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 PostPost subject: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:40 am 
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Hello,

As a beginning archiver, I was thinking: does this site do collaboration with for example Software Preservation Society and The Internet Archive?

I am asking this because I am curious if files placed in here are replicated upstream into archive.org or vice versa, or if there is some kind of an upstream sharing stream between all these archiving sites.

I know that they have different focuses so not all files should be replicated among sites, so this question kind of applies only to the parts that are relevant to BetaArchive :)

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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:10 pm 
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No, SPS keeps all their stuff private and will not share any of it to the public, and IA is a one way ticket which means we have no way of replacing bad releases or managing the collection in any way. Apart from these I don't know many other major collectors that deal with it at the same level we do. SPS are the only one dealing with the stuff at the same level as us but from my dealings with them I know they are not sharing any of their sets. I've contributed some stuff in the past but stopped when I realised that it's impossible to get any proper feedback or verification on the releases or the sets.

So for now it's only us. But if any other group of die hard collectors out there are interested to work with us get in touch and we'll have a chat!

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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:33 pm 
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mrpijey wrote:
No, SPS keeps all their stuff private and will not share any of it to the public, and IA is a one way ticket which means we have no way of replacing bad releases or managing the collection in any way. Apart from these I don't know many other major collectors that deal with it at the same level we do. SPS are the only one dealing with the stuff at the same level as us but from my dealings with them I know they are not sharing any of their sets. I've contributed some stuff in the past but stopped when I realised that it's impossible to get any proper feedback or verification on the releases or the sets.

So for now it's only us. But if any other group of die hard collectors out there are interested to work with us get in touch and we'll have a chat!


Oh wow, SPS keeps everything private? That sounds a bit stupid - what's the use of preserving software if you prevent people from accessing it and using it? I have always thought that the best thing about preservation groups is that you have *access* to the software and are able to keep the software alive by using it.

If you just archive it and close it from the public, it is pretty much equal to not existing at all as it fades away from the collective memory. It's the same with internet archive: if they didn't offer the backlog of web pages publicly, what would be the reason to archive them anyway? Now that they have offered everything openly, it has kept many obscure scenes alive and also helped with the revival of 80's/90's computing history nostalgia. :)

It sounds like SPS is "sawing off the branch they are sitting on" by not being open....

About IA, I didn't know they had such policy! That's also a bit silly - I think they naturally should replace stuff if a more complete version of a release is found, but oh well :)

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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:39 pm 
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what's the use of preserving software if you prevent people from accessing it and using it?


More than likely? Imaginary genitalia length, sense of superiority, and acclaim to that lofty academic standard of '''''preservation''''' which makes no sense--if it's not accessible by anyone other than those who are collecting it, how is it preservation at all? Greater collections of junk than that have been lost to the annals of history because of limited access to certain 'elite' people. Quite dumb, imo.

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About IA, I didn't know they had such policy! That's also a bit silly - I think they naturally should replace stuff if a more complete version of a release is found, but oh well :)


Indeed, almost as if these 'archival' sites didn't quite think about the way their system should work when they opened the door. Keep the broken releases if you wish, sure, but why not keep complete ones on tap? I think BA is probably the largest complete archive of preserved works on the internet; except for maybe kernel.org (which has every Linux kernel ever released dating back to... what, the early 1990's?)

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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:41 pm 
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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:20 pm 
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prumps wrote:
Oh wow, SPS keeps everything private? That sounds a bit stupid - what's the use of preserving software if you prevent people from accessing it and using it?


I suspect the answer is probably rooted in a desire to rule out the possibility of ever having to deal with lawyers. Also of the sizable cost of managing a large, public-access archive.

It sounds more like a museum type operation than an archive anyway, to be honest. Some key differences between the two approaches, even if there is also a lot of overlap.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:58 pm 
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hounsell wrote:
the possibility of ever having to deal with lawyers

I'm always worried about that for BA.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:20 pm 
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Hackerpcs wrote:
hounsell wrote:
the possibility of ever having to deal with lawyers

I'm always worried about that for BA.


