Without giving away too many details about my regular place of employ, some recent work there has reminded me of the joys of dealing with IT (Information Technology) users that box themselves into corners by letting themselves be bound to legacy computer systems.
What am I talking about? There are many systems around my work place, or in other areas within the larger organization, that can't be replaced and/or retired and wind up pretty much frozen in time because some amount of work was done that involved those systems and was done using the specific operating system, with the specific patches, and certain specific applications and development tools on them. All of those specifics can't be changed and/or won't be changed without an absolutely unbelievable amount of consternation and complaint and concern by the users or people that work with the users.
For example, there may be custom software or in-house developed software that was written using a certain development language. Because that software was written and compiled using older tools, those tools can't be replaced, nor can that software. Over time, the problem snowballs upon itself because the tools, the older operating systems, the older hardware, everything ages to the point that the vendors that made it won't support it or if they do, they'll charge outrageous amounts of money to continue to provide support for equipment that they really don't want to support (as it would cost them a ton of money to dig up replacement equipment and/or software if they had to find it themselves). The reason that those vendors do provide support is because they are pretty much forced to do so otherwise they might not be able to sell new equipment to the customer.
All of this grates on my nerves a bit because I know what it is costing on many different levels and feel that it a big example (in many ways) of what some might term waste, fraud and abuse. It's not fraud though, and it's not abusive, or at least not intentionally so. It is however somewhat wasteful and is part of the huge amount of hidden costs that wind up getting tacked onto projects that take on a life of their own and seemingly will never die because somebody, somewhere, is using them.
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