The archive of computer software: an appeal

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Siddhartha Kasivajhula

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Apr 4, 2009, 12:59:10 AM4/4/09
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Fellows,

I understand that this has become a sensitive issue, but I would like to appeal to you all to attempt once again to arrive at some kind of consensus on the objective of the revival project. Or, at the very least, to be friends!

We are clearly all here because we loved HOTU. We are united by a common love for the games of yore, and for the website that brought them all back to us. The intention of the original HOTU was always to preserve these games and facilitate their distribution in the best manner possible. But no one ever claimed that HOTU achieved this perfectly. We are not ungrateful! But HOTU was old and unwieldy, and perhaps it really was her time to go. There was then, and there is now, room for improvement. While reviving the original site exactly as it was is an admirable pursuit, I think that it is not how we should proceed. HOTU lived well and was nobly interred. I think we can safely let it rest.

But not what it stood for! And not the things that made it good! We should keep to the goals of the original project and make HOTU even better. I think there can easily be a balance between preserving what was good in the old site and improving its interface, structure, and function.

I gather that Lord_Pall has somehow been villified on this forum, and perhaps he has done something to deserve this. I haven't been here long enough to know. But from what I've seen of hotud, I do think that it is doing some things right, in that it seems to be a concerted effort at creating a different and improved HOTU.

I am concerned that the competing effort, hotu.net, is working too hard to recreate the original site rather than create a better one. I feel this goes against Sarinee's own wishes for the future of HOTU. She wanted a more modern, more usable archive. She wanted it to be more adapted to newer technologies.

I am also concerned that hotud, by being the effort of a few individuals who seem to be shunning the greater community and opinion, violates the very spirit of HOTU. We are a community that must work together to make this happen for all of us.

I was very excited about this project when I first joined because I saw us all as MODERN-DAY ARCHIVISTS, working to create the most well-thought-out and planned archive of interactive computer software that the world has ever seen. This is not something that was, in the past, a necessity, but now, the need for something like this is imminent and significant. And with computer software and the entire industry marching forward at light speed, it falls to people like us to chronicle its history. There are no "professionals" for this sort of thing. This is in fact a stark hole in the entire infrastructure of human profession -- we do not catalog and archive computer software of any kind on an appreciable level. The need for this art to be standardized is upon us! The revived HOTU, if done in this spirit, could achieve all of this.

Should we really allow nostalgia to guide our efforts? Or the desire for a fresh, new, revolutionary archive of the world's computer games? And maybe all software, in the future?

Passion will inevitably divide, and we are passionate. But I think that this divide will only frustrate the potential of this project to do something truly remarkable and significant.

It is not my place to preach at all, but I thought I would get this out there. I hope we can all try to be friends and make this happen!
-sid


On Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 6:29 AM, Nacho <mithri...@gmail.com> wrote:
The problem with Lord_Pall is briefly noticed in that:

- He doesn't take into consideration any other choices/opinions than the site he built and he is leading unilaterally, since the beginning. He doesn't want to drop Joomla at any stake, and this is starting to look like a race.

- He has been proposed several times to unite, discuss and decide. Even if he said momentarily "yes", nevertheless he continued pushing in his development, calling people on the way.

At this time it's very unfair to say what has been posted at the hotud.org forum, since it's not true:
Nobody closed the door for him, and he's gathering many help from this community.

2009/3/30 Acharis <krzyszt...@gmail.com>


Regarding this http://www.hotud.org/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=87&topic=6.msg195#msg195

Lord_Pall, when did you get "hostile brush off" from me? I never
contacted you and I never got any email from you...

I can share with you fixed database of games and all the user created
content. Also I'm more than willing to share downloads part. If you
want to cooperate we can do it anytime.






On 26 Mar, 22:45, Siddhartha Kasivajhula
<siddhartha.kasivajh...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Nice, I like the basic look of it a lot! Can we make it a bit more like a
> Wiki? Allow users to modify game info, screenshots, etc? I believe this was
> something Sarinee wanted in the new site, too.
> Also, although the interface is nice, there is still a lot of information,
> and there is probably a better way to place it on the screen/convey it to
> the user. We should probably have a User Interface designer take a look and
> offer suggestions..
>
> In particular, I am in favor of making the sidebar less prominent and thus
> making the display more content-centric ("cleaner"). (see Wikipedia, for
> example).
>
> On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 7:36 AM, Lord_Pall <lordp...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Http://www.hotud.org
>
> > Status Update: March 26th, 2009
>
> > Full dataset is up. Forums are up. Comment system is up. Community
> > System is up. Downloads are available, figure 50% so far, some gaps in
> > the archive but that's easy enough to backfill.
>
> > It's ready for community expansion with user reviews, and more
> > listings as well. File backend is automated to the point that the
> > archive can live anywhere, and it'll batch update the necessary ID's
> > based off of user expansion.
>
> > I'm probably going to add some "editor" level functionality so
> > community members who want to expand the collection can quickly see
> > where the gaps are.
>
> > I'll work with Dan P. at Portsmouth to make sure we split the backups
> > between my end, local machines, Amazon S3 and a few other secure
> > repositories. I figure I'll setup a weekly or monthly dump of the site
> > to guarantee we don't lose anything.
>
>





Andrew Armstrong

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Apr 6, 2009, 8:25:58 AM4/6/09
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I was waiting for Lord_Pall to respond to this. Lord_Pall?

Andrew

mithri...@gmail.com

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Apr 8, 2009, 4:15:42 AM4/8/09
to Home of the Underdogs Revival Project
Hi Sid,

You're totally right. I've been trying myself to keep people together
since the beginning but it has been mostly impossible to try to
coordinate any effort.
I'll express sincerely my personal opinion about the Revival project
looking not to heat the mailing list, since I'm starting to feel
really tired about this project.

First of all, -as I insisted since the beginning- there's need for
some structure in the group. To work individually in bursts harms the
community and divides effort and people. Teams had to be naturally
established with some key people around...people should technically
cool down and build the community first. At this time we have several
websites, but we don't have a real, solid, cooperative working
community.

Second, a community is built up in some key contributors, natural
leaders or whatever. I felt that Dan, Andrew and Sarinee are the ones
to take the lead because they've already shown common sense,
experience and some kind of belongingness. They are the ones that can
step actively forward to organise and be heard by the rest of the
people more than anybody else. There are some others like Walter,
Simon...but they need to change they way of working. Instead of only
thinking in short term, you should think also in middle-long terms. I
bet that many helpful people have left the bus since we started.

Third, Unite, Discuss, Decide. Easy...but why nobody listens to this?
Some people offered they help (including me) and the only answer they
got is that somebody else was already doing what they thought that was
assigned to them. Even no mail was sent to tell "Hey man, don't do it.
Thanks, we have somebody else on it" Who cares about helping people?
Somebody seriously should.

