May 30, 2007

Mozilla opens wallet for Participatory Culture Foundation

Author: Shirl Kennedy

As announced on Seth Bindernagel's blog yesterday, the Mozilla Corporation is making a $100,000 grant to the Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF), the Massachusetts-based nonprofit that developed the Democracy Internet TV platform.

Mozilla, which awarded a grant to Creative Commons last quarter, puts its money behind organizations whose projects "will amplify impact to the community," Bindernagel wrote, and that align with Mozilla's primary mission "to provide choice and innovation on the Internet." Additionally, he notes, "PCF has projects that are built partly on Mozilla’s technology."

The Democracy platform comprises four components:

  • Democracy Player, which can "(p)lay "Quicktime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, XVID, and more." Clients are available for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.
  • Video Bomb, which "(l)ets you make a collection of videos that you find anywhere on the web" and then share that collection via RSS, e-mail or Weblog.
  • Broadcast Machine, "software you install on your website to easily publish video files and create Internet TV channels (video blogs, video podcasts, video RSS feeds)." It leverages the use of torrent technology to cut down on bandwidth consumption/costs.
  • Channel Guide, "an open listing of Internet TV channels-- video podcasts, vlogs, and much more." It displays when the Democracy player is started.

Wired Magazine described Democracy Player as "the future of Net video," in a May 2006 article. "With Democracy, a well-stocked BitTorrent tracker, and a little RSS fu, who needs a TiVo?"

The application has also been the recipient of ongoing positive buzz around the blogosphere.

In his post, Mozilla's Bindernagel noted that Democracy Player would soon be renamed Miro. PCF, on its Web site, says it is now offering "customized versions" of the player, which can include "a custom Channel Guide, your own set of default channels, and even an alternate icon."

The source code, licensed under the GPL, can be downloaded from the development center.

Shirl Kennedy is the senior editor of theDocuTickerandResourceShelfWeblogs as well as the "Internet Waves" columnist forInformation Today. She has been writing about technology since 1992.

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