r/technology – Deleted police records were on outdated 1970s IT system


I was probably more like a tin woodsman/ship of Theseus type of thing where they replace one part after the other and still have a continuous system for 50 years even if in the end no single part remains the same.

It is not uncommon with computer systems that just work far away from most users and people who might mess with it to keep doing what they are doing for decades. Every few years you might upgrade the hardware or the OS or the software itself, but the basic system simply keeps running.

I have seen companies buying new hardware to continue to run some system that started out some point in the 80s as an AS/400 or something, but is now starting to outlive all the people who knew how exactly it works.

Having a system that more or less works the same as it did 40 years ago is not necessarily bad if reliability is more important than pretty colors. Redoing everything in the latest fad language is not going to lead to a system nearly as stable and reliable as the one you had before.

The main issue is keeping competent people on staff and not letting the supposed age of the system be used to deflect blame from the actual root causes and people responsible.


I was probably more like a tin woodsman/ship of Theseus type of thing where they replace one part after the other and still have a continuous system for 50 years even if in the end no single part remains the same.

It is not uncommon with computer systems that just work far away from most users and people who might mess with it to keep doing what they are doing for decades. Every few years you might upgrade the hardware or the OS or the software itself, but the basic system simply keeps running.

I have seen companies buying new hardware to continue to run some system that started out some point in the 80s as an AS/400 or something, but is now starting to outlive all the people who knew how exactly it works.

Having a system that more or less works the same as it did 40 years ago is not necessarily bad if reliability is more important than pretty colors. Redoing everything in the latest fad language is not going to lead to a system nearly as stable and reliable as the one you had before.

The main issue is keeping competent people on staff and not letting the supposed age of the system be used to deflect blame from the actual root causes and people responsible.

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