10

Has anyone ever had the experience of maintaining code that was initially written on or before the date you were born?

Personally the oldest code I ever worked on was first written in 1982, so it did not predate me.

One of my best friends is a mainframe developer and he worked on code first written in the early 70s, but it did not predate him (it was close though).

16 accepted

In 1987, I fixed a bug that had a work-around in the code that had the following comment:

C TEMPORARY WORK-AROUND UNTIL I CAN FIND THE REAL CAUSE - IRV C, SUMMER 1971

In 1971, Irv was a summer co-op. In 1987, he was head of the division. I took great delight in showing him that comment and telling him that his temporary work-around only lasted 16 years, but it was time for a permanent fix.

5

Born in the 50's, so little chance of working with code written in the early 50's. However, started programming professionally in the 70's, so that's my threshold of old.

  • In the late 90's a client tracked me down to help with code I'd written 17 years prior. That was cool.

  • Last year I worked with a client that had code that dated from the early days of my career: 30 year-old COBOL.

4

Well, I was born in 1962, so software older than me is a rather rarefied area. But my father was a programmer, starting about when I was born. He occasionally brought work home, and showed me it.

As a side note: At my first job, we were planning a major rewrite of the system. As part of the design, went over the pending feature requests that the new system would implement. Two of them were filed by my boss, 10 years earlier, when he was a computer operator.

4

I was born in 1981. I almost daily, for 5 years, worked on code circa 1972+. Good ole Cobol Mainframe work with a little JCL and Assembler throw in for good measure.

4

Nobody has worked on code older than I am. Except for Turing machines maybe.

4

Recently checked a file out of RCS that no one had touched since 1984.. two years before I was born.

3

Also born in the late fifties. About 3 years ago I was contracted to rewrite an application I wrote in 1985. The application was written in Clipper and had lasted in this company for around 20 years. Now it is a Delphi application and who knows how long it may last.

Though I have written FORTRAN and COBOL programs using punch card machines.

2

Nope :-) Born in 83, earliest code I've worked on (professionally) was around 99.

2

I worked on test equipment which incorporated a DEC PDP-7. Not only was the code older than me, the machine it ran on had been built before I was born.

1

Most certainly! Back in the day, physicists loved FORTRAN (I think they still do). As a junior programmer, it was my job to maintain the code and to port it to C once in awhile. Now that was a lesson in languages!

1

Worst I have seen is code dated 1989 (I was born in 1986). I have seen code older than me but typically its "Black Box" code that has been working on mission critical aspects of the program for decades thus no one wants/needs to touch it.

1

No, but I worked on some pretty old FORTRAN code called TAPEIN that processed data from a magnetic tape drive.

1

Wow. I've been programming longer than most of you (so far) have been alive. And probably because of that ... no. I've done some Unix kernel work that is probably the closest I've gotten (I was born in 1966).

0

Some of my patterns are so deep that I feel like I'm writing code older than I am.

0

I don't really "work" on it, but the software that my employer sells was first created in 1987, three years before I was born. I've been asked to take a look at the source code to explain some things to the support staff every now and then, and I'm pretty sure I've seen some pre-90s code in there somewhere.

0

I left that job for other reasons, but I nearly had to work on a (from memory) VAX which was processing payroll for a firm. I don't know that it was as old as I, but it was certainly very old. They needed to interface to our system and extract 'commission' information out for their employees and nobody left there actually knew how to program it. The funny thing is it continued to 'just work' year in and year out so they never had any need or a systems programmer.

It's unfortunate that I had to leave that job (no wasn't fired) because I would have liked to have got my hands dirty there.

0

Yes, I am working on COBOL programs for a banking system written in 1981. I was born in 1984.

0

I was working on code for the safety system at a nuclear power station. The power station started operating in the early 90's and the code was written in the early to mid 80s, before I was born in 1988