Website

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Website Upgrades

I just upgraded a number of components on both my website and server, as well as made a few backend configuration changes. If you notice anything not working correctly, please let me know.

How to Install and Configure MS-DOS 6.22 (Yes, Really)

I just posted an extensive new HOWTO regarding How to Install and Configure MS-DOS 6.22. I'm sure you're probably thinking, "WTF?", and you have every right to, so let me paste a bit from the HOWTO introduction that explains why I bothered to take the time (quite a lot of time, actually) to write this up:

This walkthrough covers installing MS-DOS 6.22 from the original installation diskettes. Why write this in 2013? That's a very valid question, to which there are a few answers:

  • Setting up a fully working DOS system will give you great appreciation for how far computing has come. For old-timers, it will be a walk down memory lane; for youngsters who've never used nor even seen DOS before, it should be quite an eye-opening experience to experience first hand both how primitive DOS was and yet how capable it could be.
  • A working physical DOS system is the most authentic way to (re-)experience classic PC games. DOSBox does an amazing job of supporting DOS games on modern platforms, but for perfect accuracy, including the full memory management experience (which can be a game unto itself), a real DOS system can't be beat.
  • There is a dearth of detailed information about MS-DOS on the internet. This makes sense as MS-DOS predates the web as we know it today, but I don't want knowledge of this system to be lost to time. I did a significant amount of research for this project, and I want to document and share what I've discovered and re-learned for future reference.
  • Perhaps most importantly, why not? This project was inspired by a previous project to resurrect my old Packard Bell, my first computer that, not coincidentally, ran MS-DOS 6.2 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11. Rebuilding and enhancing it from a hardware perspective was a fun experience, and now I'm doing the same from a software perspective.

If you're curious, please continue reading, but take heed: geeky content ahead.

Website Issues

I upgraded part of my website a couple weeks ago, and made a configuration change that required updates to a number of files on the backend. I thought I had made all of the necessary changes, but I apparently missed a few. Someone just notified me of this earlier today.

If anything didn't seem to be working correctly lately (most visibly, UniExtract downloads), it should be working again now. If you notice any other issues, please let me know.

Legroom.net General Update

There hasn't been much news posted here lately, so I wanted to give everyone an update on what's going on in regards to the website and various projects hosted here.

Website Spam
As anyone viewing the forum or old posts has undoubtedly noticed, this site has been overrun with spam. Since moving to Drupal 6 a couple years ago, the anti-spam module I used never worked quite right, resulting in a lot of extra work on my part to keep things tidy. After a while I got tired of dealing with the spam, and have simply neglected it since then. This is not good for several reasons, not the least of which is that legitimate posts got drowned out by the noise and never received any attention.

I spent just spent a couple hours deleting all of the spam I could find, so all that should be left on this site are legitimate posts. Unfortunately, at this time I have no good way to keep it that way, which leads into my next topic...

Forum, Comments, and User Accounts
Effectively immediately, the forum and news posts have been switched to read-only mode, and the ability to create new user accounts has been disabled. The end result is that no one can post new comments or topics to either the forum or website, and no one that doesn't already have an account can (automatically) create a new one. I was hoping I'd never have to resort to this, but until I get the time to upgrade my site again and implement an entirely new anti-spam system, I simply have no other way to keep the site clean.

Continuing on the topic of users, I'm also working on cleaning up all of the accounts. Some quick math showed I have about 6500 registered accounts when I started working on this, and I can guarantee that over 6400 of those are simply for spam. As I have no great way to distinguish the difference between legitimate and non-legitimate accounts when dealing in this volume, I'm taking the following approach. Any accounts meeting the following criteria will be deleted:

  • Have never logged in
  • Have not logged in for more than one year
  • Has a last access time within one week of their account creation
  • Has a suspicious looking username

I have no doubt this will include some innocent and legitimate users in the mix, and for that I apologize. As noted above, though, I don't have a better way of dealing with all the spam right now, and drastic actions are needed to get things back in order.

If you have a legitimate need to access the site, e-mail me. I can still create accounts manually. If you want to use the forum to post a question about Universal Extractor, I recommend posting to the MSFN forum instead. A bunch of great people frequent those forums, and you're more likely to get a timely response from them then from me for the foreseeable future. For anything else, e-mail me. My address isn't that hard to find if you really need it.

