Technology Age is just a number for 30-year-old Windows 3.11 still powering German high-speed trains


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Apr 24, 2016
Using obsolete software within state-owned services and systems is not uncommon worldwide. The cause is sometimes simply a lack of resources and necessary investments, but occasionally, it’s a mere fact that the old code is simply just enough for a given job.

That’s apparently the case of German railroads where 30-year-old Windows for Workgroups 3.11 is still being used. Its ongoing duty was revealed a few days ago in a job posting on the German website, reported the local publication Heise Online.

The now-deleted job posting was listed by Siemens Mobility, which provides services to state-owned railroad company Deutsche Bahn (DB). It was looking for a system administrator with knowledge of legacy operating systems, especially Windows 3.11 for Workgroups.

The presented task of the administrator was to handle the updates and maintenance of the old system released in November 1993. The posting specifies that Windows 3.11 for Workgroups powers the cab’s display system, which shows the driver all the important technical data in real-time.

Tom’s Hardware reports that the system is most likely used in old ICE 1 and ICE2 high-speed InterCity Express trains. Those are old generations of German ICE railroad network trains manufactured between 1989 and 1997.

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