The Machine Room
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The Machine Room is Back!
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!
Top :: Picture Archive :: The Machine Room Picture Archive

The Machine Room Picture Archive aspires to be a source for freely available images of old computers, contributed by their owners on their licensing terms and conditions.

To share and protect material, follow these steps:

  1. Register and Login.
  2. Set your licensing/sharing terms (you only have to do this once).
  3. Upload images.
  4. Manage your images.
Top :: Picture Archive :: Why, What, How?

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:

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 lost.