brainstorming: which formats to use and which to avoid

Georg C. F. Greve greve at
Mon Jun 11 09:50:24 UTC 2001

Hi everyone,

Reinhard Wiesemann has approached the FSF Europe with the idea to
create a poster that informs about the dangers of proprietary and
closed formats and has two sides. One in red that lists the ones to
avoid and one in green that lists the ones to prefer.

I think this would be a great idea and very useful for many people. 

So now the question is which formats to put on which side. 

Personally I believe the GIF format (for instance) should be put on
the red side because it is patent-encumbered although everyone knows
how to use it. 

We also should sort them by categories, too, so people will know what
to use as an alternative. Categories that immediately occur to me are


but I may have overlooked something here.

Whenever we discourage the use of one (or more) formats, we should
always have a free format to encourage instead.

As a replacement for GIF, we should probably encourage the use of PNG.
A free replacement for mp3 would be ogg - and so on.

So I'm calling for a brainstorming session on which formats should be
on there, on which side they should go and what are viable free
alternatives for their proprietary counterparts.


Georg C. F. Greve                                       <greve at>
Free Software Foundation Europe	                 (
Brave GNU World	                           (
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