Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

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philpem
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Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by philpem » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:14 pm

Question as per subject really -- is there a central archiving project (or at least "indexing all the archives" project) going on for RISC OS applications?

I'm aware of JASPP for games, 4corn's collection of Acorn developer and browser CDs and a couple of torrents, but I haven't seen much in the way of application archiving.

I've got copies of several apps kicking around that I've been archiving locally (I don't expect the floppies to last much longer!) and I'm in the process of acquiring more, but I'm curious if anyone else is doing the same thing I am.

I've also got a ton of software boxes with manuals but no disks... :-/

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danielj
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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by danielj » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:43 pm

It's a bit tricky. The 8-bit stuff is very much "almost no one gives a stuff and people are happy to see it archived for the most part.". The RISC OS world has many people who are still actively attempting to charge for rather old software. E.g. Impression has recently been revamped and re-released. I suspect you'd start finding yourself on the receiving end of nasty letters.

Clares stuff, for example, has been sat on for over 4 years:

http://www.apdl.org.uk/

d.

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by philpem » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:07 pm

danielj wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:43 pm
It's a bit tricky. The 8-bit stuff is very much "almost no one gives a stuff and people are happy to see it archived for the most part.". The RISC OS world has many people who are still actively attempting to charge for rather old software. E.g. Impression has recently been revamped and re-released. I suspect you'd start finding yourself on the receiving end of nasty letters.

Clares stuff, for example, has been sat on for over 4 years:

http://www.apdl.org.uk/

d.
I was thinking more along the lines of a spiritual extension to JASPP, along the lines of what SPS were doing for Amiga --
  • It's still available for sale -- link to the developer's website, Plingstore, etc.
  • It's not available but the developer is still around -- approach the developer and see if they're willing to make it available either at a nominal fee (in which case it goes on the "available to buy" list) or release it entirely free.
  • Permission has been given to release it free -- download link, or link to the developer's website if they prefer to control distribution.
  • No clue -- it's listed as "archived - and we'd like to know who currently owns copyright". Maybe offer copies of the archived image to people who submit an archive copy of their own (e.g. to replace a virus-damaged disk). If the developer still exists - well, point them in the right direction.
The main thing being to get this stuff preserved (a la a library) while it's still readable, and copyright issues can be dealt with as an ongoing process.

Incidentally I'm sitting on some software which was released to me with the intent of making it open-source -- Merlyn Kline / dEC_dATA's ClearView hypertext documentation system for one, Jacob Rief's PowerRouter PCB router for another. I really need to get my RISC PC working and release those... ClearView for instance is fully 32-bit compatible, provided you don't use Ace animations in your files (the Euclid module isn't 32bit clean).


As for the APDL situation -- I'd take that down the path of approaching the people maintaining the website and asking for permission to release the older versions. It might get them a bit of breathing space to finish sorting through the APDL hard drives!
Last edited by philpem on Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by danielj » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:31 pm

I think that sounds good, but it is a lot of work!

re. APDL, AFAIK they've rebuffed all offers of help and release requests. Which frankly is a crying shame.

d.

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by philpem » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:35 pm

danielj wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:31 pm
I think that sounds good, but it is a lot of work!

re. APDL, AFAIK they've rebuffed all offers of help and release requests. Which frankly is a crying shame.
The difficulty is going to be tracking down the current copyright owners. For some products like Clearview it's clear-cut, for others it's a twisty maze of sales, contracts, agreements and he-said-she-said.

For an apps list, I was thinking the old RISC OS Products Directory might be a good data source, but the data will need curating.

In re APDL.. yeah, I've seen the posts on CSA.*. It can't be an easy task, I wouldn't envy the poor soul who had to go through my PC's hard drive and filter out the wheat from the chaff!
Some of the stuff I've taken on was zipped up development directories with invoices, timesheets, other commercial software and so on included. While it's interesting (in the sense of giving an insight into development processes), it's also the sort of stuff one generally doesn't release publicly without express permission!
I can only imagine that the APDL situation is a mix of that, magnified, with real-life time pressures thrown in for good measure. I'm not in the business of lobbing rocks, it doesn't half hurt your arms after a while!

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by davidb » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:49 am

It would be good to have a list of titles kept somewhere. It could just be in a repository on one of the popular project hosting sites (GitLab, GitHub, etc.) if things were to be done minimally. There's a stardot Github organisation you can join if you want to do things there.

You probably know about these activities, but maybe it's worth mentioning them here:
  • David Pilling has released a lot of his old software.
  • John (flaxcottage) is archiving 8-bit educational software, though I did send some 32-bit stuff his way (mostly scans).
  • The Archiology site has images of Acorn's application and support disks.
  • A few people have private archives of imaged floppy disks. We could usefully go through these and make the metadata available.
I was in touch with Merlyn a few years ago regarding Impulse. It would be good to see some of the resources around that being made available, but I'm less optimistic about that now. The same goes for ARX. I realise that this is tangential to what you're aiming for.

