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Outdated tech on locked-down machines... alternatives?

By ObiWayneKenobi ·
At the company I work for we have about 35 workstations; most of them run a mishmash of Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows ME. Obviously this isn't good because of the security issues, let alone the fact they're obsolete and outdated. I am gathering information to present a case to upgrade the existing network (it's quite out of date as a whole.. 6 servers, with the main one running NT 4.5 Small Business, so it isn't even using Active Directory!), but I am running into a problem: Our research department uses these computers to access only one program (an in-house calling application written around 1998 in Delphi 3); their desktops are locked down and that's the only thing they can do. I don't believe they have any internet access at all, only this one app that interfaces with the phones and a database (we do not have the source code for it.. the former MIS Director [who developed it] is being coerced into giving it).

Is there any viable alternative to using these outdated beasts, or should it not be a concern since they only use it to access a single application? I am reluctant to see it that way, given that the machines are highly unstable due to being so old.

I have been looking at a Linux solution (the 'price' would be just right for this organization...), but that may end up being more hassle than it's worth (I have only limited Linux experience as it is, not to mention the learning curve for the end user and making sure it integrates properly with the application); certainly there's no reason to upgrade them to XP.. the cost wouldn't nearly be worth it.

Any advice or suggestions? Anyone ever have a similar situation to this (company with ancient technology but not willing to shell out the money to upgrade) and, if so, how did you go about making things more efficient?

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*** S A D ***

by Nauthstar In reply to Outdated tech on locked-d ...

I did work for a company like that... In the end they did agree to pay for developer and reverse engineering... alas, too little too late!

I did work for a company like that... they went bust! Time to get your resume up to date.

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Umm... thanks...

by ObiWayneKenobi In reply to *** S A D ***

Not quite the advice I was asking for, but duly noted. Seriously, would there be any alternatives for this kind of situation?

Not that I think an upgrade would ever happen; these guys have been running this stuff for the past 12 years with never any reason or care to change, despite advancement in technology. "It was a great idea when it was implemented" is what I hear; maybe so, but it's woefully stale by *today's* standards.

We still have all of our databases in Foxpro 2.6 (DBF) format, and it's critical that they remain that way for use by in-house apps (i.e. the program loads the actual .DBF file into it to obtain the data)....

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