Yeah, me too. I don't want to meet trouble halfway or have a self-fulfilling prophecy, but why hasn't that happened yet (at least afaik)? I suspected that this might happen quite easily offering stuff like here online.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:22 pm 
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The Software Preservation "Society" (if you can even call it that) apparently doesn't even care much about software that was released for the IBM PC and its compatibles, let alone anything outside of video gaming. They have only a few software products archived for the IBM PC, and the last time that I checked, they were all video games. They only seem to be interested in anything with the word "Commodore" printed on it, and it's anything outside of that that is supposedly not worthy of preservation as far as they're concerned.

I mean, the IBM PC was one of the most important machines released to this day, and yet some so-called "historians" prefer to pretend like it never even existed at all (or at the very least would try to downplay the extent to which it was used), either that, or they immediately assume that because it was a widely used standard, the machine itself therefore is boring and uninteresting.

This website on the other hand has an exceptionally large number of software archived that was released for the IBM PC and its compatibles, and that is a quality which so many sites are very much lacking.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:37 pm 
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First of all, they don't send lawyers and shut you down in one sweep. We've had authors, and representatives of such (lawyers, publishers etc), contact us and asked us (politely) to remove certain software, and we've agreed (once we've verified the source is legit, some have tried to fake it). But the key part of our operation is that we keep old enough storage for most publishers and authors to not bother with it. Microsoft won't chase us down with a CaD letter over some old MS-DOS Excel versions, 10+ year old Windows versions nor will Blizzard or any other chase us down for old floppy games etc. Any such operations costs money in preparation, documentation and time spent by officials. That's why we have these strict rules regarding age as well as no cracks, serial numbers or hacking tools. Excluding the fact that we carry copyright software we try to stay as clean as possible, unlike most other sites which don't bother with removing personal serial numbers, keygens or clean cut cracks.

Internet Archive on the other hand takes anything and everything, and I am not sure how much CaD letters they receive but I bet it should be a few.

I don't believe what IA or SPS are doing are wrong, but it's incompatible with what we do and how we work, which is why it would be difficult to cooperate in a meaningful manner unless we can strike some special agreements around preservation methods. One idea I had with SPS was that we would submit our original releases and in return we would get any copies better than ours and proper KF dumps in return. They refused and invoked their policy to keep their collection private. Their decision and I respect that. IA on the other hand is a one way street, what's uploaded stays uploaded and in full control of IA, which means we can't update, rename or remove releases if needed. As I said, incompatible with our methods.

But for any other preservation groups out there, as well as publishers, authors and developers, we would be happy to get hold of your original and outdated software and carry it in our archives for preservation.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:11 pm 
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James wrote:
Quote:
what's the use of preserving software if you prevent people from accessing it and using it?


More than likely? Imaginary genitalia length, sense of superiority, and acclaim to that lofty academic standard of '''''preservation''''' which makes no sense--if it's not accessible by anyone other than those who are collecting it, how is it preservation at all?

Or... maybe... just maybe... it's the fact that distributing these images is, you know, a copyright violation and illegal? Remember, there is no such thing as "Abandonware", and especially not in the country (countries) where most of the SPS staff resides.

But that's none of my business...

SoftPCMuseum wrote:
The Software Preservation "Society" (if you can even call it that)...

so·ci·e·ty /səˈsīədē/, noun
[...]
2. an organization or club formed for a particular purpose or activity.

I don't see why they couldn't call it that...


I think it's a shame that people nowadays see "preservation" as equal to "making available for free". There's billions of old scriptures "preserved" in the Vatican vaults, yet only a handful people are allowed to see it each year. The Svalbard Seed Vault is preserving millions of plant seeds, yet you can't just go in there and say "hey, I'd like to have an apple seed, please". I'm pretty sure that if you have a legitimate (academical) reason to need one of these images (that can't be satisfied with the thousands of available image dumps) they will provide you with the needed image. But as of now I don't know anybody who went through with that.

And let's face it, there's most probably nothing "unique" or "rare" in the SPS collection that hasn't been dumped a thousand times before...

SoftPCMuseum wrote:
They only seem to be interested in anything with the word "Commodore" printed on it, and it's anything outside of that that is supposedly not worthy of preservation as far as they're concerned.

