Today, three of the worlds that I am really engaged in and that tend to not have much in-common with each other seemed to come to a sudden overlap.
The three worlds I am talking about are:
- Social video publishing (through my company Vquence)
- One Laptop Per Child (I am really keen to see more OLPC work in the Pacific)
- Open media software and technology (through Xiph and Annodex work, as well as FOMS)
I was positively surprised to read in this blog message that Dailymotion and the OLPC foundation have partnered to set up a video publishing channel for videos that can be viewed on the OLPC. The channel is available at olpc.dailymotion.com. You can view it on your computer if you have the appropriate codec libraries for Windows and the Mac installed. Your Linux computer should just support it.
To understand the full impact of this message, you have to understand that the XO (the OLPC laptop) does not support the playback of Flash video by default. OLPC cannot ship the official Adobe Flash plugin on the XOs because it is legally restricted and doesn’t meet the OLPC’s standards for open software. Thus, children that receive an XO are somewhat cut off from social video sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Blip.tv, MySpace.tv, video.google.com and others, even though there are lots of education-relevant videos published there.
The XO however ships with video technology that IS open: namely the Ogg Theora/Vorbis video codec and software. This is incidentally also the codec that the next version of Firefox will be supporting out of the box without need of installation of a further plugin.
Unfortunately, most video content nowadays available on the Internet is not available in the Ogg Theora/Vorbis format. Therefore, Dailymotion and the OLPC Foundation launching this channel that is automatically republishing all the videos uploaded to the Dailymotion OLPC group is a really big thing: It’s a major social video site republishing video in an open format to enable it to be viewed on open systems.