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iPlayer Released for Mac, Linux; Adobe Announces AIR for Linux 231

Posted by timothy
from the rich-buttery-web-apps dept.
Zoxed writes "The BBC reports that their iPlayer has just been released for Mac and Linux (download page). It is based on Adobe Air, but unfortunately the service is only available to UK IP address, so I can not test it out from my adopted homeland of Germany. Perhaps a UK-based Slashdotter could review it?" In related news, an anonymous reader writes "Adobe has announced a Linux version of its AIR 1.5 runtime environment that is supposed to allow rich web apps developed on it to run on Fedora Core 8, Ubuntu 7.10 and openSuse 10.3 with no modification. The company released versions for Windows and Mac OS X back in November."
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iPlayer Released for Mac, Linux; Adobe Announces AIR for Linux

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  • Proxy, anyone? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by panoptical2 (1344319)
    Could you use a UK-based proxy and download the player?
  • Are there any commercial or free proxy servers which one could use to access the BBC-UK site ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FugitiveMind (1423373)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wizard Drongo (712526)

      Our 3rd party mac app lets you use proxies well, and we're hoping to bring in an integrated VPN..
      www.lawrencedudley.co.uk/iplayer

    • by jabithew (1340853)

      Won't do you any good. I'm sitting a couple of miles away from White City and I can't get it working.

  • potential of Air ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jawadde (1434863)
    I'm not a pro with flash development, but given the advances that javascript, CSS and DHTML are making, combined with stuff like squirrelfish extreme and the canvas object, how much potential does flash still have ? don't get me wrong : I don't want to go on a flash-bashing parade here ! I'm just wondering if the current state of javascript in modern browsers isn't up-to-par with flash for 90% of whatever flash is doing right now. The only advantages of flash are code-protection and vector graphics. But I
    • by Alistair Hutton (889794) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:24PM (#26166273) Homepage
      Lots. The advantage the Flash Player has over Javascript, CSS and DHTML is the when I code something for the Flash Player I know what my 1 single target platform is. When I code for the browser I'm coding for x number of subtly incompatible targets. Yes, libraries can abstract away that to a degree but not wit the ease of (the admittedly closed source) Flpash Player. Plus the player has lots of bells and whistles that frankly are really nice to use.
    • Air/Flash License (Score:5, Informative)

      by ink (4325) * on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:32PM (#26166375) Homepage

      Additionally, Air and Flash have some hefty licensing restrictions. From Adobe:

      For the avoidance of doubt, and by example only, Distributor shall not distribute any Adobe Runtime for use on any (a) mobile device, set top box (STB), handheld, phone, web pad, tablet or Tablet PC (other than Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and its successors), game console, TV, DVD player, media center (other than Windows XP Media Center Edition and its successors), electronic billboard or other digital signage, internet appliance or other internet-connected device, PDA, medical device, ATM, telematic device, gaming machine, home automation system, kiosk, remote control device, or any other consumer electronics device, (b) operator-based mobile, cable, satellite, or television system or (c) other closed system device. For information on licensing Adobe Runtimes for use or distribution on devices see http://www.adobe.com/licensing [adobe.com].

      So, they can call it "free" all they want, but it isn't even free-as-in-beer free.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tatsh (893946)

        Adobe spends money to develop these technologies as does Microsoft. They are not going to hand out that much for free, even as in beer.

        I wish every developer would look past proprietary things like Flash and AIR and use web standards instead, but I know this will never happen.

        • Re:Air/Flash License (Score:4, Informative)

          by ink (4325) * on Thursday December 18, 2008 @09:49PM (#26168267) Homepage

          I wish every developer would look past proprietary things like Flash and AIR and use web standards instead, but I know this will never happen.

          MythTV can't legally use this product -- and not for lame patent reasons, but for copyright laws (it's a set-top box). We'll be stuck with Adobe's runtime until an open standard takes off. Developers can indeed "look past" proprietary things like Flash. They do it all the time when they develop for the web, and they take it for granted until things like this happen. Hopefully HTML5 will use an unencumbered standard for audio and video (such as Ogg/Vorbis). That, coupled with SVG and traditional web technologies would give us the "run time" that we need to keep the web free.

