In a pass that marks the end of an era, Recent Mexico Enlighten University (NMSU) honest not too lengthy within the past presented the upcoming closure of its Hobbes OS/2 Archive on April 15, 2024. For over three an extended time, the archive has been a key handy resource for users of the IBM OS/2 working system and its successors, which once competed fiercely with Microsoft Dwelling windows.
In an announcement made to The Register, a advisor of NMSU wrote, “We have made the sophisticated resolution to not host these files on hobbes.nmsu.edu. Though I am unable to bound into specifics, we needed to evaluate our priorities and needed to find the sophisticated resolution to cease the carrier.”
Hobbes is hosted by the Division of Details & Communication Technologies at Recent Mexico Enlighten University in Las Cruces, Recent Mexico. In the legitimate announcement, the positioning reads, “After decades of carrier, hobbes.nmsu.edu will be decommissioned and ought to not be accessible. As of April 15th, 2024, this place will not exist.”
We reached out to Recent Mexico Enlighten University to question in regards to the historical past of the Hobbes archive but didn’t receive a response. The earliest file now we bear discovered of the Hobbes archive online is that this 1992 Walnut Creek CD-ROM assortment that gathered up the contents of the archive for offline distribution. At spherical 32 years inclined, minimum, that makes Hobbes one of many oldest instrument archives on the Web, such as the University of Michigan’s archives and ibiblio at UNC.
Archivists comparable to Jason Scott of the Web Archive bear stepped as a lot as negate that the files hosted on Hobbes are stable and already mirrored in assorted locations. “No one ought to disaster about Hobbes, I’ve bought Hobbes handled,” wrote Scott on Mastodon in early January. OS/2 World.com additionally published an announcement about making a judge. But or not it’s aloof famous at any time when such an inclined and essential piece of Web historical past bites the mud.
Like many archives, Hobbes started as an FTP place. “The fundamental distribution of files on the Web had been through FTP servers,” Scott tells Ars Technica. “And as FTP servers went down, they would additionally be mirrored as subdirectories in assorted FTP servers. Corporations appreciate CDROM.COM / Walnut Creek became ways to valid assemble a CD-ROM of the objects, but they would gradually find the recordsdata accessible at http://ftp.cdrom.com to assemble.”
The Hobbes place is a purposeful digital time tablet. You may per chance per chance well aloof obtain the Top 50 Downloads website, which contains sound and image editors, and OS/2 builds of the Thunderbird email shopper. The archive incorporates hundreds of OS/2 games, applications, utilities, instrument building tools, documentation, and server instrument dating back to the open of OS/2 in 1987. There is a obvious allure in working across OS/2 wallpapers from 1990, and even the archive’s Substitute Policy is a historical gem—last updated on March 12, 1999.
The legacy of OS/2
OS/2 started as a three plan partnership between IBM and Microsoft, undertaken as a planned change for IBM PC DOS (additionally assuredly known as “MS-DOS” within the find offered by Microsoft for PC clones). No topic evolved capabilities appreciate 32-bit processing and multitasking, OS/2 later competed with and struggled to find traction against Dwelling windows. The partnership between IBM and Microsoft dissolved after the success of Dwelling windows 3.0, leading to divergent paths in OS programs for the 2 companies.
Thru iterations appreciate the Warp assortment, OS/2 established a key presence in enviornment of interest markets that required excessive balance, comparable to ATMs and the Recent York subway system. This day, its legacy continues in specialized applications and in newer variations (appreciate eComStation) maintained by third-social gathering vendors—without reference to being overshadowed within the broader market by Linux and Dwelling windows.
A footprint appreciate that is price conserving, and an absence of one of OS/2’s fundamental archives, even though mirrored in assorted locations, is a cultural blow. It looks, Hobbes has reportedly nearly disappeared prior to but bought a conclude of execution. In the feedback half for a little bit of writing on The Register, anyone named “TrevorH” wrote, “Right here’s not the first time that Hobbes has presented or not it’s going away. Final time it became rescued after a couple of complaints and a couple of school students or college came forward to proceed to retain it.”
As the closing shutdown approaches in April, the legacy of Hobbes is a reminder of the importance of conserving the digital heritage of instrument for future generations—in sing that an extended time from now, historians can detect back and survey how issues bought to the place they are as of late.