QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

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Re: QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

Postby RWAP » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:16 am

XorA wrote:Tried the museum of computing history in Cambridge?


I thought of that and I am sure they would have it (in fact I am frequently passing leads onto them in connection with requests for film props) - but (a) I need to recoup some of my expenditure, and (b) they would just basically archive it and nothing else would happen to benefit the community.

I would also be handing over the dropbox folders containing the preserved files from all of the cartridges (which are understandably themselves in a poor state); with the hope that someone would do something with the electronic copies too.


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Re: QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

Postby XorA » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:31 pm

For (a) I would suggest maybe we do a gofundme. With target to allow you to recoup. Physicals copies go to Cambridge and the Dropbox goes to archive.org which has special permissions in America to hold software archives.


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Re: QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

Postby RWAP » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:08 pm

XorA wrote:For (a) I would suggest maybe we do a gofundme. With target to allow you to recoup. Physicals copies go to Cambridge and the Dropbox goes to archive.org which has special permissions in America to hold software archives.


That sounds a good plan and I would definitely agree to that - not sure how a gofundme would be set up or if there would be willing contributors.

The practicalities around the physical items would be finding enough time for me to sort through the several large boxes, shelves and loft where the manuals, cartridge boxes and microdrives are stored; plus getting back the 400+ microdrive cartridges and disks which I passed to Simone for preserving as images. Admittedly there will be duplicates, which could be sold off potentially, but the vast majority now consists of just one copy of each program - in many cases, there is no longer an original microdrive cartridge, just the manual or inlay / box (or vice versa) so everything has to be matched up to get the best physical library of QL stuff.

As for the preserved folders - has anyone ever submitted any QL stuff to archive.org ? I have no idea what format they would need to be in - the dropbox stuff is basically in Windows folders, ready to be attached to q-emulator - the microdrive images dumped by Simone might be a better format for storage (although will include copy protection where that was on the original cartridge).

There are 3 main folders:
a) Tested & on QL Wiki
b) Tested (details yet to be added to the QL Wiki)
c) Unsorted

Where practical, each of those main folders is then divided into publisher then title of the software. There are 62 publishers under (a), 167 under (b) and 407 under (c). (c) also contains partial copies of non-working software (in many cases multiple copies), plus copy protected software dumped as microdrive images.

Just sorting through these folders would be a massive task in itself and is something I do not have the time for (nor the willingness to do so because of the history of this project).


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Re: QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

Postby Outsoft » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:51 pm

RWAP wrote:
XorA wrote:For (a) I would suggest maybe we do a gofundme. With target to allow you to recoup. Physicals copies go to Cambridge and the Dropbox goes to archive.org which has special permissions in America to hold software archives.


That sounds a good plan and I would definitely agree to that - not sure how a gofundme would be set up or if there would be willing contributors.

The practicalities around the physical items would be finding enough time for me to sort through the several large boxes, shelves and loft where the manuals, cartridge boxes and microdrives are stored; plus getting back the 400+ microdrive cartridges and disks which I passed to Simone for preserving as images. Admittedly there will be duplicates, which could be sold off potentially, but the vast majority now consists of just one copy of each program - in many cases, there is no longer an original microdrive cartridge, just the manual or inlay / box (or vice versa) so everything has to be matched up to get the best physical library of QL stuff.

As for the preserved folders - has anyone ever submitted any QL stuff to archive.org ? I have no idea what format they would need to be in - the dropbox stuff is basically in Windows folders, ready to be attached to q-emulator - the microdrive images dumped by Simone might be a better format for storage (although will include copy protection where that was on the original cartridge).

There are 3 main folders:
a) Tested & on QL Wiki
b) Tested (details yet to be added to the QL Wiki)
c) Unsorted

Where practical, each of those main folders is then divided into publisher then title of the software. There are 62 publishers under (a), 167 under (b) and 407 under (c). (c) also contains partial copies of non-working software (in many cases multiple copies), plus copy protected software dumped as microdrive images.

Just sorting through these folders would be a massive task in itself and is something I do not have the time for (nor the willingness to do so because of the history of this project).


