Let's develop an open-source media archive standard

From: Ethan Dicks <dickset_at_amanda.spole.gov>
Date: Wed Aug 11 00:08:45 2004

On Tue, Aug 10, 2004 at 11:10:49PM -0500, John Foust wrote:
> Astounding! Will that computer never die? And I say that
> as someone who Believed, '85-92.

I still enjoy playing the odd Amiga game (Black Crypt being one of the
best ones never ported to another machine, 'though the color version of
Larn is kinda nice compared to the vt100-compatible version that's available
for most UNIX machines).
> I'm tempted to say that we should leave copy protection
> hacks out of the spec for now, but if it was extensible,
> that would be great.

Extensible is good... one of the advantages of the Amiga IFF structure they
chose to emulate/use as a starting point, is that according to the spec, the
structure, tag formats, checksums, are all described in advance; what is
malleable is that if your application doesn't understand a tag, you are
obligated to ignore it, not puke 'cause it's in an unknown format. PICTs
are similar in that regard, a structured collection of (binary) records.
All programs know the structure, but not all programs can interpret all
record types.

These days, of course, XML can serve much the same function, plus have
the advantage of being printable. You could end up with files that could
never fit on the medium they describe, but unless you are trying to do
100% of your computing on classic platforms with tiny media, that shouldn't
be a problem (and even if you are... you _could_ fit a 1541 description
file on a 1581-compatible floppy, so even the C=64 could create and restore
these files to and from real media, given the right setup).

One suggestion... for the data portion of sectors/tracks/etc... let's spec
in a run-length encoding scheme so large portions of unused media compress
down really tightly (lots of zeros, or in the case of a real 1541 disc,
lots of hex 0x01s). If it's XMLish, it could look like '<r="256">01</r>'
or some such.


Ethan Dicks, A-130-S      Current South Pole Weather at 11-Aug-2004 05:00 Z
South Pole Station
PSC 468 Box 400       Temp -65.4 F (-54.2 C)    Windchill    -97.8 F (-72.2 C)
APO AP 96598          Wind   9.1 kts Grid 019   Barometer 683.9 mb (10480. ft)
Ethan.Dicks_at_amanda.spole.gov     http://penguincentral.com/penguincentral.html
Received on Wed Aug 11 2004 - 00:08:45 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:36:33 BST