The ticking time bomb of old file formats.

Posted by salparadise on Jul 4, 2007 7:32 AM EDT
The BBC
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The National Archive in the UK has issued a statement expressing concern over the amount of data locked up in proprietary file formats. Microsoft have stepped up to the plate to take advantage of the situation, created largely by their own policy.

Ms. Ceeney, of the Archive said society faced the possibility of "losing years of critical knowledge" because modern PCs could not always open old file formats. She was speaking at the launch of a partnership with Microsoft designed to ensure the Archives could read old formats. Microsoft's UK head Gordon Frazer warned of a "looming digital dark age".

It turns out the National Archives, which holds 900 years of written material, has more than 580 terabytes of data in older file formats that are no longer commercially available.

To give it due credit the article mentions the nature of proprietary file formats and Microsoft's tendency to force changes in this area but then goes on to talk about the wonder that is OpenXML.

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