Let's develop an open-source media archive standard

From: Tony Duell <ard_at_p850ug1.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed Aug 11 17:52:31 2004

> Agreed with all those. Can I add some important things:
> o) The format should be able to note media errors (I still want to
> archive damaged disks whilst some data can be recovered from them)

The format should be extendable!. We can't possibly think of everything
now, so it's essential that more stuff can be added later.

> o) The format should be able to cope with hard disk images too (i.e. not
> make assumptions about only 1 or 2 media surfaces!)

Another useful thing would be to handle devices that are regarded as just
a linear array of blocks (in other words with no explicit tracks and

Also, to be able to note things like file marks, etc so that magtapes can
be archived in the same type of file.

> o) Archive format should not be tied to any particular software (i.e. no
> assumption is made about what utility is used to read/write the archive
> files)

Agreed. And to go along with that, there should be no assumption about
big/little endian machines, word size, or even what character set is used
(I think we're agreed that only printable characters, newlines, and not
much else should be used).

I think others have said this, but the binary data in a sector/block
should be recorded in some hex format. Yes, this wastes space in the
archive, but it makes it human readable. And if you want to save space on
the machine you're storign the archives on, you can always gzip them or

Received on Wed Aug 11 2004 - 17:52:31 BST

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