October 6, 2022


Software Development

12 examples of old tech that never dies


The tech world often seems like an countless parade of incredibly new suggestions, architectures, languages, and products. It also sometimes comes about that a at the time-new detail sticks all over a little bit as well extensive. Potentially a gadget simply will never use out. It’s possible the disruptive substitute never ever exhibits up. Often, the terrific substitute turns out to be not fairly as fantastic as the previous standby.

Let’s rejoice these artifacts of the pc marketplace that steadfastly deliver—day in and day out, 12 months immediately after calendar year, some of them for many years. Certain, they might not have flashy conferences named right after them, or make their large debut in an overhyped IPO, but they do what they’re supposed to do.

Here’s a seem at some of the very best outdated tech that in no way dies. Thoughts and things—chips, applications, languages—that by some means skipped the cue to go away the stage. Oh, we may possibly not recognize them a lot any longer. At times we even neglect they are there. But this aged tech retains functioning on, smooth and unremarkable. Consider it a tribute to the best of sound engineering, and maybe a reminder that excellent technology does not automatically need to have to be changed each couple of several years.

The Z80 chip

The Z80 processor chip began in 1974 as an offshoot of the wildly successful Intel 8080. It was a competing chip that available more registers and more instructions but was mainly binary compatible with the 8080. Developers could run their outdated 8080 code or tweak it with the added features to be a bit speedier.

Whilst Intel moved on to produce larger, much better, and insanely more quickly x86 chips, Zilog’s Z80 continued to prosper in considerably less seen niches like microcontrollers. Now, brands who want to increase a steady microprocessor with a deep, loaded collection of libraries can decide on in between a amount of solutions both of those from Zilog and from second and 3rd sources. And for these who want to make on the custom, some companies like Toshiba have slowly and gradually expanded the line by incorporating wider buses and fatter registers.

Recreation emulators

Anybody who wishes to perform outdated video clip online games can turn to a selection of open resource emulators that enable us operate the unique code on fashionable equipment. There are solid implementations of common platforms like Super Nintendo but you can also find additional obscure frameworks like the Commodore Amiga. Some developers have even uncovered a way to operate the code in the ROMs in well known arcade video games. Guaranteed, the newer game titles render their initial-man or woman heroes in a way that lets you experience just about every sweaty pore, but there is one thing timelessly enjoyable about successful a recreation rendered in ASCII on a terminal display.


A surprising significant selection of software package plans that ended up created for the initial Home windows continue on to sail on. Just one this sort of system is PuTTY, utilized to set up an SSH relationship. I routinely use PuTTY to log in to cloud machines. It can even nevertheless initiate the original SUPDUP login protocol that dates from the ’70s and ’80s. A modest group of volunteers maintains the initial code, which was to begin with produced in 1999. The easiest way to use PuTTY is to obtain an exe.


Maybe it’s not accurately reasonable to connect with FreeDOS previous tech. Why, just this calendar year someone additional a new edition of Edlin, the common line-based file-editing software. And that’s not all: a selection of new and revised versions of outdated command-line code are now section of FreeDOS. But the ongoing improvement does not transform the truth that the task is devoted to continue to keep-alive DOS, the command line, and courses that run on it. If you’ve received some previous DOS software package that you want to maintain working with, FreeDOS is one particular of the easiest approaches to do it. Consider a journey back again in time and love the quickly, responsive globe of DOS. Right here, you can be sure your cursor will hardly ever convert into a spinning, unresponsive ball. A cursor will be a cursor, as it ought to be.

BSD Unix

After Bell Labs designed Unix, a quantity of clones started showing up. When AT&T tried using to exert management about the intellectual property, a clever band of programmers wrote their individual versions of the typical command-line utilities and produced them below the now ubiquitous Berkeley Program Distribution (BSD) license.

Now, this code is often observed all over the Linux environment in distributions by Pink Hat or Ubuntu. A reliable core nonetheless life below the identify of BSD, and retains to numerous of the conventions that had been initially proven at Berkeley. Variations like OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and NetBSD nevertheless run speedy, smooth, and mild.

