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 PostPost subject: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all that...        Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:23 pm 
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I am making this post in response to the recent complaints about the moving (not removal!) of LH build 4001 but also about other complaints in the past.

---

Apparently the understanding of what BetaArchive is today and what we're trying to do has gone completely lost to a lot of members, including past some of our more respected and skilled members. So I want to put into text what I think BetaArchive should be about as I've been a member, moderator, curator and administrator of this community for over 10 years now, and together with Andy been shaping it into what it is today. I want you to understand why I think BetaArchive is not, and should not be just like any other archiving site online. There are also certain limitations we are stuck with that makes it hard, if not impossible, to implement certain sought after features that would alleviate some of the confusions in this particular instance. While we try to please everyones wishes there are certain things that simply can't be done with the resources we have and are limited to.


The members.

So, what prompted this? I was welcomed this morning to a rather aggressive, but honest, reminder that I am apparently doing things wrong by sorting things a certain way on the FTP. Apparently incomplete stuff should not be sorted as incomplete, and the degree of "incompleteness" is a measure of if it is actually incomplete and not the fact that vital parts of the release are missing making it incomplete. Confusing? Good :) But, before we unbend some question marks I need to make something very clear:

  • I rely entirely on the expertise, knowledge and skills of the members to help me identify, sort and document the releases on BetaArchive.

That simply means that I need help from members to give me accurate information about each release they provide or each release they encounter that are abnormal in some fashion. I don't have the skill set or time to learn all the stuff you know. Nor would I want to. You all need to see me as an administrator, of course with my own particular set of expertise, experience and skill sets, but still an administrator of this community. So I rely entirely on accurate information, or I will have to put in a lot of work myself in time consuming research. There are certain members in this community that I've come to trust with this as they have shown over and over again that they are highly skilled, resourceful and helpful, and they deserve far more praise than I can give them. But I will name some of them here in no particular order:

  • gus33000
  • ComputerHunter
  • MrPinball64
  • OverDoze
  • Battler
  • JaGoTu
  • The Distractor
  • dw5304
  • marcoguy

There are more people that belong to this list, but these members, if they tell me something I listen. And I trust what they say is accurate and without any ill intent. I've had long time personal experience with these members and come to respect their advice, knowledge and particular skill sets and resources.

To all of you, thank you!

I also extend many thanks to all our members who provides invaluable resources and knowledge to the archive and community!


The releases structure.

So before I get to the main point I want to explain some of the issues and limitations I have to work with, and a little bit on how the organisation works etc....

But as I said, I rely on accurate information about each and every release on the FTP, and based on this I categorize and sort them accordingly. And due to the limitations we have with the FTP software and protocol we also have to sort them in a certain way to make it both easy to navigate but also stay within these limitations, which mainly are path length, release count and software categories.

  • Path length: Given that we're using Windows as a host (and the pros and cons of this is not the issue here, nor if we should change) we have a legacy path length of 260 chars, which includes drive letter, the full folder path, filename and extension (defined by the API as MAX_PATH). Even if Windows does have support for longer paths it does not mean that all software supports it, or even that users clients do. Our FTP software has, as many users has encountered and reported, issues with paths being too long which means that the FTP reports that it can not find the files the user asks for. My solution has been to shorten the path as much as possible by abbreviating certain names or removing some (for example, in the MSDN section I've removed "Microsoft" in front of every Microsoft product as everything comes from Microsoft by default, so it's unneeded.). Even Explorer itself has issues handling long paths even when you have the correct policies set in the system. I have the group policy enabled for my entire domain my Explorer still nags the path is too long. Fortunately I use Total Commander as file manager which has no issues dealing with this. But our FTP server software does, so does Filezilla FTP client and many others. So we're limited in how deep we can make a folder structure, and how much information we can add to a single release.
  • Release count: None of you have missed the fact that we got over 37000 releases in our archives now. That's a lot. Ever tried to navigate a folder with that many files in it? Tried to load a folder this big in a FTP client? You would know it's slow, buggy and right out mad. So I tried to sort all our releases as well as possible to prevent to have any folders with a huge amount of releases in them. It's not 100% successful as some sets are pretty big, but it's a work in progress. But this also adds to the path length as mentioned above, and every time I change things there's also a lot of changes needed to be done on the backup side of things as well as the scripts that manage the releases. But all releases are categorized and sorted into their respective folders.
  • Software categories: Despite the name of BetaArchive software has ended up within two major categories, betas and abandonware. Along with this we have more categories. But how do you group something that can be part of many different categories but you're limited to only one? You group it by its most important category. Betas for example can be operating systems, games, service packs. Abandonware can be the same. But what about MSDN sets? These can be both betas and abandonware. And if you want to separate these further into originals and non-originals (I get to this point further down)? You end up with multi-tiered categories that can't be solved in a folder structure unless you start linking things to all ends which is impractical. In a database you can do this easily since any object can be referenced by any other objects, but in a hierarchical folder structure it's impossible. Since we're limited to FTP we're locked to a folder structure where every software has to be categorized one way or another, meaning that there will be circumstances where something will end up where not expected by members. For a long time this was a guessing game, but we do have a search engine now so you can look up your title and see where it's located. But in the end it's up to my own judgement to sort it where I think it's appropriate.


