Re: Representing futuristic English
- From: "Constantinople" <constantinopoli@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 26 Aug 2005 10:00:18 -0700
Wilson Heydt wrote:
> In article <1125037464.868180.304960@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
> Constantinople <constantinopoli@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> >Anyway, let's look at this separate challenge: the challenge to decode
> >files. The job of archeologists will be made much easier if they have
> >the source code for the codecs, the encoding and the decoding
> >algorithms, handy. And why wouldn't they? The source code for the
> >codecs can be found in many places. Why shouldn't they survive?
> This is questionable.... If (and ONLY if) it is open source, will
> there be source code widely distributed. If the processing program
> is a privately owned product (and most such are now), only the
> company that sells the program will have source code, though open
> source *may* have code that will read (and perahps even write) the
> same format., but you can't count out that. Indeed, as tehre are
> efforts to control access to file formats using IP law, it may get
> even more difficult over time to gain access to file formats in an
> unconstrained way.
Most of the web is in HTML, which once you have decoded the underlying
ascii isn't all hat hard to read (you don't even need to know HTML, you
can figure it out from context). So, a lot of stuff is easily readable.
I don't know whether mp3 is closed source or open source but enough
people create mp3 encoders and decoders that I suspect the full
specifications are out there in a readable format.
DVD movie players seem to be a dime a dozen, so I suspect that format
is no black box either. DVDs are of course encrypted but the software
exists to decrypt them and a lot of these are being stored in decrypted
Web-downloadable and P2P-shared movies are encoded in a great number of
codecs, and given that most of these codecs are apparently not
corporate jobs I expect that there's source code and documentation of
them that can be used to reconstruct them.
I heard that Microsoft Office is moving to XML as its default format,
and that's open source and what I've seen is plaintext (I remember
reading that you can put arbitrary binary into an XML file, though I've
never seen it, but I don't imagine Word would be doing this). But even
the proprietary Micosoft Word format that already exists can be read by
pulling it into a text editor. I did that just now to a Word .doc file
I had handy and I could read the content just fine.
I think the above formats cover a lot of the content that exists.
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