Drew Diver

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Making Software Last Forever

13 Oct, 2023

This piece in the Nixers Newsletter on “Making Software Last Forever” by Dan Stroot is on point:

Why can’t software last forever? It’s not made of wood, concrete, or steel. It doesn’t “wear out”, rot, weather, or rust. A working algorithm is a working algorithm. Technology doesn’t need to be beautiful, or impress other people, to be effective. Aren’t technologists ultimately in the business of producing cost effective technology?

When companies decide to re-write or replace an existing software application, they are making a similar decision. Existing software is “retired” or “decommissioned” (along with its cumulative investment). Yet the belief that new code is always better than old is patently absurd. Old code has weathered and withstood the test of time. It has been battle-tested. You know it’s failure modes. Bugs have been found, and more importantly, fixed.

The Unix tool set is proof, compare that to every new macOS release since Mac OS X Snow Leopard…

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