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The main part of the Year 4 work in the PA/5 workpackage of PLANETS involved GRATE. There is a distinction between GRATE 1.0 (the original stand-alone), GRATE 1.5 (the webservice) and GRATE-R (the PLANETS remote emulator service).

The GRATE 1.0 wrapper fired off the QEMU and DIOSCURI emulators. For the emulation integration project UzK wrote the GRATE 1.5 wrapper for packaging files, transport file to emulator (floppy- or ISO image, container file), a 'GrateView' component with certain set of information that can be run from within the Testbed. This is in fact GRATE 1.5, used for Dioscuri at the Y3 review.

The idea for the next generation was that GRATE will, by itself, load production container files from a registry to the emulator. This project took the form of a component based approach in the spirit of Dioscuri. This, however, made it totally different from GRATE, so rather than using a 2.0 denominator we called it GRATE-R (where -R stands for Revised).

GRATE-R has an emulation workflow engine, and three services developed as components:

  • create view service
  • formalised view-paths
  • automated emulation workflows

A lot was learned from the subsequent GRATE developments. In the mean time QEMU has also progressed. Much of the functionality offered by GRATE could now be developped in the more sustainable framework of QEMU, so was chosen as the basis for GRATE-R.

The end result is a pre-configured almost plug&play remote emulation service that could also be deployed as a LAN webservice in the reading rooms of the content holding institutions. It is pre-configured for a limited number of view-paths expected to be the most common the e-depots of these institutions. The complex technology is hidden in the background, the user basically clicks on, for example, a Wordperfect file they want to open and GARTE-R gives the emulated file back on the screen.

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