[OSGeo-Discuss] Open File Formats and Proprietary Algorithms

Landon Blake lblake at ksninc.com
Thu Aug 20 11:27:05 PDT 2009

I realized that publishing a spec for a file format like MRSID isn't as
clear cut as I had at first thought. If the MRSID software uses a fancy
top-secret compression/decompression algorithm to move data to and from
the file format knowing only the structure of the format would do no
good. You'd have to release the details of the algorithm as well.


I still don't think proprietary file formats are a good idea for
government data released to the public, but I admit that having a
company like LizardTech publish a spec for something like MRSID is not
necessarily a simple task. No doubt a lot of time and money goes into
developing those algorithms.


This makes me wonder about algorithms used to purposefully encrypt
binary file formats. That is another can of worms. It looks like the
easiest thing to do is to start with a file format that was designed to
be open from the very beginning.




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