The right to have all data saved in clear text files
suggested by despens2013-10-12
despens: Software is increasingly storing data in formats which are only machine-readable, for example databases. This makes it difficult for users to manage their own data. For example, chatlogs, browsing history, emails and calendar entries that are stored in databases or other binary formats can only be handled with either the software that created it or with lots of effort.
Everything that can be saved as text should be saved as text, so that users can manipulate the files if the software doesn't meet their needs. They could delete their history not with a "delete history" button, but by deleting the history.txt file. They could sync all kinds of files without the need for special syncing protocols. They could treat all file types equally, instead of having them arbitrarily divided into "pictures, photos, images, songs, audio" etc.
Everything, like in Unix philosophy, should be a file, but not only for developers. Developers should think what parts of their software they need to expose as files to their users.
davidm: I disagree, I think this presents a simplistic approach to the user. I agree that the data should be easy to access, but making it into a .txt file does not nothing to add to that. Instead, if companies truly care about openness, they should make a simple interface, so the user can choose what to delete, without looking at some monstrosity of a text file autogenerated from a SQL database.
Brendan Howell: I agree in principle but I would expand this to include any documented standard (or well-accepted and free non-standard (like sqlite or whatever)) document/DB format. And +1 to an export function. Data locked in dead applications is sad.
despens: @davidm: Putting stuff into text files exactly frees the users from the tyranny of one single interface and dramatically eases migration and the flexibility of software. While this might not be very apparent with SQL dumps indeed, it is great for address books, software settings, chat logs, playlists, email messages, etc.