Finally, everything has been mostly done individually (with some
exceptions) and many efforts are producing parallel websites. We
cannot progress in a technical manner until the community is minimally
established. Otherwise, if the general will is to fork() until the end
of ages, so be it.

Thank you,
Nacho

On 4 abr, 06:59, Siddhartha Kasivajhula
> On Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 6:29 AM, Nacho <mithrilfo...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > The problem with Lord_Pall is briefly noticed in that:
>
> > - He doesn't take into consideration any other choices/opinions than the
> > site he built and he is leading unilaterally, since the beginning. He
> > doesn't want to drop Joomla at any stake, and this is starting to look like
> > a race.
>
> > - He has been proposed several times to unite, discuss and decide. Even if
> > he said momentarily "yes", nevertheless he continued pushing in his
> > development, calling people on the way.
>
> > At this time it's very unfair to say what has been posted at the hotud.orgforum, since it's not true:
> > Nobody closed the door for him, and he's gathering many help from this
> > community.
>
> > 2009/3/30 Acharis <krzysztofkoz...@gmail.com>
>
> >> Regarding this
> >>http://www.hotud.org/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=87&topic=6.msg19...

Dan Pinchbeck

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Apr 8, 2009, 5:02:28 AM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
Hey all,

Been very quiet of late - apologies for that, and y'all deserve an update about what's going on at my end...

Bottom line is... Universities are *slooooow*animals. I have to get all kinds of clearance to push on ahead, mainly around the security, which is a massive concern. I've got a budget together for a virtual server, which will guarantee a very robust, safe storage solution here and just need to push the rest through. It's the connection to the real world which presents the biggest problem here, as it's in the centre of the security issue.

My take on things is this: I see us as a very safe backup host for the files. As far as the live site goes, I'm not sure what we can do, it'll certainly take longer, and there's no reason why we can't spread the files around as is currently being done. What I can do is take a full dump of the entire contents and put them in safe storage, and commit to updating this every couple of months, so the core files are protected and preserved, even if we're not actually *serving* downloads. How does this sound to everyone?

There is a degree of self-interest at work here of course - it means we get access to the files ourselves, which means we can do major proper testing on the KEEP emulation project... which I'm committed to as I think emulation is really the only future-proof means of properly preserving this stuff. But it also means we've got a budget and a vested interest in keeping stuff safe.

In terms of the internal politics... look, I'm going to be really honest here. I don't have time to lead any projects and it'd be a complete lie if I claimed to be playing a particularly active role at the moment. I can offer a definite solution to part of the problem, and I'm happy to offer advice... but that's probably it.

But what I will say is this: projects need project managers. Not community builds. That only works in long-term, relatively unstructured or additive projects. My suggestion would be a steering committee: elect six people onto this that best represent the diverse interests of the community. People put their names forwards, it goes to the group, vote them in. They then draw up the plan: everyone gets on board with the plan, puts up, shuts up, or leaves. End of discussion. A job list is drawn against the plan: this is released, volunteers come on board against specific jobs. And, critically, one person is elected to manage the whole thing, take responsibility for delivering the plan to the community: so it's a community agreed plan, drawn up by an elected committee, delivered by volunteers managed by a single person who is responsible back to the committee, who are responsible back to the community. But the key thing is that you have a named individual leading the project, who has a plan to work to that has been agreed in advance. Working like this reduces the room for power battles and disputes to expand into and it's not too late to put it all in place.

In terms of the ongoing stuff, my 5cents: two sites in parallel development will kill this project. Lord_Pall has worked bloody hard, regardless of what you think of his approach or results, and it's just daft to let a schism develop. Nacho is absolutely right, it's just a waste of time an effort developing parallel solutions to a problem we ALL want to solve.

Thoughts?

Cheers

Dan

Dr Dan Pinchbeck
Advanced Games Research Group
School of Creative Technologies
University of Portsmouth, UK

www.thechineseroom.co.uk
www.keep.port.ac.uk
>>> "mithri...@gmail.com" <mithri...@gmail.com> 08/04/09 9:17 AM >>>

Walter

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Apr 8, 2009, 5:57:07 AM4/8/09
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You're totally right. I've been trying myself to keep people together
since the beginning but it has been mostly impossible to try to
coordinate any effort.

Maybe the level of coordination you are thinking of is not yet
appropriate?

It's great having 150+ people interested in the project but eventually
things actually need to get done.  If you have people in different
timezones, with different skillsets, and different amounts of time/
energy to contribute, I think the current approach of random
implementations is quite a pragmatic start.  Once we find a basic
site that the community wants to buy in to, then they can buy in in
non-developmental ways.  Anything more structured at this
early stage assumes a non community-driven (ie: centralised)
approach, which hasn't happened thus far, may not be a good
idea, and quite frankly it may be too late to create.
 
I'll express sincerely my personal opinion about the Revival project
looking not to heat the mailing list, since I'm starting to feel
really tired about this project.

That's a pity, since I think it's fair to say that everyone's
contributions are valued.
 
First of all, -as I insisted since the beginning- there's need for
some structure in the group. To work individually in bursts harms the
community and divides effort and people. Teams had to be naturally
established with some key people around...people should technically
cool down and build the community first. At this time we have several
websites, but we don't have a real, solid, cooperative working
community.

What about the recent posts about sharing resources gathered
this far (SQL dumps, files, etc.)?  I think this is cooperation in
the truest sense, and confirms that implementors are keen on seeing
the site rebuilt regardless of whose efforts eventually receive
community approval.
 
Second, a community is built up in some key contributors, natural
leaders or whatever. I felt that Dan, Andrew and Sarinee are the ones
to take the lead because they've already shown common sense,
experience and some kind of belongingness. They are the ones that can
step actively forward to organise and be heard by the rest of the
people more than anybody else. There are some others like Walter,
Simon...but they need to change they way of working. Instead of only
thinking in short term, you should think also in middle-long terms. I
bet that many helpful people have left the bus since we started.

I personally find it a bit offensive for you to label people who are
jumping right in to the project as somehow working in the wrong
way and/or with 'short term' views.  That's all I'll say on this point,
though I'd also like to point out that it's clear that nobody actively
discussing things on this list is thinking in the short term, at
least technically.

If you have some actual points to make regarding middle and
long term concerns that people on-list may be missing, a
reasonable and certainly more useful approach may be to raise
those issues on the list and explain your concerns, rather than
simply pointing the finger without contributing anything positive
that we can move forward on.
 
Third, Unite, Discuss, Decide. Easy...but why nobody listens to this?

Well, instead of talking in generalisations, how about you provide
some practical suggestions as to how non-developers can provide
support at this early stage?

I for one have tried to solicit new ideas from the group to stimulate
interest and involvement from non developers, but have
frankly received almost no response.

I do so again below, hopefully we can get some more discussion
going this time around.

Some people offered they help (including me) and the only answer they
got is that somebody else was already doing what they thought that was
assigned to them. Even no mail was sent to tell "Hey man, don't do it.
Thanks, we have somebody else on it" Who cares about helping people?
Somebody seriously should.

