Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 13:54:25 -0700
From: William King WFKING[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
I've always associated the term "legacy" with software. The businesses
that implemented computer systems in the 1960's were typically huge with
huge data bases. Rather than replace earlier programs, they updated them.
There are problems with this. The earlier programs were written with the
limitations of the hardware in mind. Earlier programs made use of commands
such as "goto" which, by the time I was studying IBM COBOL in the early '80s,
was considered a command of last resort. Another problem was that code
was written for equipment that was replaced (air traffic control apparently
does not have this problem) by programmers who had since left with the
logic that motivated the code. Later code could be incompatible with
earlier code, or earlier code that was deemed a problem would be deleted
only to result in other problems six months later.
The biggest problem coming up with legacy software is not Windows '95
but rather the year 2000. Many really big systems out there interpret
the last two numbers of the year as the year. The 00 of 2000 for many
computers will be read as 1900 unless this is corrected. "The date of
birth of the individual you have claimed as a deduction on line...
etc." I think that this usage will prevail given the circumstances.