So, please start a project for this if you want to. It would be extremely useful, especially as the 32-bit stuff gets more attention from retro-enthusiasts and collectors.

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by z0m8ied0g » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:32 am

I've been archiving a pretty large collection of Risc OS applications that I've got.
The disks are all being run through my Kryoflux but I've got a lot of work to do. The intention is to scan the manuals and boxes.
I've thought about setting up a database containing all the bits for each title.
Acorn... lots of Acorn... http://blog.retroacorn.net

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by philpem » Thu May 28, 2020 1:37 am

One for anyone who's found this in the archives (or google)...

I've been uploading old RISC OS software to archive.org: https://archive.org/details/@cosmosnowmew

I'd call this the start of the project -- and perhaps we can look at having something like MANX later, to index what's available and where to get it (moreso if the answer is "this is still for sale and you can buy it from ...")

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by flaxcottage » Thu May 28, 2020 11:23 am

The Flax Cottage Archive has a lot of commercial 'educational/serious' RISCOS 3.1 software already archived but not released due to the above-mentioned concerns. There is a RISCOS section on the website but this is quite limited; I do not know of anywhere else hosting these titles. RISCOS is not really one of my priorities at the moment. :(
- John

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by steven_gilson » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:55 pm

Got side tracked on other topics... joined the forum to reply here lol.

I am up for putting the technical work to get a RiscOS archive online and when I have and additional time adding entries, whether that be hosting software that there is no way to purchase anymore or linking into where it can be purchased or an authorised download source.

Many abandonware websites for DOS/x86 games follow a system of providing a listing for the game, and if it still can be purchased linking to where it can be purchased or downloaded otherwise providing a download themselves, with a form copyright owners can fill in to request changes/make claims.

RiscOS software outside of games is vanishing quickly, or not as widely available without hours and hours of trawling, so yeah, as long as we try not to duplicate what others are doing, as I've noticed through my searches a lot of fragmentation out there, I'm entirely up for doing this, costs the equivalent of a cup of coffee a month to host so I don't mind doing that bit also.

On a side note, I once emailed Sherston Software if they had a RiscOS archive, and they said no, so their RiscOS library is only in the community now....

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by sirbod » Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:36 am

I seem to have missed this thread the first time round. JASPP wasn't setup with the intention of just archiving games, I just personally concentrated on games as there was a lot of development work involved in getting them to run on modern machines.

There were several points I made up front, when I started the project, which are still valid today:
  1. It required community involvement if it was going to expand beyond games
  2. Assistance would be required to track down copyright holders
  3. A SQL backend and web site would need developing
  4. Software would need imaging by the community
  5. 600 DPI scans would be required for manuals
  6. People with Adobe conversion skills would be need to convert the manual scans
Of that list, there's been little to no support from the community with the project. There are a few notable folk on here who have gone out of their way to help me with scanning, providing originals and technical support, but as a community wide effort, not so much.

I believe five web developers have offered to help with the SQL/web site, but sadly none have come through with anything - which is why there's still no website for the project, only a forum site. I could code it myself, but given my stills are better spent with the coding side, that's what I've concentrated on.

If we as a community want to preserve and release software, it requires a concerted effort by more than just a few individuals. I have personally put in the best part of 15,000 hours over the past 9 years to provide what you can currently download from JASPP, all at my own expense. I'd hate to think how much it's cost me personally, I stopped counting when it went into six figures.

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by steven_gilson » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:41 am

Morning

I was thinking of getting in touch about your website, but I didn't know at what stage you were at as I had seen various posts around your forum. If you're up for it, I know a CMS system that would suit the bill, and I know it really well, so I could customise it where needed to what would be needed and organise the content. It could be up and running with the basics within a few hours and link in with the forums for logins, peeps could then submit content so it would be just a case of moderating and curating the public facing content, so a few of us could easily move the content over and set up categories for other software. No need for anything built from scratch these days :)

I'm no designer though, so if you wan't something a bit more fancy on the design front, would need some additional help.

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Re: Is there an archiving project for RISC OS applications?

Post by philpem » Sat Jun 13, 2020 3:01 am

Honestly this sounds like a great idea and I'd love to chip in.

As far as web interface goes, a CMS sounds like a good starting point.
I was originally thinking of something similar to MANX (manx.classiccmp.org) or the old RISC OS Products Directory. That could easily be something for "version 2" though, once things are up and running.

Happy to help in any way I can! I've done website dev work, but my usual way of doing it is a Flask-based template and Bootstrap for the UI.

Cheers,
Phil.

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