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New life for dead software

Dec 28, 2009, 08:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard Hillesley)

[ Thanks to An Anonymous Reader for this link. ]

"If you yearn for the operating systems or arcade games of the past, and are willing to make the effort to bring them back to life, free and open source software is definitely the way to go. Green screens and might-have beens, operating systems and games, BeOS, Amiga OS or DOS can be relived and replayed through a host of emulators, simulators or rewrites in varying stages of completion.

"Some of the inspiration for a return to the past is curiosity and amusement, an aimless journey through the archaeology of computing, and some is pure nostalgia, a search for lost youth and a time when "programs were small, and they could romp wild and free over the whole system, unrestrained by memory management police and big-brother kernel." Some is due to genuine regret at the loss of culture and data, and the end of possibilities - BeOS never realised its potential and deserved a better fate. And some is 'just because...'.

"So Haiku sets out to recreate BeOS from scratch, AROS reworks the Amiga OS 3.1 APIs, and ReactOS is an attempt to re-create a free version of Windows XP - "the XP successor people asked for" with secure defaults. The Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME), which is "easily the best arcade emulator" available anywhere, revives more than seven thousand arcade games which might have been lost to history"

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