The staff.

There are two main administrators of this community that handles all the frontend and backend of the infrastructure, handles all the development and manages the releases etc. Andy and myself.

  • Andy: Founder and longest member of this community, responsible for the main infrastructure. He handles the main BetaArchive website, its operating system, main scripts, software, site backups, website development, forum. Manages our Discord channel.
  • mrpijey: Me. Joined about a year in, became co-admin shortly after. Currently handle the FTP infrastructure with its servers, storage, backups. Handles all uploads, processes all releases. Everything when it comes to releases and their backups.

On top of this we have moderators on both the forum and Discord that help out with the daily moderating needs, something I do on a daily basis as well. But the brunt work of all development and changes are done by us two, and while we've tried to find more dedicated members it's been next to impossible as running a community such as BetaArchive is not a weekend task. There are so many things we would like to implement with BetaArchive and it's something that would require true commitment to the community to do, someone that could help out on a daily or weekly basis as there's always something that can be improved. I would happily offload some of the releases management for example if I knew that the releases would be processed and done. Same goes for the site development as we're facing the FTP issues and want to move away from FTP entirely, yet we lack the skills and time to develop such system. But we have yet to find anyone committed like that and in the end it's just easier to do it ourselves than invest time into a new member that disappears after a week.

Now that you know what we're dealing with, here's the most important point of all, and the very basis of this post as well as reasons for the LH 4001 moving etc:


The Vision:

So what differs BetaArchive from any other beta and abandonware site out there? Is there any difference? Yes there is.

First, understand that I will not pull a release from the archive unless absolutely necessary. If it were up to me I would have liked to pull anything non-original, which brings me to my vision of BetaArchive:

--

"A comprehensive software preservation archive with properly preserved titles archived using standard tools and methods, included with properly documented with original artwork, documentation and extras, all correctly indexed, hashed and backed up."

--

This means for example:

  • Any copy must be dumped and prepared using standardized tools and methods (in our case Alcohol 120% for incompatible drives, DiscImageCreator for compatible CDs and all DVDs).
  • Any original copy must be provided with full high quality, original, unmodified and uncropped scans, photos would be permitted if properly done.
  • All releases should be categorized and indexed by their release year, origin, developer(s), publisher(s), market (EU, US etc), included languages, editions etc.


But this presents a problem with all the various contents BetaArchive have:

Very few betas are original, and even fewer beta games etc. are. Most beta content is either second hand, or downloaded in one way or another. A lot of content is also recreated manually from folder dumps, and in LH 4001's case, even downloaded altered in more or less degree. This also applies to a lot of abandonware stuff we have which are more or less originals except for date/time stamps, media headers and lack of accurate scans, but still fully complete and fully working. Technically from an original preservation point of view all non-original stuff should be purged and only the verified originals should be kept. But I don't want that as a massive amount of valuable content would be forever lost.


So an addendum to the above the following should apply for any non-original content:

  • Any modifications of original files should be removed, even if they are critical for the success of the installation. A patch file can be provided with dummy files to make it installable for convenience, or files can be substituted if the files are identical to the original ones (however this would flag the release as non-original, yet (more) complete). This applies regardless if it's only setup.exe that is modified, or the majority of the title.
  • Any content not belonging to that particular version or build (a.k.a "frankenbuilds") should be removed. A patch would not be provided, however additional documentation can be included to include instructions on what files can be added for a successful, albeit non-original, installation.
  • Any modifications should be documented and included with the release, in the database and wiki if possible.
  • Any releases classified as incomplete (by unintentional damage or intentional modifications like above) should be treated as such, with documentation of what contents is missing. Depending on the severity of the missing or damaged content it would or wouldn't be saved in the archives (we can't save every broken release on the planet). These will also be separated in the archives to not confuse members that they are fully working and complete releases, they are not, and they are provided only as reference.

