Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Tuesday 19 April 2005

I was always afraid of that...

...and it happens.

Thanks to Tuomas for the link.

It appears that Nikon has decided to lock down the NEF RAW file format used in their high end cameras. This is very bad. It just goes way beyond the simple dollar issues, as it seems to require people to buy the Nikon software instead of just using third parties, may it be the free dcraw or the pricey Adobe Photoshop.

It is a matter of who own the copyright on images and who own the key to view these images. With that scheme, the photographer depends on Nikon to view the images. It is like having a dependency on some magnifier manufacturer to view your printed pictures or your developed film. This has never happened. There have been some exclusive film processing like Kodachrome, but once processed, the film could be used freely like anything else.

Even worse. It just make these memories fading. Photographic archives are priceless for our history memory. And film has been somewhat appropriate to keep them, to some extent. With the era of digital picture, lot of professionnals have concerns about the perenity of the storage medias. But with Nikon initiative, that reduce it even more. In 100 years, there is absolutely no warranty that one will be able to decode these. Even in 30 years, and maybe not in 10 years.

I would have prefered the adoption of a free and documented common RAW format instead.

Photoshop news has an article.

Adobe - Macromedia merger

Adobe and Macromedia are merging. That means there is an even bigger software behemot for graphic design.

But what will happen on the free software side ?

Tim Bray has a post about what could happen to Flash. I just hope he is right. There is really something I'd like to disappear as is is Flash, just because Flash by itself, breaks all the concept put in WWW by breaking navigation, hyper-text and open information into it own world. And releasing the player as Open Source code wouldn't solve that, even if it could help developing alternatives. Dave Shea point of view on the buy out may balance this argument and question about the opportunity for SVG.

And Alan wonder what will happen to Freehand, I'd say it might become orphan like it happened during the Adobe-Aldus merger. BTW, and encourage people to try Inkscape. If they have to change tool because Freehand gets orphaned, that might be a good opportunity.

Beside that, all of this is pure conjecture. Wait and see. But looks like yet another monopoly.

The Register has an article for business oriented readers.