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June 3, 2006

Your Old Documents Weren't Yours

Picture this: you write all your documents in Microsoft Office. You have important information, presentations and research data.

In 30 years from now, Microsoft Office will be history, Microsoft will not exist anymore, computers will be smaller than our mobile phones and extremely powerful.

Remember your Office documents? Well, no one use them anymore, Google has a very powerful Office suite Mindly that has support for mind reading, automatic translation and spell checking, conceptual summarizing and online brainstorming. This application doesn't read the deprecated doc files, and no one complains. Most people have converted their Office documents to the new formats many years ago. Including yourself.

But you discover you've still got some important documents on a backup disk. Nobody can find you a Windows system with Office. And you stare at the binary files with your great ideas. The proprietary formats were once reverse-engineered, but Microsoft destroyed all the information about that.

So now, 30 years before that, you can make a choice. In what format do you save your documents? XML, text files and PDF documents are a better choice.

{ This is not a Sci-Fi text. }

7 comments:

  1. PDF and XML are pretty sweet.

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  2. Nice article, pretty realistic (although I think it will be 60-70 years, since there will be an economic crisis around 2020-25 :P).
    Plain text will be best I guess, because if it is really important its the easiest to convert to something readable, even if the ascii-set changes you only have to remember some numbers.
    The most important ideas however, are best stored in your own brain.
    I had something like this with an old C64 basic program by the way, I had a cool small program on tape, but if you try to find a Commodore these days its nearly impossible.

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  3. I like SciFi as well :) but unfortunately that's not going to be true. Look now, you still can open files made with Wordstar, Word Perfect, etc...

    That's not an excuse not to avoid Ms formats, but a functionality all future systems will have.

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  4. In 30 years there will be:
    -No MicroSoft
    -No Windows
    -No Linux
    -GNU/Hurd v0.001-RC256 :)

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  5. in 30 years from now, the United States will have conquored most of the middle-east, and Micro$oft will have taken over the PC market, as well as the software market. Open Standards and Open Source will be something you look into the books of long-gone history for, falling under the category "Brave attempt to overthrow an evil and corrupt mission to take away freedom from the people, which was slain by the authorities and labeled 'heretic'".

    Now that is my, rather dystopian, sight of the future.

    But i'll keep on saving my documents in an Open Standard Format, as well as distribute my programs as open source, as long as i live, in spite of that. Because i wont live long enough to see this future, as i will die in a war to prevent it from happening.

    By the way, i am in possesion of a good old C64, and i wont ever give it away to anybody ;)

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  6. The new Office formats like .docx are technically zipped XML so your ending seems a bit odd. Also, why would PDF necessarily last any longer? You are right about it not being science fiction though, since no scientific evidence would point to something like that ever happening.

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  7. DevOne:
    "In 30 years there will be:
    -No MicroSoft
    -No Windows
    -No Linux
    -GNU/Hurd v0.001-RC256"

    And don't forget there will still be people out there running VAX's

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