I'm unaware of this sort of thing going on, perhaps this was
some time ago or off the list in some other forum?  If you'd like
to help here's a few suggestions:

 1. Find out which resources are missing and help to gather them.
    As I've mentioned, I'll be posting a list of missing box and/or
    screenshot images, later we should have additional
    'scavenger hunt' lists (rarer games, missing utilities, etc.).

 2. Write some new content that is not present on the mirrored site
    (for example newer game reviews, tech notes about how to
     get games working in modern DOSBox, new walkthroughs,
     strategy guides, etc)

 3. Take a lot of newer, higher resolution screenshots for the
     existing games, label them, and contribute them when
     that becomes possible.

 4. Think, dream and contribute some new ideas

 5. Find new old games that aren't yet covered by database

 6. Learn to program so you can get involved in code development

 7. Compile quotes for a new quotes database
 
Finally, everything has been mostly done individually (with some
exceptions) and many efforts are producing parallel websites.

This is not a bad thing.

Look at free software - competition is good.  Remember developers
are working for the love of it, not for any other reason.  To illustrate
the point (in the spirit of the old site and it's fantastic quotes
database)...

"Oh, I do hope not, I really do hope not. Pulling together is the aim of
 despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions."
    -- Terry Pratchet, The Truth (2000)

- Walter

Siddhartha Kasivajhula

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Apr 8, 2009, 6:01:45 AM4/8/09
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Nacho,
Your suggestions are right on! We DO need structure in the group. Without structure, there is no way to effectively utilize the manpower that we have here. Depending on which websites actually make it through this, a lot of good people here are already wasting their time. Talent in the community is being wasted. As you've pointed out, we are making several mediocre websites while we could be making one great website!
 
we can do major proper testing on the KEEP emulation project... which I'm committed to as I think emulation is really the only future-proof means of properly preserving this stuff.

Dan, I was not familiar with the KEEP project. But now that I am, I couldn't agree more. Collecting software would be useless if we lose the means to make it function. If integrated into our possible archive of games/software (more the latter), it could, by enabling functional access to the entire archive, bring the entire archive to life. Very cool. Sounds hard, though. VDMSound had a hard enough time just emulating all the different sound platforms for DOS. But something like this is surely indispensable if software is to be preserved for the ages. Good luck!


But what I will say is this: projects need project managers. Not community builds. That only works in long-term, relatively unstructured or additive projects. My suggestion would be a steering committee: elect six people onto this that best represent the diverse interests of the community. People put their names forwards, it goes to the group, vote them in. They then draw up the plan: everyone gets on board with the plan, puts up, shuts up, or leaves. End of discussion. A job list is drawn against the plan: this is released, volunteers come on board against specific jobs. And, critically, one person is elected to manage the whole thing, take responsibility for delivering the plan to the community: so it's a community agreed plan, drawn up by an elected committee, delivered by volunteers managed by a single person who is responsible back to the committee, who are responsible back to the community. But the key thing is that you have a named individual leading the project, who has a  plan to work to that has been agreed in advance. Working like this reduces the room for power battles and disputes to expand into and it's not too late to put it all in place.

This sounds pretty good to me...

-Sid

Andrew Armstrong

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Apr 8, 2009, 6:08:27 AM4/8/09
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I agree with the project manager/one site issue. We could put that site on the original domain with Sarinee's permission and actually have everyone work on one site.

I do not mind people leaping in, but seeing about 4 sites go up - well, they're all of widely different aims (some overlap, but just the layout is vastly different at least).

This is why I asked for a list of sites. I have also no idea if Lord_Pall is even going to post here again or is still a member - if not, there'll always be that divergent site, since he won't cooperate.

We need to critically look at what's been built, choose a reasonable solution from them, and work on getting that improved.

Andrew

Walter

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Apr 8, 2009, 6:29:41 AM4/8/09
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My take on things is this: I see us as a very safe backup host for the files. As far as the live site goes, I'm not sure what we can do, it'll certainly take longer, and there's no reason why we can't spread the files around as is currently being done. What I can do is take a full dump of the entire contents and put them in safe storage, and commit to updating this every couple of months, so the core files are protected and preserved, even if we're not actually *serving* downloads. How does this sound to everyone?

This sounds like a realistic option.

But what I will say is this: projects need project managers. Not community builds.

Don't like the sound of this...
 
That only works in long-term, relatively unstructured or additive projects.

Isn't that exactly what we've got?
 
My suggestion would be a steering committee: elect six people onto this that best represent the diverse interests of the community. People put their names forwards, it goes to the group, vote them in. They then draw up the plan: everyone gets on board with the plan, puts up, shuts up, or leaves. End of discussion.

In my opinion this isn't appropriate.

As I recall the database dump was released as creative commons, so I think that the
'put up, shut up, or leave' idea is totally against the spirit of that decision.

In fact, I would hope that the community would respond as a whole in this way to
the very notion being put forward.

I assume that the idea of the creative commons license was to move the data in to
the community, not to lock the data to one site implementation, lock the implementation
to a small group of power brokers, or lock the community's channel of input in to
some kind of bureaucratic hierarchy.  Because I don't think this is appropriate, and
I certainly don't think it's the best way forward for the old site, data, and community
in terms of developing the best possible resource for the future.
 
In terms of the ongoing stuff, my 5cents: two sites in parallel development will kill this project. Lord_Pall has worked bloody hard, regardless of what you think of his approach or results, and it's just daft to let a schism develop. Nacho is absolutely right, it's just a waste of time an effort developing parallel solutions to a problem we ALL want to solve.

Uhuh - so what's the problem?  As I see it, the inability at this stage to define the
future of the dataset and community represents the potential for new ideas and
outcomes, not some kind of horrible situation that must be avoided.

If the community takes the approach of supporting a particular rebuild, then that's
great - it means there IS no problem.

If the community still requires time to 'buy in' to a particular rebuild, from more than
one on offer, then that's great, as it means there's an active spirit of competition and
more than one alternative for people.  Quite likely, the result will be of a higher
quality.

And in the end, even after buy-in, if there are other sites using the same CREATIVE
COMMONS data set, for example Lord Pall's, then that's also great - the world's
that much richer.

However, if the community is killed through the establishment of a centralised decision
making body that it is impossible to truly elect (I mean really, nobody really knows
each other, on what basis can an election be made?) then it's ... well it's a sad day.

It's just a little sad that the number of people who have purchased domain names
without any kind of community involvement and thereby presented their own
implementations as having some form of community support is rapidly making
me feel like a change of name may be necessary for the implementation(s) finally
selected.
 
Thoughts?

I hope the community can make its own decisions on an individual basis and
participate with each other in a spirit of openness, instead of being cajoled in to
supporting some form of centralisation that a vocal subset of members
may put forward.  Right now the lack of a complete data set or engine for
its presentation means that the most important way forward is action.  It's
unfortunate that the action in question is the sort of thing that many of the
members of this group may not have the necessary background to get involved
in, but - as outlined above - there is still plenty of scope for everyone to join
forces and work on other areas for the moment.

