Will Hollywood force DRM on web users via HTML5?

Today in Open Source: Hollywood tries to insert DRM into HTML5. Plus: Virtual reality and Steam, and four Linux distros for kids

By , ITworld |  Open Source, drm, Linux

Hollywood pushes DRM via HTML5
Techdirt has a disturbing report about Hollywood attempting to force DRM on web users via HTML5.

Last week, we wrote about the MPAA joining the W3C almost certainly as part of its ongoing effort to push for DRM to be built into HTML5.

But here's the thing: the internet wasn't built to be the next broadcast medium for big Hollywood blockbusters. It was built as a computing and communications platform. That's what made it special and it's why so many people have flocked to it. It's why it's "the internet." Hollywood came late to the party and has been trying to redesign the web in its own image ever since -- and that means locking it down so it's more about a broadcasting model, in which the "professionals" in Hollywood get to determine what you, the peons, get to do.

More at Techdirt

I wrote a column a while back called "How the Hollywood Morons Can Beat the Pirates." In the column I pointed out the futility of DRM, among numerous other things that Hollywood has been doing wrong for years. Not surprisingly, nobody in Hollywood ever read my column because they are still trying to push DRM in every way imaginable.

DRM isn't going to protect their revenue streams, it never has and it never will. All of their content is available on torrent sites shortly after being released to the public. Yet they still cling to the DRM fantasy even after years and years of people sharing movies, TV shows, books and other content on the Internet.

It just goes to show you that sometimes you just can't fix stupid. Every time I think about Hollywood and DRM, I'm reminded of the line by Darth Vader from one of the Star Wars movies: "He is as clumsy as he is stupid."

Here's the clip:

Yeah, that about sums up Hollywood. They are as clumsy as they are stupid.

Hopefully, their DRM fantasies will be shot down and will never become a part of HTML5. They won't learn anything from it, but at least web users won't have to be punished for their idiocy.

Virtual reality and Steam
PC World is reporting that Valve has created a virtual reality interface for Steam.

Dubbed SteamVR, the new mode is only available in the Steam beta desktop client and requires users to start Steam from the command line using the “-vr” flag. The new VR functionality is designed for Steam’s “Big Picture” mode—the desktop client’s immersive, TV-friendly full screen view.

You’ll need an Oculus Rift headset (pictured at top on PCWorld senior writer Brad Chacos) to take advantage of the new functionality, which is one of the few consumer-grade VR headset worth talking about.

 
Image credit: PC World

More at PCWorld

I'm surprised that Valve did this so soon. I expected they might do something like this after SteamOS had been out in final form. But they are clearly thinking ahead, and are already preparing to incorporate VR into the SteamOS experience. Valve continually impresses me with their foresight and planning.

Four Linux distributions for kids
Opensource.com has four Linux distros suitable for kids.

I can see the brightness of curiosity in my six year old niece Shuchi's eyes when she explores a mobile phone or manipulates the idiot box with its remote control or becomes creatively destructive with any other electronic device. She, like a lot of kids her age, love experimenting.

As a big kid myself, and an open source software enthusiast for over four years now, I like exploring and experimenting with different software solutions. Pertaining to the problem of finding and setting up an ideal system for my young niece, I found that the open source Linux community has created specialized operating systems and environments for kids. Plus, setting up these systems is a breeze.

Qimo
Sugar
Ubermix
Edubuntu

More at Opensource.com

Teaching kids about Linux is a great idea, it gives them a chance to broaden their computing horizons beyond just Windows or OS X. The world is changing swiftly and today's kids are tomorrow's young adults. It makes sense for them to have direct, hands-on experience with Linux. They may end up using it in their careers or personal lives later on.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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