Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Wednesday 20 April 2005

The Irony...

In my previous post I ranted about the fact that Nikon was making life difficult to decode RAW file from their high-end digital cameras... pointing to article telling that Adobe was mad for that. There have been a couple of insightful comments, that remind me that little ironic story.

Adobe is complaining that Nikon could use DMCA to sue them if they attempted to decrypt these data. The irony is that Adobe using that same law to sue Dmitry Sklyarov for reverse engineering the eBook file format encryption. There are affraid of the weapon they use against other people.

To not be mistaken, I'm not defending Adobe's position at all, I'm just defending photographers, aka customers, rights against an attempt from mafucturer to control the ownership of the pictures photographers take. The only product I have from Adobe is Photoshop Element 2.0 that I was illegally forced to purchase with my camera, and that I will use to see what should be done to improve free software solutions for digital photography, because lot of people claim that it is not good... and I still haven't gone past installing it.

So here is my word: Camera manufacturers, you don't own the pictures people take with your products. So you MUST provide a fully disclosed documentation of all the file formats and protocols used by your products for photographers to be able to plainly use them and exercise their rights on the photographic material they produce.

The unfair side is that Adobe did use the free software dcraw to improve their Camera RAW plugin, but dcraw author cannot use Adobe's software source code to improve his. That is one of the reason I would have released that software as GPL.

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.

Monday 18 April 2005

Are recruiters tech savvy ?

I got a mail from a recruiter this morning. It is for a contracting job in France. Note that I'm not interested at all, it was unsollicited, but I just wanted to underline the level of tech skills they have, or more the lack thereof. This is a basic minimum they just don't have.

In their e-mail they say:

Comp├ętences Techniques de base

Au moins un UNIX parmi : Solaris, Tru 64, AIX, NT4/WIN2K/WIN2003

That means in English:

Basic technical skills required

At least one UNIX in the following : Solaris, Tru 64, AIX, NT4/WIN2K/WIN2003

If on this they are even unable to be accurate in their job postings, then I wonder how they can select applicants (the error is left as an exercise to the reader). The sender of this mail is a "Director" for one of these contracting agency, that try to fullfills customer IT staff requirement. So knowing that should be part of his job.

I simply replied to him that he failed to the basic technical knowledge test.

Friday 1 April 2005

Mars discovery

There is water on Mars !

Source: NASA.