Scor­pio News


July–September 1988 – Volume 2. Issue 3.

Page 37 of 39

Optical Disk Standards.

I hear a lot of rubbish about optical disk ‘standards’, but when I ask ahyone to be specific I find they’re usually unclear as to what they meas, or are worsied/aboutthe wrong things. Now ‘standards’ are creeping in for CD-ROMs, they’veigotite. You

can’t publish books for mass distribution if everyone wants the datadaid: dows .an the disk in a different way. The standards. come aboutin the same: oldways Standards Committees go away in a huddle for a few years, and during that time severabvested interests put competing ‘standards on the market. Slowly. one: systeny’gains dominance, the others falling by the way side. Eventually a ‘de-facto” standard is established and then the Standards. Committee c emerges from it’s huddle. and pronounces the winner. Simple really !

Even with CD-ROM, we’ve still got two standards, 5.25" and 12”. People even worry about that – what’s it matter. Outside I’ve got two cars, a Ford with 13 x 175 tyres and an Opel with 14x 185 tyres. It’s obvious I can’t take the wheels off one and put them on the other, even if the wheels studs would fit. But-it-doesn’t worry n mes so why should only two physical standards to CD-ROM: worry: your. >

Another i interesting fact – all the manufacturers of. WORM. op ties alidisk drives and media are very large multi-national companies, keep: this act in tind for what follows. a ‘ 1B

With WORMs the story is somewhat different. The process of standardisation i is nowhere near as complete. There are several competing types of disk drive and optical media and although they all work the same way, they aren’t interchangeable. A couple of early drive and media systems have-already dropped out of sight and the worlds polarising into 5.25" and 12" camps. The big information handlers favour 12”, the lesser information handlers go for 5.25”. Some imaging systems hedge their bets and offer both.

Does this actually matter in the context of an imaging system.? The data stored is not like micro-publishing where the information is to be disseminated to a large number of users who have to be compatible. Any profits. to ‘be made from a micro-publishing system are in the dissemination of the disks and that can only be profitable if standards exist: No, an. imaging system user is highly unlikely‘to want to publish his: paperwork and sothe need for compatibility between one imaging system and the next is not there. The things an imaging system user should worry about are twofold. First will the media used by his system remain available during the lifetime. of: the equipment in the event of the optical disk system he has chosen falling out of favour ? Secondly, if his optical disk system is obsolete at the time of replacement, can the existing data be transferred to the new system ?

This is an OCR’d version of the scanned page and likely contains recognition errors.

Page 37 of 39