these trains in Sweden couldn’t run without it (and they’re not the only ones)

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Old rockers, they say, never die. Windows 95 is a perfect example of this, and although its user quota is practically non-existent, it has become that typical element irreplaceable in certain legacy systems (“legacy”).

This is what a train conductor in Sweden told us, who told how in “his office” they continue to work with Windows 95. This operating system is still one of the pillars of some trains there, which, for example, make use of a touch screen based on this operating system with which to control the entire system.

If it works, do not touch it

Thomas Tydal, software developer in your own companyteacher and train conductor —a singular curriculum, of course— counted how “one of my offices” in Sweden is still using Windows 95. Doing so showed a unique office that is not easy to locate.

When giving more details, he indicated how one of the screens in that office is this touch screen in which precisely, he explained, everything works thanks to Windows 95.

Office 1

Office2

Tydal1

But that wasn’t enough to explain where his office was and why they were using Windows 95 at this point. Everything became a little clearer when he showed a photo of the exterior of his offices in which the bergslagen trainsa region in northern Sweden.

This 1958 software is still in use today: replacing it would be too expensive

As Tydal explained, although the systems on some of those trains were upgraded to Windows XP, “most of them are still running Windows 95 just like when they were delivered in 2000. At that time Windows 95 was quite a change from the old trains.” that we operated at that time”, and that as you remember they had a much less modern cockpit:

And it’s not the only example.

As is the case with other “old software rockers”, often the fact that they continue to be used is precisely because changing them can be fatal because once the systems are up and running, upgrading them to more modern platforms can cause conflicts of all kinds.

Arecibo1

In end-user environments, this is not a problem, but when these systems are critical and affect a large group of people, putting transactions or even their personal security at risk, things change a lot. That is the reason why for example COBOL and FORTRAN are still widely used in areas such as banking, insurance or scientific-academic environments.

The lost languages: COBOL, Delphi or FORTRAN are still critical, but there is no one who programs in them

It’s the same with Windows 95: there will certainly be users using it to smoothly run old games and programs that otherwise wouldn’t (or wouldn’t) work well, but its use in some more critical scenarios is still unique. It happens with those trains in Sweden, but in the discussion that article generated in Hacker News We discovered how other users told how, for example, Windows 95 was used at least until 2016 —and probably still today— at the Arecibo observatory.

One ex-Boeing employee recounted how Windows 95 was still in use on some critical equipment for aircraft manufacturing (and even Windows 3.1 and IIRC in some cases), while another said he also saw it running in a lab with a microscope. atomic force: the person in charge of the laboratory indicated that something more recent could be used, “but it would be very expensive [cambiarlo] Y it doesn’t compensate as long as the computer is still working fine“.

That’s really the key. On systems that are isolated and theoretically not exposed to malware — Windows 95 went out of support or security patches years ago — using this operating system is acceptable because it just works fine.

Image: Balazs Busznyak

Old rockers, they say, never die. Windows 95 is a perfect example of this, and although its user quota is…

Old rockers, they say, never die. Windows 95 is a perfect example of this, and although its user quota is…

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