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For users of technologies that have been withdrawn from the market, there is a choice between maintaining their software support environments in some form of emulation, or switching to other supported products,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
- Windows 9x - x86 operating system
- OpenDoc - compound documents (Mac OS, OS/2)
- Prograph - visual programming system
- Poly-1 - parallel networked computer designed in New Zealand for use in education and training
- Mosaic notation program - music notation application by Mark of the Unicorn
- Open Music System - Gibson
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. The Save Sibelius group sprang into existence because Sibelius (scorewriter) users feared the application would be orphaned after its owners Avid Tech fired most of the development team, who were thereafter hired by Steinberg to develop the competing product, Dorico.
- (19 August 2008). Request by Sibelius users for a Mosaic to Sibelius conversion application. Sibelius (software)
- (2 September 2009). Opcode Web site finally taken down. CNET
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2006-09-27.
- "About Us". Association of Lisp Users. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- "Newton Reference". Panix.com. 1998-02-27. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
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