Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

6.26. What should I know before submitting files to a software archive?

The Internet's software archives thrive when its users submit an abundance of new software, art, sound files, and so on. Sharing is a two-way street ('tis better to give than to receive and all that), so if you come across a great program (or wrote one yourself), by all means share it with the Internet community!

Of course, there are some things to bear in mind before you submit your new Star Trek Trivia quiz, word processing program, or scans of your Cindy Crawford art deco placemat collection.

* First, is the software appropriate for that archive? Of course, you shouldn't send Macintosh games to a site dedicated to MS-DOS programs. Some sites specialize in scientific papers, finance information, and other technical information and reject everything outside their specific area.

* Send only quality files. A good rule of thumb is to only submit software that you would bother to download yourself.

* If you created the software (or graphics file or whatever it is) make sure that you clearly indicate its status. Is it in the public domain or is it copyrighted software? Do you expect a shareware payment, or is your software free to use? For your own protection, make these things clear.

* If it's not your original work, make sure that the file may be legally distributed. For example, is it public domain or shareware? (If you scan a photo of Cindy Crawford, for example, upload it, and then are caught, you'll face some pretty serious legal charges from the owner of the original work. This is doubly so for anything typed from a magazine or book.)

Once you've decided that a file is suitable for a certain software archive, you can help the site administrators and draw positive attention to your submission by following these guidelines:

* Include a version number with all programs uploaded.

* Use unique filenames that stand out and tell something about the program. GIF2PICT.ZIP is certainly a better filename than UTIL.ZIP.

* Be sure to send your file using the preferred archive and/or translation format of the archive moderators. (For instance, they may prefer .ZIP files over .ARC files or Stuffed and BinHexed files over Compact Pro archives.) Most sites discourage use of self-extracting archives, except in rare cases. You probably don't need to make your archive self-extracting.

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