      • Re:Air/Flash License (Score:5, Informative)

        by chrb (1083577) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:53PM (#26167897)

        iPlayer-Downloader [po-ru.com] has no licensing restrictions and no DRM :-)

    • by Toonol (1057698) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:32PM (#26166387)
      Actionscript 3.0 is really a pretty decent language, on par with the newest versions of javascript... and DHTML/CSS doesn't come close to the power of the flash graphics API. A decent flash game, for instance, can look & play better than most Super Nintendo games; DHTML/Javascript is still pushing hard to look like an original NES. Both, of course, are hundreds of times slower than native applications.

      Flash has its problems, obviously; it breaks the whole browsing paradigm. However, there's just nothing else out there right now with the same mix of capabilities; it has its niche. (Maybe java applets, but those universally suck. Maybe Silverlight could, but nobody seriously uses it.)
    • by jonbryce (703250)

      Sound and video for starters.

      And that's what iPlayer does.

    • Come to think of it, it's interesting that the BBC got burned for their decision only to support Windows for downloads, but haven't been told off for only supporting Adobe's platform for streaming, and tying even closer to them with the AIR announcement. (They usually draw complaints whenever they distort markets, not just when they make some viewers miss out)
    • by Khuffie (818093)
      Let me know when you can do apps like picnik [picnik.com] or buzzword [acrobat.com] in JavaScript, CSS and DHTML without having a nightmare of browser incompatabilities to work around.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by foniksonik (573572)

      Flash allows socket connections, data binding for true persistent state across an application, full complete support for managed vector graphics; audio; video; 3D objects and environments, local storage, remote shared storage (shared between users) and all of it is cross platform/browser.

      Some of these can be addressed by running special server apps (a Comet server for socket connections, ie: push data to the client rather than pull from the server or polling from the server) or by using cutting edge browser

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:22PM (#26166243) Journal

    Adobe has announced a Linux version of its AIR 1.5 runtime environment that is supposed to allow rich web apps developed on it to run on Fedora Core 8, Ubuntu 7.10 ...

    Isn't this release just in time for support of those 2 versions to be discontinued?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by platykurtic (1210910)
      Those are the minimum supported versions
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gzipped_tar (1151931)

        Don't know about Ubuntu, but for Fedora, stuff that works with Fedora N doesn't necessarily work with Fedora (N + 1). They sometimes make rapid changes between releases and you'll have to do a lot of reconfiguration.

  • by slummy (887268) <shawnuthNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:25PM (#26166281) Homepage
    I am on the Adobe Pre-release program and I've been testing AIR Linux since it was in engdrop form, it's never installed on Slackware or Sabayon. When will they release a version that will install across all distros? Nobody knows.
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:27PM (#26166299)

    I have to say it's decent approach to the problem of deploying Web Apps. Granted we did all the backend work connecting the Flex/Air front end to the database using AMFPHP, but it's definitely a decent platform for web applications and hybrid web/desktop apps. However it still suffers one flaw: it requires a third party platform that doesn't run on everything. (think mobile devices)

    I see the Support OpenSuSE 10.3, but what about 11 and 11.1 (currently downloading the ISO).

    The other approach is what Google and Apple are taking with HTML/Javascript based web applications that try to be browser/standards compliant. The entity that figures out how to make it work as a standalone desktop app has a winner.

    • by moreati (119629) <alex@moreati.org.uk> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:23PM (#26167001) Homepage

      Sorry to pick on you, but this is a bugbear of mine.

      Applications written in AIR/Silverlight/whatever are not web applications. They're thick client applications that happen to use a bit of http and javascript.

      Web applications run in web browsers. Not in one particular browser, and not in a third party runtime.

      I'm glad AIR was a good fit for your problem.

    • JavaFX will run on anything in the near future. It's the only solution that will run web apps in the browser or on the desktop across the board. Yeah Flash is on Linux but it's always behind everyone else and doesn't always run quite right.
      • by terjeber (856226)

        I'd be very surprised to see JavaFX ability overtake Flash in browsers any time in the next 3 years. In addition to that, and given the horrid (still) Java plugin performance in any browser I have ever tried, I would be shocked to see JavaFX overtake Flash as a client-side development tool ever.

