Thursday, 21 December 2017

Recovering old system software and data

Although there are some great museums like the National Museum of Computing doing their best to preserve computing's rich history so much computing heritage has unfortunately been lost.

One major problem being that data stored on obsolete formats often cannot be read any more. This website illustrates the problem, the CROOK operating system for a Polish minicomputer called the MERA-400 was sought. A copy of the OS had survived but it was on magnetic tape and there was no easy way to read the media.

Luckily with some ingenuity and hardcore geekdom a way was found to read the tapes. In the end they found multiple copies of CROOK, other old operating systems and some other thought-lost software which can now be read and saved for humanity.
ICL tape drives at the National Museum of Computing