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Orphaned technology is a descriptive term for computer products, programs, and platforms that have been abandoned by their original developers. Orphaned technology refers to software, such as abandonware and antique software, but also to computer hardware and practices. In computer software standards and documentation, deprecation is the gradual phasing-out of a software or programming language feature, while orphaning usually connotes a sudden discontinuation, usually for business-related reasons, of a product with an active user base.
For users of technologies that have been withdrawn from the market, there is a choice between maintaining their software support environments in some form of emulation, or switching to other supported products, possibly losing capabilities unique to their original solution.
Some well-known examples of orphaned technology include:
- Coleco ADAM - 8-bit home computer
- TI 99/4A - 16-bit home computer
- Mattel Aquarius
- Apple Lisa - 16/32-bit graphical computer
- Newton PDA (Apple Newton) - tablet computer
- DEC Alpha - 64-bit microprocessor
- HyperCard - hypermedia
- ICAD (KBE) - knowledge-based engineering
- Javelin Software - modeling and data analysis
- LISP machines - LISP oriented computers
- Classic Mac OS - m68k and PowerPC operating system
- Microsoft Bob - graphical helper
- OpenDoc - compound documents (Mac OS, OS/2)
- Prograph - visual programming system
User groups often exist for specific orphaned technologies, such as The Hong Kong Newton User Group, Symbolics Lisp [Machines] Users' Group (now known as the Association of Lisp Users), and Newton Reference.
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