glossary

Open format

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file format with no restrictions, monetary or otherwise, placed upon its use and can be fully processed with at least one free/libre/open-source software tool. Patents are a common source of restrictions that make a format proprietary. Often, but not necessarily, the structure of an open format is set out in agreed standards, overseen and published by a non-commercial expert body. A file in an open format enjoys the guarantee that it can be correctly read by a range of different software programs or used to pass information between them.