Someone is working on these folders too Rich?

I don't see new things in months ;)

Me and Max continue the massive collecting and dumping of QL MD's and Floppies 200 md's / months, 50/80 Floppy / months, and we constantly go on and one.

Recently other 2 MDV original versions MIA dumped: QL ART + and QL Super monitor V2.0.

I also found other rare stuff in the last few months and all the MD's are responged and in working conditions (I can make a dump of the same Original MD every 6 months without problems If necessary).

But I'm preserving also Sam Coupè stuff (recently found more than 50 MIA's), ZX 81 (recently found more than 30 MIA's) and now started also to collect and preserve +3 disk stuff too (recently found 5/6 MIA's).

So Is a second work for me and I think I will never finish at all (fortunatelly because I love it).

But me and Max we will start soon the re-organize all the stuff you preserved too, excluding the versions that are just dumped on MDV od DISK (original and not) from us.

So: who else will continue to work on these preserved stuff and put it online a day?


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Re: QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

Postby RWAP » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:14 pm

Outsoft wrote:
Someone is working on these folders too Rich?

I don't see new things in months ;)


No - nothing has happened since I decided to stop doing anything on the preservation project because of all the negativity around it. That was well over 12 months ago and unfortunately, there has been very little QL software re-released as freeware since I stopped. No-one has even bothered to check off the spreadsheet I prepared a long time ago to determine what software appears on the QL Wiki and which has already been made freeware and can be downloaded from Dilwyn's site - that spreadsheet appears at:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/84m3eizdplf9f ... .xlsx?dl=0

Outsoft wrote:
Me and Max continue the massive collecting and dumping of QL MD's and Floppies 200 md's / months, 50/80 Floppy / months, and we constantly go on and one.

Recently other 2 MDV original versions MIA dumped: QL ART + and QL Super monitor V2.0.

I also found other rare stuff in the last few months and all the MD's are responged and in working conditions (I can make a dump of the same Original MD every 6 months without problems If necessary).

But I'm preserving also Sam Coupè stuff (recently found more than 50 MIA's), ZX 81 (recently found more than 30 MIA's) and now started also to collect and preserve +3 disk stuff too (recently found 5/6 MIA's).

So Is a second work for me and I think I will never finish at all (fortunatelly because I love it).

But me and Max we will start soon the re-organize all the stuff you preserved too, excluding the versions that are just dumped on MDV od DISK (original and not) from us.

So: who else will continue to work on these preserved stuff and put it online a day?


You are already very stretched and I know your own project has also attracted its share of criticism because you are not simply uploading everything to a website for the whole world to download.

I would not recommend anyone working on organising the folders etc until it is clear exactly what format the massive archive needs to be in to be uploaded to archive.org. I fear they want every title separated out and submitted individually - with over 1400 individual titles, that is a huge job.

Could you return my microdrive cartridges to me (including the 300+ which came from the USA) and I will try to find time to start putting together sets of manuals / boxes and microdrive cartridges for the physical side of the preservation.


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Re: QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

Postby RWAP » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:38 pm

Whilst thinking about basically sending the electronically preserved data to archive.org - it has to be appreciated that a lot of QL software needs large complex manuals (I have a couple of programs here, which have 4 different books to go with them!)

If the physical stuff is sent to a museum, who presumably will not have time or resources to do anything with it - how do we get the mass of manuals and inlays scanned in? It is something I didn't look at as part of my own preservation efforts, because I do not have access to a high speed scanner, or book scanner and again this would be another large project.....


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Re: QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

Postby Outsoft » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:39 pm

"
You are already very stretched and I know your own project has also attracted its share of criticism because you are not simply uploading everything to a website for the whole world to download."

Well If we start to think about that thing...a day we can really do it but...It will be good for the community? Why can't share it as Dave Park thought about it?

"I would not recommend anyone working on organising the folders etc until it is clear exactly what format the massive archive needs to be in to be uploaded to archive.org. I fear they want every title separated out and submitted individually - with over 1400 individual titles, that is a huge job."

Well for me It will be better preserve first MDV original format, than the IMG/DSK/QDOS original format (disk) and than the cracked version that run on a Folder.

