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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:14 am

In the past year I've come into my possession the entire 1,000 disk collection of Fred Fish disks. They are organized in Batches of 100. And inside each batch are literally 100 disks. One each disk is a random assortment of public domain programs, each with their own unique descriptions.

For example:
Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 10.01.33 AM.png
Folder structure of the Fred Fish archive

Code: Select all

amigademo   Graphical benchmark for comparing amigas. Author:
      Charlie Heath (MicroSmiths)

amigaterm   Terminal emulation program with xmodem upload/download
      capability. Author: Michael Mounier

balls      Simulation of the "kinetic thingy" with balls on
      strings where only the end balls move (quick, can YOU
      come up with a better description?). Anyway, cute.
      Author: Perry Kivolowitz

colorful   Shows off use of hold-and-modify mode. Posted to usenet
      by Robert Pariseau.

dhrystone   Dhrystone benchmark program. Author: Reinhold Weicker
      (Ada version) Rick Richardson (C version)

dotty      Source to the "dotty window" demo on the Workbench
      disk. Posted to usenet by Dale Luck.

freedraw   A small "paint" type program. Free drawing, boxes,
      filled boxes, etc. Author: Rick Ross

gad      "Fun with Gadgets". Demonstration program for use of
      gadgets. Author: John Draper (Aka "crunch")

and so on...

To my knowledge, there is not a single location on the internet with every disk and file available for easy browsing and download. Am I wrong?

Does anything think - if I could find a way - to upload all of these and catalog them so users knew which disk had what, that the community would find value in that? It would be a major undertaking, but I'm thinking it very well might be worth it. Literally thousands of PD programs folks could finally and easily browse and download.

What do you guys think?
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Willenhall UK

by Oojaplonk posted Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:40 pm

That would be an immense undertaking to do, it would be great for the community it is just whether it's feasible for you to do it, I'm guessing the main part would be the cataloging and identifying what is on each disk ?

I would see how long it takes to catalog and upload a certain amount ( say 10 ) as a trial run so you would know how long the project would take.
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Worksop/ UK

by ptyerman posted Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:57 am

All the Fish disks are on the Almathera CDPD I, CDPD II and CDPD III CD's, I don't know of any location that has the ADF disk sets though.
The EAB ftp server might be a good place to upload them if that's what you intend.
User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:08 am

@ptyerman I hear that. The CD-ROM images are on, too. But each CD is 650MB and there are 10 of them. The entire FF archive is a mere 440MB.

My thought is to basically create an archive here which would essentially be a Fred Fish Aminet. Someone suggested I upload them to Aminet and that made me swoon. Can you imagine trying to jump through the hoops to manually upload 1,000 disks over there?

No, there has to be a programmatic way or it isn't really worth it. From what I can see and from what I've learned, I believe some simple scripts can be written to put all of the disks into a database. Then, another script to generate the pages and text for each one (based on the 1000-paged text file that is floating around out there).

Later on, those indexes could be made to be searchable. I think the hardest part, to be honest, will be the front-end work.

I think this is very possible. It's a 2018 project idea at this point. And it seems to be picking up some interest. I'll keep mapping it out in the meantime. Will very many people use it? Probably not. But good lord - I know I'll use this vast treasure trove of over 8,000 programs much more easily if I can actually read about them and download individual bits here and there.
User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:13 am

For what it's worth, after reading about Fred (who died 10 years ago) I feel like his efforts deserve a bit more celebrating. The software is important, of course, but I guess a large part of this is me feeling his legacy should be preserved somehow beyond FTP servers and CD images. I kind of want to build it out.
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Worksop/ UK

by ptyerman posted Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:21 pm

They was popular through the nineties that's for sure! Every PD library in existence had the Fish disks listed.
It's really surprising that something like your contemplating hasn't been done, I've not seen a Fish disk collection hosted anywhere since the nineties except on CD.
Thinking about it, maybe a index off a PD library collection would be helpful in your efforts. One of them must have them listed as you envisage at least, it would save having to list everything again if you could copy and paste the listings.
User avatar
Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:41 pm

They are already on Aminet. Every disk can be downloaded individually from there. Well, sort of. You can't actually download the .adf from Aminet, they come zipped. It actually makes them more usable to a power user in one way... You can download the zipped disk onto Windows, then cherry pick what you want and then transfer that to your Amiga. Although personally I liked my previous source of Fred Fish disks which had the .adf's, I no longer have a source for the .adf's, just each disk zipped through Aminet.

