Morlock Elloi on Sat, 20 Apr 2002 06:02:02 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> RE: RHIZOME_RAW: GENERATION FLASH (2 / 3)

>It don't think Flash is very beautiful and elegant in its code and
>internal design. HTML, as an SGML Document Type Definition, is beautiful
>and elegant enough internally so that almost anyone can write it
>_directly in code_, on any piece of software that is able to save ASCII
>files. - So HTML and other open, structured formats do not only provide
>the freedom of choosing software for its display, they also provide the
>freedom of choosing software for its creation (and even let it
>dynamically generate by programs/scripts - can you create Flash code by

There is a very fundamental issue here - dependance on a human-readable format.

[ One may think that "human-readable" is a stretch for computer files, but
pervasiveness of plain text and tools to view and edit it make it a practical
reality. ASCII is going to be with us for a very long time. Even microsoft
didn't manage to kill ASCII files, and I often perform a 'strings' command on
ms documents to extract the content. ]

Money is made in computer world by inserting oneself between the author and the
public. If author's work is captured and packaged via proprietary means, then
the owner of the means becomes the real owner of the work. There are very few
people creating original content these days. But there are tens if not hundreds
of thousands who parasite on the transfer of this content to the public. Just
in the audio/video arena in the last few years we have seen many tens of
proprietary format propositions, with many millions invested in them
(fortunately almost all failed.) 

The goal should be to make most of the content "human-readable" by making tools
unencumbered by ownership and patents.

Witness the success of:


- gcc, GNU C compiler, which is singularly resposible for opening the software
in general. It practically standardised the object file format. It's hard
explain how bad it can be to those that don't remember COBOL.

- postscript and later PDF, both open for all practical purposes

- TIFF, JPEG, MP3 and even GIF (patented by Unisys)


With today's cost and size of transistors there are no technical reasons why
any file format should not be human-readable.

As for flash (which for me and many others presents just a kitschy nuisance),
if it becomes a real success an open substitute will be developed. This was
always case in the past. Absence of such is an indication that flash is still a
marginal product - marketing VPs are a very small percentage of internet

[One piece of software that I'd like to see - a flash plugin that extracts URLs
from the flash compiled code and presents it as plain html, in those cases when
braindead web designers fail to provide a non-flash path to the data. I have a
small script that does it on a unix box.]

(of original message)

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