Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Cost of Running Abandonware

Are you running software that is no longer supported by the original vendor or developer? You’ll be in trouble sooner or later. This kind of software is known as abandonware, and running it incurs both big risks and high costs.

If you write or purchase and implement a software system and then don’t maintain it, you will experience an initial cost and then a stable plateau where the software doesn’t cost you anything to run. However, sooner or later you cannot make your abandonware run on new operating systems or new devices. At that point, your cost increase dramatically as you’ll be desperately looking for rare and expensive consultants to keep the system running.

If you decide to keep your software up to date, you will have an on-going cost, but it will be predictable and yoo won’t suddenly be down because of an automated Windows update.

No professional manufacturer would run machinery for years without maintenance. But mysteriously, some IT organizations think that their software will run forever without maintenance. It won’t.


I help people and organizations use appropriate information technology to achieve their goals. For more tips, sign up for the Technology That Fits newsletter at and follow @techthatfits.

Oracle Standard Edition One is Gone

As of, there is no longer a low-cost Standard Edition One license. From Oracle Database Licensing Information:


Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 (SE2) is available starting with Oracle Database 12c Release 1 ( For, Oracle Database Standard Edition One (SE1) and Oracle Database Standard Edition (SE) are available.

That’s effectively a tripling of the price for small databases – we used to pay $5,800 list for a SE1, but now have to pay $17,500 for a SE2. It seems Oracle has stepped up its efforts to chase away smaller customers.

Why Communities Beat Vendor Support

Most users of technology need someone to support them. They might need help with initial implementation of the technology, troubleshooting something that no longer works, or to apply the technology to a new problem. There are three support models: Vendor support, Community support and Vendor/Community support.

Vendor or Community Support

In the Vendor Support model, every user of the technology contacts the vendor directly. The vendor can potentially establish a competent and effective support organization, but it can often be difficult to explain and resolve non-trivial issues.

The Community Only approach is the only possible solution for open source projects, and is one where a number of key experts provide support for users through blogs and support forums. Each user can access several viewpoints on difficult problems and often reach a solution quicker than through vendor support.

The ideal support structure is a combination of these two: The Vendor/Community support model. Each end user has access to both the vendor and a community of experts outside the vendor. This model only works well when the experts have good communication among themselves and to the vendor.

When you evaluate technology, look for a vendor that has a formal program of support for independent experts.


I help people and organizations use appropriate information technology to achieve their goals. As an Oracle ACE Director, I am a member of Oracle’s expert program. For more tips and graphics like these, sign up for the Technology That Fits newsletter at and follow @techthatfits.