For quite some time now the idea of planned obsolescence has been somewhat commonplace. Computers in particular are often quickly considered out of date or “obsolete” only a few years after they have been used. Operating System versions that are older are met with a certain scorn from some people. I’m convinced, however, that there is a strong trend where the advantages of the latest and greatest hardware and software makes a dramatic falloff and furthermore that the speed with which a system actually becomes difficult or impossible to use for current-day tasks is falling dramatically.
for technology, it is a not uncommon mindset that it becomes useless very quickly, relative to other industries. And there is certainly some prior art for that; for example, an original IBM PC wouldn’t be able to do nearly the level of things that a PC 10 years newer would be able to do. However, I don’t think that applies quite as well to today and PCs from 10 years ago.
Consider the typical usage scenario. What everyday tasks, software, or other components does somebody use that they simply cannot use with Windows 7? Which ones require a system from the past few years to do so? Windows 8 and Windows 10 are fine; but can anybody itemize a list of what those business people had to give up by using Windows 7? I can’t even contrive anything.
whereas a system from 1984 was not very useful for the common tasks of a user in 1994, or required that the user tolerate it’s slowness, nowadays older systems can pretty much always be utilized for a modern task.
A prime example is the IBM Thinkpad T41 laptop I picked up for cheap off eBay. This laptop was released in 2003 and is 13 years old. The time difference is equivalent to using an original IBM PC in 1996. And yet here I am, writing a blog post on that system with absolutely no problems whatsoever, in a modern, up to date browser and a modern up-to-date Operating System (Linux Mint 17.3 XFCE).
This is why statements like the example I give seem so strange. It is as if the release of new OS versions suddenly make those older versions unable to perform the same tasks they did previously. We don’t see mind-bending amazing new features like VFAT in new Windows versions today, so the previous versions work just fine, and for the security conscious after it’s lifecycle expired, there is always Linux.
I wrote this Blog post on a Laptop that is 13 years old. old PCs are old- but they are no longer obsolete in the modern day, particularly as gains in CPU technologies have started to level off. I don’t need a Quad core with hyperthreading to write a text document.