Does foxnews.com Hate Linux Users?

(See this follow up article: Guess What? Fox News is Responsive to the Linux Community.)

This will be a short web log post. Try to view the Video page at foxnews.com from a Linux system using any browser and see what happens. http://www.foxnews.com/video/index.html

I see these results. The first is Firefox on Linux the second is Opera on Linux.

Fox News Video in Firefox on LinuxFox News Video in Opera on Linux

Up until recently there was no problem viewing video content on Fox News Video web pages. Apparently some Microsoft and Apple Only types have taken over the video content pages for Fox News. I for one would appreciate it if these large organizations would stop trying to pretend that Microsoft and Apple are the only games in town.

Please alert each person you know in the Linux community to take action and send foxnews.com polite messages or make polite phone calls about this. We are likely to get more results being polite than trying to rip off their heads and puke down their bleeding necks. Here is how to contact them:

  • Phone calls in the USA: 1-888-369-4762
  • E-mail from anywhere: foxnewsonline@foxnews.com

I have already sent my e-mail:

To: foxnewsonline@foxnews.com
Date: 04/25/08 11:52 pm

Dear Fox News Online,

I am seriously disappointed that you choose to deny me access to your video
content because I only use Linux operating systems. Please change to a video
format that will work across all operating systems and most web browsers.
There are proper ways to do this and you were doing it well in the past. But
you choose to do otherwise. I appreciate your working to make it where all in
the Linux community will once again be able to view your video content. Thank
you for fixing it as I am sure you will.

Oh yes, I have a web log article about it. I have included this message there:

http://blog.eracc.com/2008/04/25/does-foxnewscom-hate-linux-users/

Gene
--
Micro$oft - Convicted Monopolist, restrictive licenses, limited choice
GNU/Linux - No monopoly possible, Open Source, FREE, lots of choices
Use GNU/Linux - http://www.distrowatch.com/ (I like Mandriva)
http://www.eracc.com/ - Linux preloaded computers

Edit Sat Apr 26 06:21:12 UTC 2008: It appears I am not the only one to notice this and I am a bit late to the game: Fox News Videos at MozillaZine Forums

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Gene A.

Gene is a "Unix Guy", network technologist, system trouble-shooter and IT generalist with over 20 years experience in the SOHO and SMB markets. He is familiar with and conversant in eComStation (a.k.a. OS/2), DOS (PC, MS and Free), Unix, Linux and those GUI based systems from Microsoft. Gene is also a follower of Jesus (forgiven, not perfect), and this does inform his world view.

30 thoughts on “Does foxnews.com Hate Linux Users?”

  1. Heh, it appears I did not proof-read my message well. I meant to say “But now you choose to do otherwise.”. Oh well, I think they will get the gist of what I meant. 🙂

  2. a current fix is to simply install the user agent switcher extension and spoof your agent as IE7

  3. Thanks for the comment. Someone following this at tuxmachines.org said to use User Agent Swticher (UAS) see http://www.tuxmachines.org/node/26277. I already know about UAS and have used it when absolutely necessary. However, in this case the Fox News Video site did work with my browsers without using UAS which is Linux friendly. Now it requires “Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows XP Media Center 2005, Mac OSX 10.3 or Mac OSX 10.4 is required to view this page” which is decidedly not Linux friendly. I’d rather they be Linux friendly and so ask the Linux community to help me do something about it.

  4. Actually, UAS is not a fix but is instead a bandage over the problem. The problem being web sites that check for specific operating systems or specific browsers and deny access based on the results. For one thing, requiring an operating system to view a web site is just wrong. Web sites should be operating system indifferent. Checking for a browser is a bit more understandable but even then all content can be made to work with the Big Three, Firefox, IE and Opera.

  5. It?s Fox news; I?d say not letting linux users watch is doing them a favour.

    But seriously, I ask, why? Not actively supporting linux users (by, say, using WMVs or something) is one thing; but they’ve actively blocked linux users from a website that otherwise linux friendly? WTF?

    (BTW, @Gene: The third in the ‘big three’ would be safari [source]; but you should really support all four.)

  6. PJ, thank you for the comment. Yes, I forget about Safari as I am not an Apple guy. I’ll try to remember that next time.

  7. Funny, that. Yet somehow, Firefox on Linux using a user agent switcher (‘faking it’ as IE7 Vista) and the page loads and videos play with no problem. Hrmm… I detect the foul stench of a*****e page admins…

  8. My latest message to Fox News:

    Dear Fox News Online,

    Perhaps you already know this. But now the article on my web log about how you deny access to your Video page for Linux users has had over 21,200 reads since I posted it less than two days ago. Many people from Digg.com have shown up to read this. Apparently this article has touched a nerve in the online community. It appears you need to have a chat with your subcontractor that provides your video content feeds.

