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Old 11-24-2011, 04:52 AM   #46
Kevin8or
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A discussion of longevity that focuses on what an individual does with his own files/formats misses the point entirely.

With printed materials, people stumble upon treasures when they go into grandma's attic after she's died. In 2070, however, they won't read Grandma's old Appleworks files containing her journals of growing up in the 80's and 90's.

It's important, for the future, that our files be saved in common, open standards that remain easily readable 100-150 years after creation. Our descendants will surely lament that so much was lost due to proprietary standards and rapidly changing hardware.
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Old 11-24-2011, 08:50 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellmark View Post
But those are propietary formats, and includes an optional migration. Appleworks files open just fine in iWork. Jumping between programs, when they don't support the fileformats you're using, of course you're going to have issues. But if there are still apps that support the files, and you just choose not to use them, well, that's another story.
The changeover wasn't optional. Concertware was no longer being updated, and wouldn't run on the new OS. Finale had no way to read in and convert a Concertware file.

With lots of fiddling (starting with recruiting someone whose computer could still run Concertware and loading the program and all my files) I could have saved those files---by passing them through a paper stage. As it is I didn't put sufficient effort in fast enough and they're gone.

For stuff widely acknowledged as Great Art during the transition, someone will put in the effort. Probably. But a lot of stuff will be lost, too.
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:59 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Kevin8or View Post
It's important, for the future, that our files be saved in common, open standards that remain easily readable 100-150 years after creation. Our descendants will surely lament that so much was lost due to proprietary standards and rapidly changing hardware.
Correct. And any project thinking about a transition from printed works to electronic data should consider that. The sad fact is that there is barely any standard in todays' industry when it comes to files and hardware.
PDF is a quasi-standard for documents, but who knows for how long?
MP3 is a quasi-standard for musicfiles and has been for quite some time now (I still have MP3s from the 90s) and one can assume that it'll remain quasi-standard for a while.
However, texts...the txt-file is the best "standard" I can think of. DOC is obsolete and currently being replaced by DOCX, there's ODF on the other side of the spectrum and many more still.
And think about ebooks...there's MOBI, ePUB, ePUB with DRM, Kindle, KF8 is coming...there just IS no such standard and there's nothing that indicates that a real standard is in production.

I mean, if the EU hadn't forced all cellphone producers to create a standard charging cable for all cellphones, we wouldn't have one there (in a few years). And that's just a charging cable - it just gets juice into your cell and has nothing to do with functionality. File formats have everything to do with functionality. Without force, we won't have a standard there, because the heterogeneous world seems to work for the manufacturers right now...
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:28 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Hellmark View Post
But those are propietary formats
That's the point. One big difference with digital formats is that is up to you to consider what you need from your e-books. You are not just buying a book in a digital format, you are buying a different object with different "properties". If you care about longevity you should act accordingly and choose a proper format.
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