In effect, any non-original modifications should be stripped from the release, and any changes, if possible, should be documented, and the release will under no circumstances be considered original, even if it's restored 100% as it would still lack the proper hashes etc. Any incomplete release will not be treated as a "full" release, therefore not be eligible for FTP access. The goal is to collect complete releases, not to gather scraps and pieces from all corners of the Internet.


Along with this for the originals and non-originals the following are absolutely mandatory and should apply throughout the entire community archive:

  • Any cracks, key generators, license files (even license floppies for some titles) or patches with any purpose to circumvent native copy protections should be removed.
  • Any scans with printed license numbers are to be edited out (by me). They are kept for reference and to test the release if needed, but they are never distributed to anyone and kept only for my testing and verification of the release.
  • Any non-original additions to the release (such as nfo's etc provided by original leaks) are kept as reference.


To these changes there is a remark regarding crediting the releases:

  • All releases, unless agreed upon between the original and new provider, are credited to the BetaArchive member providing that particular release. This means that if a beta release is modified the credit will go to the one who modified the release, therefore creating a new variant of the release. This is done for reference in case we need to track down the member who provided or created the release in question.
  • Credits can not be changed after release unless agreed by the original releaser, and only if it doesn't violate the previous point.
  • All anonymous credits remain anonymous and can not be changed at any time unless it's modified into a new release. All anonymous sources remain anonymous under any and all circumstances. Do not ask me about the origins of an anonymous release, I will most likely not remember it, and if I did I would not reveal the source.


Conclusion.

So what does all of this have to do with the recent LH 4001 confusion? Simple. I was contacted by ComputerHunter that this build was a so called "frankenbuild", and that he could remove the bad data to an otherwise complete and original wim file (as it's originally been patched in the first place to make it install). He provided me with the frankenbuild ISO as well as the modified one, and I decided to create a patch file so it would be easy for members to restore the ISO to an installable state while keeping the ISO "clean". I patched it up, but since it's now incomplete I moved it to the Incomplete section as it's no longer treated as a full build but a partial one. I have afterwards been contacted by gus33000 (yes I've seen your post too ;) ) and informed that this was apparently wrong, and that a lot of builds are modified and patched up in a similar fashion. This of course shocked me a bit because I assumed that while the builds were non-original (original ISO structure, headers, timestamps etc. removed due to manual rebuilds) the files themselves were complete and unmodified, yet no one has taken the time to document these changes. They are treated as complete builds yet they are apparently not, they are instead frankenbuilds, something that goes against everything I just mentioned above.

So I suggest the following:

  • Document all these builds. What has been changed or replaced, what's original and what's not.
  • Extract the original stuff, save that in the main release and, depending on the nature of the modifications, provide a patch to restore them to an installable state (such as injecting the setup files and ISO structure from a diff build to an original WIM file to make it bootable and install).

I will look into not moving these to the Incomplete section, but this would then only be an exception to these betas and not applied throughout the archive, however this would go against the very goals of what I think BetaArchive should strive for, which is look for original stuff and not gather a whole bunch of incomplete releases. The importance here is to indicate that while these non-original beta builds are worthy of preservation the main focus is original stuff. But if these modified releases can make workable with patches I would welcome it, but they would still not be treated as complete, and never as originals.

But do understand, due to the limitations I've mentioned in this thread we can only categorize software in so many ways, and I am not about to start mixing originals, non-originals, complete and incomplete just because it's convenient. It will create a complete mess with both evaluating what's original, indexing it properly and it would also give the wrong impression of what we're trying to do. Because the main focus is and will always be to preserve original releases first. This is why I reject any web downloads, custom rips, modifications, second hand warez copies or anything like that uploaded to the FTP. We're not just an another dump site for old and forgotten software, if you want that saved then there are other places on the net that better suited for them as they are not as strict when it comes to original and correct releases. The current infrastructure also doesn't allow us to properly inform all and everyone about every change we do to the FTP. I don't have the code, resources or time to document every change I make to the FTP. Once we get a web download system up we can probably more easily "move" a release to a different section and properly document it, but not when it's static with the folder structure we have.

The key issue here however is to correctly identify, classify, document and process each release to make sure that whatever is original is kept, whatever not original is removed and have all that documented. It's better that BetaArchive is the only site online saying that LH b4001 is NOT complete, that we provide the (incomplete) original files and that you have to sort out the rest yourself (with our direct help with patches or indirect with documentation) if you want to test it out for yourself.