^ This site also lists the contents of every single Fred Fish disk. So in a way, this has been done. You can just go to that site, do a search of the webpage for the type of thing you're looking for, then boom, you know what disk to get. You'd then have to fetch them from one of the many other sources.

^ Example from Aminet, which actually does have its own separate index (first file) like the first link. Aminet does not often feature separate individual downloads of the programs that are on the fish disks. Sometimes I imagine that's from people not putting effort into that, but other times the people giving the programs to Fred Fish made it clear that the programs were to only appear on Fred Fish disks, so in some cases it is both a legal and moral issue there as to why programs are not individually listed on Aminet.

The only way I'd see this to be of any use is if it's one single huge listing, much like the first link I gave out. That way people can search for the type of program they want. If they just want to search randomly for disk 578 and see what's on the disk, Aminet already does that, although it is a cumbersome method. If it could be like the first link but then also have a direct download for the disk here, then that would indeed be convenient, but I've never had any issues getting my Fred Fish disks. As for making a large searchable database in the vein of Aminet (Fred Fish disks are not searchable through their built in search feature), that would indeed be more convenient than using your browsers search feature, but I'd hope it would link to the entire disk that program is on, as stated before, some of these programs were only given to Fred Fish to be put on his disks, not to be separated from them and downloaded separately.
User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:34 pm

That's really interesting, Shot. I've seen (and copied) the site that lists every single disk's contents. But I hadn't seen all of the individual LHA's on Aminet. That's definitely interesting.

Maybe it's not worth it. I dunno. Here was my personal use case. I'm working on some research for the Juggler demo. I personally have been using version 2, made in 1987. But I discovered eventually that version 1 was on Fred Fish disk 47. I look at my personal archive, and get to disk 47. It looks like this:
Screen Shot 2017-12-24 at 8.30.15 PM.png

And that's when I got to thinking to myself... Not everyone probably wants to download all 440MB of Fred Fish disks like I did. Maybe they just want disk 47 (which I now know is on Aminet, in its entirety) but pulling the CD ISOs is the same thing as grabbing the entire set off FTP, except more economical.

That's when I though it might be cool to actually put the Fred Fish archive online, just like the Game Library, where each disk could be viewed independently, downloaded, and even programs downloaded. All of the software is PD and is actively encouraged to be dispersed... albeit it's being used less and less. And in the end maybe I would be only of the only people to use it, plus a small handful more.

I dunno. Interesting - and thanks for the info. That's helpful.
User avatar
Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:44 pm

What a pain in the butt way to go about that, zipping every single program like that. I prefer the whole disk being zipped like Aminet has it, although actually I prefer the entire disk via an adf... I'd give the link if they still existed, but sadly that site is no more. I mean Aminet is not exactly user friendly when it comes to the fish disks. They are all there, but listing 60 of them per page equals WAY TOO MANY pages. It's a pain pinpointing the disk you want, but for anyone determined (like I've always been) it's no big issue. It can be done better, this is for sure, but at the same time it has indeed been done to some degree.

And speaking as someone who has made great use of the Fred Fish disks, there are indeed many programs on them that make it clear in the programs readme files that they are only to be on the Fred Fish disks. Free to the users of the Fred Fish disks, shareware to the users of Fred Fish disks, and never to go anywhere else. Goes somewhere else? Not free anymore, will prosecute... Yeah, some of them were quite angry about that stuff.
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Worksop/ UK

by ptyerman posted Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:06 am

Would definitely be a good resource if ADF's were made from the disks. As I said before, I've not seen a Fish disk collection anywhere, not as disk images, there's no ADF's even on the CD collections.

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