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back to article Met Office cuts off Linux users with new weather widgets

Linux users face increased inconvenience getting a weather forecast from March onwards when the Met Office will withdraw its web-based weather gadgets and replace them with desktop widgets – for Windows and Mac only. Previously the Met Office's Firefox and iGoogle weather gadgets allowed anyone with internet access to check the …

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Anonymous Coward

We all like a warm front.

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Linux

The default Kde weather widget will work

Even if the BBC actively blocked Linux users you have the choice of sources where your weather comes from - bbc, wettercom (A German source on less), etc

Speaking of KDE 4.8 came out the other day - its the most useable desktop I have ever tried.

Its faster than Windows 7 on the same machine and is in my opinion looks prettier and is more useable - the best thing is its free !! And in 6 months it will improve again (how long until windows 8 is out ... And that doesn't look like its going to be an improvement at all - more like Unity.)

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Linux

re: The default Kde weather widget will work

That matches my experience with Kubuntu 11.10 and KDE 4.8 loaded. Holy !@#$ it's gotten QUICK! Since KDE is crossplatform, have to wonder how many people on Win8 will switch to it for a default WM instead of Metro? KDE could be the new Norton Desktop for Windows (back in the Win3.1 days, before Norton completely went to pot).

But the relevant part to the story: if you do your widgets platform independent, you don't have to spend so much development resources redoing everything for Windows, Android and iEverything. AIR is dead, Flash is dead, and a Windows ONLY policy is also dead due to the popularity of iPhone/iPad/Android. Nobody has enough money to pay developers for the same work on three platforms. Port it to HTML5 and associated standard tech and be done with it. Its just business at the end of the day, and Windows only costs too much when you have so many people on other platforms also hitting it, and the CFO is going to have something to say at some point. As a side benefit for those of us that are more flexible on our OS dance cards, Linux is now an unexpected beneficiary of Apple and Google's mobile success's. :)

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Linux

I just look out of the window to see what the weather is doing

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Anonymous Coward

"I just look out of the window to see what the weather is doing"

The Met Office should try that sometime on their short term forecasts, e.g. where the forecast says dry and the window (and more importantly the rainfall radar) both say wet, or vice versa.

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Very Short Term Weather Forecast

I just use their on-line rainfall radar with 30 min snapshots of the last 6 hours. Shows you where the rain is coming from and allows you to work out the rough arrival time. The rest of the Met. Office is a waste of my taxes as far as I am concerned.

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Bronze badge

So before this you had to use Firefox or iGoogle in order to use the weather widgets. Now you have to use Windows or Mac. Linux users complaining now get no sympathy from me. Presumably they were perfectly happy that people who didn't use FF or iGoogle couldn't use these little tools before.

Anyhow these are just extras, the forecast is still available from the website. All you need is to bookmark your chosen forecast page and you can fire it up right from your desktop. Hardly difficult is it?

When you're developing this stuff you have to draw the line somewhere.

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Facepalm

No, you don't

You publish an API, one 'proof-of-concept' implementation of your own and tell everybody else "Here's an API. Use it with the following conditions, we promise to publish any changes at [place] before changing this public API. Enjoy."

- The conditions might be non-commercial or "zero-cost app" use only, defined maximum hit rate, must give credit etc.

Within a few weeks there will be multiple widgets and apps for every single gadget, operating system and desktop environment used by more than one geek. Probably widgets for ones only used by one geek...

This will have cost you the same as making a widget for a single operating system.

Or you could use a proprietary system that's going end-of-life pretty soon, and end up paying to develop your own widgets several times while supporting very little.

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Bronze badge

But you haven't explained why they should publish an API. Firstly they have a website and that's all they really need. Secondly an API giving access to their data would not be in the tax payer's interest. The met office sell forecasts to commercial concerns, if the data were freely available they would lose income and the tax payer would have to pay more towards their funding.

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Linux

Plenty of other weather forecasters.....

Who don't use dogshit, bug ridden, bloated, insecure Adobe manure and are a damn sight more accurate.

Agree with many of the comments above, who needs this crap when you are running KDE CWP, sadly for you windows folks MS foisted a half assed buggy widget system on you.

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Silver badge

Weather reporters & the Web have never been exactly comfy together ...

Ever eyeball weather.com? Look at the page source for my local weather, for example:

http://www.weather.com/weather/today/Sonoma+CA+USCA1076

Worst bit of monstrosity web code I've ever seen ... has been for over a decade. How much HTML, exactly, does it take to provide the image that that particular page is trying to convey? Nevermind the white-space ...

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@Blofield's cat

Not everyone is working indoors at the same time. I happen to enjoy outdoor persuits and a minute-by-minute forcast helps because you can plan and adapt what you'll need to wear/take with you by predicting what the weather will do by using current predictions!

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Facepalm

@mmm mmm

I was going to ask if you had read my original post all the way through, but instead ...

