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Freshmeat: Setting Data Free

Nov 22, 2000, 20:10 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Covey)

"I see two trends in progress. In one, we're continuing movement towards application-independent data storage. In the other, we're witnessing a proliferation of devices that each store the same data in a unique and incompatible way. I believe it's a time to watch developments carefully, and to be ready to move our advocacy efforts to a new arena."

"...it's become easier for personal/home computers to share information. My first computer, that TI 99/4A, had no way to share data with a Commodore 64, a Timex Sinclair, an Atari ST, a Tandy TRS-80, or any of the other computers around at the time. Say what you will about the near monopoly of IBM PC-compatible hardware, but it gave us a de facto standard that made it easier for our machines to share information. Today, the worst problem I can imagine is that someone would hand me a Mac floppy, and Internet use is now widespread enough that I could get away with asking her to email the files to me instead."

"The new problems are:

  1. Hardware compatibility doesn't solve problems of software incompatibility.
  2. Our hardware is becoming incompatible once again, in ways that could make the time of the myriad of unique home computers seem like the good old days.

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