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May 6th, 2016

PBS Digital Studios Asks ‘Should Everything Be Open Source?’

The Video Screening Room

The DMCA doesn’t just make it illegal for you to circumvent DRM to rip and burn a DVD of ‘War Games’ or to install a pirated copy of Windows. It also can make it illegal for you to repair or modify things you own.

Public television and radio in the United States have been surprisingly shy about covering the open source movement, but this video by Mike Rugnetta at PBS Digital Studios shows that they may be waking up.

Speaking on the same topic, iFixit founder Kyle Wiens has written an uplifting blog post about some important copyright wins. As an open source advocate, follow and support iFixit and retweet the good folks at PBS Digital Studios. To my mind, public broadcasting and open source are like peanut butter and jelly. We just need to move these two jars closer together on the kitchen table. Do your part on this.

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

4 comments to PBS Digital Studios Asks ‘Should Everything Be Open Source?’

  • Caesar Tjalbo

    A couple of years ago I had a conversation with my brother. He was annoyed because he needed to communicate a document with somebody who didn’t have the latest version of MS Word. His idea was more or less that it should be compulsory to have the latest version of proprietary software regardless of the cost. I should add that *his* computer and software were provided and paid for by his employer.

    So, I’m afraid that getting the world on to “open source” will be an uphill fight for a long time, not even mentioning ‘Free Software’ (because by now, even Microsoft does “open source”).

  • Mike

    “His idea was more or less that it should be compulsory to have the latest version of proprietary software regardless of the cost.”

    That attitude is often shared by the U.S. education system.

    Too bad it’s not compulsory to be smart.

  • Sum Yung Gai

    This has been an issue in education for years. A FOSS advocate named R. Scott Belford wrote about this in 2007, and it remains relevant today.


    Public broadcasting should be using FOSS for several reasons.

    1.) Ideologically, it’s a perfect fit. Share and share alike.
    2.) It tends to have fewer problems overall.
    4.) Better fit for the budget.

    Everyone at public broadcasting stations should be using, for example, LibreOffice or Apache OpenOffice (your personal choice) for office productivity. They should be using Kolab or similar for groupware. Sharepoint functionality? Handled by Foswiki, Redmine, and similar.

    And you can legally share your improvements with other stations. It’s all about the freedom, folks, and freedom tastes good.