Where's That Old 286 Machine When You Need It?
from the reaching-back-in-time dept
Reader Dave submitted a story from the BBC on a push by the UK National Archives to ensure that older file formats can be read in the future, so that a “digital dark hole” isn’t created by incompatibility with modern machines. While it’s something of a puff piece hyping up a Microsoft deal with the Archives to cooperate on solutions to run virtualized versions of its older software, it does raise a somewhat interesting issue: as the amount of our digital archives grow, both personally and collectively, file compatibility with modern software and hardware could become a growing problem. Of course, as is pointed out in the article, the use of proprietary, closed file formats — like those typically favored by the likes of Microsoft — doesn’t really help, but hopefully raised awareness of the problem can help spare both national archives and individual users the pain of losing some of their digital history to incompatibility.