Fwd: [Foundation-l] File format policy

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Sat Jan 19 21:47:00 UTC 2008

The Wikimedia Foundation is drafting its policy on freedom of file
formats. Please pick loopholes, we'd like this to be robust.

(in this context, "free software" = meets free software definition,
"free content" =  meets definition 1.0 on freedomdefined.org, which is
the same thing for content rather than software)

- d.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Florence Devouard <anthere at anthere.org>
Date: 19 Jan 2008 21:38
Subject: [Foundation-l] File format policy
To: foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org

Post under a nicer and more appropriate title


Jussi-Ville Heiskanen wrote:
 > On 1/19/08, Gregory Maxwell
<gmaxwell-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at public.gmane.org> wrote:
 >> On Jan 19, 2008 12:25 AM, Mike Godwin
<mnemonic-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at public.gmane.org> wrote:
 >>>  I should think it
 >>> apparent to pretty much everybody that the Kaltura collaboration is
 >>> not convenient in the short term.
 >> The choice of a partner which fundamentally requires proprietary
 >> technology, over alternative paths which use or create non-proprietary
 >> technology (which may currently be less mature or less adopted), is
 >> short term advantageous compared to other options.
 > Personally I think the situation is more nuanced than either of you
 > it as. The Wikimedia Foundation can be a influence for guiding towards
 > what its mission is in many ways (and I regret our mission statement
 > does not make it explicit that we are for non-proprietary formats;
 > censeo> ).
 > Some routes are more frayed than others, though, and one needs must
 > make an evaluation of what the best/most effective use of resources/good
 > will/authority etc. is. Erik has clearly made one which you, Greg do not
 > wholly agree with. That, I think, is fine. We should still respect
the fact
 > that evaluating that is what Erik is being paid for, and naturally Erik
 > chooses whose opinion he relies upon, within the parameters set to him
 > by the board (and here I remind the board, that it *does* have the
 > to guide its employees _as a body_, though clearly not as individual

Since you mention it, I wanted to clarify that we have drafted a file
format policy. It has not yet been approved, some board member being
willing to further discuss it with other individuals.

I think it relevant to copy this draft here. Comments welcome for all of
you of course :-)


Resolution:File format policy

Whereas an essential part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mission is
encouraging the development of free-content educational resources that
may be created, used, and reused by a diverse community, without
restriction, and because we believe that this mission requires thriving
open formats and open standards on the web to allow the creation of
content not subject to restrictions on creation, use, and reuse, it is
resolved that all material, text , multimedia, or software, on Wikimedia
Foundation projects must be in a format that is:
1. Viewable or playable by existing free software tools
2. Able to be created or edited by existing free software tools.
3. Defined by an open standard, implementation, or specification not
under proprietary control
4. Not itself subject to material patent-related restrictions on use
that are incompatible with free software, nor only able to be authored
or viewed by software so restricted.
5. Not encrypted or otherwise subject to technical protection measures
incompatible with the permissions of free content licensing.
where "free software" is software under any licensing terms that meet
the Free Software Definition.
Where an independently-used subset of the format meets these criteria,
even if some files in that format do not (as with PDF and encrypted
PDF), files in that subset qualify as acceptable formats under the text
of this resolution.

Ant, your favorite sheep keeper

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