In computer programming "legacy" usually means some older version of something, that is still there for compatibility reasons.

Is there any other technical word to describe something even older and still there for compatibility?

  • 3
    I think "legacy" pretty much covers it. Unless... I mean, how old are we talkin'? Is your software compatible with the Antikythera Mechanism or Jaquet-Droz automata? – Parthian Shot Mar 25 '15 at 0:53
  • 1
    Hi. I need to present both alternatives, this is why I can't just use legacy for both, it would confuse people – wat Mar 25 '15 at 0:56
  • Hmm... Well, strictly speaking, I don't know if there's a proper English term. But the Jargon File has some options. – Parthian Shot Mar 25 '15 at 0:57
  • 1
    As you say, legacy means an older version that is still there for compatibility reasons. But then you say you have some older code that is there for compatibility reasons but you can't call it legacy because it's too old?!? Wouldn't that just be "older legacy code?" And really if I were to define legacy code I'd say it was code that was inherited from an earlier version of the software. It may not necessarily be there for compatibility reasons; it could be there because it works and it costs too much to rewrite. – Jim Mar 25 '15 at 1:18
  • Sometimes obsolete code runs on newer systems, not through any particular planning, but simply because it's vanilla enough not to break anything. – Wayfaring Stranger Mar 25 '15 at 3:45


Obsolete refers to outdated computer hardware, software, technology, services or practices that are no longer used, even if they are in working condition. A technology often becomes obsolete when replaced by a newer or better technology. (techopedia)

  • 1
    But obsolete means it's no longer used, whereas OP is looking for a word to describe code that is still there for compatibility reasons. – Jim Mar 25 '15 at 14:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.