Legacy issues enter open source realms

Legacy system customers always face the prospect of changing tomorrows. In the 1990s the MPE customers kept looking over their shoulders for HP to lose its way. The decade ended. The Y2K hurdle was cleared. HP dropped its futures for MPE. Better futures for environments that already have historic success might need to come from new owners. That’s the prospect for the OpenVMS sites around the world. They await good things from VMS Systems Inc.

While the MPE community reeled from the change in Hewlett-Packard’s heart, open-source solutions started to look safe. One developer of K-12 software was proud to announce they were never going to invest in legacy software platforms again. The lineup: completely LAMP-driven, where the L is Linux, the A is Apache, the M is MySQL, the P is Python/Perl.

That would be a good strategy if it were future-proof. But the users of Solaris systems know that MySQL was purchased by Sun and then Sun was purchased by Oracle. Eventually the MySQL community split into freeware and vendor-based versions. Changes are always on the horizon, even when the bedrock platform rises up around open-source tools.

Another open-source avenue closes

One of the latest stories about unexpected open source changes comes from the Linux world. IBM purchased RedHat in 2019 and within 18 months “decommissioned” the CentOS variation of Linux that RedHat owned. The Best Linux Blog in the Unixverse took note of how the end-game comes for any software acquired or developed by a major vendor.

Oracle buys Sun: Solaris Unix, Sun servers/workstation, and MySQL went to /dev/null.

IBM buys Red Hat: CentOS is going to >/dev/null.

Note to self: If a big vendor such as Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, or others buys your fave software, start the migration procedure ASAP.

There’s an advantage the legacy OS customer enjoys over the open-source software user. They know what’s coming and make clear-eyed plans to adapt and transform. Legacy is by definition an environment that’s already been through a raft of changes. The MPE community made its way through CISC architecture HP 3000s. They became RISC systems with a new memory mapping scheme, and then finally arrived in a spot in 2013 where the hardware itself was no longer needed. Everything is evolving in IT. Legacy customers can see the new IT coming.

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