, mostly because I’ve kinda been asked to keep quiet about work stuff (We are doing Cool Things. This is all) because when I mentioned who I was working for, our webtraffic trebled and the number of google matches on our name shot up for a while. Behold the power of a single C-list weblogger.

Anyway, The big thing in the ISW1 right now is either that TheFeedFormat (AKA Pie, Atom, etc) is still happening; or that Greg Dyke wants to open the BBC Archive up. I’m with Danny and Stuart and Half the frigging internet on this one. With the notable and exceptional exception of the British Conservative Party, who think that shutting down BBCi is better fitted to their remit.

The BBC is a fun entity to behold, and it may need to be explained to furriners. Basically, the BBC is funded by us – the TV watching UK public – to (originally) “Inform, Educate and Entertain”. This was then expanded (Or contracted, depending on how you see it) when commercial TV happened, in order that the non-profit nature of the BBC didn’t kill it off. The Remit is a large document on what the BBC can and should do. Generally, the other channels feel that the BBC should stick to public service stuff, and basically leave the entertainment and profitable activities to them. I’d disagree with that, mostly because of what passes for entertainment on channel five, but these are the same people who want to shut down BBC news because Reuters do it commercially.

The first result of this pressure was to shut down half of the BBC World Service, which for many years was (and some would say still is) the best advertising that Britain had. They now want to limit it further – or shut it down completely. All this misses the point. The BBC was invented to “Inform, Educate and Entertain”. It has the wonderful motto “Nation shall speak peace unto nation” not “Nation shall watch it’s borders and keep to itself”, the point of the BBC was – and I’d say is – just to be. To be an example of a public service not just to Britain, but to everything and everyone.

There has been an argument over who owns BBC content for years. Last year it was triggered internally when the BBC Tech department started looking at Ogg Vorbis as an alternative to RealPlayer for their streams. The crucial difference between the technologies was – is, in fact – that Ogg is open. People would be able to download the streams and save them for themselves for playback whenever they wanted. It was a fantastic idea, but got bogged down in legal stuff and then completely killed when BBCi lost half it’s workforce.

The opening of the archive is a wonderful idea, but I have a horrible feeling it’ll get bogged down in “Can we do this” until it gets stop-energied to death.

[1] International States Of Webloggers, because “Blog[o]sphere” is a deeply horrible word.

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