"Could you return my microdrive cartridges to me (including the 300+ which came from the USA) and I will try to find time to start putting together sets of manuals / boxes and microdrive cartridges for the physical side of the preservation."

These mostly on responge went with destroyed tapes and sincerely I don't thought to return it to you as broken because It cost me more than 200£ to responge (and 130€ for shipping it from USA to ITALY with the courier) and try to dump it all, but I usually collect BK md's after dump and I can send you a lot of these (50/100 or more, If necessary mostly all in a few months).

You have access to our stuff (or I can let you access again If Max have changed some folder / rules), I can share that dumps to you too (are marked as Dave Park stuff).

I remember that you want that I create a Bandersnatch (really not final version) on a MD and send it to a people that send you the broken MD's (that were mine too before): If you want I can do it in the next few weeks and ship it directly to him but It will be really better tu use the MDV image on the emulator: on a real QL the recreated MDV can't work due the protection. The 2 MD's that send me were absolutely unusable (try to responge it again but were destroyed too, tape was too tight at all).

Let me know what you prefer that i do.

About the preservation project: I suggest to assume a different way of thought in the future and open all possible channels: I think we can't really stop this software become public a day (in a way or in another).

Fortunatelly we have no free time now to think about it but I ask you all to find a solution for let people get and use this stuff that is 30 years old and I think commercially can't be solded for many years to come.

When I put something on eBay (doubles boxes/bk md's) is just for recover part of the costs (sometime I spend more than 1000€ at month for the preservation) and not for make money.

I hope the peolpe undestand that make a work like we are doing (for multiple machines) is not just only a question of time but mostly a question of money ;)

Fortunately I've my personal business company and with his advantages (shipment costs reduces. sometime no vat, etc...) but the work behind the scenes is massive and very very strong.

I'm very sad to know that no one is working on your preserved stuff but we will do it for sure in the next years: when we will still near to the end we will try to list all on a Website but...we really can't publish mostly all we have preserved.

I'm very sad about this situation.

A very big hug from Italy.


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Re: QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

Postby RWAP » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:06 pm

I have sent you a PM about the microdrive cartridges and Bandersnatch as that is not relevent to the question of hte preservation project.

You ask about why can't you upload the project to a website as proposed by Dave?

I forget what he proposed, but the question is copyright (as you know). If it was all uploaded to a server in China (say), the copyright holders could of course use international copyright law to pursue the owner of the site, the hosting company and then the person who provided all of the files in the first place. As international copyright law allows for huge fines and imprisonment, that is a big risk to take - remember that some of the QL titles and routines / code used belong to big business (eg look on the QL Wiki for the history of Metacomco).

The suggestion of using archive.org is a possibility, as I believe they will share software uploaded to them, and have deep pockets (as well as previous case law) to defend themselves if anyone does bring a claim for breach of copyright.

The problems with archive.org are:
a) I believe it would be a huge task to upload all of the software to them - because they want it separated and in specific formats.
b) As it stands, the software would be uploaded without any manuals, inlays etc as these have not been scanned in.
c) A lot of the software remains untested, and potentially copy protected

I was asked on Facebook as to why there simply is not the wide range of software available to download as there is for the ZX81 and Spectrum where most of the former commercial titles are downloadable.

My reply is also relevent here for consideration, as it reflects the problems that any preservation project is up against. In my opinion, there are multiple reasons why a lot of the commercial software has never been released, including:

a) Due to the nature of the QL, a lot of big business was involved in commercial software (eg read up about Metacomco and their licensing); and a lot of routines have been transferred for use in other (later) commercial software on modern computers. For example many of the early QL developers and publishers were involved in setting up FACT (Federation against Copyright Theft).

b) A lot of money was spent by copyright holders and publishers on advertising, development etc in the 1980s, but because the QL never sold in vast numbers, people are sitting on huge losses and (to some extent) ill feeling about the software they made - compare it to the ZX81 and (particularly the) Spectrum where most titles sold into their 10s of 1000s - the QL software was lucky to have sold a couple of 100 copies.

c) If copyright holders had been approached in the 90s or even 10 years ago, the answers might have been more forthcoming. However, people now see how new hardware replacements for the C64, Spectrum and others have raised huge amounts of money on kickstarter platforms; on the back of the 1000s of titles available for free download.

d) Several of the copyrights were acquired by one or two individuals who spent money acquiring them and are definite that they only want the software to be released commercially.

e) There is still some fear about the amount of support people will ask for as software written for a basic QL doesn't work on modern QLs with extra memory, extra colours, Minerva ROMs or SD cards needing sub-directory support. Jim Hunkins for example will not release the source code for the freeware QDT because of this!