Please don't bicker, let's just realise that this will take time.  If people aren't
interested in creating content or tracking down missing files, then perhaps
start by sharing ideas.  Just don't be negative and don't write off the concept
of community decision making by arbitrarily electing people to 'take control'.

- Walter

Siddhartha Kasivajhula

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Apr 8, 2009, 6:36:00 AM4/8/09
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It's great having 150+ people interested in the project but eventually
things actually need to get done.  If you have people in different
timezones, with different skillsets, and different amounts of time/
energy to contribute, I think the current approach of random
implementations is quite a pragmatic start.  Once we find a basic
site that the community wants to buy in to, then they can buy in in
non-developmental ways.

Walter, you have a point, but I disagree that polarizing our efforts at this early stage is not necessary. You're right -- we might eventually find one website that starts to gain momentum and people might want to get on board with this site. But this website could already be on a non-optimal path. Everyone will contribute to it and it will get somewhere, but will it ever get to where a structured, planned, effort starting NOW could go? And along the way, we would have lost many that were passionate and capable and could have contributed, but who no longer have time to waste on something that is not "theirs". If you spent months on a website and it didn't make it, would you be as diligent at helping out with the successful effort? We could lose good people. It's a risk that I don't know if you've considered.

What about the recent posts about sharing resources gathered
this far (SQL dumps, files, etc.)?  I think this is cooperation in
the truest sense, and confirms that implementors are keen on seeing
the site rebuilt regardless of whose efforts eventually receive
community approval.
This is good to see, but it is done because it is "mutually" beneficial, and competition is implicit. It is also ad hoc -- there is much, I think, that can be said about good planning.


Third, Unite, Discuss, Decide. Easy...but why nobody listens to this?
Well, instead of talking in generalisations, how about you provide
some practical suggestions as to how non-developers can provide
support at this early stage?

Good call. We should get specific on things like this if we are to make progress. Perhaps one way is in defining a specification from a user point of view. The interface, the look and feel, what features are desired -- these aren't necessarily developer roles, and only demand a critical eye for detail and convenience. If we form a structured community similar to what Dan is proposing, we would have an infrastructure that would allow such suggestions to be made, heard and be useful. What do you think?

Regarding your suggestions 1-7, I feel that it is very difficult for a newbie to take initiative on his own to discover what needs to be done. Maybe you would be interested in creating some sort of Wiki that would help people get up to speed, then they would be able to implement your suggestions more effectively.

Andrew, I'm glad you started that other thread about listing websites. It helped me get caught up some.

-sid

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Walter

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Apr 8, 2009, 6:42:06 AM4/8/09
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It's great having 150+ people interested in the project but eventually
things actually need to get done.  If you have people in different
timezones, with different skillsets, and different amounts of time/
energy to contribute, I think the current approach of random
implementations is quite a pragmatic start.  Once we find a basic
site that the community wants to buy in to, then they can buy in in
non-developmental ways.

Walter, you have a point, but I disagree that polarizing our efforts at this early stage is not necessary. You're right -- we might eventually find one website that starts to gain momentum and people might want to get on board with this site. But this website could already be on a non-optimal path. Everyone will contribute to it and it will get somewhere, but will it ever get to where a structured, planned, effort starting NOW could go? And along the way, we would have lost many that were passionate and capable and could have contributed, but who no longer have time to waste on something that is not "theirs". If you spent months on a website and it didn't make it, would you be as diligent at helping out with the successful effort? We could lose good people. It's a risk that I don't know if you've considered.

I don't think there's any risk of 'losing people'.  HOTU has been running for years,
and the community of enthusiasts for gaming heritage is not going away just
because a particular (and in my opinion, the best ever) website in that area
takes a bit longer to get back on its feet after a few years of neglect and some
bad luck.
 
Third, Unite, Discuss, Decide. Easy...but why nobody listens to this?

Well, instead of talking in generalisations, how about you provide
some practical suggestions as to how non-developers can provide
support at this early stage?

Good call. We should get specific on things like this if we are to make progress. Perhaps one way is in defining a specification from a user point of view. The interface, the look and feel, what features are desired -- these aren't necessarily developer roles, and only demand a critical eye for detail and convenience. If we form a structured community similar to what Dan is proposing, we would have an infrastructure that would allow such suggestions to be made, heard and be useful. What do you think?

Great idea.  I was trying to solicit ideas a week or so ago, but received almost
no response.
 
Regarding your suggestions 1-7, I feel that it is very difficult for a newbie to take initiative on his own to discover what needs to be done.

Right, that's why as I already mentioned I for one will be publishing lists of things
that are missing... and hopefully build some way for people to contribute missing
items.  Of course the community as a whole will have access to the compiled
results.
 
Maybe you would be interested in creating some sort of Wiki that would help people get up to speed, then they would be able to implement your suggestions more effectively.

Sure, I'll do it tonight.

- Walter

Maedi Prichard

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Apr 8, 2009, 6:49:48 AM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
I think a centralised effort is an immediate necessity. Duplication is not how an open source movement should be organised.  I think infrastructure, website software etc, need to be discussed openly with the community.

As I recall the database dump was released as creative commons, so I think that the
'put up, shut up, or leave' idea is totally against the spirit of that decision.
Walter, I don't think that's what Dan's saying. We are not trying to create a monoculture, but a community that is working proactively to a common goal. 4 or so websites insinuating a HOTUD authority is not proactive.

However I have not had these same issues with the Macintosh Garden revival project (http://macintoshgarden.org) which is a much smaller movement. So far I am the sole developer, as a result I have been able to work quickly (similar to these HOTUD duplication projects) but throughout the process I have requested feedback from about a dozen mac abandonware enthusiasts who've I've been in contact with.

And along the way, we would have lost many that were passionate and capable and could have contributed, but who no longer have time to waste on something that is not "theirs"
I think for the benefit of everyone, we need to start from the beginning - discuss user interface, aims etc. Walter I understand you tried to do this earlier, I wasn't aware of this group then, and now I'd like to help out. There's a great mix of talent here, I think this is the beginning of something great.

Maedi

Andrew Armstrong

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Apr 8, 2009, 7:00:26 AM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
Just to be straight: the data wasn't ever licence under creative
commons. You realise factual data cannot be copyrighted? It's a great
collection, but only a collection that - facts. The fact Sarinee doesn't
mind doesn't mean it's creative commons - there is a distinct problem
having every site branded as Home of the Underdogs.

The position of taking a "Anyone can build a site so let them" as I've
seen from my reading of things now I'm back from GDC is there is a
distinct lack of cooperation. If one site was worked on, people could
contribute information to one source, with one name.