Note to self:- Add "weather forecasts" to the list of topics not to comment on.

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Go

Weather Rock

Any of these should suit you well:

http://www.google.com/search?q=weather+rock&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=wtF&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=6cUmT_j3N6Lv0gHTofDPCA&ved=0CDAQsAQ&biw=1120&bih=632

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JDX
Gold badge

@Alan Smithie

No need for the bitterness. Everyone knows Linux users don't need to check the weather anyway, because the only time they open their front door is when Dominos turn up.

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Go

Or the basement floods.

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Windows

Typical Windows user

Can't even find the proper reply button

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Linux

Not a problem for nix geeks

I don't see this being an issue for any *nix geek worth his salt. All you have to do is hit up WireShark or similar to sniff on the traffic sent to/from the widget and it shouldn't take too long to whip up a native client written in python or something...

Worst case scenario: you can always run AIR under Wine.

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Boffin

See that window over there?

If you look out of the window, you can see the weather in real time...

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Unhappy

Facts, instead of FUD

FACT: "The desktop Widget requires Adobe AIR version 2.5 or above" - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/desktopwidget.html

FACT: "The last version to support desktop Linux distributions is AIR 2.6. AIR 2.6 is available from the AIR Archive." - http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/408/kb408084.html

AIR 2.6 download for linux is here: http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/853/cpsid_85304.html

This took me about 5 mins to establish. This is a sensationalist report with a list of kneejerk comments. Please can we grow up?

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Facts

"This took me about 5 mins to establish. This is a sensationalist report with a list of kneejerk comments. Please can we grow up?"

Welcome to El Reg - you must be new here.

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Stop

I use windows to find out the weather. It takes no mouse clicks, and I dont even need to use the command line. I just look out of it.

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Oh dear

To everyone who is proposing a technical fix: No.

I don't want a picosecond of taxpayer-funded time spent on suporting a system used by about 1% of people. Yes they should probably ditch the apps/widgets/whatever for everyone else too and just make sure their web page is good, but even if they don't, it doesn't justify time spent supporting a small, willful minority.

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5%

Linux on the desktop is about 5%. That is still a shitload of people. Tell you what, disabled people are less of a percentage than that, should we cancel all those ridiculous disabled rights stuff?

It's not just the MetOffice BTW, you used to be able to get OS maps on Linux, but a recent move to Silverlight (Yes, Silverlight - wtf) means their change of service has actually DECREASED it's usage You really have to wonder who makes these decisions...oh...Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

@ James Hughes 1

"Tell you what, disabled people are less of a percentage than that, should we cancel all those ridiculous disabled rights stuff?"

Of course not. People don't choose to have disabilities, and there's some chance they're not obnoxious, whining narcissists who just take the easy route and blame MS for everything. Because they know on this site the majority will agree with them and they can feel validated.

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Stop

5% ... more like 1%. I don't know one single guy that runs Linux on a desktop, and I work in a web development company.

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Stop

The Penguins will like this

Penguins can use the Weather Underground API

http://www.wunderground.com/weather/api/

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JDX
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@James Hughes 1

Tempting as it is to equate Linux users with the disabled, that's a bogus argument because Linux users CHOSE to use Linux, knowing full well that Linux support never has been high on anybody's list for the desktop market.

And I think your figure of 5% is as made up as his 1% is.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

I'm a Linux user but couldn't give a toss about the change, largely for the reasons you specify (never that bothered about the weather in quite that level of realtime anyway).

What does bother me is another Tax-payer funded org going the route of AIR. As others have said, why not a nice simple API containing the basics?

Someone mentioned Dominos? I'm hungry now!

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Silver badge

"knowing full well that Linux support never has been high on..."

And yet we still use it - I wonder why

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Go

Yeah! A lot of us wonder the same!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Why not

Just use a proper OS, and not something really designed for servers?

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Because it runs better on my phone

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A year late...

No one seems to have noticed that actually this is talking about 2011.

The warnings system was removing in March 2011, and as the article states, they were retired in Autumn 2011.

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Linux

I remember ....

No more using Phil's Forecasting method of Feeling It In The AIR tonight

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Go

Click Phobia

There's an app for that. Right?

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Facepalm

Greatly Surprised

That the Met office produces results that are of use to anybody at all.

Even those using a "wide range of operating systems" (numbering two).

Adobe dropping "support" for Linux is a good thing. One less vector for malware attack squashed. Adobe; just say NO! I avoid their festering bloatware (I mean, seriously; 80 MB of software for a PDF reader?) that's riddled with holes waiting to be exploited and requires a constant Internet connection to download patches every other day.

It's only their shiny presence in the view of the "decision makers" (not the people who have to clean up the mess) that allows them to get away with buffing their mediocity for another generation of products that use more resources to do even less for the user; in a locked-down, proprietary way.

