Mainframe a Classic 'Survivor Technology'

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2008-03-26 Print this article Print

Just weeks after a site cropped up serving the sole purpose of waxing nostalgic about extinct technology skills, The New York Times considers why old technologies are "still kicking."

Its prime example is the mainframe, whose demise has been predicted by countless analysts and editors and yet remains to this day a viable career path. Solidifying this, just last month IBM released the latest version of its mainframe.

These "survivor technologies" come in more formats than Big Iron. "Television, for example, was supposed to kill radio, and movies, for that matter. Cars, trucks and planes spelled the death of railways. A current death-knell forecast is that the Web will kill print media," writes Steve Lohr for The New York Times.

Survivor technologies seem to share a few traits: an enduring advantage of the old technology that is not supplanted by the new and businesses that invest to retool the technology and keep it relevant.

"Technologies want to survive, and they reinvent themselves to go on," Paul Saffo, a technology forecaster in Silicon Valley, told The Times. |

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