Software Projects
This really isn't anything new, but just to formally announce it: for now, all Legroom.net software projects are on hiatus. This does not mean that I've abandoned them or no longer plan on working on them, just that I don't have the time and/or desire to do so right now. As I said, this isn't anything new - most of this site in general has been on hiatus for a couple of years, so not much will change. When I resume development, don't worry, I'll be sure to post an update. :-)

Legroom.net SSL Certificate Changes

The SSL certificates used by this website and other related Legroom.net services are expiring soon. As a result, I'm taking this opportunity to revamp the process I use for generating and managing my certificates. The end result will (at least I hope... ) be more flexible and easier to maintain system for me, with less interruptions necessary for my visitors going forward.

Unfortunately, this change also means that all existing Legroom.net certificates are no longer valid (if you received an error when viewing the page through an "https" link today, this is the reason). If you use the SSL version of this site or Legroom.net e-mail, you will need to update your copy of the Legroom.net certificate. In order to do so, please refer to the new Legroom.net SSL Certificates page I created. It's also available through a handy link in the Navigation menu on the left side of the site.

This page covers why I use self-signed certificates on this website, what that means to you, how Legroom.net certificates work, and how to install the Legroom.net CA certificate in a few common browsers and mail clients.

Please let me know if you encounter any problems.

Universal Extractor Download Links

I've just been notified that the download links for Universal Extractor have not been functional, returning a 404 Not Found. This was the result of an inappropriate and inexcusable action taken by the shitty webhost currently hosting these files. I will consequently likely be moving the files soon to another host. In the meantime, the download links are working again. If you notice any similar problems in the future, please e-mail me ASAP.

Legroom.net Copyright and Licensing

Information regarding copyright and licensing of Legroom.net content and software has always been apart of Legroom.net, but it hasn't been available in a clear or consistent manner. I'd like to change that.

Historically, all software made available through Legroom.net has been licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), version 2. All original content on the site (posts, howtos, etc.) has been copyrighted to me, with (as the saying goes) all rights reserved. This arrangement has worked pretty well for a number of years, but there are a few deficiencies I'd like to address:

  • License information for software is generally not clearly presented, often only available in the source code itself. This has lead to numerous inquiries over the years from users and developers interested in using my software.
  • A few developers have expressed concern about my choice of the GPL for some software, as the "viral" nature of it can make it difficult to use my software with other, non-GPL software.
  • I'd like other people to be able to reuse my content (with certain limitations) where beneficial, but the default copyright noticed I've displayed doesn't make this at all clear.
    • I've been giving this a lot of thought over the last few months, and have decided to make the following changes:

      • All original content (mostly text) on Legroom.net will be available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This basically allows the content on this site to be reused for any purpose, with two restrictions:
        • Any reuse or derivation of my work must be properly attributed
        • Any reuse or derivation must be redistributed under a similar share alike license, to ensure the work remains "free"

        Complete details can be found in the link above. The copyright notice at the bottom of all Legroom.net pages has been updated to reflect this change.

      • Unless otherwise indicated, all of my software will (eventually) be relicensed under the GNU General Public License, version 3. This license change will take place on a per-application basis as new versions are released, which is why it will likely take some time to fully complete. Additionally, license information will be added to each application's web page to make this more clearly available.
      • Inno Setup CLI Help and Modify Path (Inno Setup Pascal script) will instead be relicensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), version 3. Since these application components are meant to be used in conjunction with other programs, the use of the GPL, as noted above, can make it difficult to incorporate into programs using non-GPL-compatible licenses. Switching to the LGPL should provide a reasonable compromise between allowing these components to be more widely used, while also preserving their freedom as much as possible. New versions of each will be released shortly to make the license change official.

      In addition to the above, I also plan on creating an "about" page at some point that contains a summary of this information, as well as contact information and other appropriate information about the website. Hopefully, all of these changes will help to make Legroom.net licensing and copyright information clearer and easier to understand, and allow my work to be more easily used by others (while keeping it free for everyone).

      Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome.