Francesco Potorti pot at softwarelibero.it
Mon Nov 22 17:11:25 UTC 2004

Per la gioia di grandi e piccini, ho terminato la traduzione di
formato_dati_libero.tex, che vi allego.  L'ho tradotta e riletta
attentamente una volta, va riletta ancora e prima di mandarla fuori

===File ~/assoli/misc/formati/free-data-format.tex==========
\documentclass[a4paper]{article}
\usepackage[bookmarks=true]{hyperref}

\author{Gruppo di Lavoro sui Formati dati Liberi}
\title{Free Data Format:\\Definition}
\begin{document}

\maketitle
\tableofcontents

\section{Foreword}

Most of the times you use a computer, you run a computer application
(software), that produces \emph{data}.  These data are generally stored
(saved'') on a hard disk, memory stick, or another storage device, or
else they are directly sent to another computer.

Data are owned by you, who created them; it is then paramount that they are
always at your disposal, whichever the storage or transmission format that
you use.  In other word, you must be able, even at a future moment, to
access your data, preferably retaining the option of freely choosing the
software to access them.

In some cases, in order to fully exploit their usefulness, it is necessary for
others to be able to share and reuse the data, independently of the software
they use to access them.  To this aim, it is necessary that the format
specifications be clear, easily accessible, and that independent software
application be able to implement them.

While the concept of format freedom is strictly connected with the free
software concept, the definition of \emph{free data format} we give here is
disconnected from the software copyright license, and is equally valid for both free
and proprietary software.  It can be argued that using a free data format
is an even more compelling issue when using non-free software.

\subsection{What do we mean by \emph{format freedom}}

These are the fundamental freedoms necessary for a data format to be
considered free:

\begin{enumerate}
\item The freedom of using the format with any program.

\item The freedom to exchange data using the format for anyone and for any
purpose.

\item The freedom to study the format and to describe it.

\item The freedom to write a program using the format without constraints.
\end{enumerate}

Since programs and data are intimately related, the above freedoms are
inspired by the four freedoms described by R.~M.~Stallman in  \emph{The
Free Software  Definition}\footnote{Available at
{http://www.it.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.it.html}.}.

\section{Definition of a \emph{free data format}}

In order to grant the above freedoms, a data format must fulfill the
following fundamental requirements.  If this is the case, we define the
data format to be \emph{free}.

\begin{enumerate}

\item The format must be completely documented, and the documentation must
be available to anyone getting a program that uses the format.
Therefore, the format can be said to be free if the documentation
describing it is distributed along with the application using the
format, or can be freely obtained by anyone without restrictions through
a commonly used computer communication medium.

\item It must be possible to obtain the documentation describing the format
(using one of the two methods described in the previous point) and to
write a new one, in any possible detail and without any restriction (including,
for example, non disclosure agreements).

\item It must be possible to implement the coding and decoding procedures
of the format without any restrictions.  Likewise, there must not be any
restrictions on the usage of the format.

\item It must be possible to use the format as the base for building
derived formats without any constraints.

\end{enumerate}

\subsection{Annex: definition of \emph{format}}

When we speak of data format, we mean the information organisation scheme
that is used for medium storage or for network transmission of digital
data.

\end{document}

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