[Foundation-l] Freedom, standards, and file formats

John Vandenberg jayvdb at gmail.com
Wed Oct 1 00:37:31 UTC 2008

On Wed, Oct 1, 2008 at 9:15 AM, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
<cimonavaro at gmail.com> wrote:
> Erik Moeller wrote:
>> I don't think there's any question that we are committed to making
>> sure that every piece of user-facing content, including interactivity,
>> can be accessed using 100% open source software. That's an important
>> consensus. The primary issue is the question of parallel distribution,
>> which is one on which reasonable people can disagree. We should
>> collect as much data as possible to help the Board reach a decision on
>> that question.
> Simply because your first statement is in fact totally inaccurate, it is
> clearly a very useful clarification, coming as it does, from someone in
> your position.
> :-)
> Nevertheless, the statement is not in any shape or form relevant to the
> discussion about document formats. (For those joining the discussion
> late, software and document formats are quite separate things, only very
> tangentially and rarely significantly meeting - ...

Mixing the two compounds the confusion.

> I think the brouhaha
> about Lempel-Ziv buried that question for a while)

I'll bite...

Lempel-Ziv brouhaha ?

> I don't think suggesting that nailing down that we are committed to
> software being 100% open source, but "flexible" on formats, is a useful
> contribution to the discussion on that front, but more akin to a red
> herring. I think I have said this before. And I think I will continue to
> repeat this whenever given the chance, "ceterum censeo".

When each is discussed separately, it becomes harder to justify a soft approach.

Do we want WMF to only use open source software?

Do we want WMF to only support unencumbered formats?

Many would answer "Yes" to both questions.

If a hardware provider wants Wikimedia content transcoded into a
different format for use on their new wizbang device, they should
develop their own technology to achieve this, or pay WMF bucketloads
of money to help them.

John Vandenberg

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