Just as early filmmakers couldn’t have predicted the level of ongoing interest in their work more than 100 years later, who can say what future generations will find important to know and preserve about the early history of software? While the notion that someone might go diving into some long outmoded version of Word might seem improbable, knowledge of the human past turns up in all kinds of unexpected places. Historians of the analog world have long known this: Writing, after all, began as a form of accounting—would the Sumerian scribes who incised cuneiform into wet clay have thought their peculiar angular scratchings would have been of interest to a future age? –Matt Kirschenbaum (Slate Magazine).
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4 thoughts on “How Will Historians of the Future Run MS Word 97? How Can We Save It for Them?”
I don’t know. This always seems like a slow news day non-story to me. People in the future should have no problem opening old files in new programs if they’re in anything like a popular format. And even if not, that probably means the program will be freeware or abandonware by then, not to mention that emulation will become simpler and relatively less resource-intensive over time, especially as the old OS becomes older…
Well, that would help us read a file, but using OpenOffice.org won’t help future historians understand just how annoying Clippy was. We want to be able to study the actual tools people in the past used.
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