The Key Role of Long-Term Compatibility

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Fancy a game of Monkey Island 2®? Just the perfect blast from the past for a lazy weekend. A few minutes of rummaging around in the attic to find the box with the old games. There it is. Still in its original packaging, just a bit scuffed around the edges. That used to cost a month’s wages from your weekend job at the lumberyard, but it was so worth it. But wait: It’s on floppy disks. Lucky that you kept the old 3.5” drive somewhere. But disappointment beckons once you’re back at your computer: It is SATA only, so what use is a floppy drive with IDE cables now? Wasn’t there a CD ROM with a free version of the game with some issue of that PC gaming mag? Back to the attic, and indeed: here’s your meticulously kept collection of PowerPlay back issues, and there’s the CD ROM. You’re ready to face LeChuck again. Or are you? A game developed for 16-bit DOS, running on a 64-bit Windows 10 system? One month of hauling lumber, listening to Derek’s tall stories from his time in the special forces, and saving every cent, and all for nothing. Luckily, there’s ScummVM and you still have the original code wheel for the copy protection check, and your weekend is saved. All you now need to decide is: Lite mode or all in?

What sounds like a funny caper for a leisurely weekend can be a catastrophe in a professional setting. In January 2021, the major Chinese port city of Dalian experienced a 20-hour breakdown of its entire rail system. The cause: Support for Adobe Flash had lapsed with the new year, and the software had been set to lock after 12 January. The software needed to run the rail system for a city of 4 million people had stopped to work, and the only solution was to go back to a legacy version without the lock.

Technology is evolving at a record pace, and it is a ruthless evolution: It is rare for five-year-old software to still run without problems, and the chances of software still being supported and working after a decade are fast approaching zero. New hardware, new ideas about UI design, new OS features, new interfaces and protocols: There are countless factors driving this relentless progress. In an always-online world, security patches are a constant necessity to protect users from attackers, but patching software costs time and money. Developers prefer to have their users on the most recent versions whenever possible and to recoup the resources they need to invest in patches through add-on support contracts. At the same time, many industrial users operate on completely different timescales, with some machines and facilities running for decades, preferably with the same software.

Wibu-System faces the same conundrum with CodeMeter. Join this webinar to learn how we solve it with our compatibility policy and what our compatibility principles are for you.

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In early 2021, we revised our long-term support for older OS versions. Our webinar can show you which options and services will fit your needs.

Only you should decide when your software becomes obsolete and have enough time and all our support for as long as you need it to accompany your users on their next adventure. Join us and see the options you have.

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