Six weeks ago we announced that IFTF was adopting the IF Archive. I am pleased to say that we completed the transition this week. Visit ifarchive.org and you will find yourself on our brand-new Linode server.

We’ve taken the opportunity to update a few things.

First, the server now runs HTTPS thanks to LetsEncrypt.org. In fact, we are now using https://ifarchive.org/ as our primary address. The old HTTP address will redirect to HTTPS.

(You might wonder why HTTPS is needed. It’s true that the IF Archive doesn’t have any kind of web authentication system, much less any need for your credit card info. But we agree with LetsEncrypt’s mission of making web activity secure and un-snoopable by default. And it’s free and easy to set up, so why not, right?)

On a similar note, we’ve disabled the ability to upload files by anonymous FTP. That channel was insecure — and almost entirely used by warez-kiddies looking for free storage space. Nearly all real contributions come in through the Archive’s web upload form, so we’re going to rely on that from now on.

(Anonymous FTP download still works!)

Speaking of the web upload form, you’ll notice a couple of new fields.

Right to use:
◯  I am the author of this file and I give permission for the IF Archive to host and distribute it.
◯  I am not the author, but to the best of my knowledge the author is okay with this.

Back in the earliest days of the IF Archive, nobody paid attention to open-source licenses. The community just collected IF games with the understanding that everything was meant to be passed around the Internet. (Which is why the commercial Infocom games, which were clearly not meant to be passed around, were never put on the Archive.)

In more modern times, we tried to adopt a policy of “only upload your own work.” We wanted to be able to say that most of the files on the Archive were there with the copyright holder’s explicit permission — even if the oldest files came from a looser era.

In practice, however, that was too strict a policy. For one thing, people keep uncovering “new” IF games and tools from that earlier era! We want to preserve that rediscovered material even if the original author is out of the picture. Also, we have compilations like IFComp where the games are uploaded by the administrator, rather than the authors.

So we have rewritten our Terms of Use. The summary is:

  • anything with an explicit open-source license is distributed under that license;
  • anything with no clear license was uploaded under an implicit “the Archive can host this and distribute it for personal use only” license;
  • everything written by the Archive maintainers (indexes, file descriptions, etc) is now IFTF content with a Creative Commons license.

Hopefully that covers the way we actually work. When you upload, you’ll have to check one of the two options listed above.

There are a host of minor updates as well. You won’t notice them all. For example, I took the opportunity to rewrite the indexer script into Python 3. This tool runs behind the scenes to generate all the index pages that you see when browsing. I wrote the original version of that tool in C, which is the worst possible language for a string-processing tool… well, it was 1999 and I didn’t have a better one. It’s much cleaner now and it gets the &-escapes right.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Thanks to the IF Archive committee for their help in the server move. Check out the About the Archive page for the names of everyone involved!


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