[plug] FOSS condemned for data archival - don't let it go unchallenged

Gavin Chester gavin.chester at gmail.com
Sun Dec 23 10:10:42 WST 2007

On Sat, 2007-12-22 at 22:05 +0900, Richard Meyer wrote:

> FOS should be less vulnerable to the shifting of the application, as
> where we want to open a Word 1 document in MS Office 2007 (or
> whatever),
> because the formats ARE open and documented and a "reader app" can be
> written (probably).
Exactly! That's the line of counter argument I had in mind. MS sets its
own data format 'standard' and then hides that from the world to
preserve its market share. FOSS generally strives to meet agreed
standards, but even if not you can get into the code to see what it was.
This standards compliance is the key counter argument imho. 

Eg., I have scientific data from a study I ran in 1989, stored on 5 1/4"
floppy and analysed in a stats program I can't even remember the name
of! It's useless 'bits' now.  

> It will, of course, be equally susceptible to the physical degradation
> problems. 

Of course. And, outside any issues of FOSS vs proprietary and probably
more important in the long run.

Good to see this issue has generated so much debate :-)


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