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Science Technology

Digital Domesday Rescued By Emulation 395

eefsee writes "The BBC announced that the Digital Domesday project which had become unusable has now been revived thanks to the successful emulation of a 1980's era Acorn computer. Folks at Leeds University and University of Michigan did the emulation work. This is just one early indication of how difficult it will be to maintain our digital heritage. Note that the printed Domesday Book, on which the digital project was modeled, is still quite accessible after almost 1000 years."
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Digital Domesday Rescued By Emulation

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  • by tps12 ( 105590 ) on Monday December 02, 2002 @03:42PM (#4795660) Homepage Journal
    I'm curious as to whether this is technically legal under the DMCA. We all know that emulation is almost always in violation of intellectual property laws (doubly so when it is used to steal video games, as in MAME, Stella, and WINE), and I don't know why this would be any different. The Acorn ROM is probably proprietary. I'd hate to see such a valuable educational resource be marred by the taint of theft. Why don't we just start over and do it right rather than make up for our past errors by stealing?
  • by Trusty Penfold ( 615679 ) <> on Monday December 02, 2002 @03:44PM (#4795684) Journal
    It is spelt "Domesday" It is pronounced "Dooms-Day"

    Blame the French.
  • by Chester K ( 145560 ) on Monday December 02, 2002 @03:46PM (#4795692) Homepage
    This is just one early indication of how difficult it will be to maintain our digital heritage.

    If something is truly of importance, it will be ported forward to new technologies before the existing technology becomes so out of date that recovering it becomes a Herculian effort, or it will also co-exist in a more future-proof medium. Otherwise it's simply dead data that's more than likely never going to have a need to be accessed again.... not every bit needs to be held forever.

    Would the world have stopped turning if this little chunk of history gone unrecovered? No. Are there other forms of media (books, videos, music) from the 1980's that would have answered the same questions about culture and society that the data in this archive answers? Definately.
  • Re:Phew (Score:2, Funny)

    by unicron ( 20286 ) <> on Monday December 02, 2002 @03:47PM (#4795701) Homepage
    Your karma pimp wants his money.
  • Abandonware (Score:4, Funny)

    by slipkid ( 442316 ) on Monday December 02, 2002 @03:52PM (#4795748) Homepage Journal
    The Domesday Project is now officially abandonware...

    Rumor has it that MAME 0.7 [] will support it.
  • Re:Phew (Score:2, Funny)

    by Salsaman ( 141471 ) on Monday December 02, 2002 @03:59PM (#4795799) Homepage
    It's a fair cop, guv.

  • by skinfitz ( 564041 ) on Monday December 02, 2002 @04:06PM (#4795867) Journal
    Good point - in that case, shouldn't Apple be able to sue themselves over the "Classic" emulation in OSX?
  • by Flamesplash ( 469287 ) on Monday December 02, 2002 @04:08PM (#4795877) Homepage Journal
    Acorn Computer

    Damn, and I thought the Professor was all that by making a radio out of a coconut. A computer in an acorn? DAMN!
  • Re:So why (Score:2, Funny)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday December 02, 2002 @04:24PM (#4796013)
    a recent visit to the Science Museum in London revealed many Acorn BBCs/Masters still running various demos - as per my last visit about 15 years ago ... (probably not the same machines mind...)

    interestingly a large number of NT based demos were not running due to DHCP errors - many of them displaying the errors prominently on huge projectors...

    Hmmm... that could explain something. On my last visit, Charles Babbage's Difference Engine seemed to be hung up as well. It just sat there motionless the whole time I watched it. I suppose it might have been experiencing the same DHCP errors as the NT boxes.

  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Monday December 02, 2002 @04:28PM (#4796034) Journal
    the digital data will have disappeared, and the testimony on your stone monuments will be one of the few surviving original source records from the era.

    I can see it all now. LUGs getting together to make testimonial stone glyphs testifying to the Ages their opinions of the character of their least favorite politician or software company.

    • We have gathered together to have this monument built as a testimony to the ages of our opinion of Mr. X.
    • We recognise that much of what we know will not survive our age and our time. And therefore we want to make sure that the following is known to the ages.
    • That He was rich through the sale of inferior goods
    • That the inferiority was such as to cause many people to also become wealthy throught the repair and maintenance of these goods
    • that the time and effort wasted in the repair and maintenance of these goods was a sore and a parasite on the health of our whole community
    • that the loss of these resources are a curse upon the land.
    • That therefore we place a curse on him and his descendents for the damge done to the future of our lives, and that of our posterity.

    You get the idea. Also applies to politicians.

    have a blast. Have it placed on you tombstone or something. or in the side of a cliff.

  • Re:DRM (Score:5, Funny)

    by C A S S I E L ( 16009 ) on Monday December 02, 2002 @04:41PM (#4796162) Homepage
    Actually, it's just as well the data was on videodisc rather than DVD. Otherwise, think of all the work that would have done on the emulator, only to arrive at the message

    Region Error

  • by Nefrayu ( 601593 ) on Monday December 02, 2002 @10:37PM (#4798546) Homepage
    Copyright? On a book written nearly a thousand years ago?!
    Stupid Sonny Bono...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @07:39AM (#4800318)
    There have been some electronic editions of medieval texts, notably the sole remaining manuscript of the poem Beowulf, which was written down in the early 1100s. Alas, it is proprietary, and you have to pay a rather large sum to the British Library if you want a copy.

    Does anyone know how much they would charge for a cluster of these?

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"