One of the Internet’s Oldest Software Archives Is Shutting Down
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In a moveNew Mexico State University announced its impending closure, marking the end of a era. Hobbes OS/2 archive15 April 2024. Over the past three decades, the archive is a valuable resource for users. IBM OS/2 operating SystemMicrosoft Windows, and its successors.
In a statement to The Register, a representative of NMSU wrote, “We have made the difficult decision to no longer host these files on hobbes.nmsu.edu. Although I am unable to go into specifics, we had to evaluate our priorities and had to make the difficult decision to discontinue the service.”
Hobbes is hosted by the Department of Information & Communication Technologies at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. In the official announcement, the site reads, “After many years of service, hobbes.nmsu.edu will be decommissioned and will no longer be available. As of April 15th, 2024, this site will no longer exist.”
We contacted New Mexico State University for information about the Hobbes Archive but did not get a response. The Hobbes Archive was first recorded online in this document. 1992 Walnut Creek CD-ROM collectionThis gathered the contents of the archives for offline distribution. Hobbes is one of the oldest online software archives, at least 32 years old. University of Michigan’s ArchivesYou can also find out more about the following: ibiblioAt UNC,
Archivists like Jason Scott from the Internet Archive have come forward to confirm that the files hosted by Hobbes are secure. Already mirrored elsewhere. “Nobody need worry about Hobbes. I’ve got Hobbes covered,” Written byScott on Mastodon, early January. OS/2 World.com, too Published a statementMaking a Mirror It’s still noteworthy when an important and old piece of internet history is lost.
Hobbes was also an FTP site. “The primary distribution of internet files were via FTP servers,” Scott tells Ars Technica. “And as FTP services went down, the subdirectories would be mirrored on other FTP systems. Companies like CDROM.COM/Walnut Creek offered CD-ROMs of the items but also made them available to download via http://ftp.cdrom.com.
The Hobbes website is a digital time capsule that is priceless. You can still find the Top 50 Downloads pageThe archive contains thousands OS/2 games, utilities, software development tool, documentation and server software. The archive contains thousands OS/2 applications, games, utilities and documentation dating back to the launch in 1987 of OS/2. There’s something charming about running across OS/2 WallpapersFrom 1990 and the archive’s Update Policy is a historical gem—last updated on March 12, 1999.
The legacy of OS/2
OS/2 began as an IBM-Microsoft joint venture, undertaken to replace IBM PC DOS. (MS-DOS is also sold by Microsoft in the form of PC clones). OS/2, despite advanced capabilities such as 32-bit processors and multitasking, later competed against Windows and struggled for traction. The IBM-Microsoft alliance dissolved Windows 3.0 is a success!, resulting in divergent OS strategies for both companies.
Iterations such as the Warp seriesOS/2 was a major player in niche markets which required high levels of stability, like ATMs and the New York subway system. Its legacy is still present in specialized applications as well as in newer versions. eComStation) maintained by third-party vendors—despite being overshadowed in the broader market by Linux and Windows.
Even if the archive is mirrored elsewhere, a loss like this is a cultural blow. Hobbes was reportedly close to disappearing before, but he received a stay of the execution. In the comments for an article about The Register, someone named “TrevorH” Written byIt’s not the first time Hobbes has announced its demise. It was saved the last time after many complaints and several students or faculty members came forward to continue maintaining it.
As the final shutdown approaches in April, the legacy of Hobbes is a reminder of the importance of preserving the digital heritage of software for future generations—so that decades from now, historians can look back and see how things got to where they are today.
This article originally appeared on Ars Technica.