BetaArchives goal and primary function is to provide you with accurate and properly preserved beta and abandonware software, not the ability to run pirated software (cracked or otherwise) nor to provide you with modified builds or hacked together compilations to make it easy for you to use them. We can also preserve incomplete releases properly stripped from all its unoriginal content as a reference for comparison if a new more complete release surfaces.

---

Once again I am sorry for the long post, but some things can't be explained in one-liners. And I'd be happy to entertain any questions or resolve any confusion from this post.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:28 pm 
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Thanks for this -- this needed to be addressed. I think a lot of our members have lost touch of what BA really is and you summed it up really well.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:37 pm 
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This need to be stickied IMO.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:10 pm 
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TL;DR.

I think BetaArchive is about the preservation of software, new and old, and being able to use it.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:45 pm 
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Thank you for your input on something you didn't bother to read....

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:15 am 
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I will be willing to lend a hand to assisting in documenting the builds. I too believe it is important to determine, document, and attempt to preserve as much of the originality as possible.

But we can not rely on sheer belief and observation especially within the grey area of these earlier leaks. I do agree, documentation should be provided regarding the state of the original release, how it was possibly modified from what we believe it should have been and how we changed it to make it more original per say. There is already work on documenting methods of self-repair to attempt to install and run builds that are capable of this, especially around the area of the recent released. So making them "more original" and removing the unoriginal fixes to make them work should not have much of an effect on the overall testability of builds.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:39 pm 
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Thanks God seemly good solutions has been put up.
Just wonder, is there anyway for members to upload their documentation for current incomplete release, and since now releases in incomplete section has not come up to the database will they be added to database in the future?


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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:30 pm 
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Any documentation of these is welcome, and I will add them along with the releases. In the future this documentation will also be added to the DB, but the primary role of the DB is to provide basic info about the release, any more detailed documentation should go into the Wiki.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:05 pm 
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I think Microsoft Longhorn build 4001 should be completely removed from BetaArchive's FTP repository, as well as any other build or release of software that is incomplete, corrupt, or otherwise damaged or unoriginal. There is no point in preserving so-called "frankenbuilds" as they are clearly not original and thus pollute and distort the view of how a beta release was intended to be experienced. With Microsoft Longhorn build 4001 clearly falling into such a category, I believe that this build should be permanently removed from the FTP repository until such a time as the original build, with all of its original files, installers, disc image, etc, is leaked.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:59 pm 
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Technically it would be easier yes, but there's a lot that is 100% functional and yet not 100% original, and these are worth keeping, if only for reference. And the betas are always sought after so we're keeping them, but we will have to limit ourselves somewhere so we won't keep any piece of incomplete or broken release.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:12 pm 
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jackhenry wrote:
I think Microsoft Longhorn build 4001 should be completely removed from BetaArchive's FTP repository, as well as any other build or release of software that is incomplete, corrupt, or otherwise damaged or unoriginal. There is no point in preserving so-called "frankenbuilds" as they are clearly not original and thus pollute and distort the view of how a beta release was intended to be experienced. With Microsoft Longhorn build 4001 clearly falling into such a category, I believe that this build should be permanently removed from the FTP repository until such a time as the original build, with all of its original files, installers, disc image, etc, is leaked.


This seems like a bad idea from a preservation standpoint. The thing about 4001 and many other builds that had to be patched in this way is, that only a very minimal set of files is from a different build, while the vast majority of those are from the build that is advertised. Now, since 4001 only has 3 files patched in from 4008, the differences made in 4001 itself are very observable. And if this build gets deleted from the FTP, there is a risk that it would get lost forever. And therefore, future generations won't be able to study the differences made in build 4001. (I may be going a bit overboard with the future generations statement, but think about how many builds we've lost in the past and how many more would be lost, if all builds that are not 100% original would just disappear).

Either way, even though I may not 100% agree with the decision to move it to the incompletes section, I see why it was done and nothing of value gets lost if it just stays there. On the other hand, I believe that deleting the build from the database altogether would be a solution that would go completely against BetaArchive's preservation goals.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:49 am 
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Firstly, thank you for approving my first post here on BetaArchive; I sincerely hope that with time I can become one of your most trusted posters on this website. Secondly, I hope that my prior post was not misconstrued as being against the decisions of the administrative staff -- I merely was stating my opinion on this quite delicate subject of which I will now share further opinions with you.

