This is the recovered Machine Room from 2005. Please don't expect wonders. The look and feel of this site is nine years
old, and so is its code. Some of the functionality has been recovered while the rest of
the site is modernised and restructured. Watch this space!
In making the Machine Room, the biggest stumbling block was finding
pictures of the computers. Some of the machines are rare enough for their
pictures to be rare too. Printed documentation may be lacking or missing
altogether. What printed material exists may have overly restrictive copyrights
attached to it. In some cases, the material's copyright holder may be difficult
or impossible to track down. And digital images of old machines are swapped
without taking into account the wishes of the copyright holders.
In the past years, I've been there. Once, a bona fide reader sent in
pictures that didn't belong to him. The actual owner turned out to maintain an
excellent site similar to the Machine Room. He took exception to the
uncontrolled dissemination of his own photographs, and with good cause. I
should have tried to track the pictures down, but I couldn't and I considered
the submitter trustworthy. All three parties could have avoided much distress if
a source of free pictures were available.
This works both ways, too. I've found my pictures (photographs of my collection, that I shot
and scanned myself) all over the Internet. Mostly, I'm very flattered, but I'd also like to be
credited. My own pictures have always been freely available, anyway ― but I wouldn't mind a
link back and due credit.
The Machine Room Picture Archive plans to make available pictures, both
freely available and copyrighted (with their owners' explicit permission, of
course). Material will be available under different licenses and terms and the
owners' copyright and wishes will be honoured. This may include:
- Making available only lower resolution images.
- Adding copyright and ownership notices as comments within the image.
- Providing links to the owners' web sites and pictures.
- Providing these links in lieu of high resolution images.
- Stating the owners' copyright at all times to establish a point of
reference for dispute resolution.
- Using tell-tale prefixes to name images, as most downloaders keep the filenames intact.
I'm no purist, though. For better or worse, I believe that pictures of old
computers are an invaluable historic resource, and should be available to the
general public, whether freely, or under terms and conditions. As such, I'm
willing to go into some grey areas, such as reproducing copyrighted material
belonging to companies that have disappeared. This is regrettable, but
necessary. I last saw a real BIT 90
in 1984. As of this writing,
I don't know what
became of Bit Corporation
, but if I found a full-page
advertisement of this computer, I would scan it in and use it.
Regardless, however, I will
respect the wishes of copyright holders who
contact me to request removal of material.
In the next months I'll be shooting high resolution digital photographs of
numerous machines in my collection. These will all become available under the
GNU Public License, suitably clarified to define the meaning of 'source code'
in the context of photographs. I'd like to invite webmasters and other
copyright holders to do the same, so that precious photographic material is not