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Vintage Business Software Use Today

Great Hierophant

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Does anyone still use a vintage computer for some type of serious business use? I am not talking about using a classic computer to program an application or game you wish to sell, or industrial machines controlled by vintage hardware. Rather I am more interested in people who actually compose documents in AppleWorks, make manage their checkbook in Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS and keep track of their collection in dBase III? I know of some people (like attorneys) who still use WordPerfect, but they tend to at least use a more modern version of that program.
 

Stone

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You mentioned both vintage software and vintage hardware but you didn't say anything about vintage software being run today on a more-or-less contemporary computer. Is that to be included in the mix as well?
 

Great Hierophant

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Why not? I have heard of people attached to WordStar. Today they would have to run something like a VM or at least an emulator like DOSBox to get it working on 21st century hardware.
 

vwestlife

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There may still be some law firms which use WP 5.1 for DOS. It was in widespread use in the legal field well into the late '90s.

And if you walk into almost any bank or accounting office, you will see modern PCs being used as dumb terminals, usually with an IBM AS/400 system in the back room as the server.
 

Chuck(G)

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My wife is absolutely attached to Quattro Pro. I know of a fellow who runs Datastar under Z80 emulation to manage his business contacts. Does that count as "vintage"? There are tons of CNC and other industrial machinery, such as embroidery machines that run some flavor of CP/M.

Under Linux, I routinely use the Joe editor; while in itself not vintage, the thing it emulates (Wordstar) definitely is.
 

barythrin

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Most places I know upgraded or migrated off the older WP to the newer version. We still I guess had a few older documents at my last place so 2003-2004 perhaps I saw WP 5.1 once and a while but there was an effort to convert to newer versions. The problem was if someone who was savvy created macros in the older document. That took longer to convert and then due to font libraries it was problematic sometimes matching the exact layout of legal documents etc.
 

RickNel

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I see a lot of small retail businesses still using ANSI display point-of-sale terminals/ cash registers - haven't asked about the back-end, but quite possibly DOS systems. 640x480 VGA displays are still sold to maintain these systems.
 

vwestlife

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I see a lot of small retail businesses still using ANSI display point-of-sale terminals/ cash registers - haven't asked about the back-end, but quite possibly DOS systems. 640x480 VGA displays are still sold to maintain these systems.

McDonald's used DOS-based cash registers until 2007 or so:


Their screens where the orders are displayed are still using text mode, but I don't know about the POS terminals they're using now.

Supposedly some ATMs are still running OS/2. IBM continued supporting OS/2 for a long, long time just because of the banking industry.
 

Jimmy

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Until the Americans with Disabilities ACT revisions, that took place last year, most of the Dieblold ATM's still ran OS/2. A great number of the IVR's still utilize OS/2. The banking industry still has numerous applications running OS/2.
 

billdeg

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I have a customer in my repair shop this year who had us fix his Visual Commuter, an 8086 xt clone portable. He still runs his personal business on it, investment spreadsheet, etc. I replaced the drives.

I had another customer with a pcmcia hard drive, whom he still used for file storage. Win95.

We had a customer with a pacard bell pentium 75 who wanted a new power supply a few months ago.

Not super old but that's what I've got tp report. I did notice at the Franklin Institute two years ago that they had win 3.1 kiosks. (or transitionary win 3.1/win 95 era).
 

Great Hierophant

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From my own personal experience, in the last law office I worked in, the attorney who owned it swore by WordPerfect Office Suite 6.1, which was intended for Windows 3.1. It was very fast, he knew how to work it and it had a preview document feature subsequently removed from later versions of the software. Of course it only saved files in the 8.3 file format. He also had later versions of WordPerfect to read MS Word .doc files and such, and before I left in 2011 I introduced the office to the joys of OpenOffice, but I'm sure he continued to use WP 6.1 90% of the time.
 

DOS lives on!!

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Since I got my Leading Edge computer to work, I've been typing papers for English class on it. I also got it to insert LEWP's triangle logo at the end of the page. When I fix the IIGS's keyboard, I may use AppleWorks too and turn my papers in on dot-matrix paper. :)
 

Stone

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I still use my all-time favorite word processor -- Professional Write, from 1986. It runs on every computer I've ever had or have, it's simple and straight foreward and yet does everything I need. It even runs from a 360k floppy disk.
 

deathshadow

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I know a number of mortuaries in New England still run a double entry accounting software I wrote in '94 using Borland Paradox 4... mostly they like that it can output CSV files for import into Excel for reports, and that it's blazingly fast compared to modern solutions when run on modern hardware. Yes, I said mortuaries -- I was catering to some very unique clientèle at the time.

When it's still doing the job, no business is going to THROW MONEY AWAY on a replacement just because some techno-geek says so. The very notion of doing so is quite often what leads to the financial ruin of many businesses.
 

Chuck(G)

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I've been thinking about the various firms that have had custom applications written for them in Quick BASIC, or even CBASIC. Why toss it.

As we discoverd in 2000, there were still plenty of large businesses running large applications in COBOL, written duing the 1960s and 70s. There's no reason to think that some adjusted their date-keeping code and continue to this day. Good software can outlast most hardware.
 

Old Computers

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I read on Wikipedia once that a mini from the 60's was used to run a power plant in England until it stopped working in the mid 2000's. I forget what article it was in though.

I like the philosophy to keep legacy systems and programs in use today. It makes sense to keep them running if they work just fine, and it has a great side effect of preserving vintage equipment. If it is not broken don't fix it. :)
 

Unknown_K

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The problem of using those vintage systems is finding parts to keep them running and making changes as needed (you need people with old specialized skills).
 

tomasont

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I still use Turbo Pascal 3 at work occassionally. Now that we're getting more 64-bit systems, I guess I'll have to upgrade to Turbo Pascal 5. I also still use Zip drives, both at work and at home. A lot of people use flash drives these days, but I don't like wearing out the USB ports.
 
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