Jeremy Allison writes about
impermanence of proprietary data formats. "I think proprietary
record formats will present a problem for historians. Perhaps not in the
short-term, but certainly in the medium to long term (and remember I'm
talking about hundreds if not thousands of years now). Imagine that some
historian in 500 years time discovers Vice President Cheney's "undisclosed
location" and finds his secret laptop computer. "Finally," the historian
thinks, "we will know who advised this administration about energy policy!"
as he swims back to the surface of the ocean above the Washington
monument. Unfortunately it turns out the data was written in the
"Word-mangler for Windows 2002" format, for which no specifications were
ever published, and which was deliberately designed to be difficult for the
competition to read.
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