Anything that goes against that, frankly, does look a bit bad for the
person saying it - like "This is my site now, you can't take it away
from me", and kind of power-mad - if you won't work on one site, why
would you ever make anyone else an admin? (for instance).

As for people contributing material to the group, fair enough, but this
is why one site would be better - it could be put on that site, not just
in the group (where large files can't go anyway).

This is no bickering. If you think it is, please re-read what Dan
posted. We do need some project management, especially if the files are
going to be hosted by Dan, where he wants only a limited amount of
people to have access so the repository is actually a proper archive of
files and not just a FTP share.

Andrew

Walter

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Apr 8, 2009, 8:59:34 AM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
Maybe you would be interested in creating some sort of Wiki that would help people get up to speed, then they would be able to implement your suggestions more effectively.

Sure, I'll do it tonight.

Wiki now online @ http://wiki.hotu.pratyeka.org/

Go nuts.

- Walter

Walter

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Apr 8, 2009, 9:14:44 AM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
Just to be straight: the data wasn't ever licence under creative
commons.

How can you say that without even checking?

I hate to burst your bubble, but this is direct from the excel file:

Home of the Underdogs Master Database File - released on March 2, 2009 under Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license (more info at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). All public display or modifications of contents of this file must be made with the attribution "Home of the Underdogs"

 
You realise factual data cannot be copyrighted?

I'm no copyright expert, but I'll wager you aren't either.
 
The position of taking a "Anyone can build a site so let them" as I've
seen from my reading of things now I'm back from GDC is there is a
distinct lack of cooperation.

Who are you, the police?

It's nobody's right to STOP people building sites
with public information.

As far as I can tell, the reason there's been minimal
cooperation is that people are just getting started, with
the exception of Lord Pall, who seems to have decided
to vanished entirely.  And fair enough.  With the amount
of positive input vs. flag waving around here I can see
why.
 
If one site was worked on, people could
contribute information to one source, with one name.

True, but how do you reach an agreement on what people
want? You can't vote on everything, so developers have
been getting stuck in, and people can raise issues as
they go.

If you'd like to start to define some kind of ideas list
or requirements list and joining forces to build
something from scratch: fair enough.  The wiki's
online, write your ideas there, and everyone can
participate.

On the other hand, a 'put up or shut up' model gives
absolutely no incentive for a minority of power-brokers
to actually listen to people.

- Walter

Nacho

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Apr 8, 2009, 9:38:47 AM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com

My take on things is this: I see us as a very safe backup host for the files. As far as the live site goes, I'm not sure what we can do, it'll certainly take longer, and there's no reason why we can't spread the files around as is currently being done. What I can do is take a full dump of the entire contents and put them in safe storage, and commit to updating this every couple of months, so the core files are protected and preserved, even if we're not actually *serving* downloads. How does this sound to everyone?

Yes, that could be a good approach! On the other side we'll need to find a nice and strong store platform where people can update content on a daily basis, being also the central repository for all the content hosted in the website(s). The backup storage could act as a monthly mirror update of this central storage platform...


There is a degree of self-interest at work here of course - it means we get access to the files ourselves, which means we can do major proper testing on the KEEP emulation project... which I'm committed to as I think emulation is really the only future-proof means of properly preserving this stuff. But it also means we've got a budget and a vested interest in keeping stuff safe.

A solid backup platform should be a must and part of the backbone of HOTU, so not anymore we'll have to go around building and rebuilding again. On the meantime, who could host the storage facility?


But what I will say is this: projects need project managers. Not community builds. That only works in long-term, relatively unstructured or additive projects. My suggestion would be a steering committee: elect six people onto this that best represent the diverse interests of the community. People put their names forwards, it goes to the group, vote them in. They then draw up the plan: everyone gets on board with the plan, puts up, shuts up, or leaves. End of discussion. A job list is drawn against the plan: this is released, volunteers come on board against specific jobs. And, critically, one person is elected to manage the whole thing, take responsibility for delivering the plan to the community: so it's a community agreed plan, drawn up by an elected committee, delivered by volunteers managed by a single person who is responsible back to the committee, who are responsible back to the community. But the key thing is that you have a named individual leading the project, who has a  plan to work to that has been agreed in advance. Working like this reduces the room for power battles and disputes to expand into and it's not too late to put it all in place.

Perhaps this idea could be voted on, as not everybody thinks in the same way as some of us. 
What everybody else thinks? 

Maedi

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Apr 8, 2009, 9:53:27 AM4/8/09
to Home of the Underdogs Revival Project
> Perhaps this idea could be voted on, as not everybody thinks in the same way as some of us.
> What everybody else thinks?

I agree that a project management team is required.

> True, but how do you reach an agreement on what people
> want? You can't vote on everything, so developers have
> been getting stuck in, and people can raise issues as
> they go.

It is hard for the 130 odd people here to effectively communicate what
they want through text messages. "Design by Community" is the best
option, please take a look at this article explaining the approach
taken for the drupal.org website re-design:
http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/comments/design_by_community/

P.S. Dan, I sent you an email a while back about hosting the Mac
Garden, perhaps it didn't reach you? A backup is a great opportunity
for the long term security of abandonware and I'd like to know if the
Macintosh Garden would be included in your project?

On Apr 8, 11:14 pm, Walter <walter.stan...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Just to be straight: the data wasn't ever licence under creative
> > commons.
>
> How can you say that without even checking?
>
> I hate to burst your bubble, but this is direct from the excel file:
> *
> Home of the Underdogs Master Database File - released on March 2, 2009 under
> Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license (more info
> athttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). All public display or
> modifications of contents of this file must be made with the attribution
> "Home of the Underdogs"*

Dan Pinchbeck

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Apr 8, 2009, 10:02:34 AM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
hi maedi

no - didn't get that - interested though, can you re-send?

Thanks!

dan

Maedi Prichard

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Apr 8, 2009, 10:05:21 AM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
No worries, will re-send.

Nacho

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Apr 8, 2009, 10:42:36 AM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
Maybe the level of coordination you are thinking of is not yet
appropriate?

It's great having 150+ people interested in the project but eventually
things actually need to get done.  If you have people in different
timezones, with different skillsets, and different amounts of time/
energy to contribute, I think the current approach of random
implementations is quite a pragmatic start.  Once we find a basic
site that the community wants to buy in to, then they can buy in in
non-developmental ways.  Anything more structured at this
early stage assumes a non community-driven (ie: centralised)
approach, which hasn't happened thus far, may not be a good
idea, and quite frankly it may be too late to create.

By my side, the problem is not about if the coordination is appropiate or not but not sufficient. The coordination is working now just but for tiny groups of more or less than three persons per each when they should be working together.

You're right that things need to get done, but they could be done in a more pragmatic approach: many people spent time and effort could be discarded if we continue going into a random implementation manner, because only one site should stay as the only Hotu revival project.

A nice approach to work randomly but towards a mainstream solution could be start using a common versioning system for all the code, like SVN, CVS...etc. Mercurial is a nice choice indeed for spreading a common code repository for all the developers.


