File Formats

  • Last week I attended the Paris Open Source Summit, were I saw things as interesting and diverse as autonomous tractors, Open Source legal support and “degooglized Internet” visions. Please read that other post to know more. Here, I am only going to describe one other moment of POSS 2016, about two other arguments I care a lot about, and on which I wouldn’t mind working again, even if these days I am mostly busy with Digital DIY.
  • On November 4th, 2016, I was invited to attend the Conference by the Pontifical Lateran University on “Core Values - The Transmission of Values in Digital Age”. I was very happy to go, because I’ve been studying the relations between Catholicism and (open) digital technologies for more than ten years now (see links below). I have listed in a separate post the most interesting things I was happy to hear at the Core Values conference.
  • roddenberry-star-trek-in-floppies “Star Trek creator didn’t have a clue of how computer actually work, and how to preserve digital documents, and the curators of his estate weren’t much better”: **this **should be the appropriate title for the story titled “How Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s words were freed from old floppy disks”. (but see the important update below!) The facts: During the 1970s and 1980s Gene Roddenberry saved a lot of unpublished writings as files stored in about 200 5.
  • This was the abstract of a talk I proposed for a Network Politics Conference in 2011. The talk wasn’t accepted, but I’d like to restart a conversation on this topic, so here it goes.This quote from “AOL loves HuffPo. The loser? Journalism” “The media-saturated environment in which we live has been called “the information age” when, in fact, it’s the data age. Information is data arranged in an intelligible order. Journalism is information collected and analyzed in ways people actually can use.
  • (this is a reformatted/expandedq version of a comment I made in November 2013 on the Libre Office mailing list) Other list members where saying they saw nothing like “holding people hostage” in free trials of software: > >>I didn't know we considered trialware "cunning". > > >They let people create & edit documents for a while and then hold > >them hostage, until the users coughs up for MS Office.
  • Twelve (TWELVE!!!) years ago I asked OpenOffice users “Are you advocating OO correctly”. Six years ago I said the same things in a different format. A couple of weeks ago, I came across a perfect proof that that kind of advocay IS right, but so far has been never practiced enough.Twelve years ago I wrote (the whole thread is still in the archives) that: most of [OpenOffice] advocacy, while always in good faith, is often incomplete, misleading, and much less effective than what it could be.
  • (this is something I wrote in 2007. Everywhere you read “OO.o” you can (and should) replace it with “Apache OpenOffice or Libre Office”. See the bottom of the page for the origin and history of the text) Many people, schools and small businesses use OO.o only becauseit can be obtained and installed for free, maybe from a Cd-Rom attached to some magazine, without legal problems or exorbitant license fees. Some users love it because it is so similar to Microsoft Office.
  • (this is only the final part of something I wrote in 2007. Please do read the first part to understand where the text below comes from!) A highly structured, metadata rich, application independent XML file format like OpenDocument can finally offer two huge advantagesto all computer users and to Society as a whole. The first is complete interoperability among many software applications, regardless of their user interface, license or development model.
  • A couple of days ago, I read at The Conversation a post titled Weighing the environmental costs: buy an eReader, or a shelf of books?. Since that (overall pretty good) article missed a few important points, I explained them here. Today, I found on the Conversation article a new comment, containing some uninformed or irrelevant statements, including: a book is a lasting thing that can serve many people. An electronic device… fails the longevity test.
  • Yesterday I explained a few things about e-books that were missing from the article Weighing the environmental costs: buy an eReader, or a shelf of books?. One of the Conversation readers commented the original article with several misleading or irrelevant statements, which I criticized as you can read in the first part of this post. All I got was more of the same: two more comments, both missing the point and showing little understanding of what file formats are and how e-books and all other digital documents interact with hardware devices.