I'd like to start with an analogy. Let us say you go to a supermarket bakery to purchase a cake for some event - a graduation, a birthday; the details don't matter - and upon delivery of the cake you find that the bakers forgot to include some ingredient - maybe eggs, oil, icing and/or frosting; again, the details don't matter - so what would you do in such a situation? Would you accept an cake which is missing one or more of its critical components? Would you attempt to repair the cake by injecting the missing cooking oil into the cake? You most certainly would not; rather, you would return the cake to the supermarket and request a refund. Of course, upon the return of the cake the supermarket likely has a policy stating that any returned food product must be discarded as they would not know what happened in between the product leaving the store and returning to the store -- perhaps you were a nefarious actor who laced the cake with cyanide, hoping to kill someone should to store attempt to resell the cake. Regardless of what the details are, the supermarket must dispose of the cake because they do not want the liability of a future customer getting sick off bad food product or worse, dying. Such an action is a lawsuit waiting to happen though granted, I speak only from an American perspective and I know all too well how lawsuit-happy we are. I cannot speak for how lawsuits go in the United Kingdom or other countries in the world.

Now I admit that my analogy is flawed in some ways -- save for medical applications or perhaps the software that drives self-driving cars such as Tesla's Autopilot, a flawed piece of computer software cannot injure or kill a human being because software is an intangible thing that exists purely in the digital realm. Sure, the software may exist on a CD-ROM or a flash memory device but that is a piece of hardware used to deliver the software. My point is, a release of any piece of software, especially in the preservation sense, should not be permitted under any circumstance if the software is missing critical components. While I have indeed read the rules especially regarding FTP access, it is inevitable that releases from the BetaArchive FTP Server will find their way outside of BetaArchive no matter how much the administration tries to stop it. So then, let us assume that Microsoft Longhorn build 4001 in its current incomplete form finds its way outside of BetaArchive and into the general public. Eventually, someone will come along and patch in the modified files from a later build. Now you have two releases floating around - the "original" broken release that cannot be installed or used, and a hacked together "frankenbuild" that eventually finds its way across the Internet and into the hands of beta collectors worldwide. Now you have a problem in that there are hacked, unauthentic copies of beta software out there which can not only lead to confusion when attempting to document these builds but will also eventually result in outright fake builds being spread around the community, further diluting one's ability to distinguish between a legitimate, original build and the fake, unoriginal build of this beta software.

In conclusion, should you accept incomplete builds, even in the name of software preservation? I personally do not believe that a software preservation community should accept any piece of software that is incomplete -- as I have already established, accepting incomplete software releases only serves to encourage hacking, modifying and ultimately faking software and that is even more dangerous to the community than releasing incomplete builds in the first place. However, I do not begrudge you to change your rules and policies for my own sake; I am sure you have thought long and hard about the best way to approach such a sensitive subject and I am sure that what you have mentioned in your original post is your administration's best thoughts on how to continue to preserve computer software for generations to come. Perhaps a further compromise can be reached -- that incomplete releases are removed from your FTP server's public section and moved into a private section where only your administration and selected, trusted other users can have access to them strictly in the name of documentation and archiving until such a time as the original, unmodified software release can be obtained. It is just a thought.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:01 pm 
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Let me reply with an another analogy:

If a museum receives a partial set of dinosaur bones, or pieces of some ancient pottery they don't throw it away. It may be not fit for public display, but it's kept for research, comparison and verification.

But as all analogies of physical items goes it's not relevant, because this is the digital world where we have the ability to duplicate data endlessly without any data loss, and where a copy would be 100% identical to the "original". That being said, while we should strive at keeping things as original and possible we should also keep our eyes open for incomplete, but otherwise rare, builds and make sure they are saved as well. But this doesn't mean I would accept and save every piece of broken binary, but only those that seems important. I have several TBs already sitting on a server with unprocessed, unlabeled and otherwise unverified software waiting to be checked out and I don't need any more.

The greater problem unfortunately is that most people don't care about preservation. I know there's a MASSIVE collection among our members that has not been archived yet, but they don't care as long as they can get FTP access and get what they want right now. This is a much greater threat against preservation than the state of the preservation itself.

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 am 
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One additional very important thing must be added to all this, as some members are giving others the impression that we don't accept stuff that isn't abandonware or beta:

BetaArchive accepts titles of any age!