That's a pity, since I think it's fair to say that everyone's
contributions are valued.

The problem is that even if everyone's contributions are valued there's not enough communication and understanding among us. All what I wrote there had been said many times in many ways, so that last one was a less softer call for talking about what's being left aside since the beginning.
 

What about the recent posts about sharing resources gathered
this far (SQL dumps, files, etc.)?  I think this is cooperation in
the truest sense, and confirms that implementors are keen on seeing
the site rebuilt regardless of whose efforts eventually receive
community approval.

Yes, this is a cooperative approach. If you see I tried not to express myself in absolute terms: the problem comes when you have four sites at hand being implemented instead of only one.
 
I personally find it a bit offensive for you to label people who are
jumping right in to the project as somehow working in the wrong
way and/or with 'short term' views.  That's all I'll say on this point,
though I'd also like to point out that it's clear that nobody actively
discussing things on this list is thinking in the short term, at
least technically.

I did not want to be offensive to anybody. My apologies if you felt offended in any way: I never said that it was wrong to work like this or that, but in my opinion there are other cooperative ways more productive to get things done, and it's related to working everybody together. If I implicitly criticized your way of working it was not my intention (sorry again, sincerely).


If you have some actual points to make regarding middle and
long term concerns that people on-list may be missing, a
reasonable and certainly more useful approach may be to raise
those issues on the list and explain your concerns, rather than
simply pointing the finger without contributing anything positive
that we can move forward on.

I've been talking about it since the beginning, so being a little tired about it I expressed my concerns in my former email. The email is not addressed to some individuals but to the whole community, and that was the best way to make a point about my early concerns.
 

 
Third, Unite, Discuss, Decide. Easy...but why nobody listens to this?

Well, instead of talking in generalisations, how about you provide
some practical suggestions as to how non-developers can provide
support at this early stage?

Non-developers can participate working on the organization of the community, and developers should take into consideration the opinions of those that have been actively wanting to cooperate. There are things to be done like to wrap up people, maintain a wiki for the project with contents, seek issues to be solved, track down all the efforts being done by other people, gather abandonware for the future site, debate and answer posts, look for hosting support, etc.

The "Unite, Discuss, Decide" goes to all the Developers, to avoid disagreements (as the Lord_Pall fork, of course). Everytime a new site pops out, it's coming from the personal view of an individual or a few persons (being inside a possible implicit disagreement). Don't you think that the regular hotu user will be at least dizzy about so many sites working around?

I for one have tried to solicit new ideas from the group to stimulate
interest and involvement from non developers, but have
frankly received almost no response.

There are some ideas on the way, and involve some time. In a developer approach most non-developers will have not anything to add about it. In the non-developer side it will depend on which tools are available for their involvement. So perhaps some people could wrap around and work on the wiki you just created (thanks! :D) and some other tools for making people to get more active.


I do so again below, hopefully we can get some more discussion
going this time around.

Some people offered they help (including me) and the only answer they
got is that somebody else was already doing what they thought that was
assigned to them. Even no mail was sent to tell "Hey man, don't do it.
Thanks, we have somebody else on it" Who cares about helping people?
Somebody seriously should.

I'm unaware of this sort of thing going on, perhaps this was
some time ago or off the list in some other forum?  If you'd like
to help here's a few suggestions:

It has been there, Walter: regarding a perl script for a full dump on the Hotu SQL Database Schema.
 

 1. Find out which resources are missing and help to gather them.
    As I've mentioned, I'll be posting a list of missing box and/or
    screenshot images, later we should have additional
    'scavenger hunt' lists (rarer games, missing utilities, etc.).

 2. Write some new content that is not present on the mirrored site
    (for example newer game reviews, tech notes about how to
     get games working in modern DOSBox, new walkthroughs,
     strategy guides, etc)

 3. Take a lot of newer, higher resolution screenshots for the
     existing games, label them, and contribute them when
     that becomes possible.

 4. Think, dream and contribute some new ideas

 5. Find new old games that aren't yet covered by database

 6. Learn to program so you can get involved in code development

 7. Compile quotes for a new quotes database
 

I see that on the wiki, good advice!
 
Finally, everything has been mostly done individually (with some
exceptions) and many efforts are producing parallel websites.

This is not a bad thing.

Not bad, but it tends to confuse the regular visitors and to create political issues among the developers (site A is better than B, no, B is better than A...no, C is better....!....). It can be very unmotivating to see that all your time and effort could be dropped later on.
 
Look at free software - competition is good.  Remember developers
are working for the love of it, not for any other reason.  To illustrate
the point (in the spirit of the old site and it's fantastic quotes
database)...

Yes, competition is good...but in the Unix-Programming hacker culture one of their goals is "Don't reinvent the wheel". :-)
We are creating competition inside our own project (!).


"Oh, I do hope not, I really do hope not. Pulling together is the aim of
 despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions."
    -- Terry Pratchet, The Truth (2000)

Mmm...it has a point. But we are talking about democracy, not oligarchy.
Actually, to push a development by one or two persons is a kind of oligarchy, don't you think?

Cheers,
Nacho

Andrew Armstrong

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Apr 8, 2009, 11:47:34 AM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
Fine, I was wrong on that point, thank you for pointing that out. In any case, the facts side cannot be copyrighted - if they have correct dates,  names and so on - that is available to any site willing to, basically, scrape for it. Building a DB of games doesn't require a database like this to get started :)

In any case, there is little point in going for multiple sites. I can't stop anyone or police it, I just see it as a big waste of time, as others have said.

This isn't flag waving, it's the truth, evidenced by Lord_Pall going off - it might be difficult to work together (he's left just entirely I guess), but it's much more worthwhile (as evidenced by looking at database structure and ideas here). I myself am not going to contribute to more then one site, why would I? why would anyone? Why fight for these contributors? Why fragment it all? They're not that widely different.

They also can't all use Portsmouth University for file hosting. Even if you disagree with working together, that is a sticking point you didn't address.

I'd much rather ideas be added to this google group - a wiki, fine, nice, but as it is, this group can't rely on an outside host at the moment, and Google pages are easy to reference and discuss on this list (and see changes) and have version control anyway :)

I myself am here for the archiving side. I have suggestions for providing downloadable database access, backup ideas, and necessary version control whether a site is editor controlled or community controlled.

Andrew

Brian Racer

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Apr 8, 2009, 2:11:23 PM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
I have been talking to Acharis a bit off-list and I do have a file-server that can be used as the canonical file store for the time being(it's already being used for hotu archival purposes).

It's an extra server I own that isn't doing much; gigabit link, raid 10 scsi sas drives, and the files are being mirrored nightly to a SAN my datacenter provides. If you would like an FTP account contact Acharis or myself.

If others have a dedicated server, I could also provide an account to do nightly rsyncs or something.