IBM Pc keyboards

IBM’s initial personalized laptop arrived with a Design M keyboard that remains a single of the most loved choices for speaking with a laptop or computer. When IBM stopped generating that type of keyboard in 1996, a few correct believers took the tooling and established up Unicomp, specializing in traditional Pc keyboards. Now, you can get brand new variations of the keyboards you adore, but with additional modern-day electronics that speak to more recent PCs. More recent mechanical keyboards have their pros, and they arrive in varieties with diverse stages of clickiness, but there’s even now absolutely nothing as stable and efficient as the initial Model M.


This software program very first arrived in 1984, and it’s served scientists and engineers multiply matrices at any time considering that. MATLAB has improved enormously more than the yrs, and now supports object-oriented programming and graphical interfaces. But at its main, MATLAB is still a programming platform for creating and examining substantial matrices.

Magnetic tape

You may imagine that spinning tape drives went out of fashion just after the 1960s, just like the skinny ties and miniskirts worn by office environment staff in that day. While moving magnetic tape does not command the similar proportion of the marketplace that it at the time did, some folks continue to adore the technological know-how. It really is simple to ship or retail outlet, and it is really much more steady than Flash chips. It’s also not really precise to say that the present-day drives are the identical aged technological innovation: Immediately after all, tape providers have included numerous of the similar improvements that tough disk producers use to make their breathtaking densities. 1 new format, the LTO-8 produced in 2017, is explained to keep 12 terabytes on a tape. One more from IBM, the 3592 Jaguar, can hold 10 terabytes. That’s not bad compared to the outdated floppy disks.


Prolonged right before Twitter and SMS, medical professionals, stockbrokers, and all people else who desired to be reachable relied on a radio paging procedure able of broadcasting just a number of digits. More recent alternatives like WhatsApp operate in excess of cell cell phone networks or the standard online. They may possibly provide multimedia gloss and the capacity to contain a image or an emoji, but they never supply the very same trustworthiness.

Which is why medical practitioners, nurses, and EMTs continue to use pagers for critical communication. Just one of the nation’s most significant paging units claims it’s nonetheless processing 100 million messages each month. Pager companies haven’t sat nevertheless, either. Newer variations give encryption and HIPAA protections, and some even let two-way interaction. But at the core is the exact same fundamental, reputable gadget that debuted in the 1970s.

SQL databases

Oracle unveiled the very first professional SQL database in 1979. Microsoft launched its SQL database in the 1980s. PostgreSQL and MySQL adopted in the 1990s. Other database styles have appear along given that, but most programmers however generate SQL queries. That is why the company program for corporations like Google, Amazon, Neon, and PlanetScale—to identify just a few—amounts to repackaging a vintage SQL database as a assistance.

To be truthful, some cloud databases platforms provide extensive modifications, like separating the logic from the storage layer to speed up specific varieties of queries and aid massively scalable storage. But from a programmer’s point of view, an SQL databases in the cloud looks no distinctive from the same old interface they’ve been using for several years. Developers may well not love SQL, but we know it and realize it, and we maintain coming back to it.

ARM processors

The ARM architecture was just one of the standard chips that emerged through the RISC revolution of the 1980s. Now, virtually 40 several years later on, ARM cores are located fairly significantly in all places. They are in embedded equipment like the Raspberry Pi equipment that started off showing up in 2012. They are also in the leading-of-the-line Apple MacBook Execs, albeit in a pretty diverse kind. Whatsoever form it will take, ARM’s basic architecture has proved to be remarkably agile. It is utilized to create some of the most efficient chips with the ideal ratio of computing power generated to electric power eaten.

IBM mainframes

There may possibly be no greater case in point of an aged standby than the flagship laptop from the organization that constructed and led the laptop or computer market as a result of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. IBM crafted its first mainframe in 1952, about 70 many years in the past. It is solely feasible that some of that similar code—originally developed using punch cards—still runs now in some shape or variety. If you’ve got at any time puzzled why COBOL developers are nonetheless in need, blame the IBM mainframe. Quite a few businesses are nonetheless managing the exact same reliable stack of logic that doesn’t put on out.

The mainframe’s functioning program and languages were being improved and augmented around the several years, but much of the code principles have not altered. There is a rationale why IBM clientele like the leading banking companies proceed to have on. Probably they’re laughing quietly to them selves as financial tech companies arrive and go, bragging as they do about their modern day software and languages.

There definitely is anything about outdated tech that in no way dies.

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