[plug] Bitrot

Arie Hol arie99 at ozemail.com.au
Mon Dec 24 02:27:01 WST 2007

On 23 Dec 2007 at 18:49, Shayne O'Neill wrote:

> Its a bizare argument. If its FOSS, make sure a copy of the sourcecode for
> the original software is saved.
> I actually see the reverse of this problem quite a bit with accounting
> software. Companies that had MS-DOS based accounting systems, STILL 
> MS-DOS and the old accountng system, because the latest XP based ones
> won't read the old data. If they where FOSS, and granted folks didn't
> really know as much about FOSS back then, they could simply recompile 
> accounting software for the new permutation of the OSS.
> Fortunately most of the old stuff still works on freedos (And under 
> linux!) but it'd be nice to have some of that old discontinued stuff 
> so coders could code a fancy new gui and update it to the times.
> Regardless, FOSS or not, scientific data just needs to be stored in a
> documented format (well documented XML is plenty fine for smaller
> datasets. For bigger datasets, just use either an open spec, or *make* 
> open spec if your data type is unique and document it well. But more to
> the point, keep that source code.

This thread has raised some challenging prospects, and should be thought 
provoking for any one in the IT sector.

Perhaps we should also give some thought to the evolutionary changes in 
filesystems - particularly with software and data processed by Microsoft 

Microsoft seems to be changing their filesystems every few years, with 
another "new" one (WinFS) on the horizon.

Brings to mind the debacle we had when MS introduced the 'Long filename 
system'  with Win'95 - this allowed us to get away from the 8.3 format  
for filenames.

A problem occurred when those older floppy discs that had been used on 
earlier versions of DOS (up to ver 6.22) were inserted into a Win95 
system for the first time, Win95 would immediately set about "updating" 
the FAT system for the disk from the old 8.3 format to handle long file 
names - in many instances if the disk was "full" - the FAT was corrupted 
and the disks became unreadable in both Win95 and older DOS systems.

Goodbye data.

Solution : - refresh your data storage formats/media/systems before 
upgrading your operating systems

Regards Arie
 For the concert of life, nobody has a program.

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