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Re: QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

Postby Outsoft » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:01 am

"You ask about why can't you upload the project to a website as proposed by Dave?

I forget what he proposed, but the question is copyright (as you know). If it was all uploaded to a server in China (say), the copyright holders could of course use international copyright law to pursue the owner of the site, the hosting company and then the person who provided all of the files in the first place. As international copyright law allows for huge fines and imprisonment, that is a big risk to take - remember that some of the QL titles and routines / code used belong to big business (eg look on the QL Wiki for the history of Metacomco)."

OK

"The suggestion of using archive.org is a possibility, as I believe they will share software uploaded to them, and have deep pockets (as well as previous case law) to defend themselves if anyone does bring a claim for breach of copyright."

OK

"
The problems with archive.org are:
a) I believe it would be a huge task to upload all of the software to them - because they want it separated and in specific formats.
b) As it stands, the software would be uploaded without any manuals, inlays etc as these have not been scanned in.
c) A lot of the software remains untested, and potentially copy protected"

OK but all that we put in the working dir is absolutely tested so no problem at all.

"
My reply is also relevent here for consideration, as it reflects the problems that any preservation project is up against. In my opinion, there are multiple reasons why a lot of the commercial software has never been released, including:

a) Due to the nature of the QL, a lot of big business was involved in commercial software (eg read up about Metacomco and their licensing); and a lot of routines have been transferred for use in other (later) commercial software on modern computers. For example many of the early QL developers and publishers were involved in setting up FACT (Federation against Copyright Theft).

b) A lot of money was spent by copyright holders and publishers on advertising, development etc in the 1980s, but because the QL never sold in vast numbers, people are sitting on huge losses and (to some extent) ill feeling about the software they made - compare it to the ZX81 and (particularly the) Spectrum where most titles sold into their 10s of 1000s - the QL software was lucky to have sold a couple of 100 copies.

c) If copyright holders had been approached in the 90s or even 10 years ago, the answers might have been more forthcoming. However, people now see how new hardware replacements for the C64, Spectrum and others have raised huge amounts of money on kickstarter platforms; on the back of the 1000s of titles available for free download.

d) Several of the copyrights were acquired by one or two individuals who spent money acquiring them and are definite that they only want the software to be released commercially.

e) There is still some fear about the amount of support people will ask for as software written for a basic QL doesn't work on modern QLs with extra memory, extra colours, Minerva ROMs or SD cards needing sub-directory support. Jim Hunkins for example will not release the source code for the freeware QDT because of this![/quote]"

Yes is all true!!!


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Re: QL Software Preservation - Next Steps

Postby dilwyn » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:07 pm

RWAP wrote:I forget what he proposed, but the question is copyright (as you know). If it was all uploaded to a server in China (say), the copyright holders could of course use international copyright law to pursue the owner of the site, the hosting company and then the person who provided all of the files in the first place. As international copyright law allows for huge fines and imprisonment, that is a big risk to take - remember that some of the QL titles and routines / code used belong to big business (eg look on the QL Wiki for the history of Metacomco).

Many's the time I've been asked (or told) to take stuff down from QL Homepage by authors or publishers. Only once had the threat of legal action thank goodness ("shoot first, ask questions later") from someone who assumed my site was essentially a pirate site.

The point about authors/publishers not wanting to cause themselves work from endless help requests is very valid. Some of the programs removed from my site over the years have been for that very reason rather than copyright issues as such. I can vouch for the volume of "help requests" I personally get just for being willing to make my own software available free, which does sometimes make me think twice about supporting the QL at all.


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