Thursday, July 24, 2008

Salvaging 661 Symantec MORE 3.1 documents

I'd like to move the family iMac to 10.5, but I'm held back by data lock --
Gordon's Notes: Data Lock: 661 Symantec MORE 3.1 documents keep me in 10.4
... The real problem is that my ancient copy of MoRu tells me I've 661 MORE 3.1 documents on this drive. MORE 3.1 needs MacOS 9 Classic, and 10.5 doesn't run classic.

I looked at a few of my old files. There's a lot of knowledge in there I don't want to lose.

Inspiration and OmniOutliner Pro will open these as outlines, but both will lose presentation graphics. Brad Pettit's free XML converter will switch the files to plain text XML, and I think it might be able to process multiple files at once. Otherwise I can open each one and save it to another obsolete file format, or I can use CUPS-PDF to create a PDF output classic can see.

This is going to hurt.
It now hurts less.

After some promising initial results, I selected every row in MoRu and dropped the 661 files on Brad Pettit's utility. It took less than 10 seconds to produce 661 XML files in the same directory as the original MORE file. Firefox renders the XML as a collapsible outline (Safari doesn't handle it) and of course I can open it in a text editor. If I define a style sheet I can even make it look better. Spotlight will work with the rest.

I can also use OmniOutliner to view much of the data in 10.5, though it doesn't always render embedded graphics. Of course OO is itself a proprietary format app with an uncertain future, but it should work for a few years in 10.5.

The speed of Brad's utility is astonishing.

Update 8/5/08: I wrote to thank Brad. He tells me the utility was written in C++, and that it's primarily I/O constrained. He also recommends keeping the originals of course. They do open in OmniOutliner, so I was planning to do that. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a good Classic emulator somewhere in the future, so I'll even keep my MORE binaries. Brad's working on MediaRoom these days, so I'll be keeping my eye on that product.

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