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The Historical Problem - Additional Reflection

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Franz Bieberkopf
The Historical Problem - Additional Reflection
on Jun 18, 2014 at 2:08:47 pm

Some added discussion relevant to recent posts about the problem of versioning, the cloud, and the future - interesting because they're talking about broad consumer software from the perspective of a specialized, technical readership:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/06/saving-old-software-from-extinction-...

"Many apps depend on server support to function, but that support is based on usage numbers and profitability, not on nostalgia or trying to maintain a record. Software that doesn't get used has support cut off, and—if there is even a local client left behind at all—it becomes a broken, empty husk."

[...]
"It's about time we started asking ourselves: what are we leaving behind for future generations? When our descendants look back on the computer revolution, what will they still have access to?
During the age of local software, they'll have tons of software that still works, either on an ancient piece of hardware or via emulation. If you wanted to see the first version of Microsoft Word, that's as easy as getting a copy of the software and installing it on the appropriate computer. What if you move forward a few years, though, and you want to take a look at the first version of Google Docs? You can't. ... The tenants of cloud computing make software completely dependent on a single point of failure in the cloud, and we have no mechanism in place for preserving this software when we are done with it."


The comments section provides a range of opinion.

Franz.


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