4751RE: [midatlanticretro] Re: Bill's plan for a disk boot archive distribution network
- Jan 1, 2007I'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 whatexists, 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.
From: Herb Johnson [mailto:hjohnson@...]
Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 6:21 PM
Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: Bill's plan for a disk boot archive
> From: B. Degnan <billdeg@...>[summary: a central archive, which has a person who makes boot disks upon
> Here is my plan for a boot disk archive:
request, from original disks, on original systems, for a fee to MARCH]
> I would be willing to participate in such a project as coordinator/ listJim Scheef <jscheef@...> wrote:
> 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.
>any new infrastructure (other than some programming on your part). The
> This is excellent as we can start and people can contribute without
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!
>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
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?
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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