Software Archeology (Ron Guilmette - C++ Entomologist)
Mon, 10 Sep 90 08:31:56 PDT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Ron Guilmette - C++ Entomologist)
Keywords: question
Organization: Compilers Central
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 90 08:31:56 PDT

In comp.std.c++, xanthian@zorch.SF-Bay.ORG (Kent Paul Dolan) writes:
> (Louis Howell) writes:
>>xanthian@zorch.SF-Bay.ORG (Kent Paul Dolan) writes:
>...But what has made FORTRAN so valuable to the (hard) engineering
>profession is exactly that the "dusty decks" still run. I doubt
>that the originators of FORTRAN envisioned _at_that_time_ a set
>of applications software that would outlast the century being
>written with the first compilers, but so it has proved...

Has anybody other than me ever wondered: What's the oldest line of
code in existance (in source form) that is still in production use?
(For the sake of argument, let's define `production use' as regular
use with a frequency of no less that one time each year.)

Anybody got any clues to this Software Archeological mystery? Perhaps
I should start a serious expedition. I can see it now. Dr. Leaky, Jean
Sammett, and I, out there wandering the open savanas and (White?) plains,
occasionally descending deep gorges... descending back over countless
zillions of milliseconds... in search of the One True `missing link' of
the software world... the oldest living specimen of an original line of

As any historian will tell you, we can't know where we are going if we
don't know where we have been. How can we know how long the code we
write today may last if we are not even sure how long code has lasted
up until now?

Do we build a house forever?
Epic of Gilgamesh (third millennium B.C.)

Seriously, if anybody knows of very ancient lines of (unmodified and
unmaintained) code that are still in production use, please send me
some E-mail about it. After a couple of weeks, I'll post a follow-up
to comp.compilers describing/announcing the oldest reported line.

// Ron Guilmette - C++ Entomologist
// Internet: uucp: ...uunet!lupine!rfg

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