The precarious state of classic software and hardware preservation

Seth Morabito web at
Sat Nov 20 14:23:00 CST 2021

On Fri, Nov 19, 2021, at 6:21 PM, Michael Kerpan via cctalk wrote:
> What are we, as a community, to do to fix this and make sure that our
> history stays peserved and isn't one bad day away from vanishing.
> Mike

Unfortunately, we're just not doing enough. I don't have an answer, but for several years I worked for the LOCKSS project at Stanford University. Their software is open source, and is used to archive online academic journals in a distributed, fault-tolerant peer to peer network (their primary research was on how to prevent bitrot and enable automatic format migration, for example). With some effort, it could be retooled into a general-purpose software archive, but I don't think anybody has ever seriously proposed doing that. I only point it out as inspiration for one possible way to do things.

Until we have a better answer, we're just at the mercy of bitrot, and we have to accept that.

  Seth Morabito
  Poulsbo, WA
  web at

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