Also, it might be nice to have the ability to communicate a bit more real time. I know hotu had an irc channel, that might be a good idea for us. Right now I am idling in #hotu-revival on Freenode.

Brian Racer a.k.a. anveo

Walter

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Apr 8, 2009, 8:30:03 PM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
You're right that things need to get done, but they could be done in a more pragmatic approach: many people spent time and effort could be discarded if we continue going into a random implementation manner, because only one site should stay as the only Hotu revival project.

Well, I agree this would be a nice outcome, but it does seem
fairly unrealistic given that some people have taken the name,
launched a site, and excommunicated themselves from this group.
 
A nice approach to work randomly but towards a mainstream solution could be start using a common versioning system for all the code, like SVN, CVS...etc. Mercurial is a nice choice indeed for spreading a common code repository for all the developers.

I think they probably have their own repositories and own preferences,
I know I do.
 
What about the recent posts about sharing resources gathered
this far (SQL dumps, files, etc.)?  I think this is cooperation in
the truest sense, and confirms that implementors are keen on seeing
the site rebuilt regardless of whose efforts eventually receive
community approval.

Yes, this is a cooperative approach. If you see I tried not to express myself in absolute terms: the problem comes when you have four sites at hand being implemented instead of only one.

See my previous email for why I don't agree with this being a problem.


It has been there, Walter: regarding a perl script for a full dump on the Hotu SQL Database Schema.

You are talking about one of two things:
 - SQL dump of a populated database
 - code to populate the database

The issue with the former is that everyone's taking a different
approach (and this is not without benefits), which means
that the SQL data will vary between the current
implementations. 

It's important to realise that some of the data in the Excel
file is actually wrong, so dumping the results of a straight
import is not so useful.  (And that data is in the excel
spreadsheet anyway, which anyone can use)

Also, not all of the data required to rebuild the site faithfully
is present in the database dump.

The issue with the latter is that it's inherantly tied to the former,
ie: if one site implements multilingual data, and the other one
doesn't, then the structure of the database will be massively
different.

So as I mentioned earlier, wait a couple of days and I for one
will be happy to share a properly re-assembled dump of all
data, but it would come a lot faster if I didn't have to spend time
defending developers, defending the community from arbitrary
centralisation, and setting up wikis... though I don't regret
doing so. ;)

Finally, everything has been mostly done individually (with some
exceptions) and many efforts are producing parallel websites.
Not bad, but it tends to confuse the regular visitors and to create political issues among the developers (site A is better than B, no, B is better than A...no, C is better....!....). It can be very unmotivating to see that all your time and effort could be dropped later on.

Dropped by some kind of centralised body, though realistically
it can never be shut down - since everyone has the right to use
the data as long as it's properly attributed.
 
Yes, competition is good...but in the Unix-Programming hacker culture one of their goals is "Don't reinvent the wheel". :-)
We are creating competition inside our own project (!).

I disagree.  I feel that people are building rolling devices
in different ways, each with their own characteristics.
Some of them are wheels, some of them are rolling pins,
and some of them are MDMA tablets :)

- Walter

Walter

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Apr 8, 2009, 8:37:02 PM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
They also can't all use Portsmouth University for file hosting. Even if you disagree with working together, that is a sticking point you didn't address.

I think Brian's server will likely do a better job than the university anyway,
since it wont be limited to monthly updates.
 
I myself am here for the archiving side. I have suggestions for providing downloadable database access, backup ideas, and necessary version control whether a site is editor controlled or community controlled.

Great, let's hear them.

- Walter

Andrew Armstrong

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Apr 8, 2009, 8:57:52 PM4/8/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
Here's the first archival suggestion: Not using Portsmouth at all gives no plan for if Brian disappears off the face of the earth (no offence Brian, but stranger things have happened :) like Sarinee's host going out of business!). I'm not sure Dan ever said that the repository would only be updated once a month, in fact previously he said there'd be instant upload access for certain people (so someone can't just go in and delete everything), it's the off-site backup of the huge amount of files which is done monthly according to his post :)

The second thing would certainly to store a copy of the site in some form (whatever site that it is decided to use) tarballed up onto this fileserver available in case the original host disappears and it needs to be rehoused. The download site wouldn't be appropriate for storing all the images, html/scripts and DB, as Dan has said, but a zipped or tarball copy of that data doing a rotated delete and upload every week or so would be excellent for keeping it away from that single point of failure. Obviously if the site can do this automatically with a cron job, even better.

Any file uploads or changes, if it was put into an interface rather then pure FTP, would be worth logging. Files do sometimes necessarily change, but old versions are sometimes handy to have around for comparison and repair work.

I'm not saying however that mirrors wouldn't be a good idea - Brian could be the primary mirror even if his bandwidth limit is high enough, so support for having a file downloaded from multiple hosts would be necessary (in some cases the files are made available from whoever owns the copyright - win/win if those are linked to of course).

With game patches, the internet archive now has a Videogame Patches collection I am working on (we won't have an abandonware collection btw, it's just not worth the hassle, but will be putting up legally free games in a collection if we can get help). This would be worthwhile to use as a mirror, especially since their storage and backup solution is superior to most web hosts, and also means it is more open to general searches for just patch files - if you already own the game, you might not think of looking on an abandonware site for patches for it. This might go for other related data in the future - I'm going to be looking into other software (eg: demos), media (audio, there's video collections already), and text (manuals probably, articles, faq's perhaps...who knows). If anyone does want to offer any help for this, out of the HotU project, I'll gladly take it :) I have enough to upload myself just with videos and patches right now.

It's not going to be a perfect repository for all videogame data, but it can be a perfect one for "abandonware" game data - the niche is an important thing to take into account, there are simply too many games to try anything broader :)

At all costs, it is making sure the site doesn't disappear is a priority that needs serious attention. This is one reason I'm a bit bemused to come back from America and see now several sites, not even just the two that started before I went away. I'm happy to help a site which does store its data off on more then one server, the metadata for me is probably more important then the cracked and legally dodgy copies of game files.

I've got some more opinions on certain aspects, but it depends on how a site works I guess :)

Andrew

Jim9137

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Apr 9, 2009, 5:48:42 AM4/9/09
to Home of the Underdogs Revival Project
Hey,

Sorry if I'm not actively participating in the site rebuilding or
whatever,
but I'm one of those 'regular' users of HOTU (been since the early
dawn of the site,
as a matter of fact), and just wanted to pitch in my opinion:
It's not a great idea to have several sites claiming to be HOTU
around.

I went aboard HOTUD, for the reason they got the site up first and
have a forum,
thinking it was the 'official one'. Turns out I was wrong, and now
there are four or six
sites claiming to be "Home of the Underdogs". I'm not sure about the
actual content,
but I think the name is still property of Sarinee, unless I'm
completely mistaken.

