Liam Proven lproven at
Wed Mar 30 12:26:44 CDT 2016

On 30 March 2016 at 18:58, Fred Cisin <cisin at> wrote:
> They define "abandonware" as:
> "In order for a piece of software to be abandonware, it must, as a general
> guideline:
> Be over 7 years old.
> Be out of support by the manufacturer.
> Be mostly out of use by the general populace (abandoned)"
> So, if you are a software author, if you won't SUPPORT stuff that you did
> over 7 years ago, they believe that they have a right to distribute it?

No, not the same thing.

I think the more important question is/are:

Will the original author still *sell* it to you? Or, if it's a
discontinued version of a still-current product, will it make it
available to you in some way, possibly very cheaply or even free of

I think it is entirely reasonable to ask software vendors to make
obsolete, discontinued, unsupported versions of products, versions
which no longer run on current hardware or operating systems,
available FOC. For instance, Microsoft offers Word 5.5 for DOS as a
free download, as it is Y2K compliant, which no earlier versions were.

For decades, Apple offered MacOS 7.5.5 this way, for instance.

Actually, many vendors will not do this. If they don't, if they no
longer even possess the product in any form, then I do think it's fair
enough that others offer the service.

I own real, licensed copies of OS/2 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 4.0 and 4.5.
However, due to the age and location of the media, and the fact that
my current laptop and desktop machines do not possess optical drives,
nor any place to fit optical drives, let alone floppy drives, it's
considerably more convenient to download these ancient OSes and run
them in VMs than it is to use my actual originals.

I am thus legally licensed to use them. I own them.

I am not licensed to run CCP/M or CDOS, although I worked with these
OSes in my first 2 jobs, back on the Isle of Man at the end of the
1980s and beginning of the 1990s. I am curious to see if I can get
them running today. I cannot legally obtain them; Digital Research no
longer exists. So, again, I think downloading an old one is legit.

Many companies would, I think, happily block distribution of old
versions, on the bases of protection of trade. I do not own Microsoft
Office 365, nor Office 2013, 2010 or 2007, as I hate the new UI. I do
not even like Office 2003 or XP as much as I liked older versions. I
do own Office 2000 and 1997, though.

So I run a downloaded copy of Word 97, under WINE. It understands the
same file formats, is tiny and very fast even on my 2008-era laptop,
as that machine is a decade newer than the kit it was designed for. I
don't want any newer version, thanks; IMHO the product has degenerated
since then.

I legally own it. I have licences. So I download it, because I can and
because Microsoft won't provide me with a copy of the version I
prefer. Microsoft would prefer me to buy a new copy and then, perhaps,
let me use my old media if I prefer. I don't want to. I own the
version I want. As it happens, though, it's in a storage unit 1000
miles away, with an inconvenient sea in the way.

So, I downloaded it.

Am I admitting to scandalous software piracy?

Liam Proven • Profile:
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