operating systems

From: John Foust <jfoust_at_threedee.com>
Date: Mon Jan 5 08:48:26 1998

John Higginbotham <higginbo_at_netpath.net> wrote:
>At 11:20 AM 1/4/98 -0600, John Foust <jfoust_at_threedee.com> wrote:
>>of people out there who like to play old computer games, but you think
>>the software owners shouldn't be free to sell to that market because
>>there's no gain in productivity or increase in "harm"? What about
>>learning or enjoyment?
>If you can find any message where I said that, I'd be happy to argue
>against it, but I don't think I would type that in so many words. Software
>companies SHOULD be able to sell these old games, but they can never expect
>to get the original price out of them.

It was the text in surrounding by <rant> in your January 4 message:

>Which brings up an interesting point: Why do the self appointed software
>cops go after software archives of "abandonware" that most of today's
>computers usually run too fast anyway? Do these ancient games really hurt
>todays software market? Anything 10 years old or older should be
>freeware/public domain as far as games are concerned. They don't increase
>productivity, and the collectors of these old games aren't doing any harm
>are they?

I'll restate what you said, as I saw it. One, there are self-appointed
software cops - you mean people who defend copyright, even of old software?
Two, that today's computers run old software too quickly - that doesn't
sound like archaic software to me, if it's running directly on today's
machines and OSes. Three, that ancient games don't "hurt" today's
software market. Doing what? Four, you say the ten-year-rule "should"
apply to games, making them (who sez?) be PD/freeware. Five, that games
don't increase productivity and that "collecting" them (pirating them?)
doesn't cause harm. And in your reply, you say that even if the developers
sell their old games, they shouldn't expect to get the old retail price,
so ... so, you say they should give up on them? A tenth of something is
still something.

My point is that people want to play games as much as use anything
else when it comes to old software. They want to recreate their
experience of years ago. Emulation and re-creation can be very handy!
I'm surprised there aren't non-MS products that streamline the gotcha's
out of running DOS, Windows 1.0, 2.0, 3.x software under Win95/NT.
Or maybe there is and I haven't heard of it. I'd love to get a copy
of Brief that wouldn't hog so much CPU in DOS emulation under WinNT.
I'm still running my 1986 copy. Is that archaic?

Don't get me wrong and think I'm just flaming you... I agree, I wish
there was a better mechanism that authors of extinct software could
use to allow new life for their old software. Sort of a national park
or conservatory for old software would be nifty. If it resulted in
payments back to the registered authors, I bet it could work. You'd
need to find volunteers altruistic enough to donate their efforts in
order to be able to send other people checks. The checks might be small
or non-existent - perhaps the authors understand that the price charged
would just fund the charity set up to distribute the software. It would
be a strange sort of charity, sort of like the Old Actor's Home, except the
charity cases might be Time-Warner or the programmer who was a millionaire
at 15 with his Commodore 64 games, who's now pushing 30 and running his own
200+ person company. In terms of effort, the hard part will be tracking
down the proper owners of all that old software.

- John
Jefferson Computer Museum <http://www.threedee.com/jcm>
Received on Mon Jan 05 1998 - 08:48:26 GMT

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