Fact Controlled
for Special Learners

Busman's Holiday
Disappearing Software, Part II
by Steve Wood
July 12, 1999



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In a recent column I stated a rationale for a vintage Macintosh software site. In part, I said:

What we vintage Mac users need out there is a software site dedicated to carrying older titles and older versions that are still compatible with vintage system software. I'm not talking about a page of links, but an archive with some serious storage capacity.
If none of the Mac mags step forward, maybe you could be webmaster of The Vintage Mac Software site. Just think of the possibilities. You could be making millions, er, thousands, umm...well...maybe you could break even selling ad space to the many vintage Mac resellers. I suspect that is part of why there isn't such a site as yet. But who knows?

An intrepid reader responded to my suggestion, and along with several other readers, have already invested considerable time and energy in researching the possibilities. At this point, the group understandably wishes to maintain some level of anonymity, so that they can focus on the creation of such a site. Several folks are working hard cataloging what is easily available from vintage shareware disks, CD's, and various users groups. The prospective webmaster already has direct access to the Internet. He also has the storage necessary to hold what could be a massive archive...but on an NT server. While he'd prefer to host the site on Mac hardware and software, the realities of finance now have entered in to the equation.

Here, let his words tell you the situation and what is needed:

I am going to try to find some help in the hardware end of this thing. I would hate to host this on an Intel box running Windows NT. I fear I would be severely beaten by the closest Mac fan. The servers I currently host web sites with are running Win NT. There are not currently any Apple servers available with them, although I have talked to my System Administrator about possibly adding them...and have been told I can co-locate any server I wish. That might be a foot in the door for him to learn about Apple servers. If you know anyone at [various names of used Mac resellers] that may want to donate suitable hardware in exchange for a free and permanent "co-sponsorship" on the site, please put them in contact with me.

Okay, I've put out the word to the various used Mac resellers. A free copy of OS X server would probably rate a similar perk from the prospective webmaster.

He went on to say:

I will probably look for some at MacWorld Expo. I am sure that with the traffic this site should generate, any company that sells or resells older Mac equipment would have some interest.

So if a masked man approaches you at MacWorld, maybe you're not about to be mugged. Right! Maybe he only wants your spare Mac server! Seriously, it sounds to me as if what is needed at this point is either a "server sugar daddy" or the willingness to download vintage mac files from an NT server. A hardware reseller with an 8550 or the like might be able to make a great deal here! Downloading from an NT server really wouldn't be so terrible after all (Arrgh). Come to think of it, I could use a MacSite sugar daddy to send me to MacWorld:-).

What hasn't happened yet is the support or even indicated interest of ANY of the existing Macintosh sites on the web, Mac magazines, or vintage hardware resellers. That isn't a flame, but just an observation. Profit margins are incredibly thin. Site webmasters almost universally work at least one full-time job and moonlight with their sites. But a vintage Macintosh software archive does appear to be on its way, with or without them.

I will hasten to add that in my humble opinion, I don't think there is a cent to be made from such a site. But like a lot of other sites, there is a definite public service aspect to it, and the peripheral publicity associated with it might help bolster an existing site.

At this point I'll add a word or two of disclaimer to this issue.

  • I'm not starting a vintage software site myself. I lack the time, resources, and talent. This is a massive undertaking, and I admire the individuals who have started what will be an incredibly time consuming task.
  • I have no financial stake in this endeavor whatsoever. If the reader makes a bundle from the site, however unlikely, I'm not a part of that. I have offered my volunteer services to him and will continue to act as a conduit for information until he is ready to go public.
  • There very well may be others considering such an archive of which I am totally unaware. It would be a pity if either the "intrepid reader's" or their efforts simply parallel each other in a competitive nature.

I've done my begging for the month! Maybe something good will come from all the efforts of "the reader" and his helpers. It's a big job setting up a site and archive.

Send your feedback to Steve Wood

Reposted to the new MATH DITTOS 2 site 6/25/2000
©1999 Steven L. Wood