One of the oldest software archives on the web, the Hobbes OS/2 Archive project is closing on April 15, 2024, after 32 years of operation
One of the oldest software archives on the web, the Hobbes OS/2 Archive project is shutting down as of April 15, 2024, after 32 years on the web.
The New Mexico State University (NMSU), on whose IT resources the archive data is stored, confirmed the statement about the future closure of the Hobbes OS/2 Archive. For more than three decades, this archive has been a key resource for users of IBM’s OS/2 operating system and its successors, which once rivaled Microsoft Windows.
In a media statement, an NMSU spokesperson explained, “We have decided to no longer host project files on hobbes.nmsu.edu. While I can’t go into details, we’ve had to evaluate our priorities and have had to make the difficult decision to discontinue our data storage service.”
The Hobbes OS/2 Archive main racks and servers are located at New Mexico State University’s Department of Information and Communications Technology in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The official announcement on the website reads: “After many years of operation, hobbes.nmsu.edu will be decommissioned and will no longer be available. As of April 15, 2024, this site will no longer exist.”
The earliest record of the Hobbes OS/2 Archive in the Internet Archive is the 1992 Walnut Creek CD Collection for offline distribution.
The Hobbes OS/2 Archive Project is considered one of the oldest software archives on the Internet, similar to the University of Michigan Archive and the ibiblio project at UNC.
Archivists such as Jason Scott of the Internet Archive have stated that files stored on the Hobbes OS/2 Archive are mirrored to several other locations, including OS/2 World.com.
Like many archives before the Internet, the Hobbes OS/2 Archive began as an FTP site and was then developed by several generations of students and developers.
Professional experts consider Hobbes OS/2 Archive an invaluable digital time capsule. There, as before, you can find the “Top 50 Downloads” page, which includes sound and image editors, as well as a build of the Thunderbird mail client for OS/2. The archive contains thousands of games, programs, utilities, software development tools, documentation, and server software for OS/2, dating back to the launch of OS/2 in 1987. There’s a certain charm to looking at the OS/2 wallpaper from 1990, and even the Archive Update Policy is a historical gem as it was revised on March 12, 1999.
According to experts, such a historical trace on the network is worth preserving, because the loss of one of the main archives of OS/2, even if it is copied elsewhere, would be a cultural blow.
Notably, the Hobbes OS/2 Archive used to almost disappear, but then got a reprieve for shutdown. “This is not the first time Hobbes OS/2 Archive has announced a release. It was finally saved after many complaints from a large number of students or teachers around the world who came forward to support the project,” one of the project participants told the media.
As the project’s final closing date approaches in April, the legacy of the Hobbes OS/2 Archive will serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving the digital legacy of software for future generations, so that decades from now historians can look back and see how everything in IT got to what it is today and will be tomorrow