The TXT versions do not print on my printer and have not printed
reliably on any printer I have ever owned.
Yes, and that history goes back a couple of decades for me.
Probably says more about ones skills than either the printers one uses or
ASCII as a document interchange format.
I'm sure reading an RFC on a mobile device is important to the community
as a whole. Not!
1000 years from now, it will certainly be easier to recover content from
an ascii 'file' than an html, xml, or pdf 'file' created now. It is
probably an unjustified assumption that 'software' available 1000 years
from now will be able to render today's html, xml, or pdf.
The more tools required to access binary content, the more opportunities
for access denied. ASCII has the advantage that many programs can provide
adequate access to data encoded in ASCII. It also has the advantage that
authors don't feel compelled to create pretty documents which may increse
the visual appeal but do nothing to enhance the content. On the other
hand, more advanced formats allow for decent technical drawings and
electronic references to related content.
Striking the right balance between the efficiencies of minimalist
formatting and the capabilities of richer formatting will be a
difficult challenge. A primary requirement should be maintaining access in
the widest possible set of computing environments. The adoption of modern
technologies is not in and of itself justification for change.
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