November 14, 2007  ·  Lessig

title="Get Miro - The Free Open-Source Video Platform."> src="http://www.getmiro.com/img/buttons/miro-button-grey-178X54.png"
alt="video player">

An important advance in the life of the network happened today. Miro 1.0 was released. Think about the history of computing technology — from the bottom of the stack up, the movement has been from proprietary to free. The hardware became a commodity, then the OS, then many apps. Miro represents the commodifying the content protocol layer. “It’s a platform that benefits everyone by keeping online video open,” the website promises. Here’s my promise: it signals the movement of those seeking proprietary profits further up the stack. That’s always a thing for innovation and growth.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    I don’t understand this: “Miro represents the commodifying the content protocol layer.”

    It’s a media player, right? What makes it a “new world”?

  • http://kanai.net/weblog/ Gen Kanai

    Yes, it is a media player but importantly it is free, open-source, available for Linux (as well as Windows and Macintosh), and the developer of Miro, the Participatory Culture Foundation, is a not-for-profit.

    Miro is providing an important free/open-source alternative to iTunes AND Miro are also showcasing free content from their Miro Guide, which is an important alternative to the commercial content that is more widely advertised.

  • Aaron

    It’s not really a media player (although it has the VLC media player built-in),
    it’s more of a media browser, download and P2P distribution client. It’s an ugly kludge combining Bittorrent, RSS and media player.

    In theory this type of application should skewer Youtube et al. Any format, any resolution, any length, any content (no take-down of content), virtually no resources required for distribution … etc.

    The fatal flaw to Miro is that it does not do streaming. Because of the nature of Bittorrent you need to wait for the whole file to download. This is a complete non-starter. Moreover, the Miro project does not have the know-how to do anything about this, they are working at a very high level gluing everything together. What is needed is the popularization of a P2P streaming protocol. After that, Youtube can just pack up and go home.

  • http://getmiro.com/ Dean Jansen

    Aaron,

    We will support progressive streaming in the foreseeable future (hopefully very soon). Of course, this does not address p2p streaming, and unfortunately a lot of p2p development is non-free these days (the official Bittorrent client changed their license, for example).

    To be sure, I don’t see “working at a very high level gluing everything together” as a negative (maybe you don’t either). This is basically what Ubuntu does (along with other Linux distros); and really, it’s an important part of the open source ecosystem.

    Dean Jansen
    Outreach Director
    Miro/PCF

  • http://people.xiph.org/~giles/ Ralph GIles

    Dean,

    From what Bram has said, it should be possible to do sliding window bittorrent to fast-start playback at the expense of swarm efficiency, but you still need a significantly big pipe compared to the video bitrate for this to be feasible. There’s a reason youtube looks like it does. :)

    An easier target would be to focus on the video search interface. It’s getting very slick, but it’s odd to have to wait for the content to download completely before watching it, and a place where the native flash+web interfaces are better. That would let you do the internal work you needed to surf streaming content (aka playing content as it is downloading) without having to work on the P2P protocol. IMHO.

  • Aaron

    To be sure, I don’t see “working at a very high level gluing everything together” as a negative (maybe you don’t either). This is basically what Ubuntu does (along with other Linux distros); and really, it’s an important part of the open source ecosystem.

    No, it’s not a negative. My point was that the substrate for this type of application is missing (or at least not popularized). Until that is fixed working at the high-level is going to be unrewarding.

    I don’t know why everyone is trying to shoehorn Bittorrent into P2P streaming; it seems ill suited to the task, for one due to the use of TCP. Bittorrent didn’t invent swarming downloading, I don’t know why everyone treats it like the only swarming P2P protocol.

    By the way, is the nasty sun-java-plugin bug going to be fixed any time soon? It’s a common installation configuration that renders Miro inoperable.

  • Pat

    “By the way, is the nasty sun-java-plugin bug going to be fixed any time soon? It’s a common installation configuration that renders Miro inoperable.”

    According to them it has been fixed (at least that is what bugzilla says). If it isn’t I know that it is high priority for them.

  • Aaron

    According to them it has been fixed (at least that is what bugzilla says). If it isn’t I know that it is high priority for them.

    Care to cite the bug number? The bug report I found is listed as ‘assigned’. The ‘fix’ suggested for this bug is to conflict with sun-java6-plugin, that is, to state that Miro does not work if sun-java6-plugin is installed. That’s not much of a solution in my opinion. I’m personally not going to switch to another JVM plugin runtime in order to run Miro.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    You want a p2p streaming protocol?

    Try RawFlow http://www.rawflow.com/

  • http://www.data2max.com/blog Williams Molina

    Hi, I’m using Miro, I think is special but I have some problems with it. First I can’t watch more than the 10-15 results that i obtain when i search videos inside miro. And the second is that when I try to forward the videos can’t and the blue bar with the time don’t work.

    Somebody has the same problem?

    thank

  • Aaron

    You want a p2p streaming protocol?

    No, I want a free software P2P streaming protocol.

  • http://www.shelf-corp.com Bob

    “It’s a media player, right? What makes it a “new world”?”

    Ha ha, I guess great minds think alike – I was thinking the exact same thing.

  • Maul555

    Miro is great!!! if it would work right. I find it runs horribly slow, and is a huge resource hog. You never know when a video is gona start pixelating or freeze up on ya… I would say that i cant watch about a third of all videos download. I have the same problems on Windows XP and Ubuntu… Its a great idea, but they need to work the bugs out, for serious.

  • http://www.100dimensions.com Alain Zarembowitch

    Miro is a great program!

    Since imitation is the highest form of compliment, we (the engineering team at 100dimensions.com) have spent the last few months developing a similar system, plus a few features we think are missing in Miro. Namely
    - distributing shows not only to computers but also to TVs for a true couch potato experience
    - simpler user interface (making abstraction of the underlying technology for people who care more about the contents than how it works)
    - built-in peer-to-peer distribution mechanism
    - end-to-end quality of service monitoring to ensure a timely delivery of the selected shows.

    Since 100dimensions has just been released, any comment or suggestion will be greatly appreciated (and even acted upon!). Thank You.

    Alain Zarembowitch
    Engineering team leader