Agoramancy? A Sunday afternoon ramble

I don’t know about you, but I spend a fair amount of time looking at things that emerge from open source communities, be they free-as-in-freedom or free-as-in-gratis. At least one of the reasons I do so is to try and figure out what happens next. Agoramancy? Who knows. [For those who care about these things, the word “agoramancy” yielded precisely one result via Google.]

I used to track something called LiveSupport, which lately became CampCaster. If you get the chance, go there and take a look. Alternatively, I’ll save you some of the bother and quote some of the interesting bits from their site:

  • Never heard of Campcaster? Here’s the elevator pitch: Campcaster helps you run your radio station. Do automated broadcasting and live studio playout in one system: schedule your broadcasts from the comfort of your own home with the Campcaster Web component, or do dynamic live shows with the Campcaster Studio desktop application.

    What’s the big deal about this release? We’ll cut to the chase: Campcaster 1.1 is the first release that is stable and feature-complete enough to be used in production systems. Indeed, the Campware implementation team will be helping to roll it out to multiple radio stations in Sierra Leone later this month. Other major radio stations are starting to adapt Campcaster to their needs: Austria’s Radio Orange is adapting the playout system to work with its digital archive, while in Hungary, a network of independent radio stations is integrating Campcaster’s storage server into its IKRA project, a generic public website engine for radio stations.

    “Awesome! Where can I get it?” you ask. The first thing you should know is that Campcaster only works on Linux. We recommend Ubuntu Dapper or any other Debian-based system.

    If you have an Ubuntu or Debian system, then just click here for installation instructions. Otherwise, click here to download.

This gets very interesting. In the lead-up to Y2K, despite everything the consultants did to raise FUD amongst the billpayers, many Eastern European and South Asian countries stood their ground. Houston, we don’t have a problem. Why? Because they computerised too late. The advantage of No Legacy.

When you look at the countries that are really making use of opensource, a similar pattern emerges. People who find lock-in a luxury too far. The infinitesimal cynic in me sees PL 480 equivalents where people are forced to use lock-in products and services, where governments set vendor locks in concrete. But then I remember 1974 and Daniel Patrick Moynihan writing what was then the world’s largest cheque ever, for $2.2 billion, and then presenting that cheque to Mrs Gandhi to clear the PL 480 residues.

Back to the point. See what the CampCaster site says:

The first thing you should know is that Campcaster only works on Linux. We recommend Ubuntu Dapper or any other Debian-based system.

If you have an Ubuntu or Debian system, then just click here for installation instructions. Otherwise, click here to download.

Is this the shape of things to come? Only Linux. With a recommended distro. But possible with other distros. Only Linux.

Linux is definitely becoming more and more mainstream, and we will see variations on this type of announcement all the time.

Take The Venice Project as an example. For years people have been telling me that there’s nothing they can use to watch TV on Linux, even though I showed them magazine articles that said they could, and even tried to show them the software. Tried. And failed. But that was in the past.

What now? What does the Venice Project say about this? I quote from their site:

  • Does The Venice Projectâ„¢ work on the Mac or Linux?

  • We’re working hard on a native Macintosh Intel version and expect it to be available in the next few months. Currently the application works fine under Bootcamp but not under Parallels; it needs to access the graphics processing unit (GPU) for some of its operations, and Parallels does not support that at the moment.
  • A Linux version is also in the works.

Folks, we’re heading fast towards a world where Linux, OSX and Windows will coexist. Where the market will force people to make substitution-level interoperability something “normal” and to be expected. Where industrial-strength design coexists with elegance and coolth.

And I for one am looking forward to that new world.

A coda. You know, when IBM sold their PC division to Lenovo, I heard rumours that they did it because the management were sick and tired of the fights between their Linux guys and their Windows guys. I dismissed it as the fiction it was. But now I wonder.

2 thoughts on “Agoramancy? A Sunday afternoon ramble”

  1. I hope you haven’t gotten the wrong impression about our Campcaster project and its current availability as Linux-only software.

    We would actually welcome ports to other operating systems, and are hoping that the Open Source community can help us to get there.

  2. Don’t worry, I haven’t. I expect a world where Linux, OSX and Windows coexist, and say so quite clearly. What is different about CampCaster is that (a) the Linux version is the first to be made available and (b) there are explicit instructions about the preferred distro.

    Over time, I expect to see “native distro” emerge as a term, signalling the simplest and most convenient implementation. Ports will exist for everything else, but implementation costs will vary. Let the customer choose.

    That is where I think you guys are showing us the shape of things to come.

Let me know what you think

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