Unconference B1

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  • Topic: Emulation
  • Location: Great Hall B
  • Time: 1-2PM
  • Participants: Julia Kim, Peter Chan, Hillel Arnold, Euan Cochrane, Rebecca Fairmow, Laurie Duke, Vicky Steeves, Karl Blumenthal


Julia's experience at NYU: Not all ISO's are created equal, or rather not all emulators read ISO's the same way--she's seen a lot of their early efforts fail to render. Now using DD. Euan and Peter raise the option of using FTK to make those DDs (relatively) easily.

Don thinks documenting Sheepshaver possibilities and workflows is a major project that needs to happen in order for all of use to exploit it better. Another grant is probably needed.

Euan asks what the most useful thing is that we could ask for from a grant. Don answers that it's a turnkey system like BitCurator.

Peter raises the CMU Olive Project. Euan reveals that they have a staff working on different emulated environments. The advantage there is the distribution and depth of the computer science capability!

Of course the problem is with running proprietary software from the cloud. Euan wonders if some kind of Spotify-like subscription service model would help. Don want to hire a team of lawyers to find us the loopholes we'd need!

Peter hears that CMU does in fact take down a lot of software upon request. Internet Archive presents the alternative model as someone who puts a lot online and waits for someone to stop them.

Rebecca raises that non-profits, especially small ones, are great partners for the above because they take risks--they're not such attractive lawauit targets and don't have the complex bureaucracies that slow these processes down. Can the repositories that store all of our digital files get ahead of the game? Instead of collecting just the files, collect the whole environment, so you have some way to run them when the time comes.

Euan has documented to process of moving a database from Windows 2000 to VMware in an OPF blog post.

Peter: Decision-makers can still be skeptical of emulation. They think it's cheaper and easier, after all. Our challenge remains to articulate the benefits to them. Julia recommends using things like the Theresa Duncan CD-ROMs to make that case. Jason Scott's work on the Internet Arcade is another accessible example.

Should a grant be pursued for something as discrete as an Emulation Conference that brings together vendors, researchers, technicians, etc.? Just bringing the vendors together could be its own useful separate track. Regardless, we need to step up the training and education (especially among funding agencies! They willy only fund us insofar as they understand us).

Euan has had good experience working with Microsoft to enable access to their software on-site and remotely for Yale staff. Are there others at places like Apple we can reach out to.

Euan wonders if there would be interest around this room and elsewhere in using bwFLA as a service.

Rebecca raises the issue of use cases--what cases do we have of researchers asking for emulations of original forms/context? Julia is looking into this a lot herself, and is noticing how difficult it is for researchers to use older systems. Euan recommends migrating everything early and often so you at least have a back-up.

Julia: So what do we do now, in the meantime? Peter: Keep moving images to new machines, because they will be much easier to work with even virtually. And virtual machines are the only sustainable long-term solution we now of today. Certainly you can't rely on running any of the physical machines for any meaningful length of time.