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March 08, 2007


David Tannen

I know there is code that I wrote ~ 20 years ago that is still being used. It was written in Fortran 77 for a Perkin-Elmer (no kidding). I am also pretty sure code I wrote ~12 years ago using Ada83 is still being used on various systems from communication, trainers, and a debugger for an embedded Ada compiler.

It Lives!

When I was in college, a friend and I thought that we should design & implement a LISP program that would function like DNA and let it loose in a system to see if it would 'grow & evolve'.


I ran into some code today that was definitely alive, and fighting back any attempt to understand it.


Actually, rather than natural selection, that description of old but still running code sounds more like hot-house flowers. They only survive because the environment they thrive in is being maintained.
My impression of natural selection is that the most adaptable come out on top. In the case of old software the orgs that depend on the software are unwilling to adapt, and as long as they can maintain these software hot-houses they can avoid change.

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