    Gene

  9. One post on Digg.com says:

    whats with “bloggers” thinking companies will care they posted on the internet?

    quote from site:
    “Oh yes, I have a web log article about it. I have included this message there:”

    To the person that posted that on Digg.com: You can believe that these companies do care about the “blogosphere” and articles from web logs. Especially when those articles are picked up by aggregate sites like Digg.com and generate a lot of interest.

  10. The company actually responsible for this is a Maven Networks, Inc. They provide streaming services for Fox, ABC, United Media, and other companies.

    Contact info for Maven Networks, Inc.:

    support@maven.net
    Phone: (617) 806-8200
    Fax: (617) 806-8282

  11. scottywz, I had seen the Maven Networks URL on the Fox News Video page source but did not follow up on that. Thank you for correcting my oversight on that. Also, thank you for your comment.

    Edit: actually I think we all should contact both Fox News and Maven.

  12. Just curious, why just Fox News and Maven Networks? From what I’ve read on Maven Networks webpage, they provide streaming to several news agencies and companies. Is it that you really like Fox News video stories, or is it because you dont like Fox News and want to try and single them out for using Maven’s streaming services? Not trying to start a flame here, its just that alot of people seem to hate Fox and will do anything to start a crusade against them. I would think simply contacting Maven to ask if they could support a codec that Linux can support.

  13. lilricky, I personally like Fox News. However, this blog article is really about letting large organizations know when they make an error with presenting content in a way that blocks out users of Linux and other “alternative” operating systems. I read Fox News a lot so this blog article is my attempt to shed light on their problem and get people to contact them about it. If you want to mention other sites that need attention from the Linux and alternative operating system community then please mention them here.

    As for the “codec” that is a non-issue. The videos are in Flash and do work if one fakes the browser user agent string. Prior to April 2008 Linux folk did not have to fake a different user agent at Fox News Video. That we now have to is a change for the worse.

  14. My message to Maven:

    To: support@maven.net
    Date: 04/27/08 03:52 pm

    Dear Maven Support,

    Please find attached my latest message to Fox News Online about blocked video content for Linux (and other alternative operating system) users. Please see what you can do to fix your browser checking procedures and make them more standards friendly.

    For the record more than 30,000 people have now read my web log article about the Video problem at Fox News. The article has been up less than 48 hours at this point. I imagine more than one will write Fox News Online and perhaps you about this. I cannot imagine that you seriously want to alienate part of your customer’s (Fox News) viewers. It should be fairly simple to change the check on the Video site at Fox News to make sure the user has a current Flash player and suggest they get one if not. That is really all you need to do. The operating system is irrelevant and the type of browser is only slightly relevant.

    Gene

  15. Gene, my point was, its Maven Networks you need to contact, specifically their tech support. Emailing Fox is not going to do anything. And again, I ask, why are you going after Fox, when they simply use Maven Networks, why not CBS, ABC, MSNBC and the dozen of other media outlets? If you take a look at the flash code on Fox’s site you’ll see that its Maven’s code. Not Fox’s.

  16. lilricky, I did contact Maven Networks as well as Fox News. See my comment: http://blog.eracc.com/2008/04/25/does-foxnewscom-hate-linux-users/#comment-74 Since Fox hired Maven they both need to be made aware of the problem. Just telling Maven may not be enough.

    Edit: regarding your question about why I don’t “go after” ABCNNBCBS about things like this. I rarely, if ever, visit such blatantly biased sites for my news. I like Fox because they give both sides on most current news and leave the decisions to me about what to think. Since they are one of my primary sources of centrist news I would like them to fix problems with their site like is shown here. If you really are wondering about my “leanings” then look at the RSS feeds I have chosen for my company web log at the right of the page. Then decide where I stand.

  17. You are a bit late to the fray on this one “compton”. Perhaps you should read the follow-up article as is recommended at the top of this one.

  18. This comes as a surprise? Fox is a very biased station. They are against anything not making themselves money. (Microsoft pays them off, Linux doesn’t) They are constantly wrong and report like they are not. Think back to their report on Anonymous they called us a group of 15 year olds with too much free time and “hackers on steroids”. Seriously, where do they get the right to accuse us of using steroids, and the DoS attacks unleashed by Anonymous were technically Cracking, not hacking.

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