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О «Железных призраках прошлого» гуманитариям

Эта статья прислана на конкурс.

Yermakov (автор участвует в конкурсе под псевдонимом)


Доброго времени суток! В апреле этого года в нашем университете проходила международная (она такой стала после того, как в списке участников появился один гражданин Казахстана) научно-практическая конференция «Изучение терминологии как составляющая подготовки специалиста». Я записался в секцию «терминология» и, воспользовавшись случаем, решил рассказать о даунгрейде людям, «знающим только офис».

Обязательным требованием было представление доклада и презентации на английском языке. Доклад я сочинил за два вечера, презентация представляла из себя отдельные выкладки из доклада на фоне сереньких «Роботронов», обложки первого выпуска журналов “Downgrade” и “Abandoned Times”, этим рядового посетителя сайта не напугаешь, так что выкладывать ее я не буду :-)

Судя по реакции зала, цель была достигнута: большинство слушателей поняли, в чем собака зарыта, даже живо задавали вопросы, что вообще удивительно. Теперь же я хочу представить свой доклад на суд профессионалов:



As you all know, nowadays there is enormous growth of PC performance. Engineers all over the world are constantly improving frequency, capacity and embodiment of different parts of modern computers, while software developers do their best to use all the recent hardware improvements in their products.

And, as you also know, it's a big business. Intel, AMD, nVidia, Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Google, etc. are making billions of dollars a year (e.g. 11,7 billion dollars for Intel Corporation in 2010). But does the technical progress lead to anything except for making large corporations rich? The downgraders doubt that.


Basically, downgrade is the process of retrieving software or hardware back to an older version.

More specifically, a downgrader is a person who finds old hardware and software functional and applicable for practical use.

Abandonware is software, no longer supported (abandoned) by its developers. Although the use of such software can be described as illegal, in practice abandonware is no longer marketed by its owner and is used without permission.


The word “downgrade” originates from the word “upgrade”, which has the opposite meaning. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, to upgrade means to improve (equipment, machinery, etc.) especially by replacing components. The compound word “upgrade” had its first part replaced by an antonym, that’s how the word “downgrade” appeared. And the word “downgrader” appeared due to an obvious affixation.

The word “abandonware” was constructed with the word “to abandon” and a pattern, usually used to describe kinds of proprietary software. (e.g. freeware – software, available for use at no cost; shareware/trialware – software, available for use at no cost during trial period). Abandonware joined the club as software, abandoned by its owners.

What makes and downgraders who they are?

Most downgraders are interested in technology, science and the inner mechanisms of IT. They are enthusiastic about bringing old hardware and software back to life.

The largest underground downgrade societies exist in the USA, in Europe and in Russia. The downgraders communicate through special Internet sites, blogs, social networks (phantom.sannata.ru, vogons.zetafleet.com, etc.). They publish online press (Russian "Downgrade”, Swedish "Abandoned Times"), sometimes even organize museums (There is a prospering one in Tallinn, Estonia). Downgrade in different countries can vary, but the main idea is that if a PC is rationally sufficient for completing some sort of tasks, it should not be replaced by a better one, unless the replacement is crucial.

Old systems and abandonware: actual pros and cons.


• Ultimate stability

• Downgraded PCs are perfectly defended against viruses and other malware, as, for example, it is hard to find a DOS-compatible malware that would not be detected by modern antivirus software.

• Much less power consumption

• Old PCs mostly use 200Wt power supply units, while modern ones need 400-1200Wt power supply units.

• Noise level

• Low heating means low noise level. It can be crucial if you'll have to sleep in a room with a working PC.

• Price

• People often give away old hardware, or sell it for a small price.

• Free software

• Old software, no longer supported by its developers is called abandonware. It is free for everyone.

• Skills granted

• Downgrading grants some useful skills, e. g. working with DOS.

• Hardware development platform

• ISA-Bus, COM and LPT ports are friendly interfaces to start learning hardware engineering with.

• Mind-blownig games!


• No support from software and hardware manufacturers

• If anything happens to your hardware, no one is responsible for not manufacturing it properly. Still, you're not on your own here. People from all over the world can help you if any difficulties occur.

• Skills required

• Most downgraded systems need to be assembled or reassembled. Basically, you'll have to go through the process of creating a new PC before actually using it. It might get challenging.

• Multimedia

• Old systems have no HD support, mp3 and video support dependson the age of the PC.

• Poor graphics

• Poor modern file types support

• You may need to work with MS Office 2007 file types, which can be very hard if you use an old system.

• Poor USB and Ethernet support: There are troubles using flash drives and Broadband Internet.

• Health issues: Old displays are bad for health. Still, you can use any modern SVGA monitor.

• Not as ergonomic as modern PCs


1) There’s a funny thing about downgrade and abandonware. These words are actually a recent development. And as personal computers are top-of-the-edge technology, the words we discussed are neologisms made to describe the outdated top-of-the-edge technology lovers, their actions and tools. Isn’t that an amazing paradox?

2) It would be essential if we used old PCs for common tasks, as typewriters, workstations, servers, downloaders, as their stability, cost and power consumption are much better, while user interface, graphics and CPU frequency are not crucial. They can also be good old-school gaming systems. And, of course, they have some peculiar charm!

Обсудить статью в специально созданной ветке форума. Эта статья прислана на конкурс.

© Текст, фотографии - Yermakov (автор участвует в конкурсе под псевдонимом)

© Железные призраки прошлого - 2011 г.

Опубликовано 01.12.2011 г.

Дополнения или поправки на phantom@sannata.ru


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