I enjoyed thinking through Should we fight for Ogg Vorbis?, a contribution to the Linux Journal by Glyn Moody back in 2007. The most problematic statement in the piece, I think, is this one.

So my doubts about this campaign have nothing to do with any weaknesses in Ogg. It's just that I wonder whether this is really something the free software world should be expending much energy on when there are other more pressing problems. Whereas DRM and software patents, for example, are manifestly and unequivocally bad for free software (and indeed for everyone), that doesn't seem to be true for the MP3 format.

Is there a reason to have an open and free format when patent holders don't seem to care much about the folks who are making free software and aren't paying royalties/license fees? Rather, aren't there more pressing places where license holders are worried about enforcing patents where someone could be turning their OSS coding resources?

I'm not sure how to feel about this one. I know that I'm getting to the point that I prefer PDF over any other file format for printed works. I'm so freakin' tired of dealing with the way doc, docx, rtf, etc keep fookin' slightly whenever I open them in the wrong application. I used to make do with Microsoft Word, 1998 and 2000, and as long as those apps kept working I figured I'd make do. They don't work so well any more. Now that Word 2100 or whatever it's at now can save in pdf, I'd rather just see pdf files. It's harder for me to edit a pdf than even a wacky docx at times, but there are a wealth of fairly reasonably priced apps that'll allow one to mess with pdfs. At worst, I just print them out and scrawl.

Perhaps ODF is the best alternative, but PDF is the practically open format that seems to be doing best, and I don't even have to Google LAME to display it on most OSes.

Does this disinclination to support ODF more directly comprise my politics? Yes, I believe it does. We need a standard that will display well outside of its contemporary platform, and display that way for the foreseeable future and beyond. That seems to be pdf to me (and yes, I realize pdf can sometimes be no more descriptive than avi; you really don't know what's in the wrapper. Again, egg + face).

Still, is there "practically free" that should be good enough? I'm not sure. I don't like the mp3 reasoning any more than I did for gifs years earlier or pdfs, even after they've been declared an open standard (thanks wikipedia) in 2008. OOXML is open too, you know. Yet there's a certainly practicality to using these formats not designed to be open to humans and machines at the same time.

I hate bluffing. Is GNU/hurd ready yet?

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