[time-nuts] Maintaining boatanchors

Magnus Danielson magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org
Sun Oct 24 11:30:48 UTC 2010

On 10/24/2010 05:21 AM, David I. Emery wrote:
> On Sat, Oct 23, 2010 at 02:44:51PM -0700, J. Forster wrote:
>> Very true, exncept it's more like 5-10 years.
> 	These days John is absolutely right... likely none of the
> developers, none of the equipment, perhaps not even the corporate
> shell of the division or department that designed the product and
> wrote the software survives.   Probably the source code was thrown
> out with the old servers that were sold for scrap... or just carted off
> to be shredded with all the other paper and electronic records...
> 	Horror stories abound about organizations that need to make some
> minor patch or change to source code of a popular product for some
> important customer even just a few years after its release and nobody
> can find the right source code or the right build environment
> (compilers, libraries, OS etc and the hardware they ran on) or if they
> can be found it takes many many hours of expensive time and talent to
> reconstruct the right stuff to actually make a code image that matches
> what is shipping.

Even if you have the source code, you need to keep the compiling 
environment in a runable state. This may be problematic since things 
like licensees may have gone out (nobody payed for them and you can't 
get a new one), the machines setup for running it has dropped out of 
service. Maybe some manual work was never automated so some of the magic 
is in the hands of someone that doesn't work there anymore... or recall it.

Keeping the source is one thing, being able to actually use it is another.

The RTOS manuals and support files may have been tossed for instance...

With all this... I still want the source thought. Alongside with other 
internal documentation. I have never seen any of that surfaced for 
boatanchors of any kind.


More information about the time-nuts mailing list