[Foundation-l] Re: File format policy

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Tue Feb 14 02:03:31 UTC 2006

On 2/13/06, Ilya Haykinson <haykinson at gmail.com> wrote:
> I don't see this as an openness-of-content issue at all; I see it as a
> technological problem.  Our organizational desire is to provide open
> access to data; to some degree this means using open,
> patent-unencumbered formats such that patent restrictions will not be
> an obstacle to viewing our content.
> On the other hand, a large part of our organizational desire is to
> actually provide the data.  Currently our video content is accessible
> to a very small subset of users; just like we present our
> database-persisted data using XHTML that is understood by web
> browsers, we need to present video data in some format that's
> understandable by most computers out there.
> Without compromising our stance, we could insist on all uploads to be
> open formats (like .ogg) but transcode to common viewable formats as
> an option for viewers who don't have OGG players. I don't see how that
> would be in conflict with our core mission.

I don't see how transcoding to a proprietary format would be much
different than offering up our text alternative non-free license.

I also see the assertion made multiple times that the number of users
who can view this content is greatly diminished... but I've yet to see
this substantiated with data.  If you count users who must install a
codec as unable, then you must also realize that the proposed
alternative proprietary formats are also not installed by default on a
great many (a majority?) of computers.

The complexity of getting working players to users is high enough that
a great many video sites such as video.google.com and youtube are
using flash and java based players.

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