Examples of proprietary control

Theo Schmidt theo.schmidt at wilhelmtux.ch
Wed Oct 14 10:31:48 UTC 2009

Carsten Agger schrieb:
> I'm doing a text about the potential damages of proprietary software...
> ...
> Does anyone know of more striking cases, possibly a list, of people who
> have been badly bitten by proprietary software. (There's the standards
> issue, of course, but that deserves to be treated apart).

I'm not sure if the following cases apply or has more to do with standards:

1) Filemaker
Filemaker is a not inexpensive easy-to-use database complete with graphical 
interface and scripting, rather like Access. The format changes every few years 
and is downwards incompatible - and of course incompatible to any other 
programs. Although data can be exported in other formats, the structure of the 
database can't. The problem is now that Filemaker needs Windows or MacOS to run. 
Older Versions work fine with Wine, but newer ones don't. The trap is thus if 
you have a Linux system and use Filemaker with Wine, an update probably won't 
work any more. Thus you are forced to run an "island-system" or use virtual 
machines (including licences).

2) Adobe Indesign
Indesign is an expensive but popular layout/publishing program. The trap is that 
you can't use the files well with other programs. The SVG export is useless and 
the PDF export is very good.

Both cases aren't so bad if used by professional offices, but often they are 
installed on school computers and the pupils then either lose their work later 
or are forced to buy the programs (many steal them instead).

Theo Schmidt

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