Oldest Running Applications

Internet Week recently put out a request to its readers for some of the oldest running software applications still in production use. The winner was a general ledger accounting program originally written for the Radio Shack TRS-80 in 1978.

Though some of the stories are amusing in their anecdotal nature, they stand in stark contrast to the practices of modern software companies. Led by Microsoft and Intuit, the industry has begun forced upgrades through planned product obsolescence.

New practices such as product activation tie software to a particular set of computer hardware. If a piece of hardware dies, the software may cease functioning even if the malfunctioning hardware has been replaced.

Consequently, though not the intention the article, it makes for an interesting comparison between the software world 20 or 30 years ago and the software world today.


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