The daily program includes a series of short talks, followed by a practical demonstration of the Software Heritage Acquisition Process (October 19th) and of the Software Stories (October 20th). The program of each day will end with a round-table and a discussion on the future perspectives for archiving and displaying our software heritage.
You can watch the full playlist here:
14.00 Welcome address
14.30 Session #1: talks
David C. Brock will discuss the variety of experiments and activities that the Computer History Museum has undertaken to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of software.
The Software Preservation Network (SPN) is an independent, community-led membership association focused on ensuring long-term access to software through community engagement, infrastructure support, and knowledge generation. This talk will outline SPN’s evolution, highlight recent SPN projects, and explore future opportunities and connections with the global software preservation community.
The Virtual AGC Project is a free online resource devoted to providing access to the flight software used in the Apollo and Gemini missions of the 1960’s and 70’s. This talk is devoted to the software-preservation aspects of the project.
16.00 Session #2: The UNESCO SWHAP process for landmark legacy software
Recovering and curating landmark legacy source code requires significant human intervention to cope with the variety of physical media where the source code may be stored, the multiple copies and versions that may be available, the potential input of the authors that are still alive, and the existence of ancillary materials like documentation, articles, books, technical reports, email exchanges.
The Software Heritage Acquisition Process (SWHAP), developed in collaboration with UNESCO and the University of Pisa, provides a guide through all the steps needed to successfully curate the legacy source code you care about, and to archive it in Software Heritage.
We explore the SWHAP process via two running examples: the Customisable Memory Manager, a C++ garbage collector, and TAUMus, a software for creating electronic music.
Both developed in Pisa, they still are very different in their scope and in their state of preservation, thus representing a excellent benchmarks for the SWHAP process.
The speaker is one of the creators of the SWH Acquisition Process. He will refer on his experience in the user’s shoes while recovering and curating some code developed in the late 1960s for an early computer; and the code of the interpreter of an extended Lisp system developed in the 1970s. Some thoughts on possible actions to enhance the process and its support will complete the presentation.
14.30 Session #4:Talks
The non-profit French organization MO5.com aims at preserving computer heritage. Though its primary area of expertise is hardware preservation, software preservation is also part of its purpose. Therefore, we have started working on software preservation. This leads to create some specific methodology and tools. Among software programs, video games and demos have a specific status. Indeed, unlike other software, they have no utilitarian purpose. Moreover, they imply the use of several art forms, being, at least, visual arts and music. Video games are highly interactive and dependent on the input and output systems, while one of the purpose of demos is to show off the highest possibilities of some specific hardware, as well as the skills of its makers.
To preserve such software, we are experimenting three different methods, we consider being complementary. The first one is to preserve numerical copies of the software as well as the hardware the software creators targeted to run on. The second method is to create the most precise emulator for this hardware. Such emulators being either software emulators (i.e., a piece of program that reproduces as accurately as possible the way the original platform behaves), or hardware (i.e, using programmable logic devices to reproduce how the original platform worked). Then, the piece of software can be run on these emulators. The third one being rewriting the software. That is, using as much as possible the original assets, making a software that behave just like the original one, but running on any modern computer, present or future. The point is that the new software must behave the most closely to the original. Each of these methods have their own successes and their own limitations. In this presentation, we will give an overview of each of these approaches.
FOSSDA — the Free and Open Source Stories Digital Archive — is an oral history project for the free and open source movement.
Since 2018, the grant-funded EaaSI program of work has been building off of the bwFLA project’s Emulation-as-a-Service framework to investigate and encourage emulation as a critical missing link in software and digital preservation workflows. This presentation will summarize the program’s goals, the current state of EaaSI platform and service design, and the challenges that remain for making EaaSI and emulation a seamless piece of collections access.
15.45 Session #5: The Software Heritage Stories for landmark legacy software
Scilab, a free software for Scientific Computation, has a long history that starts in the 90s. It has been developed and distributed over time by different organizations and a large number of people. This is a very good example of complex software to be introduced in Software Heritage and Software Stories.