It doesn't matter if the software was made in 1991 or 2020, we will still accept it and treat it the same, given it's properly preserved according to our guidelines. And the title has to of course conform to our other quality checks too. So if any members have any new titles they are free to upload it, new members can apply for FTP access with it, and we will save it until the time comes we can release it.

So please stop spreading rumors that software that doesn't conform to our abandonware rules are not acceptable!

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:30 am 
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jackhenry wrote:
I think Microsoft Longhorn build 4001 should be completely removed from BetaArchive's FTP repository, as well as any other build or release of software that is incomplete, corrupt, or otherwise damaged or unoriginal...until such a time as the original build, with all of its original files, installers, disc image, etc, is leaked.

jackhenry wrote:
My point is, a release of any piece of software, especially in the preservation sense, should not be permitted under any circumstance if the software is missing critical components. ...
In conclusion, should you accept incomplete builds, even in the name of software preservation? I personally do not believe that a software preservation community should accept any piece of software that is incomplete...


Ridiculous. Just because a given title is "imperfect" does not mean that it should be discarded. There is no guarantee, whatsoever, that a complete copy of any such title will ever be found. So one should throw away 999 pieces of a puzzle because piece number 1000 is missing? 8-)

jackhenry wrote:
...Now you have two releases floating around - the "original" broken release that cannot be installed or used, and a hacked together "frankenbuild" that eventually finds its way across the Internet and into the hands of beta collectors worldwide. Now you have a problem in that there are hacked, unauthentic copies of beta software out there which can not only lead to confusion when attempting to document these builds but will also eventually result in outright fake builds being spread around the community, further diluting one's ability to distinguish between a legitimate, original build and the fake, unoriginal build of this beta software.

...as I have already established, accepting incomplete software releases only serves to encourage hacking, modifying and ultimately faking software and that is even more dangerous to the community than releasing incomplete builds in the first place...


People will do bad things, no matter what others do to prevent it. And they can do those same bad things (i.e. create "fake" builds) with any release, whether the original they start from is complete or not.

And, is making a non-usable beta usable really a bad thing? No. I do agree that it is a bad thing to represent such a modified copy as original, however what good is a "non-usable" release except as an entry in a list of build numbers?

-

It is a good thing to have standards. It is a good thing to strive for perfection and perfect adherence to those standards. But such things as this cannot always be governed in black and white.

In the end it is better for an incomplete copy of a title to survive, as the complete title may no longer exist, anywhere.

In the end it is also better for a "hacked" or "frankenbuild" of a title to survive when the alternative is for the entire title to disappear forever.

Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here folks. IMO, in such cases, the title should be preserved in its original, incomplete state. AND, in the cases where "modifications" can be made in order to make such a title function, then yes, that should be preserved as well.

(Maybe have the original title, in its original (as close as possible) state; labeled as "incomplete" or whatever, and sorted into an "incomplete" category in the archive. However, include a separate archive with it that contains the necessary instructions and/or fixes on how to make it usable, clearly marked as "non-original usability fixes" or suchlike.)

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 PostPost subject: Re: LH 4001 confusion, what BetaArchive is about and all tha        Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:09 pm 
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jackhenry wrote:
My point is, a release of any piece of software, especially in the preservation sense, should not be permitted under any circumstance if the software is missing critical components.
This would mean that the whole archive should be nuked, isn't it?

Because you know, it's called betaarchive and cares about preservation of betas which are, by definition, “software with missing or broken critical components”. Now, you may say that if beta could still be used on one particular configuration of hardware - it's not missing “critical” components, just some “nonessential” ones… but that would often mean that you couldn't use that software at all.

jackhenry wrote:
Would you attempt to repair the cake by injecting the missing cooking oil into the cake?
If that's cake - then probably not. But if it's old painting. Or old piece of cloths…

Quote:
You most certainly would not; rather, you would return the cake to the supermarket and request a refund.
What kind supermarket will sell you paintings of XV century artist or robe of XII century king?

You know - there are literally millions of people around the world whose profession is to do what, by your words, should never be done.

Now, there are certain rules, of course. Since someone in XXV century will need to know what parts of a certain historical artifacts actually comes from XV century and what was added in XX (to replace missing or broken parts).

And it's very frequent debate between restorers about which parts you may want to keep and which part is better to replace to make sure the whole thing would have higher historical value in XXV century.

That is where digital world gives some more options. Since it's so easy to make perfect copies one could just keep original, unusable, version - and then addon (SmartVersion or Xdelta patch, usually) which would turn it into more usable state.

I actually think we have a consensus there.
--
But the question of where and how to put these two pieces... that one still remains.


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