[texhax] OT: explaining the problems with long term storage of data

Marco Fioretti mfioretti at mclink.it
Tue Jul 24 10:13:35 CEST 2007

Christopher W. Ryan wrote:

> one of the concepts to which I want to introduce the
> subcommittee is the idea of storage of digital data, file formats,
> long-term usability of data, and ease of migration to other solutions.
> In essence, I want to make sure that if a vendor we choose goes 
> belly up, that we can still have our data.
> These issues are completely foreign to the other members of the
> committee. Very bright people, but that does not mean they have 
> a sophisticated understanding of computer information systems, 
> and even less so of open-source philosophies.
> Can anyone point me to on-line resources that explain, in *very* 
> simple terms, the problems of storing data in proprietary, non-open, 
> file formats?

A couple of years ago I held a short seminar at Sant'Anna
School of Advanced Studies in Pisa whose title was just
"How file formats can be used to favour
(or hamper) innovation and really free markets"

If I understand correctly your request, it's almost made to order
for your needs. You can download the PDF slides in English from


and read a report of the seminar, including comments from
Prof. Bottazzi on what he defined "indeed a huge problem and
expense, whose true magnitude is still barely understood" at


Any feedback is welcome. Please let me know how things go, I'm
always interested in studying these issues and writing more articles
about them. Just one note: please send any off list replies directly
to marco, at digifreedom.net

Hope this helps,
                       Marco Fioretti

The one book on software and digital technologies that no parent
can ignore:                               http://digifreedom.net

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