The precarious state of classic software and hardware preservation

Nigel Johnson Ham g4ajq1 at
Fri Nov 26 08:36:33 CST 2021

I've been passively following this topic for some time now and haven't
had anything to contribute, but now I do!

Between this list and others, such as NetBSD, I have recently been able
to bring up NetBSD on my ancient MicroVAX-II, which I originally bought
as a used system back in 1992.

My only means of getting anything into it was the ethernet adapter, and
I found that the MOP loader in linux did not support the ELF files used
by DEC.

Not only did I get expert advice from people with first-hand knowledge,
but an author of mopd replied and fixed the problem!

So now I wonder, in addition to documentation being lost, what are
people in the future going to do if they choose or are employed to
maintain such equipment in museums?  Are there even going to be any
museums?  Where will they get the advice such as been given to me?

Over the centuries, governments have seen fit to preserve history in the
arts and humanities with public funding and benefactors have given money
to have their name obn the door, but what about computers

Since computers now run pretty much everything in the world, shouldn't
we be lobbying governments to provide funding for computer museums and
employ qualified curators?

Just my .01 worth!



Amateur Radio, the origin of the open-source concept!
Skype:  TILBURY2591 nw.johnson at

On 2021-11-26 9:20 a.m., Bill Degnan via cctalk wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 26, 2021 at 3:19 AM Christian Groessler via cctalk <
> cctalk at> wrote:
>> On 11/20/21 5:55 PM, Bill Degnan via cctalk wrote:
>>> That's why I am saying you literally need a family archivist who
>>> periodically converts content on old media to new media for.old family
>>> photos.  That is the only practical way to preserve things or than if the
>>> original paper/photo/tape exists and is still readable.  Extending to
>>> vintage computing, there will always have to be a community of
>> archivists.
>> You need one family archivist _every second generation_, at least, if
>> you want to cover more that 50 or so year of family history/pictures.
> To be clear to my original point, I believe there needs to be a family
> archivist to knows how to manage and transfer whatever it is that they
> store images of family events in every generation.  Someone who passes the
> ball at each generation to the next.   Who knows, it might become popular
> to print photos again after the great solar event of 2045 (for example)
> Bill

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