WikiEducator:Managing Uploaded Files

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Any file uploaded to WikiEducator should be in a format which is not restrictive in terms of people being able to exercise their freedom to use, modify and share the file or derivatives. This means the file's format must not be encumbered by patents and its specification must be available to allow programmers to develop free software for viewing/playing and modifying it (see Free file format).

When uploading files WikiEducator accepts (6 Nov 2011): png, gif, jpg, jpeg, svg, elp, swf, flv, pdf, odt, odp, ods, mp3, mm, ogg, ogv, oga.

The most questionable of these is the Flash formats (in bold)[1] which have been permitted "experimentally". The degree of "openness" of Flash formats has been somewhat variable over the years and it is controlled by one company which releases non-free software for best viewing of files in those formats.

On account of the popularity of Flash in education, and WikiEducator's and the OERF's drive to draw in the wider education community (open or otherwise), terminating this as a failed experiment might be a difficult path. At the very least, any learning resources on WikiEducator must be accessible with libre software so as not to exclude anyone and stay true to our values. There is some libre software which can play Flash (e.g. Gnash and others[2]).

This page is to find ways to manage this issue with the aim of ensuring that all media files uploaded or embedded in WikiEducator may be experienced and adapted/modified with entirely libre software.


Ideally, the process should be automated such that any non-free file uploaded is converted to an appropriate format. For pre-existing files links could be adjusted and a template generated with a link to an external file in a non-free format if required.

Currently (7 Nov 2011), for example, there are over 300 flash files on WikiEducator. Some seem not to be linked with any page and it is unclear whether non-free software is required to play them.

Suggestion: construct tables below with details of the files in question. Columns could include:

  • the file name linked to its file: page
  • status (e.g. Gnash playable, replaced with free, free equivalent uploaded, ...)
  • free file format equivalent(s)
  • linked pages which need attention
  • linked pages done.

Steps could include something like the following filtering process to migrate files from the unaccepted to the accepted list:

For each file:

  1. Check whether the file is linked to any pages on WikiEducator
    • If not,
      • If the file has been there for more than <some time period> delete it
      • else try to contact the person who uploaded it and ask for permission to delete it and do so if they grant permission (otherwise negotiate) (file still unaccepted).
  2. The file is in use on at least one WikiEducator page:
  3. Test the file with Gnash
    • If it succeeds
      • Accept it for now (until flash upload is disabled) and exit
  4. The file cannot be played with libre software:
    • Convert the file to a free format, test and upload the result
    • For each page embedding this file change the template accordingly.

Media files which may require non-free software to play

Unaccepted files

  • ...

Accepted files

Files for which a free format alternative is embedded wherever it is used. Or are in a version of flash which is playable in Gnash. (an open discussion point)

  • ...

See Also

Notes etc.

  1. I also question .elp - what is it?
  2. List: @@