Amy Alexander on Sun, 12 Mar 2000 14:21:31 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Open Source Streaming Alliance - Now!

On Fri, 10 Mar 2000, Drazen Pantic wrote:

> site and its content",[1]. The meaning is that user(s)
> worldwide should be relieved from the boring questions letting
> The One And Only Broadcaster to deliver their content,
> regardless of the method and the cost. What brings us to the
> second painful point of RBN -- the cost. Without further
> elaboration, I will just cite the RBN's "Special Offer" page,
> [2], starting with: "Enjoy worry-free Webcasting from RBN for
> as little as $9,995."
I agree that Real Media leaves much to be desired with
its proprietary standard, but they *do* make free versions
of their servers available. They don't make 'em easy to
find on their website, and they have limited streams, etc.,
but for an independent site as opposed to a large ISP, you
really can get decent functionality from what they make
available for free.

> The alternative solution, at least in delivering audio content
> is available and not very difficult to conceptualize. MP3
> standard has reached incredible popularity, combining the
> quality of sound and open source approach. Collective

Agreed - with the open source development efforts, MP3 is
holding out a great deal of promise, at least on the audio
end of things. My big concern, though, as with most open 
source efforts, is that enough attention be paid to 
user-friendliness, or at least avoiding user-antagonism. I've 
set up plenty of servers and server software, and I still 
find Icecast and Liveice tedious to deal with.... so I'm 
very concerned that an independent broadcaster trying to 
set up his/her first server, without necessarily having a 
systems administrator handy,
is going to be frustrated trying to work with the current 
state of most open source software.
> On the infrastructural side, things look also very good. The
> number of non for profit groups and individuals world-wide have
> established Internet servers with significant - or more precise
> with sufficient bandwidth - to create a mighty network of
> streaming servers. (For global distribution of the Internet
> bandwidth and traffic, see [5].)
The situation is still pretty difficult, though. At least in
the US, it is reasonably inexpensive to get a high bandwidth
download connection, but much more expensive to get a high
bandwidth *upload* connection, which is needed for a server.
The prices of sufficiently fast upload connections appear to be 
artificially inflated, (not to mention the difficulty of 
obtaining the necessary
static IP address, though this varies by service provider.)
Some service providers explicity forbid the operation of a server
in the service contract. (Though I imagine one might have to
be fairly conspicuous in one's serving to be noticed.) Anyway,
it's still a lot tougher to become an information producer
than an information consumer, at least regarding issues like
these (streaming media, potentially controversial 
material) in which it is necessary or at least highly advantageous
to control one's own server.

> So, there is just one step needed: the will and awareness for
> creation of the flexible and global network of distributed MP3
> streaming servers. The servers might just agree to exchange
> streams, and establish a protocol for redirection of users. Al
> elements are here, available now, and it looks appealing to
> enable a guerilla radio from who_know_where to be as loud on
> the Net as it could be. Doesn't it?
Yes, but one thing I'd like to add is that in many cases anonymity
is necessary or highly desirable. There's a Wired News article
dealing with this issue at,1282,34768,00.html
It discusses an open source package under development called
designed to deal with this issue....  one hopes Freenet
will be successful, though there are obvious issues of concern with it

Thanks for your post and links, btw,

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