Unlike the Democratic Convention (for which one had to use Microsoft’s Silverlight), the RNC was more technologically democratic and the Ustream.TV feeds were great on my Linux box. As noted on the Wired Pig blog:
…the DNC is telling its members and those interested in its positions but not already aligned, is that the DNC wants you to use Windows or OSX. Not only use, but pay for or, torrents forbid, steal. Free software is not a democratic option. I know thats not the intention of the error message, but that is what people in the Linux world are and will make of it.
While this is not new, seeing as the NBC Olympic website used the same technology, it is troubling since the Democrats are trying to tout the party as more “progressive” and more tech savvy than their opponents.
While Microsoft advertises “In a first for a political convention, gavel-to-gavel video coverage of the Democratic National Convention is available worldwide, live or on demand…,” the Ustream.TV solution gives broader availability. There was talk of Microsoft’s possible acquisition of Ustream.TV back in February; however, with a new round of venture capital funding, Ustream.TV continues to be privately held, and a streaming solution which supports Linux.
At any rate, it is great for avid fans of the political sport to have gavel to gavel coverage without the annoyance of commercials or commentary. There’s a good survey article by Paula Bernier on Plugging into the Conventions.
The voting public’s ability to pull information from a variety of sources rather than having it pushed to them from a narrower range is very significant to politics in the 21st century. This can, however, either broaden or narrow people information given the extent of their interests and sociobility. Nevertheless, I’m inclined to think that the very nature of the Internet’s WWW is to broaden and extend interconnections of disparate sources.