Prowling the ruins of ancient software


Famous programs from just a generation or two ago are in danger of disappearing from human ken, forever.


July 29, 2003

Photo by Grianghraf on Unsplash

Sam Williams recently interviewed Grady Booch, Ward Cunningham, and myself about software archaeology; the issues surrounding preserving and understanding existing software. Grady focused on the preservation aspects, keeping archives of worthy software in museums. Ward and I concentrated on the issues on understanding the code that you come across (not just in a historical sense; this stuff is useful when maintaining code that’s six months old). The resulting article in Salon is fairly high level, but the underlying message is an important one.