Could we use something better than zip for the dmd package?

Vladimir Panteleev vladimir at
Thu Dec 22 21:53:07 PST 2011

On Friday, 23 December 2011 at 05:18:30 UTC, Walter Bright wrote:
> Not that easy, because will you really have the right platform 
> 30 years from now?

Enthusiasts have created portable open-source software emulators 
for many old platforms. Hell, you can boot Linux[1] (and UNIX V6 
on a PDP-11, for the other side of the spectrum[2]) in your web 
browser these days!

I would say that today's hardware architectures (and those from 
the past two decades) have acquired enough mass that they'll be 
accessible for the foreseeable future (our lifespans), mainly 
thanks to open-source emulators. The main problem is with 
copyrighted software: you can't buy a new copy of Windows 95, but 
you can't download it legally either.

Of course, storage media is a different matter.

> One of the reasons I switched from Outlook Express to 
> Thunderbird for email was the latter stored the messages in 
> plaintext, while the former in some secret encrypted/compressed 
> format. What are the odds you'll be able to get OE to run 30 
> years from now?

Indeed, proprietary file formats are the bane of archival. It 
doesn't seem to stop other software from importing data from 
them, though. Didn't Thunderbird have a feature to import data 
from Outlook Express?

Even using open-source software that stores data in simple 
formats may not be very futureproof. Future versions of 
Thunderbird may convert the data to another format, without even 
notifying the user (after all, the great majority of users don't 
care about such things). Remaining on an old version is risky due 
to discovered security vulnerabilities.

> My oldest file I still have is from 1977. The floppy data all 
> sit in a tiny corner of my hard disk.

Wow :)


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