Well, they had to start somewhere. Nobody complains that mrpijey doesn't want to have original dumps of driver disks, recovery media (okay, with a few exceptions), etc. as loud as people complain about SPS focusing only on Commodore stuff. It's their focus, their own project, they even designed their own hardware for dumping. They could as well have kept that hardware for themselves, but instead they are selling it (for a fairly reasonable price, too) to enable other groups and people to do something similar to what SPS is doing, and so far it has worked out quite well: It's the new "gold standard" here on BA too, having KF dumps in addition to regular floppy image dumps has increased the quality of submissions tremendously. And there are other preservation groups which now do the same, increasing their "preservation quality" as well. Sure, there were other options before KryoFlux, but those all sucked (the CatWeasel was Amiga-only and/or relies on the old 32-bit PCI bus, the DiscFerret is still not available after all those years, and the SuperCard Pro did cost twice as much back then and was only recently reduced in price) so it's no wonder the KF is so popular...

SPS decided to focus on making money by providing dumping services, which is fair I guess if it's the thing that you have to rely on to earn your living with it. Of course this is incompatible with "hobbyists" and people who want everything for free "just because", but I don't see it that different from any other company providing hardware or software or services to others. As long as there are people willing to pay others to have their old floppies dumped properly by someone who knows what they're doing there will be a market for SPS.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:32 pm 
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Darkstar wrote:
I think it's a shame that people nowadays see "preservation" as equal to "making available for free". There's billions of old scriptures "preserved" in the Vatican vaults, yet only a handful people are allowed to see it each year. The Svalbard Seed Vault is preserving millions of plant seeds, yet you can't just go in there and say "hey, I'd like to have an apple seed, please". I'm pretty sure that if you have a legitimate (academical) reason to need one of these images (that can't be satisfied with the thousands of available image dumps) they will provide you with the needed image. But as of now I don't know anybody who went through with that.


I think you are mixing two different things. Svalbard seed bank and Vatican scriptures are unique physical objects that degrade over time. Digital data is always possible to duplicate and read without damaging it.

Also, I want to clarify the misconception that I would demand everything to "just be free". This is a situation in which there is a lot of (commercial) items of computing history that are also culturally important. I wouldn't even mind a pay-model similar to what exists with museums for upkeep of the data, but what counts is that the data is still available for consuming.

There are entities like the National Archives of various countries that store also digital artefacts for future generations, for example BBS discussion board messages and other obscure stuff. If there is personal information involved, then storage is usually directed to a public party such as the National Archive that will take care of identity and privacy and legal issues.

In this case there is no personal information attached, except that everyone has their personal memories attached to a specific piece of software. If we disregard the messy situation that "abandonware" legally is in, there really isn't any reason not to facilitate the spread of these old software artifacts to the greater public. There are no commercial motives at hand, and as I've previously said: if it is stored privately somewhere with no knowledge or access to it, it is pretty much equal to the data being erased from our collective cultural memory.

Few people know about the vast archives of material available only to researchers, but the thing is - they have an established framework of preserving and studying them. It is pretty much a self-sustaining system as long as funding for universities and archives keeps on running. Most of the material besides is so hard to interpret that it would be of no use or interest to outsiders to keep it available. This is not the case with abandonware software. In some countries and age groups a specific piece of software can truly be a collective uniying generation experience (lots of people having shared experiences of a software/BBS/AOL/other platform)

Darkstar wrote:
SPS decided to focus on making money by providing dumping services, which is fair I guess if it's the thing that you have to rely on to earn your living with it. Of course this is incompatible with "hobbyists" and people who want everything for free "just because", but I don't see it that different from any other company providing hardware or software or services to others. As long as there are people willing to pay others to have their old floppies dumped properly by someone who knows what they're doing there will be a market for SPS.


I must admit I don't know a lot about how SPS functions, so this thread has been quite an eye opener. I completely accept their business model and am happy in any case that they are doing preservation work anyways.

The general point that I'm aiming at with the openness of preservation is: even if some piece of culture is proprietary, after it becomes ubiquitous and popular among the population, it kind of becomes part of the commons, especially after it's abandoned by the original author. There is tremendous worth in keeping as much of our common history open to the public to enable people to learn about past (and to relive their own past). This is why for example the goal of Internet Archive is so noble.

