Archives of OS/360-ish public domain software?

From: <(>
Date: Wed Jun 28 16:56:12 2000

>> I've asked around at a couple of prominent computer museums, but
>> they all just shrug their shoulders when I ask them how they
>> archive and index the original software, like they've never considered
>> it to be important. I really feel like I'm talking to all the
>> wrong curators, because they seem to have no interest in the subject
>> at all.

>Assumptions like these don't take into account lack of staff or lack of
>funding for such projects.

I'm sure that's a good part of it. Another part of it is that I get
the sense that most of the curators don't trust anyone else with what
software they do have (whether it be punched cards or paper tape) and they'd
rather just let it sit and rot away rather than do something to archive

I'm not exactly a newbie to the field of archiving software and data -
for example, the DECUS PDP-10 and PDP-11 software collections I maintain
represent several thousand input tapes and floppies covering the last
five decades, and Mentec will
shortly be issuing CD's containing DEC PDP-11 OS archives I've archived
over the years - but I get the feeling that I'm not "a member of the
club" when it comes to dealing with museums and other archives. Maybe
my technical background (physics, math, and computers) puts me at a severe
disadvantage compared to folks who are trained to be museum curators or

Whatever the reason, so far most of my offers to volunteer my equipment
and time to archive the old software is simply ignored. Sometimes
I get a polite letter back, but never do I get the impression that there's
some coherent plan to usefully archive the old software. In some cases
I'm told that archiving is flat out impossible for technical reasons (I
once had a heated debate with a SI curator who insisted that 8" floppies
couldn't be read or written anymore.)

Or maybe I feel too strongly that all the stuff should be archived, and
my strong feelings immediately put me in the "crackpot" category as far
as museum curators are concerned.

 Tim Shoppa                        Email:
 Trailing Edge Technology          WWW:
 7328 Bradley Blvd		   Voice: 301-767-5917
 Bethesda, MD, USA 20817           Fax:   301-767-5927
Received on Wed Jun 28 2000 - 16:56:12 BST

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