        Sun did a good job with Java, and I have used Java for commercial server-side development since the late 90's. The company I worked for sold and deployed our first major Java app in 1997. I am not a Java basher. Java

  • by frieko (855745) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:30PM (#26166347)
    I'm glad all the whining us Linux fans are doing is paying off. Everybody's jumping on the Linux-supporting bandwagon, if only to stop us from telling all our friends and relatives and strangers that $COMPANY are a bunch of evil meanie heads.
    • It's not the "whining" it's the fact that there are already millions of Linux users, companies think twice to restricting access to million of potential clients.

    • The BBC has to support Linux. Otherwise, quite rightly Linux users should get a discount because we're forced to pay the tax and if a certain group can't have full access to everything then they deserve a discount.

      For instance, if ever I get rid of my TV (they'll probably still charge me because I have a PC), I'll get an old black & white TV to get the reduced fee. I know they'll make me pay it so I might as well get it cheaper and let the B&W tv collect dust.
    • Can I ask if you would be posting a similar comment if the Linux users already had BBC iPlayer and it was the Windows users who were waiting for it?

      I'm a Linux-using Brit who has to the pay the TV License fee (not that I actually mind because I get advert-free TV, advert-free radio, Dr Who and some good comedy) which is essentially a tax that I *have* to pay. Therefore the BBC have a duty to support me.

      So end of story and shut up.

  • ...It is based on Adobe Air, but unfortunately the service is only available to UK IP address, so I can not test it out from my adopted homeland of Germany. Perhaps a UK-based Slashdotter could review it?"...

    Couldn't you utilize an anonymous proxy?

    ...that is supposed to allow rich web apps developed on it to run on Fedora Core 8, Ubuntu 7.10 and OpenSuse 10.3 with no modification...

    I am disappointed that all distros quoted are "old" versions of their existing ones strictly speaking. Why do software companies do this all the time?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)

      I am disappointed that all distros quoted are "old" versions of their existing ones strictly speaking. Why do software companies do this all the time?

      Err... Because those are the minimum supported versions? It would be like if a program came out that only ran on Vista, not XP everyone would really question the reason why. Similarly, its not bad that it doesn't require Ubuntu 8.10 to be installed, its quite good in fact that it doesn't.

  • The 3rd party ones are better. No DRM, no AIR....

    www.lawrencedudley.co.uk/iplayer

    Disclaimer: I helped make that on. But it IS good.
    We'll be making iTunes playlist support soon....

    • Of course, it also violates the terms of use so is illegal, and will be prone to the BBC breaking it at any time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wizard Drongo (712526)

        Actually, it's usage can't be illegal; all it does is allow you to watch the content available to iPhone users.
        Of course you can't save stuff on the iPhone, but the BBC offers these downloads. We just allow you to get them. Kinda like changing your browsers user-agent.

        I paid my licence fee, I can tape stuff off the TV. Why the hell do they use DRM when they already allow you access??

        • by Molt (116343)
          I paid my licence fee, I can tape stuff off the TV. Why the hell do they use DRM when they already allow you access?? Because without the DRM restrictions the BBC'd never have been able to convince the external content producers to allow them to distribute over the internet without exceptionally high payments which the BBC couldn't afford. They either added the DRM or it wasn't going to happen at all, basically.
          • by Paul Jakma (2677)

            you're missing the point...

            When the iPhone came out the BBC made un-DRMed content available for it...

            Your argument holds no water.

        • by chrb (1083577)

          Actually, it might be.

          Violating the terms of a contractual obligation is not illegal - you can be sued in a civil court by the other parties to the contract, but you can't be arrested and prosecuted in criminal court unless you are suspected of actually violating criminal law. Unfortunately, the BBC could claim that you are in fact violating copyright law, since unless you accept their user contract you won't have a license to reproduce their content on your PC. Think of it as kind of how the GPL works - if

          • by langelgjm (860756)

            Think of it as kind of how the GPL works - if you don't accept the GPL contract and redistribute the work, then you are guilty of criminal copyright infringement.