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Why use 'em

It beats me why anyone, on any platform would want to check the Met Office for weather. Aside from the display getting worse and worse, as they dumb it down, you're better off by looking out of the window. There are scads more weather forecasters out there who all seem to give more accurate and more meaningful forecasts than the Met office. Personally I get my forecasts from yr.no, and if Norway can give more accurate forecasts that the met office, we should close them down and save ourselves the money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re : you're better off by looking out of the window.

You've got a window that lets you see the day after tomorrow's weather - WOW !

WOW !

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When will they ever learn

"Unfortunately we had to stop providing weather gadgets for Linux Operating Systems because Adobe withdrew their support for Linux."

What a sadly oblivious remark. The Met didn't "have" to become a footsoldier in Adobe's plans for world domination, it just sleepwalked into that role. That unconscious action is trumped only by the failure of the Met to realize how it's been humiliated by allowing its public face to be governed by an overseas corporation.

When is it worth becoming a disposable bullet point in some rapacious marketer's business plan? Think first: "Is this tool really so great that it's worth surrendering my destiny?"

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FAIL

For the average user no adobe AIR means no BBC iPlayer on Linux

yes _we_ all know about get_iplayer but xkcd hits the spot - same point different tech

http://xkcd.com/488/

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Joke

Adobe Air is a Shit Sandwich

I don't really need to go much further, the title says it all.

But I will anyway.

I use one Air app at work, the dreaded 'Streamtime' work schedule time sheet monitoring BS. It's so unbelievably slow and bloated I get angry whenever I have to use it in anger.

There's is Sweet FA in that application that couldn't be done 10x better using a web browser and standards compliant HTML / CSS / Javascript.

Seriously, Linux Desktop users will be missing *nothing* but massive headaches, every other day "Adobe Air needs to update itself, Y/N?"

Just firing up an Air application will probably use as much resources as Gnome itself. If you have an electricity usage monitor, you'll see it spike just hovering over the application icon.

It's sad that Met Office are going down this route, but I can bet it's nothing more than their lead developer knows how to create Air apps and is a complete and utter (... insert word of your choice here ...)

As has been pointed out, WTF are they doing? Sure, use Air, but provide a damn XML feed that *anything* can read.

Like DUH.

You could claim 1% of users don't matter, but that would be just really really dumb, as you can bet that 1% of Linux users has the most *active* weather geeks you could ever care to meet. I've yet to meet a Linux dev who doesn't have at least a passive interest in the more technical aspects of weather forecasting - it's just in the nature of a tinkerer to lean in that kinda direction.

I'll stop now. I'm getting angry. I may write to my MP. He's also a twat like the lead dev at Met Office. I didn't just say that, did I? Joke. It's all a joke.

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LJK

Make yourself heard

If you want to be heard about AIR on Linux, go to the Adobe site and make a suggestion.

https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform

There are already requests for resumption of AIR development on Linux, so you can just dig / promote them.

Maybe Adobe will eventually listen if enough Linux users do it. Better than just whinging elsewhere where they will definitely take no notice.

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Do it yourself

The met office accurately forecasts the next day's weather in your exact area 30% of the time.

If you predict that the next day's weather will be the same as today you'll be right 70% of the time.

Tomorrow's weather: look out of the window.

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Anonymous Coward

So they are wrong 70% of the time

Flip a coin - heads it's going to piss down tails it's going to be sunny. At least that's right 50% of the time and a 10p coin isn't going to introduce a trojan on my pc.

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Linux

Adobe's AIR & MS's $ilverlight are just lockin problems ...

looking for $olution$. Whether Linux is 5% or 1% matters little; but they shouldn't have been so quick to write off a more generic approach!

Many of my friends and I prefer various Linux distributions to a Windows environment. Even my 81 year old Mother loathes Windows - including XP or Win7. The update reboots, overzealous eye-candy, continual mousing around, and even defragging (still !?!) detract from a more positive user experience - especially with older/cheaper hardware. Though MEPIS isn't known for it's bleeding edge; it's reliability, ease of use, and a good support community without the extra co$t "gotchas" keeps her happy. ;)

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FAIL

Um... lessee....

http://www.rnib.org.uk/professionals/webaccessibility/lawsandstandards/Pages/uk_law.aspx

I'd have to spend some time digging up the URLs but a discussion I had with the OIC and Cabinet Information Office a couple of years back made things _very_ clear that a very dim view is taken of uk.gov websites which are browser-discriminatory. (or which don't comply with w3c guidelines).

I'd say a few formal complaints are in order (OIC are toothless but the Cabinet Information Office is a different matter)

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Reality

Despite the initial reaction of "this is public money being used to play market rigging on behalf of proprietary vedors", the reality is that the Met Office would struggle to accurately predict Christmas.

If you want more informed content then weatheraction is where you want to be.

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