From a "normal people" kind-of-view, collecting very old operating systems for computers that aren't made anymore and serve practically no purpose in everyday-life looks very odd.
Of course, I'm a big fan of this and when you're reading this, you are probably too. But why? What are the deep reasons why we do this "obviously" nonsense thing?
For me, this is probably four things.
- I've done it since I was younger and I always get a good feeling when seeing the BetaArchive start-page and new entries, though I rarely do anything in "the scene" anymore for time reasons in real life
- Understanding what constitutes computer history, how things were made, looking "behind the curtains" and seeing things barely anybody ever saw. Kind of like urban exploring or diving in unknown underwater-structures, but from the comfort of my home.
- Toying around until it works. I love doing this. Working on something with minimal information and get it to work somehow. The way to do that is to fully understand something (like https://longhorn.ms/revisiting-the-onli ... int-wizard melcher did there) up to the point of not needing any documentation (because there isn't one) and being able to manipulate it. I love this in programming, I love this with my attempts with micro-electronics and in many other things where this occurs. (Right now, I'm working on a peace of hospital equipment only documented in non-copy-paste-japanese of which I don't speak a single word, so practically there isn't any documentation, but fiddling around and getting something to work is the best feeling I've ever experienced with tech products, because when you've done it, you understand this one thing and from there on many, many different things with similiar problems.)
Dealing with betas tells this exact thing for me. It's discovering stuff, like an archaelogist. Discovering something that was unknown to even us experts before is like stepping into tutanchamuns grave for the very first time since like 5000 years or something and figuring out what it all means. And using that stuff, using the earned knowledge in every kind of way, without ever leaving the comfort zone of my house.
Can you relate to this? What are your thoughts on this? What are the reasons you do that, even to the extent of PTL here ( https://www.betaarchive.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=39054 ), that would easily scare up nearly every other computer user of the world.
One closing thought:
If everything was leaked and known, nothing would be known. Nobody would care, since it wouldn't be a mystery and that is what makes it interesting. Nobody would care for it if it were no mystery, and that's why unleaked builds (that still have a spark of "mysticism" around them), I believe, are of great help to this community. If everything was readily available, nothing would be downloaded & archived. (Still, I hope for some earlier or obscure longhorns to get leaked, and would readily take the time to install and review them thoroughly )