I have read all the posts here, and followed links to further discussion on various blogs, with great interest. The first thing I want to say is that I am genuinely sorry if I've caused any offence to Linux users, and certainly did not mean to imply that you are not important to us. The BBC is committed to open standards, across television, radio and the internet wherever possible.
We do maximise the reach of our services by distributing our content via closed or prioprietary networks (Virgin Media, Sky, Tiscali TV/HomeChoice, mobile platforms, etc.) where appropriate, but also try and ensure that our content can be consumed through open solutions (whether over IP, DAB, or DTT). Sometimes, due to issues somewhat beyond our control (e.g. rightsholders conditions), we need to use proprietary solutions. We are exploring open source solutions to these. We can, and should, always do more, but if I may, a few points you might not be aware of:
The vast, vast majority of bbc.co.uk is powered by open source components (Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl being the chief components [the LAMP stack] - our Real Media content has always been available on a number of OSes - from Windows and Mac through to Linux, BSD, Solaris and HP-UX.)
We have released to the developer community a number of the building blocks used as part of the bbc.co.uk application development process. The complete list is on bbc.co.uk/opensource.
We intend to open up our Rapid Application Development office (part of the Research & Innovation department, in which we are increasing investment) to various software community groups and we are in conversation with some of the major distributors about options for GNU/Linux. The result should be that future applications get designed with "open-ness" built in from the get-go.
Of course, we should release more applications on backstage.bbc.co.uk, and we intend to increase the number of projects within the BBC's open source programme (foremost amongst these is Dirac, which far from being dead - as one comment suggested - was looking extremely healthy [and award winning] when I saw it last at IBC in September).
We're looking to do more to promote open standards within the BBC, and to invest in the talent that has developed within these communities.
I will also kick off a piece of research to look into the size and more importantly the growth of the open source community within the UK, and what role the BBC could and should have in promoting it.
It's also worth mentioning that our service of podcasts and downloads of radio programmes is DRM-free.
I didn't anticipate this blog would get off to quite the start it did(!), but that's what it's here for, and I hope you will, over time, recognise that this is a genuine attempt to listen and engage and that, being human, I won't get everything right (especially in wide-ranging lengthy interviews), but I'm certain you'll put me right!
Ashley Highfield is Divisional Director, BBC Future Media and Technology Division