Data file formats

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This page is about the various file formats that the XO may encounter.


Because the OLPC has limited storage and limited RAM, it is not a good idea to support every data format used on regular PCs. It makes more sense to use our PCs to convert data than to put that burden on the OLPC.

The libraries and packages in the build support various file formats. Some of this support is exposed through the various Activities and the files they are able to load. Most activities list the mime types they support in their file. In a Terminal activity,

 cat ~olpc/Activities/Activity name.activity/activity/

and there will be a mime_types line.

On some activities' wiki pages the infobox lists some of the mime types they support, e.g. Browse.

List of supported formats

TODO: This should become a table of format - mime-type - activities supporting the format - a link to sample files for each file format.

  • General formats
    • XML
    • SQLite (a lightweight relational database that is included in Python 2.5)
    • Gnu gdbm (supported by Python's dbm module)
    • Berkeley db version (supported by Python's bsddb module)
  • Compression formats
    • Uncompressed (this is listed because the JFFS2 filesystem on the OLPC will compress all compressable files)
    • GNU Zip (supported by Python's zlib module, Etoys, and the implementation of the jar: URL protocol in XULRunner that powers Browse)

See also