But even if it weren't, there's the huge issue that people simply
don't know what is the
'official' rebuild. I think a lot of the sites have good points, for
example HOTUD is
looking to expand the site and has a nice forum, while I really prefer
the more polished
layout (or copy, rather) of homeoftheunderdogs.net. I find it more
functional and less
cluttery. This might reek that I'm waving a flag for cooperation, and
I am, but it's not my
point.

My point is, that it'd be much better to have one centralized site, no
matter how the actual
work is done towards it. You guys could go and make several dozens of
sites, and it's probably
even necessary for testing, demonstrating and whatnot - as long as
they are not claiming
to be HOTU, or the relaunch of HOTU, as now most of them are.

To have one site where the best bits are eventually incorporated, with
one fixed community
(has anyone considered that having 4 sites with 4 different forums
will splinter this 'hardcore
fanatic HOTU community'?) that can happily dibble and dabble about,
and also focus on
pooling new resources, data, games, images, boxshots and whatnot
instead of the effort
being splintered across the skynet, since there is no guarantee it
will ever concentrate
without hassle.

Walter raises good points, and I don't development should be
restricted so much (though
I have little experience of development projects), but it's important
to make sure there is only
one site for the HOTUist to go - otherwise they will get disheartened
when the google search
brings dozen sites instead of one, and they might just prefer to go to
say, Abandonia - which is a lot
more functional as a site and probably has a muchly more coherent
community than dozen different
sites could ever hope to have.

Where do these cents come from?

Jim9137
ex-Watchdog
ex-HOTU reviewee extraordinaire
Current Knyght botherer

Jim9137

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Apr 9, 2009, 5:49:25 AM4/9/09
to Home of the Underdogs Revival Project
Whoop, bad formatting. Sorries.

Sarinee Achavanuntakul

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Apr 9, 2009, 6:24:23 AM4/9/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
Hi everyone,

Sorry for having disappeared for some time. Actually I have been following this Group quite regularly; I just don't really have useful inputs most of the time because the technical stuff just went over my head :P

But reading Jim9137's post made me think I should say something here. Probably I should start by apologizing to everyone if I didn't do this in the best way possible. When I created this group, put up site info in Excel file for download, and announced that I entrusted the efforts of rebuilding the site to Dan, I thought it would be clear enough and that everyone would rally behind him and co-ordinate the effort.

I did think that a few people might run off with Excel file and quickly build some "HOTU clone" sites in the meantime, but I didn't think that that would be a "problem." I mean, I think it's great that some people took the time to clone/remake HOTU in multiple places (disseminating the data was why I released it as Creative Commons), because that means people would have somewhere (or multiple somewheres) to read reviews or download game before Dan's systematic efforts (which is really the way I want the site to evolve into and that's why I really appreciate his offer to help) bear fruit.

I should have thought about the confusion this chaotic way of things would create, though, especially the possibility of having multiple "HOTU communities." So on that end, I apologize for perhaps causing most of this frustration.

I should make it clear that I want HOTU to evolve or be part of something larger, like the Gutenberg of Games, and so I never really thought of the name or the site as being "mine." So the only thing that matters is that any site that uses Excel data should credit HOTU for those original data, as stated in the Creative Commons license; this is what they all seem to do already.

I don't think multiple HOTU clones/remakes is necessarily a "problem" except for the fact that it detracts people from helping Dan. If anyone thinks my saying "this is official" can help centralize volunteer efforts, I'd be happy to do that. I'm not really sure what I should be doing to help or improve the situation. Let me know, and sorry again :)

Cheers,
Sarinee

P.S. Jim9137! :D I like your "current Knyght botherer" status too :)

Maedi

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Apr 9, 2009, 7:03:07 AM4/9/09
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Hi Sarinee,

Thank you so much for lending a hand. I think right now, the general
consensus of this group is blurry - multiple efforts, no roadmaps. To
prevent the current standstill lasting any longer, I think you need to
put forth your "official" recommendation for the future of HOTUD - the
domain, the software, interface, values, whether you want there to be
only one official HOTUD website? And maybe other spin-offs with
different names. Someone does need to say, "'This is where we're
heading".

I don't think Dan wants to be involved with the immediate revival
project, but the fail-safe backup department instead.

Maedi

Jim9137

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Apr 9, 2009, 9:50:29 AM4/9/09
to Home of the Underdogs Revival Project
Undie. :)

Disregarding that I'm going to hide now, just wanted to mention that
apparently Lord_pall is busy moving and finding a new job (lost
connection for a week or so, apparently). So he might return to clear
up the shroud of myster around him, and more explicitly state his
goals and the role he is intending to take.

Jim9137
The One Who Will Hide from Her Wrath
> ...
>
> read more »

Sarinee Achavanuntakul

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Apr 9, 2009, 10:09:09 PM4/9/09
to hotu-r...@googlegroups.com
Hi,

Ok, this is the recap of what I "envision" (sounds very self-centered, doesn't it, sorry) --

1) There should be one "official" revival website. I think everyone who wants to volunteer should focus on this, because it will be a "proper" (in terms of legal, technical, and all other aspects) "next generation" of HOTU the way I discussed with Dan earlier via e-mails. It will take some time, but doing anything properly always takes time and I think it will be worth everyone's efforts. I don't care if the ultimate result will be called "HOTU"; in fact it might be better to call it something else, so that people can stop thinking of HOTU as being "my" site, and HOTU can be a part of something larger and cooler like the Digital Culture Archives (yes, I am making this name up :)) where people can add and edit content with some verification mechanisms in place.

Since Dan doesn't have time to "head" this project, we do need a project manager. Maybe this is the right time now, with 130+ members in this mailing list, to ask for candidates and then ask all of us here to vote?

2) In the meantime, anyone else who wants to quickly rebuild HOTU "as-is" instead of helping this "longer-term" revival effort is welcome to use my data as long as they abide by the terms of Creative Commons (attribution-noncommercial-sharealike). But to prevent users from being confused, they should put the word "unofficial" somewhere on the website, with a link back to this Google Group (or wherever the "working area" of official revival site happens to be).

Does this sound like it will help sort out all the confusion? If this is good enough, please feel free to refer people to this post. If anyone thinks I should personally contact Lord_Pall and heads of any other HOTU remakes/clones to make this clear and better direct people to help different projects, let me know too.

Jim9137 - wahh. Come back :(

Cheers,
Sarinee

kazagistar

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Apr 12, 2009, 9:55:24 PM4/12/09
to Home of the Underdogs Revival Project
I think that until someone releases their site and content under an
open license available from a code repository, multiple sites is a
very good thing. If everyone falls in step behind some leader, who
then disappears, everything is lost and we have to start over. If the
leader gives out the site's source code, however, then even if they
disappear, there will lots of people who are there to pick it back up.

And until they start accepting patches to the code, then it is still
OK for others to make their own projects... after all, breaking
monopolies over what code is accepted is one major reason behind
forks.

So make it a true community project, and we can work together to speed
up development and new features.

Jim9137

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Apr 14, 2009, 9:33:55 AM4/14/09