Why eBabel—the DRM-created kind included—threatens preservation even with libraries and archives around

image image "The problem of deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs may look like child’s play compared with recovering all the information on the hundreds of major software programs that have been discarded during the astonishing transformations of the computer revolution." – Alexander Stille in Lost Magazine.

3 Comments on Why eBabel—the DRM-created kind included—threatens preservation even with libraries and archives around

  1. Came across one article earlier regarding the arguments with “upgrading” from LaTeX to XML (main reason against was MathML isn’t close to being up to par). LaTeX Preservation

    Not to mention the urban legend that’s been around for awhile that our first extra-solar satellites are still reporting back to a machine in the basement of NASA that spits out reams of unreadable paper tape because the format was never documented and we’ve forgotten what the encoding was. [Remember the ASCII vs EBCDIC “discussions”?]

  2. Only ten years ago, Word Perfect was the market leader on PCs. Just last week, I had someone ask me to find an old copy of the software so he could access his archived documents (still on floppy disk). My, how time flys.

  3. Actually Word processors are an excellent example of eBable. Frankly, there is very little justification for the fact modern Word Processors are still not using the same basic format they used 10-15 years ago. Fortunately most of them (or at least openoffice) can read the older file formats. But eBable has become a tool used by many software companies to force users to “upgrade”.

    More and more I am convinced that we would be better served by a limited standard than inventing a new format everytime we need a new feature.


    Bill

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