OT: Language for the ages

Chuck Guzis cclist at sydex.com
Tue Oct 18 23:36:09 CDT 2005

On 10/18/2005 at 11:32 PM infomagic wrote:

>But in the stated problem there are larger issues that have mostly gone by
>without discussion...

All excellent points, John. 

There are some areas of the business world where 20 year longevity is not
unusual.  Defense for one (did you know that PDP-8-based equipment is still
used in servicing C-130's, for example?)  Another is civilian nuclear.

In this case, we're dealing with an outfit that manufactures plumbing items
for nuclear reactors.  Basically a foundry and machining operation, the
software in question is used to determine parameters for a given customer's
design.  There's no direct connection with manufacturing equipment on the
factory floor.  It's a pretty sure bet that if they go out of business,
they'll be acquired by another nuclear-involved firm.  After all, the
government oversees this business at some level.

I believe I've answered the problem for myself--and it hearkens back to an
earlier observation that I made.

My answer to the customer is that we'll document the formulae, algorithms
and tables involved in his software--on paper.  We'll then give the
customer the option of running what he has under emulation--or we can
recode it for a bit more portability--at least for now.  FORTRAN wouldn't
be a bad solution in this case, but if he wants C or BASIC or Smalltalk, he
can have it.  It won't have a significant effect when it comes to having
the basic operating parameters available for re-implemntation.

At least that's what we're thinking now.


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