[sebhc] Welcome and bio

Deb and Glenn Roberts gfroberts at adelphia.net
Tue Mar 30 20:32:35 CST 2004

I still have the H8/H17/H19 (dual disk) setup I built back in '81 (or
thereabouts). Had it set up and running not that long ago.  It's held up
well, tho the HA-8-3 (sound & graphics) card hasn't worked in a while.  I
later built a H-120 and I still have that (dual floppy; green CRT), also
inherited an H-110 (also floppy) from someone somewhere along the way. And
of course I've got boxes and boxes of disks and manuals for all this stuff
(especially the H-100's).

I wrote a fair amount for REMark and Sextant back in those days - you may
recall that by writing in REMark you could earn Heathkits (I got a PROM
burner that way, which I still have as well!).  I remember writing an
article on how to manipulate the LEDs on the H8 (including a CK: driver to
show the time of day). Also wrote an article about how to squeeze more space
out of the HDOS disks.  It was truly "recreational computing" back then - a
lot of fun.

I think one of the nobler things this group could do is preserve what's left
from that era. The main thing in danger of slipping away from us right now
is all the software.  Where is the HUG software library now and can we
preserve it or re-host it?  Heathkit was way ahead of their time by making
the source code for HDOS available (this was way before Linux became a
household word).  But where is it now? Has it been scanned into electronic
format? Can we do that as a group? Does anyone have access to the old
listings?  And then there's HDOS-3.

I know I'd be happy to upload the various articles and utilities I have to a
central archive. I've also got some of the HUG disks, but not too many.

There has been a lot of discussion in various classic computing forums about
the concern over copyright. It's worth remembering that the purpose of
copyright laws is to protect commercial value of intellectual property and
to assure that any income deriving from it goes to its rightful owners. So
long as there's no longer a commercial market, and the purposes of the group
are to preserve the heritage I think we're operating under the "fair use"
terms of copyright law. It is my understanding that some have tried to
contact Heathkit about putting the old software in the public domain but to
no avail.  There are examples of enlightened posting of legacy code for
sharing and educational purposes - examples include Caldera's posting of the
PL/M source code for CP/M and Borland posting the old Turbo C and Pascal
compilers for free download.

So my advice would be to "ask for forgiveness not permission" in preserving
this valuable but perishable old software while we still can.  - My two

-          Glenn Roberts

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