[reportlab-users] PDF/A-Standard with Reportlab?

Robin Becker robin at reportlab.com
Fri Dec 1 05:24:54 EST 2006

Tim Roberts wrote:


> Ah, I get it now. Yes, your concern is a real one.


>> According to those charged with the task, we don't even know if there

>> are universal symbols indicating danger. Silly stuff like electronic

>> standards are meaningless in such timescales; my DEC tapes from the 70's

>> are unreadable without extraordinary effort as are the 8 inch floppies

>> that succeeded them. My ext file system 3.5in floppies from the 90's are

>> practically unreadable unless I expend considerable time and money.



> Exactly right. I took backups of my most precious information in three

> different forms from my first job. Last year, I finally threw out the

> last rolls of 1/2" magnetic tape, the last rolls of 8-channel punched

> paper tape, and the last boxes of 80-column punched cards.


> There is a very similar issue unfolding in regard to our photographic

> legacy. We can still view and make prints from the glass plate

> negatives of Abe Lincoln at the Gettysburg battlefield from 150 years

> ago. But what are the odds that my CD of JPEG images from my daughter's

> birth will be readable even 10 years from now, either physically or

> logically? It bothers me.


According to my colleague John, the important stuff will be digitally copied to
the next media du jour and we'll thus not have to worry. His example is that of
DNA. My counter argument is that what's important to us may not be important to
the future and stuff we consider insignificant may be important. As for DNA it's
precisely because DNA has discarded things it didn't need that we have no
knowledge about earlier forms of life ie was it RNA based, did it use the same
codons etc etc.
Robin Becker

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