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article imageWhere can you find old software?

By Alexander Baron     May 12, 2013 in Internet
Are you one of those people who doesn't automatically equate change with progress? If so, you might like to check out the previous version. Or older.
Take a gander at the screengrab below. If you have to ask "What is a command prompt", chances are you were born or grew up in the age of Windows. Believe it or not, there are some people who are still using DOS programs. "What's DOS?" Hmm, this is the program on which a certain Mr Gates built his fortune; it helped make him for many years the richest man in the world.
If you are using an IBM compatible, your computer will still have a DOS prompt, although it is now called a command prompt and is hidden away somewhere you may never see it.
DOS programs are not Windows-compatible, so you can't cut and paste from them, but many of them have an Olde World charm, like the dedicated word processor WordStar, which is still big in India, as well as Venner Road, Sydenham.
A DOS prompt showing the directory where a certain contributor keeps his articles.
A DOS prompt showing the directory where a certain contributor keeps his articles.
Recently, the Internet Archive opened the Software Archive, which was built by techno-historian Jason Scott. It includes books, manuals and magazines as well as actual software.
There are also smaller websites dedicate to the old version, like one called simply Old Version, and another called OldApps. How long have apps been around? Yet some are already obsolete.
You can download all this old stuff and use it for free - does anyone pay for software anymore?
There is another good reason you might want to do so. There used to be something called the 80/20 rule, which in a software context means that roughly 80% of users will use only 20% of a program's functions. Today, some programs are so enormous and have so many additional functions that even the most dedicated user will ever use only a tiny fraction of them, and some can be quite difficult to navigate. If you don't want to wade through reams of menus or install massive programs in a long and complex process, an older and simpler version may be what you're looking for.
More about wordstar, ms dos, jason scott
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