As Goethe said "A person who does not know the history of the last 3,000 years wanders in the darkness of ignorance, unable to make sense of the reality around him” :)

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 PostPost subject: Re: Does BetaArchive do collaboration with other archivers?        Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:46 pm 
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prumps wrote:
Darkstar wrote:
I think it's a shame that people nowadays see "preservation" as equal to "making available for free". There's billions of old scriptures "preserved" in the Vatican vaults, yet only a handful people are allowed to see it each year. The Svalbard Seed Vault is preserving millions of plant seeds, yet you can't just go in there and say "hey, I'd like to have an apple seed, please". I'm pretty sure that if you have a legitimate (academical) reason to need one of these images (that can't be satisfied with the thousands of available image dumps) they will provide you with the needed image. But as of now I don't know anybody who went through with that.


I think you are mixing two different things. Svalbard seed bank and Vatican scriptures are unique physical objects that degrade over time. Digital data is always possible to duplicate and read without damaging it.

Yes, the usual "it's not stealing if there's nothing physical" etc. Fact is that the law sees this otherwise (in most jurisdictions). But I agree that it's not totally the same, I might have thought of some better analogy. Loke making high-resolution photocopies of maps and posting them online for free. Or even taking a book from your library and copying it instead of buying it. True, "everyone does it" and probably nobody would go after someone who copied a book from a library, but the fact remains that it's not legal.

prumps wrote:
Also, I want to clarify the misconception that I would demand everything to "just be free". This is a situation in which there is a lot of (commercial) items of computing history that are also culturally important. I wouldn't even mind a pay-model similar to what exists with museums for upkeep of the data, but what counts is that the data is still available for consuming.

Sorry for that, that statement wasn't meant against you personally, and especially not in the "free-as-in-beer" sense, but rather "free-as-in-speech".

prumps wrote:
If we disregard the messy situation that "abandonware" legally is in, there really isn't any reason not to facilitate the spread of these old software artifacts to the greater public.

There is no "messy situation". It's illegal, plain and simple. And, make no mistake, what we all do here on BA is also pretty illegal. Even if we all wished it weren't. The fact that no publisher exists anymore doesn't change this.

There are already museums all around the world that exhibit those "digital artifacts" for everyone to play and enjoy, they are curated and also connected in academic circles and they operate legally.

prumps wrote:
Darkstar wrote:
SPS decided to focus on making money by providing dumping services, which is fair I guess if it's the thing that you have to rely on to earn your living with it. Of course this is incompatible with "hobbyists" and people who want everything for free "just because", but I don't see it that different from any other company providing hardware or software or services to others. As long as there are people willing to pay others to have their old floppies dumped properly by someone who knows what they're doing there will be a market for SPS.


I must admit I don't know a lot about how SPS functions, so this thread has been quite an eye opener. I completely accept their business model and am happy in any case that they are doing preservation work anyways.

Yes, they offer (professional) dumping services to companies, institutions and individuals who are stuck with some old floppies and need the data badly. Most of the people behind SPS have been in the floppy-disk business for many many years, some were even involved with the development and servicing of the early floppy duplicator machines ("Tracers")

prumps wrote:
The general point that I'm aiming at with the openness of preservation is: even if some piece of culture is proprietary, after it becomes ubiquitous and popular among the population, it kind of becomes part of the commons, especially after it's abandoned by the original author. There is tremendous worth in keeping as much of our common history open to the public to enable people to learn about past (and to relive their own past). This is why for example the goal of Internet Archive is so noble.

I agree, but it's not for us to decide this. If it were, you would have millions of people "lobbying" for free downloadable movies from last year or something. And I'm sure you see the problem in that. But I agree we need a copyright reform (and in particular we don't need a huge behemoth of a company lobbying for copyright extension every 5 years...)




Oh, and also another misconception that I forgot to clean up:
mrpijey wrote:
...IA is a one way ticket which means we have no way of replacing bad releases or managing the collection in any way.
haroldas.velioniskis wrote:
Internet Archive's main purpose is to save EVERYTHING possible, that's why they're not using deduplication and/or allow modifications of already uploaded archive. You found a better version? Great! Upload everything oncle again

These are not true, I don't know why everyone seems to think that way, I've heard them literally hundreds of times. You can of course change, delete and re-upload files for every item you uploaded there:
Image
I have personally done this a few times because I messed up some files in my uploads. I think maybe people are mixing it up with the WaybackMachine (which saves websites) or something, but it's definitely not true for archive.org in general.

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