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Open Source at the
      BBC
          Michael Sparks
     BBC Research and Development
        michaels@rd.bbc.co.uk

   ...
Open Source

         • The BBC...
              •     Is a creator of open source software

              •     Is a user...
Proprietary Systems
                                                                            For balance...


         ...
Terminology


         • Free/Libre, Open Source Software
              •     Terms often used interchangeably

          ...
Why use Open Source?

         • Why does the BBC use Open Source
              •     Open source software is not special,...
What Open Source Software
                     does the BBC use?
         • Lots, more than could be listed. A subset:
   ...
The real question

         • Why would the BBC NOT use Open Source?
              •     Would you ask about proprietary?
...
The Real question (2)
         • Why would the BBC NOT use Open Source?
              •     ... or open source derived sys...
BBC R&D Open Source

         • Projects available as open source:
              •     Kamaelia - Network streaming resear...
Why release X as Open Source?

         • Variety of business reasons.
              •     A selection:
                  ...
Open Source vs Open
                                  Standards
         • Open source and Open Standards are NOT the
    ...
Open Source vs Open
                                  Standards


         • Good Open source based Open Standards...
    ...
Benefits of Open Source

         • People who need problems solved work together
               to get them solved
       ...
Experience
         • Real Benefits to BBC R&D projects:
              •     Dirac:
                   •    Community stepp...
Biggest Benefits
         • The biggest benefits the BBC gains from releasing
               in-house code as open source:
 ...
Software Licensing
         • The BBC seeks to safeguard its investment in
               development.
         • Various ...
Case Study: Kamaelia
                                                                            “камилия”
         • Scal...
Thank you!


         • Any questions?
              •     michael@rd.bbc.co.uk




©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia projec...
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Open Source at the BBC

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This was an invited talk at Open Source Forum Russia in April 2005. It covers open source at the BBC from the perspective of "why use open source?" "what sort of stuff gets used?" "what has the BBC released as open source & why?" open source vs open standards

Published in: Economy & Finance, Technology
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  • See also this (longer/more detailed) presentation on open source at the BBC:
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Transcript of "Open Source at the BBC"

  1. 1. Open Source at the BBC Michael Sparks BBC Research and Development michaels@rd.bbc.co.uk I work on scaling online delivery of BBC content to as wide an audience as possible Presented at Open Source Forum Russia, April 2005 BBC R&D
  2. 2. Open Source • The BBC... • Is a creator of open source software • Is a user of open source software • Why? • Good business reasons • Good public service reasons ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  3. 3. Proprietary Systems For balance... • The BBC... • Is a creator of proprietary systems • Is a user of open proprietary systems • Why? • Good business reasons • Good public service reasons ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  4. 4. Terminology • Free/Libre, Open Source Software • Terms often used interchangeably • BBC tends to use latter term, since it focusses on approach, not politics ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  5. 5. Why use Open Source? • Why does the BBC use Open Source • Open source software is not special, per se • Open Source software represents solutions • No specific policy for or against: • Solutions, proprietary and open source are all evaluated on their merits • However open source is itself often a extra merit ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  6. 6. What Open Source Software does the BBC use? • Lots, more than could be listed. A subset: • Running the business • Network infrastructure - Apache, Perl • Desktop Applications - Open Office, Firefox • Desktops - Mac OS X • Building the Business • Standards development • Video codecs, file formats, network systems, ... ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  7. 7. The real question • Why would the BBC NOT use Open Source? • Would you ask about proprietary? • It would prevent the use of useful technologies: • It would isolate us from community developments • It would limit the BBC’s choices • It would mean, for example, no Apple based systems • It is difficult to avoid open source software ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  8. 8. The Real question (2) • Why would the BBC NOT use Open Source? • ... or open source derived systems? • We would not be able to use - the internet, email, the web • If would mean no Microsoft based systems: • Even Microsoft produce products containing or as open source - “One of the great things about IronPython is it’s open source” • If you use the internet, you cannot avoid open source, even if you tried. ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  9. 9. BBC R&D Open Source • Projects available as open source: • Kamaelia - Network streaming research platform • Dirac - Wavelet based video codec • AAF - Professional video/audio authoring and storage format • ... and others ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  10. 10. Why release X as Open Source? • Variety of business reasons. • A selection: • Not your core business, not a saleable product • Will be in development anyway. • No feedback is no loss, any feedback or patches back is a benefit to the business • Standardisation development • Collaboration • Validation of theories and peer review ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  11. 11. Open Source vs Open Standards • Open source and Open Standards are NOT the same thing. • Open standards allow any interested party who is able to participate to join the process • Often hardware systems result in a paid membership to run the standards body • Open Source allows any interested party to fork the software given a need. • This may be because of a narrow minded developer/group choosing to exclude a section of the possible community, through licemsing or arrogance. ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  12. 12. Open Source vs Open Standards • Good Open source based Open Standards... • Have a good means of dealing with conflict • Good examples: • Internet RFCs, and associated processes • Python PEPs, and associated processes ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  13. 13. Benefits of Open Source • People who need problems solved work together to get them solved • Feedback on your solution • Suggestions of better approaches • Validation of approach • It provides a lever to boost the brainpower of your organisation ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  14. 14. Experience • Real Benefits to BBC R&D projects: • Dirac: • Community stepped forward to assist and direct development • Performance boosts • Kamaelia: • Validation of ideas • “This framework looks like it has a real chance of making a complex problem simple” • Opened doors to collaboration with partners ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  15. 15. Biggest Benefits • The biggest benefits the BBC gains from releasing in-house code as open source: • We maximise the benefit to the BBC and the BBC’s community of users from the investment the BBC makes in R&D. • The biggest benefit the BBC gains from using open source software: • We are using code developed by people with similar uses to use, and who will therefore fix the biggest pain points first. ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  16. 16. Software Licensing • The BBC seeks to safeguard its investment in development. • Various options: (simplified) • You only have the right to use • You can do anything, as long as you allow others the same with your code, and credit all authors • You can do anything, so long as you credit authors • You may do anything you like ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  17. 17. Case Study: Kamaelia “камилия” • Scalable media distribution experimentation platform. • Released December 2004 • Licensing allows proprietary applications to use the toolkit, but changes to the toolkit must be shared. Also includes patent pooling style protection. • Has allowed public discussion, with a variety of benefits • System has been ported to mobile phones; validation of approach; architectural improvements; cross linkage to other projects. ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
  18. 18. Thank you! • Any questions? • michael@rd.bbc.co.uk ©2005 BBC. Part of the Kamaelia project, http://kamaelia.sourceforge.net/ BBC R&D michael@rd.bbc.co.uk
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