Friday, October 17, 2008


How Linux Friendly are Media Sites?

A while ago I evaluated how easy it was to access video on several news and media sites. Below is how I rated them:
sux          doesn't work at all
marginal works with severe limitations (e.g. flash-only)
good works with some limitations (e.g. microsoft formats only)
excellent works with standard formats (e.g. mp4)   citytv (toronto) sux sux good good marginal flash 9, mp4 excellent wmv, realplayer excellent mp4 excellent

Since that time I had to again revise my opinion on the level of Linux friendliness of It was never that good but recently it's become downright hostile to Linux users. Not too long ago I could use flash 9 to see videos on cnn and before that I could look at the page source and actually capture video to the hard drive. Now one needs to have the "Turner Media Plugin" if you want to see the videos.

As you can see from the list TVO and BBC were excellent, CBC was good and CTV was awful. Now I must add CNN to the list of awful sites (with respect to Linux). Now when I try to see a video all I get is a gray rectangle with the words "General Error". Like a bad virus keeps morphing itself so that Linux users are unable to use their video services.

In the past I would delve into CNN's site and try to decipher all the technical mumbo-jumbo, but this is the end. If by some miracle one manages to figure out a way to see videos on CNN under Linux no doubt it will morph again and all your work and time spent will be wasted. So now I will no longer bother with it and move over to other sites.

As alternatives allow me to suggest TVO and WNED.

UPDATE: Oct. 21, 2008
Did a quick check on CITYTV (the Canadian TV channel's web page) and for the Linux aficionado the pickings are slim. There are lots of flash ads and little interesting content.


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