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+ - How can we keep software from being lost forever?

Submitted by TheRealMindChild
TheRealMindChild (743925) writes "Recently, I obtained a contract who ran some system critical applications on Windows NT 4.0 Embedded machines. They have been having problems with the system crashing and the application failing. Inspecting the machine, core DLL files were corrupt enough that they weren't even recognized as executables by utilities like depends.exe. It was pretty obvious that the system image needed rebuilt (no backup... how lucky). The client INSISTS that we not upgrade the system to a more recent Windows Embedded product. The previous contractor who set up the systems took all of the software with him, and convieniently, he can't be located. So I start my search for a copy of Windows NT 4.0 Embedded, somewhere... anywhere. Simply put, it can not be found, legally or otherwise. Contract issues aside, it started really getting me down that software can actually be lost in time. It is a sad state of affairs, as such things can be learning tools for the future, if even only about the history of how things progressed. Is there some sane manner of which we can keep this from happening? What are some solutions?

On a similar note, Magnussoft Zeta 1.5, released this year, seems also as impossible to find anymore. Ignoring the legal implications, this bit of BeOS history is quite a milestone for so many reasons. I went through contacting everyone that has even reviewed this operating system, and they all either threw it away or gave it to a friend (who convieniently doesn't have it anymore either). Something needs to preserve our software history, but I am completely lost on what I/we can do."

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