in an motion New Mexico State College (NMSU) not too long ago introduced the upcoming closure of its Hobbes OS/2 archive on April 15, 2024, marking the top of an period. For greater than three a long time, the archive has been a key useful resource for customers of IBM’s OS/2 working system and its successors, which competed fiercely with Microsoft’s Home windows.
“We have now made the troublesome determination to now not host these paperwork at hobbes.nmsu.edu,” a consultant for NMSU wrote in a press release to The Register. “Whereas I can’t disclose particular particulars, we should consider our priorities.” issues and made the troublesome determination to discontinue service.”
The Hobbs Convention is hosted by the Division of Data and Communications Expertise at New Mexico State College in Las Cruces, New Mexico. “After a few years of service, hobbes.nmsu.edu might be decommissioned and now not accessible,” the web site wrote in an official announcement. “Efficient April 15, 2024, the web site will stop to exist.”
We reached out to New Mexico State College to inquire concerning the historical past of the Hobbs archive however obtained no response. The earliest report of the Hobbes Archives we have discovered on-line is that this 1992 Walnut Creek CD-ROM set, which collects the contents of the archives for offline distribution. Hobbs is at the very least 32 years outdated, making it one of many oldest software program archives on the Web, much like the College of Michigan’s archives and the College of North Carolina’s ibiblio.
Archivists similar to Jason Scott of the On-line Archive have come ahead to say that the recordsdata hosted on Hobbs are secure and have been mirrored elsewhere. “Nobody ought to fear about Hobbes, I’ve bought Hobbes taken care of,” Scott wrote on Mastodon in early January. OS/2 World.com additionally launched a press release about mirroring. However every time the mud settles on such an historic and necessary piece of web historical past, it is nonetheless value noting.
Like many archives, Hobbs began out as an FTP web site. “The principle distribution of recordsdata on the Web is thru FTP servers,” Scott instructed Ars Technica. “If the FTP server goes down, they can even be mirrored as subdirectories in different FTP servers. Firms like CDROM.COM/Walnut Creek have grow to be the way in which to get undertaking CD-ROMs, however they often provide them at Data: http://ftp.cdrom.com obtain.”
The Hobbes web site is a priceless digital time capsule. You may nonetheless discover the primary 50 downloads, which embrace the sound and picture editors and the OS/2 model of the Thunderbird e mail consumer. The archive comprises hundreds of OS/2 video games, functions, utilities, software program improvement instruments, documentation and server software program relationship again to the launch of OS/2 in 1987. There is a sure attraction to working an OS/2 wallpaper from 1990, and even the archive’s replace coverage is a historic gem – final up to date on March 12, 1999.
OS/2 was initially a three way partnership between IBM and Microsoft, deliberate to exchange IBM PC DOS (also referred to as “MS-DOS”, bought by Microsoft for PC cloning). Though OS/2 had superior options similar to 32-bit processing and multitasking, it later competed with and struggled to realize help for Home windows. After the success of Home windows 3.0, the partnership between IBM and Microsoft collapsed, resulting in disagreements between the 2 corporations over their working system methods.
By iterations such because the Warp collection, OS/2 established itself in area of interest markets that required excessive stability, similar to ATMs and the New York subway system. At the moment, its legacy lives on in skilled functions and new variations maintained by third-party distributors similar to eComStation, though it’s overshadowed by Linux and Home windows within the wider market.
Such a footprint is value preserving, and the lack of a significant archive of OS/2, even when mirrored elsewhere, is a cultural blow. Hobbs reportedly practically disappeared earlier than however had his execution suspended. Within the feedback part of an article in The Register, an individual named “TrevorH” wrote: “This isn’t the primary time Hobbs has introduced that it’s disappearing. The final time it was after a lot of complaints and a few college students or It was saved solely after school members complained.” Arise and proceed to defend it. “
As the ultimate shutdown approaches in April, Hobbs’ legacy reminds us of the significance of preserving software program’s digital legacy for future generations in order that a long time from now historians can look again and see how issues bought to the place we’re right this moment .
This story initially appeared in Expertise Arts Pageant.