The true source of legacy trouble is Windows

It is a common understanding that Mainframes cause a lot of problems due to it’s legacy status. And true, many Mainframe systems need modernization and some get it. The vast majority of the Mainframe systems, though, are backend server systems that are hidden from the end users behind various user interfaces and adding APIs are often enough to add some years of useful life to the systems.

A lot of end user systems, on the other hand, were build around Windows and especially Internet Explorer specifics a decade or two back. These are the real troublesome legacy programs. They require that organizations keep otherwise outdated windows based client systems alive and they block for the BYOD/BYOT thinking.

It is well known that the Internet Explorer browser is old and does not support modern browser technologies very well if at all – that’s probably also why Microsoft have renamed the browser in Windows 10 to edge. To get rid of that legacy. But the user systems are still out there and us who have moved beyond Windows sit on our Macs and just cannot use these old windows legacy systems.

There is a big job in modernising all those systems (and many organizations even use word documents with macros that are part of the windows legacy as they only run on windows versions of Word).

Let’s start working on solving this legacy issue – and make it part of our journey to the Digital Enterprise.

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About sorenhelsted

Double-deep Technologist and Business professional. I transform your business to become digital.
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3 Responses to The true source of legacy trouble is Windows

  1. Reblogged this on Chris Fangmann and commented:
    Soren’s posts are always a great source for new thoughts

  2. I have a different perspective – all deployed code is technical debt. If it’s deployed it’s a legacy that needs to be managed until it’s turned off or replaced – OSX, Linux, Windows, iOS, Android, Oracle, SQL Server – it’s all technical debt.

    All technical debt has implicit technical dependencies relevant to the time that it was created. This isn’t a new thing, railway lines are the width they are because that’s the width of axles available to the first railway makers. Sometimes that technical debt has limited impact, sometimes it has a huge impact. Refactoring away from technical debt is always an expensive thing, but we need to recognise that every time we refactor we are also creating a new set of debt to be managed.

    Many of the organisations that exist today are in danger from their technical debt, in a world where people can start new organisations at a very low cost with no technical debt, the technical debt of the established organisation is more likely to be a burden than of value.

    Windows might be what you see today, but that’s only because it’s the technical debt from the last era. Give it a couple of years and we’ll be asking ourselves how we got ourselves so deep in technical debt to another set of technologies.

  3. sorenhelsted says:

    Thank you for your perspective Graham. I agree with you, it is about technical debt and we always need to invest a part of our development efforts in bringing down technical dept as it grows every day we don’t.
    In that respect what I wanted to say is that the Microsoft client technical dept is now large (and possibly larger than the Mainframe one, but I do not have the figures) because a lot of development was done on that platform decades ago and it now gives a lock-in. Microsoft has had a legacy of making their own standards rather than contributing within the open standards, which means that the open standards have not build on Microsoft’s – and have now overtaken Microsoft as the de facto standards to use. This makes the technical debt large as even web browsers do not support the old specific IE code.

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