From: Erkki Kolehmainen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Jul 04 2005 - 04:02:56 CDT
In response to your question at the end, a conversion becomes mandatory
at the time when you are no longer competitive in the marketplace with
your outdated programs that cannot even be recompiled to increase their
functionality. (In my days, I've written a large number of both system
level and application programs starting with machine language, Autocoder
and Assembler, and I'm aware that some of them have had an unnecessarily
prolonged life, but I'd hope - possibly in vain - that none of them,
even the ones written in higher level languages, are still in use).
The y2k rush delayed considerably application development, since if
there was no guarantee that the new application could indeed be launched
prior to y2k, quite some effort had to be made to ensure that the old
applications were y2k compliant. But y2k is a long way behind us by now.
Erkki I. Kolehmainen
Gregg Reynolds wrote:
> Erkki Kolehmainen wrote:
>> Although I wasn't supposed to see the exchange, I'd like to comment on
>> the following statement:
>> "After all, ask yourself why legacy compatibility was required in the
>> first place. Maybe many reasons, but one of them was surely so that
>> software that uses a legacy encoding internally can continue to
>> function without modification, with only an import/export filter."
>> In my mind, legacy compability was required to ensure that the data
>> that has originally been encoded using whatever scheme remains
>> processable, often but not necessarily together with data originally
>> encoded using whatever other scheme. A reliable way to convert the
>> data (into Unicode) in order to preserve it permanently was required,
>> not the preservation of some pieces of software except possibly for a
>> transition period. In fact, many of the platforms for the
>> implementations that were originally used to process and store the
>> legacy data were becoming extinct already in the early days of Unicode
>> and many more are extinct by now.
> It would be interesting to see real data. I'd be quite surprised if
> there weren't billions of $ worth of legacy encoded data sitting around.
> I wonder how many Japanese financial institutions have converted their
> legacy data to Unicode? As for processing, I recall reading somewhere
> around the time of the y2k rush that worldwide investment in COBOL is
> over a US$ 1 trillion. Even if it's not that high, it is surely multple
> billions. I can tell you from personal experience that lots of large
> businesses run COBOL programs every night for which the source code has
> long since been lost. I'm also sure there are lots of mainframe
> programs written in S/370 Assembler - I once worked briefly at a bank
> processing center where the entire system was written that way! Those
> systems will probably never convert to Unicode. If you have legacy
> data, and legacy programs that work, what incentive is there to convert?
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