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4751RE: [midatlanticretro] Re: Bill's plan for a disk boot archive distribution network

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  • Evan Koblentz
    Jan 1, 2007
      I've stayed out of this thread so far. Kelly, Bill, et al: I admire your
      ambition, but Herb did a good job articulating his opinion, and I agree with
      it quite strongly.

      >>> So, why not add to Dave's archive, and make use of it? Support what
      exists, don't recreate it! Help people use it, not create something new from

      Even if Dave's archive did not exist, I think this should be a cctalk
      thread, not a MARCH thread.

      Rant: I also think Herb's comment extends to many other aspects of our
      hobby. In general, I think our hobby is too incestuous and fragmented. Too
      many people don't do enough homework before making a declaration or starting
      a new web site or forum. The result is multiple attempts at every little
      thing, each attempt with a bunch of redundant users and/or a bunch of
      unique, loyal users, often not knowing about the other attempts. I think
      our hobby needs more regional user groups like MARCH, more openness to
      newcomers and youth, and less in-fighting over whose site or forum gets to
      be the meta-portal.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Herb Johnson [mailto:hjohnson@...]
      Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 6:21 PM
      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: Bill's plan for a disk boot archive
      distribution network

      > From: B. Degnan <billdeg@...>

      > Here is my plan for a boot disk archive:

      [summary: a central archive, which has a person who makes boot disks upon
      request, from original disks, on original systems, for a fee to MARCH]

      > I would be willing to participate in such a project as coordinator/ list
      > maintainer via the marchclub.org web site. I probably will
      > move forward and set something up, but I am busy and it may be a few
      > months before I am ready. In the mean time, please feel free to email
      > me directly if you're interested in being being a supplier of boot
      > disks, and what systems, and what OS/versions you have.

      Jim Scheef <jscheef@...> wrote:
      > Bill,
      > This is excellent as we can start and people can contribute without
      any new infrastructure (other than some programming on your part). The
      download library archive can come later when/if we have the need, technology
      and energy. To start, everyone needs to inventory their collections and
      decide whether they can volunteer to provide copies of their boot floppies.
      How better to start the New Year!
      > Jim

      I respectfully but regrettably disagree with the above plans and
      propositions. In fact there are TWO proposals: Bill's to provide a service
      to duplicate disks on original machines; and Jim's to use Linux and some
      Linux programs (possibly new ones) to create an image archive on some Linux

      Oh, I also see that Kelly has posted yet another proposal, to use a
      Catweasel brand controller on a PC to create an archive. (This is a hardware
      card with software to bit-copy disks, very briefly.)

      In any case, as I posted earlier, Dave Dunfield ALREADY HAS ESTABLISHED AN
      ARCHIVE, AND SOFTWARE. I don't understand posts that say they can't find an
      archive (Jim) or that there are not adequate archives (Kelly). Dave has
      written a program which runs on PC compatibles, which will read a variety of
      boot disks to image files; and recreate those boot disks. His program works
      under MS-DOS, but the disks read and written are NOT MS-DOS DISKS - they are
      image copies from many NON-MS-DOS system disks. It's all online, and for
      free. I think it is tough to compete with free, online archives (in response
      in particular to Bill's suggested "donation" service).

      So, ONCE AGAIN, look at Dave's work FOR YOURSELF. The archive and programs
      are at:


      The README file from Dave Dunfield's Web page on duplicating boot disks is


      I'm sorry that Dave's work was apparently not examined - for instance, Jim
      would have seen some of the very system disks he said he could not find!

      One issue that remains, which is what the ORIGINAL POST TO THIS THREAD
      BROUGHT UP, is that some people find it hard to use on-line image archives
      and their programs. Anyone who proposes to do the copying personally
      instead, has to compete with 1) any other original computer owner who'd make
      a copy; 2) anyone else with Dave's programs; and 3) anyone else with their
      OWN archive and hardware and methods (like Catweasel owners).

      I have no idea how to compete with those people, much less for any sort of
      "fee". I have reason to know the issue. For many MANY years, I offered S-100
      manuals for a copy fee. I still do - but now, there are online manuals for
      free download. That service is now limited to making REALLY GOOD copies
      available instead of poorly-scanned PDF's. I know first-hand what "free" and
      "download" does to any service which charges a fee and must be mailed, etc.

      I also have a clue about floppy disks, drives, and controllers. My Web site
      has technical support pages for them. I work on these often, for fees. There
      are technical issues about copying non-native disks; but disks from MANY
      systems can be copied on a PC, with no, some, or a little bit of hardware
      added. And, as with manuals, any system disk once imaged can be thrown on a
      Web site and is freely available.

      My interest and parallel experiences are what prompts me to post in
      opposition, even though it's likely I'll just annoy my colleagues for doing
      so. I'm very reluctant to post, but already I see this idea is getting
      "support" (which so far amounts to one new direction per post), with no
      further mention of the Dunfield archive.

      So, why not add to Dave's archive, and make use of it? Support what exists,
      don't recreate it! Help people use it, not create something new from

      Why make something new? Funny thing, Jim said in his post that all the
      interest in computing is going to something "new, not old" - everyone wants
      to support new computers, he said. Is this a case in point - a "new" archive
      is more interesting than an "old" one?

      Herb Johnson

      Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
      <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/"> web site</a> <a
      href="http://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/"> domain mirror</a> my
      email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com if no reply, try in a
      few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI,
      8-inch floppy drives S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"

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