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posted by mrpg on Saturday June 30 2018, @04:58AM   Printer-friendly
from the 404 dept.

Vint Cerf, the godfather of the Internet, spoke in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday and issued a blunt call to action for a digital preservation regime for content and code to be quickly put in place to counter the existing throwaway culture that denies future generations an essential window into life in the past. He emphasized that this was especially needed for the WWW. Due to the volatile nature of electronic storage media as well as the format in which information is encoded, it is not possible to preserve digital material without prior planning and action.

[...] While the digital disappearance phenomenon is one which has so far mainly vexed official archivists and librarians for some years now, Cerf's take is that as everything goes from creation, the risk of accidental or careless memory loss increases correspondingly.

Archivists have for decades fought publicly for open document formats to hedge against proprietary and vendor risks – especially when classified material usually can only be made public after 30 to 50 years, sometimes longer.

From iTnews : Internet is losing its memory: Cerf


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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday July 02 2018, @01:29AM (2 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 02 2018, @01:29AM (#701133) Journal

    It's not that bad. I can play wav, mp3, mkv, vorbis, mpeg, webm, etc etc on Linux just fine.

    For now.

    These formats and their decoders aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

    Define soon. 20 years from now? 50 years from now?
    Besides, note that most of these formats are documented.

    While in theory some of the formats have private patents, in practice I don't see it possible to enforce;

    OOXML is public standard. And yet, it allows OLE blobs.
    In practice, even open standards (much less patents) do not protect against "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" practices.

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  • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Monday July 02 2018, @04:10AM (1 child)

    by darkfeline (1030) on Monday July 02 2018, @04:10AM (#701195) Homepage

    Define soon. 20 years from now? 50 years from now?
    Besides, note that most of these formats are documented.

    Why do they have to be documented? I have a decoder that can play these files now, the decoder is going to continue to be able to play those files forever, and the decoder isn't going to just disappear. I can make effectively infinite copies of both the decoders and the files. Barring catastrophe, the ability to play said files is not going to disappear, and a catastrophe would endanger pretty much any storage format, analog or digital, especially if we lose written languages.

    The format could literally be a black box which nobody knows and it doesn't matter in the slightest. No one would be able to create new files using the format, but that's irrelevant for archival purposes. I can still play them and that's all that matters.

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    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday July 02 2018, @05:01AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 02 2018, @05:01AM (#701202) Journal

      I have a decoder that can play these files now, the decoder is going to continue to be able to play those files forever

      Z80 code is no longer used by any mainstream computers - has been only 40 years since it was extensively used.
      Any warranties you aren't going to have, as the mainstream default, quantum or neural computing in 40 years time with Neumann architectures a thing of the nostalgic past?

      Forever is a long time, don't bet on it.

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