Why does the British Library hate Britain?

The British Library is publishing on the web facsimile copies of rare books, allowing people to see in close up exactly as they look like. This is a good thing, surely? Well, no it’s not, because the software the BL has developed to deliver this requires that one’s PC runs Microsoft Silverlight.

Which is fine if you have a recent PC running Microsoft Windows or Mac OS (Silverlight requires a high technical specification so an older PC probably won’t run it). It’s not fine, however, if you’re running Linux, because Silverlight doesn’t run on Linux.

MS Windows and MacOS are both owned by foreign companies and you cannot (legally) use them unless you pay a license fee to them. Linux, on the other hand, is open source, so everyone owns it, in the sense that everyone has the right to use it, to modify it to their own ends, and to pass those modificatinos onto others. The British Library is in effect saying that you cannot use their service (created and funded by the British taxpayer) unlress you pay money to foreigners for the priviledge. They are also in doing so harming the British economy, both by inducing people to pay license fees to foreigners for this software (thus harming the balance of payments) and also in the longer term making the UK economy dependent on foreigners for our vital IT infrastructure.

The British Library are evidently traitors who hate Britain and are actively and intentionally harming it. Of course, that’s not true; what’s actually happening is that the BL is run by clueless idiots who have no detailed understanding of information technology.

In the 19th century, someone who was illiterate wouldn’t have been employed to run the BL, and rightly so because wiriting was a fundamentally important technology in the storing of knowledge. In the 21st century, computers are an equivalently important technology, and anyone without detailed knowledge of them isn’t fit to be put in charge of the BL.

(via open…)

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2 Responses to Why does the British Library hate Britain?

  1. George Carty says:

    I wonder if Microsoft bribed the British Library to use that proprietary technology?

    By the way, I wonder why no-one’s calling former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder a traitor, for his nuclear phase-out policy which made his country dependent on Russian gas? (Note that almost immediately after leaving office, he got a cushy job at Gazprom…)

  2. cabalamat says:

    I beleive Microsoft is paying to digitize the BL’s old books. So, yes, you could call that a bribe.

    I didn’t know Schroeder got a job at Gazprom.

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