            Uh, I thought copyright infringement was generally a civil issue, and that it only became criminal when you were really going at it, say pressing hundreds of copies of discs or something.

            Care to clarify?

  • I wanted to update Adobe AIR's Wikipedia entry but some fella beat me on that! What the hell? This leaves me more impressed by this Wikipedia paradigm.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Integrated_Runtime [wikipedia.org]

    • by nschubach (922175)

      At least the story could have linked to the AIR download [adobe.com] page. Sure it's a simple URL and it auto detects your OS, but a link would have been nice instead of forcing people through wikipedia or the lame article.

  • Here's what you have to do:

    Turn on the beta 'labs' features here [bbc.co.uk], then get the installer. You might be able to get the installer from this link [bbc.co.uk], but if not, choose "Download" from this page [bbc.co.uk].

    Here's some further info for installing on the Mac [bbc.co.uk], and installing on Linux [bbc.co.uk] - but the above should suffice.

    Of course, you're better off using iplayer-dl [po-ru.com] to download the flash streams DRM-free ;)

    • Thank you! I was beginning to go a bit nuts wondering how I was supposed to get it working. Signed up for the labs, but then there was no information on what to do next.

      • by daybot (911557) *

        I was beginning to go a bit nuts wondering how I was supposed to get it working

        Yeah it was a frustrating 10-minute road for me, so I thought it would be worth posting some instructions that actually work :)

  • I found this video interesting: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/air/flex/articles/nasdaq_story.html [adobe.com] About to try out the Market Replay app myself.
  • All I want to do is watch this in the US. Can anyone help?
  • by TheRealJFM (671978) on Friday December 19, 2008 @12:02AM (#26169153) Homepage Journal

    I've installed AIR and the iPlayer downloader, and so far neither have really worked.

    Granted this is probably because I'm using 64-bit Linux, and they don't seem to support it yet (not that I was told this at any stage of the installation process, or the website where I downloaded the installer.

    To get the thing installed on 64-bit I followed these instructions [adobe.com], and then proceeded to the BBC website to download something. Nothing seemed to work, no download links appeared. I then followed the links to an episode of Never Mind The Buzzcocks that other people reported was working. This time a download link appeared, but clicking it took me to install the program again.

    To figure out why it wasn't working, I ran the downloader from the command line. It was printing the following: "Unkown desktop manager((null)), only Gnome and KDE are supported". Aha... I'm using XFCE, yet it must use the inter-process communication of either one of those desktops...

    Booted into Gnome, and tried again. This time it tells me that it wants libgnome-keyring.so - I realise that no preferences are savable - it must be saving prefs with the keyring. I think that's a bit odd - what's wrong with ~/.Adobe/AIR?

    After installing 32-bit libraries for gnome-keyring, the thing still doesn't work, and still won't download anything.

    The problem with this application, or rather with Adobe AIR, is the series of arbitrary choices the designers seem to have made. Linux is not a platform where you can assume many things - and it would have probably made more sense to pick some generic ways of getting things done (there's a reason that text-files have always been used for config!) rather than relying upon fairly specific libraries for basic tasks and then not even falling back to a sane alternative. Perhaps a 64-bit version will fix all of this, I certainly hope so!

  • Titanium (Score:3, Interesting)

    by _marshall (71584) on Friday December 19, 2008 @02:49AM (#26170007) Homepage

    Not sure if anyone here has seen us yet .. but Titanium is an open source/open web alternative to AIR that just had it's first Preview Release (PR1) a week ago. We currently support OSX and Windows , and are hard at work refactoring and getting a Linux release into the fold for our PR2 release in January.

    We're licensed under ASL and using lots of open source techs (WebKit, Chromium, Gears, libXML, to name a few).. come check us out!
    http://github.com/marshall/titanium/tree/master [github.com]
    http://titaniumapp.com/ [titaniumapp.com]

  • Linux DRM (Score:2, Funny)

    by AndyCanfield (700565)
    All this time I believed that Linux was immune to DRM. How did they get DRM to work under Linux?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      provided you distribute closed-source software, you can get a sort of drm working under linux. an expert will tell you how difficult it is to crack this though.

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

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