How DRM has permitted Google to have an "open source" browser that is still under its exclusive control

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I see the general problem here, but in terms of this particular issue, why not just tell everyone to use Firefox instead of Chrome? That’s what I do at least.


This is just like Android being touted as “open source”. While the core is, all the bits of Android that make it attractive to users aren’t open source, and are controlled by Google.


…or does the story mean that even Firefox is locked into this Widevine thing if they want to view video. I’m a little confused (which is not altogether an unheard of phenomenon).


locked in, no. Widevine is a plug-in.

but if the content producer is using those DRM codeawhoosies, you have to get the plug-in.

Ooohhhh. So this is the reason I need to keep Firefox on the PC to watch Netflix or Prime Video. I had wondered…

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The problem here is that most people are way more interested in what Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have to offer than they are in what the W3C has to offer. Even if the W3C had mandated that anything to do with displaying video had to be open-source, it’s not as if the W3C had the actual wherewithal to prevent Netflix or Amazon from coming up with their own non-standardised DRM support outside the W3C regime. After all this is essentially what they’d been doing before the W3C standard for DRM content came out, so it’s not as if it would be a huge problem.

Personally I like free software but I also like to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on my Linux laptop and Linux-based home-entertainment media system. I don’t suffer from the illusion that if Netflix or Amazon had to maintain their own proprietary DRM kits, they would worry a lot about the (comparatively few) people who don’t use Windows or a Mac, so the fact that DRM for video is standardised across browsers and there’s code that runs on my machines, too, is a net win for me. I also remember the various flaming hoops one had to jump through in order to get Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to run on Linux before there was good native browser support and I’m not eager to go back to that just to make Cory happy.

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Well for me the number one reason to use Firefox is to support open source projects over proprietary. Isn’t that enough of a reason?

I can’t tell about billions of people, but nobody prevents some of the millions that live in US to elect to the Congress those that would prohibit any use of any DRM.

As of EFF, they were always trying to sit between two stools. No wonder they failed.

Absolutely, do we really want to go back to the days of Adobe Flash because that was killed off mostly because of the availability of DRM in the browser natively. Flash and Silverlight was increasingly just used as a shim for secure video playback at the end rather than a way to display other rich media.

If the W3C had been able to accept hardware signed two-way SSL and secure video pipelines then DRM might have been under threat, but the ‘all media must be free’ advocates didn’t want compromise and MS/Google knew that without DRM the ecosystem would just find another hacky way around.

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