Discussion of large systems

Jules Richardson julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Oct 31 03:37:26 CST 2006

Al Kossow wrote:
> Surviving systems from before 1975 are very rare animals, esp mainframes,
> since so many of them have been scrapped for precious metals. Sadly, there
> is even less software that has survived. 

You know, I almost think that the UK picture is a little brighter in this 
respect. Certainly there still seem to be healthy enough numbers of pre-1975 
"desk sized" systems about (meaning that there are enough about for anyone who 
has the necessary restoration skills to be able to have one). Finding them is 
a little tricky, but they are there.

As for the mainframe picture - well, difficult to say. I expect there are 
still one or two lurkers in private hands stashed away in barns and things, 
and probably a handful more still in the basements of large companies.

 > CHM didn't start seriously
> collecting documentation nor software prior to the move to the West Coast in
> the 90's. While they have an impressive collection of hardware, and a pretty
> decent collection of US computer documentation now, the software holdings
> pre 1975 are minimal.

Again we're perhaps a bit better off there on the UK side of the pond, in that 
we've done pretty well in securing the software to go with a lot of the 
systems that we have. Our problem is a total lack of manpower, meaning that 
the things that we do have aren't getting archived sufficiently (particularly 
true of anything on magnetic media, but the same applies to paper tape too). 
Unfortunately that can't change unless we get more volunteers.

Afraid I can't say what the UK Science Museum has in the way of software 
archives; I've seen the hardware asset list but I don't know if an equivalent 
for software even exists.



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