OldVersion.com Needs Your Help

I just received this incredible email from Luna. I wanted to post it below for our users to know that, yes, while we have taken a long hiatus — we are here. We care. We want to help and are seeking intelligent collaborators. If you want to help with the oldversion.com project, please email ov at oldversion dot com.

And thank you Luna — for inspiring this post!

“Yeah I just want to say hello, and as I’m here, I also want to thank you for this very site. (Thank you for emailing us. Your email was a pleasure to read.)

I don’t know if you’re still around here (we are a little consumed with the disease of busy-ness, but we are here), but as I speak we’re close to 2016 and the motto “Newer is not always better” had never been so true. I mean, softwares become heavier and heavier, so much than people are forced to upgrade their hardware more (we also have to upgrade our socks and jeans more frequently as they are intentionally designed with less quality so you keep buying more and more. Is more a disease?) and more frequently, even if this hardware is just fine. I realized that with windows 8 and now 10: I have been a Windows boy since my childhood, sticking to XP for a decade (a decade? you sound like us!) to reluctantly upgrade to 7 (64bit became mandatory, and I’m okay with that). But I know for sure 7 won’t last as long as XP. It revolted me enough to start looking at Linux (it was a pain for me, ever-windows lambda user having known nothing but GUIs, and absolute zero programming skill) because the pace of windows upgrades is fastening too much for no (other than financial) reasons.

I tell you this because I then realized writing software is not just about code technique, it’s also about philosophy and having a defined purpose (such as in life). As you said somewhere on your blog, soft updates are not always bad and are even good when they serve a certain purpose.
Philosophically, it’s obvious that not every change is good, and the “new” isn’t always for the better. But somehow, this real-life evidence isn’t considered in the world of softwares: “automatic upgrade” are default choices on an immense majority of software’s, and people skip the “why do I upgrade” question as if the new is always, automatically better. There is many reasons for it, one of which is the very famous “for your security”. Hell, who doesn’t want “security” ? With generalization of automatic upgrade we stopped thinking about the “why” and we just let the thing go: after all progress can’t be bad, and security prevails. (We can’t let security be an excuse for poor design – in life or in software).

I could go on but don’t want to wall of text you (please, don’t worry about it). I just wanted to say “newer is not always better” had never been so true, and with the “automatic update” thing going on, the need of archives like your site will be more and more needed. (Thank you, the automatic updates definitely make it harder for us to archive, but any ideas are welcome — send them to ov at old version dot com).

Anyway, if you read it all thank you (time is money so I owe you some - you can send us some ;) !). You must know you are not alone thinking the way you are, in fact every day we grow more and more, realizing this simple, yet easily forgettable fact: novelty must have a clear purpose ’cause it is not good or bad by itself. And corollary, the old must not disappear. You are a poet, kind sir. Thank you for putting this so eloquently.

Cheers, and I hope you will keep up the good work, and gather collaborators to help you in this time-consuming task, as there’s plenty of us who share your philosophy and crave to participate to an overall better world & Internet. Once again, the need have never been so big. If you’re a willing collaborator, please reach out. We are seeking ways to improve the site and help it serve the current community in search for old software. ov at old version dot com.

(And please pardon my broken english) Luna.”

Alexander Levine is the founder of OldVersion.com. He started the site in 2001 after noticing that the new version of Napster used up all his system resources. You can follow his personal Twitter at @avlevine

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