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10.07.13

Audiocasts/Video Shows About GNU/Linux: Down But Not Out

Posted in Site News at 1:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Boxing glove

Summary: An observation regarding the state of GNU/Linux (plus FOSS) in the alternative media and a call for action

Audiocasts (or “podcasts” for those who prefer this more common term) are a convenient medium with which to pass information to drivers or people who work around the house and cannot face a monitor. For some it’s a way of occupying oneself while doing exercise like running. Not many people would sit down for two hours staring at a static screen in order to just listen to a stream of audio (unless multi-tasking). For the producers, an audiocast can be a lot of work or very little work, depending on how it’s produced. If there is prior planning or even full scripting, many attempts and a lot of preparation may be needed. Otherwise it can be as simple as picking up a microphone and having a conversation, perhaps post-editing for some extra polish.

In October 2010 — that’s three years ago — Tim and I started working on a show called TechBytes. This show is still alive, but its format has changed over the years. The frequency of shows too has changed. Looking around us for an assessment of the state of GNU/Linux audiocasts, things do not look so good. Some shows have gone totally silent, some went quiet, and only few remained as active as before. A year after we were a feature on FLOSS Weekly Leo Laporte officially stepped out of FLOSS Weekly (other hosts were/still are [1] tested and some left thereafter). Some nice shows simply went away, leaving mostly a bunch of small/new players, new diluted forms of Linux/UNIX shows from Jupiter [2], Ubuntu-centric shows [3-5], and Tux Radar, which is only a few years old [6-8]. Some of the shows that I have been following for years are no more or rarely anymore (maybe a few episodes are released per year or once in a few years). This is not a good thing and taking into account the closure of key sites like Groklaw we should seriously think what can be done to save independent pro-Free software press/media. Without it, we have no public voice.

There is a certain apathy if not active denial/cognitive dissonance over the demise of GNU/Linux- and Free software-friendly (even Open Source-centric) topics in the corporate media. A lot of sites that used to thrive and a lot of matters which occupied the mainstream media are no longer there, or are hardly ever there. This does not mean that GNU/Linux and Free software are going away; they are actually widespread and popularised more than ever before. They are becoming an industry standard. But we sure have a problem when even companies that purport to have embraced “Linux” are openly promoting DRM, censorship, binary blobs, and even remote-accessible back doors (for our ‘protection’). If the ideas that accompany Free software are not out there for people to absorb lobbyists of companies like Apple and Microsoft can take advantage of it and revoke progress. Please try to support sites which continue to spread the message of Free software because without media presence, ideas can be weakened or altogether vanish. The problem is not specific to multimedia; even paper publications and digital publications are going away.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. OpenWrt

    Instead of trying to create a single, static firmware, OpenWrt provides a fully writable filesystem with package management. This frees you from the application selection and configuration provided by the vendor and allows you to customize the device through the use of packages to suit any application. For developer, OpenWrt is the framework to build an application without having to build a complete firmware around it; for users this means the ability for full customization, to use the device in ways never envisioned.

  2. Teskeing the Possibilities | BSD Now 47
  3. Burning Circle Episode 133
  4. Burning Circle Episode 131

    This week’s episode wraps up our presence at Ohio Linux Fest 2013.

  5. S06E31 – Reservoir Ubuntu
  6. Podcast Season 5 Episode 15

    In this episode: No more Groklaw and no Ubuntu Edge. ZTE’s Firefox phone sells out quickly on eBay, and the exFAT filesystem is now open source. And as usual, we also have discoveries, challenges, brains and a ballot!

  7. Podcast Season 5 Episode 16

    In this episode: Encryption is dead, but there are lots of great games in the new Humble Indie Bundle. FreeBSD ditches GCC and Intel clashes with Ubuntu. We’ve got some great discoveries, we dust down the old wheel of misfortune and discuss your opinions in the Open Ballot.

  8. Podcast Season 5 Episode 17
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