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

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Thu Oct 2 23:05:44 UTC 2008

On Sat, Sep 27, 2008 at 6:42 PM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:

> Once adoption is no longer a factor in the use of non-free formats,
> I'll gladly write the flash-video support for Wikimedia myself if
> Wikimedia still wants it. ... but it won't want it, because it will no
> longer be a consideration just like non-free text formats are not a
> consideration.  The fact that it is a consideration is all the
> evidence you should need to see that format-freeness is still a
> problem which is obstructing Wikimedia's mission.

I agree with this completely.  If there were any reason to support
both encumbered and unencumbered image formats -- say, better
accessibility for a minority of users who thanks to historical
accident didn't have access to a way to display unencumbered formats
-- we could write an automatic converter.

Or if there were a specialty format that worked for
ultra-low-bandwidth circumstances and no free equivalent, again
providing an automatic converter into that format would make sense.

> If you want to fix this problem you could start by investing in the
> solution: There are organizations like Xiph and events like FOMS
> (http://www.foms-workshop.org/foms2009/) which would benefit greatly
> from Wikimedia's support.   Every Wikimania seems to have attendance
> by people in the proprietary video world, but folks working on free
> tools seem to get little audience because they can't afford the
> travel, and can't sponsor PR blitzes.

Indeed.  The OLPC laptops ship with only .ogg and gnash support, which
has led some leading video sites such as Dailymotion to spend more
effort on providing ogg display and upload support, but there is
almost no PR uptake on these stories...

Press such as this isn't very widely read outside a small community...

I remember a brief thread involving Monty two years ago about making a
more widespread commons/xiph promotion, but don't recall any result.
Has anyone had luck finding someone there who can get behind related


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