Call for old Manuals

During our work on retronetworking topics quite often we run into situations where manuals (such as register-level chipset documentation, data sheets) are hard to find.

As today's technology is tomorrow's retronetworking, we are asking any developers, particularly those working on open source operating systems like the Linux and *BSD kernels to send us any old/outdated/unused programming manuals, data sheets and the like.

The idea is that instead of trashing old manuals (this chip is not produced anymore, the driver is unmaintained or removed from mainline, ...), you can donate them to the Osmocom retrontetworking project. We will then digitize and archive them, to ensure that people with an interest in historical telecommunications and networking technologies will be able to access the documents related to the technology of their interest.

What kind of manuals are you looking for?

Almost any kind of technical information about old / end of life technology in the area of telecommunications, computer networking. Examples include

  • programming manuals for chipsets used in network interfaces, such as E1/T1 framers, Ethernet MACs, Token_Ring/Arcnet/FDDI/ATM chipsets, etc.
  • user manuals for network infrastructure gear, such as concentrators / hubs / PDH/SDH multiplexers / RAS servers / etc. - irrespective of the technology or vendor.
  • technical specifications for communications systems/standards which are not already publicly accessible/downloadable online.

I have some old manuals in paper form, how does it work?

  • if you're happy to pay for the shipping, simply mail them to the postal address given at Contact using whatever shipping method convenient.
  • we are also happy to cover the cost of shipping. Please contact with an indication of the type of manuals as well as the estimated weight + size of the consignment.

We have a variety of scanners (including a non-destructive book scanner for size up to A2 (42x59cm / 16x32") as well as a number of duplex sheetfed scanners at our disposal, and will take care of digitizing the documents.

I have some old manuals in electronic/PDF form, how does it work?

Please simply send them (or a link to them, in case they are more than a few MB in size) to

What about copyright?

In case you're worried about infringing copyright: We are not asking you to make any copies, but to pass along a document which you had obtained earlier. This is just like selling or giving away a book to a friend. As you are not creating any copies, you don't have to worry about

What about information under NDA?

A number of times vendors are providing documents only under non-disclosure-agreements. The individal NDA would have to be consulted in order to validate if there is an expiration date after several years.

In any case, for all practical reasons, technical information that contained a competitive advantage (and hence was under NDA) decades ago on some meanwhile long EOL hardware is unlikely to still be considered confidential in the present day.

If you are worried, please double-check.

Do you accept anonymous donations of documents?

Yes. There is no reason why you would need to be identified at all. You can send us paper documents without a valid sender/return address, and you can send electronic documents from disposable temporary e-mail sender addresses.

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Updated by laforge almost 2 years ago · 4 revisions

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