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  • 39

Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport

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A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday. Le Canard Enchaîné said in an article the computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor. DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992. (news.vice.com) Más...

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dherman
Doug Herman 10
I miss FORTRAN. First language I learned (besides English, that is). There was always something aesthetically pleasing about a deck of punch cards, until you dropped it.
canuck44
canuck44 6
...or someone switched the position of two of your punch cards somewhere in the middle.
Kairho
Kairho Carroll 1
FORTRAN was pretty cool. COBOL was, as said, yucky. PL/1 foreshadowed structured programming and had a unique vector and matrix processing capability. But APL was the nutz ... extreme flexibility in a micro/miniature yet arcane language structure. Imaging inverting a matrix of any size with a one character command!
yr2012
matt jensen 2
And COBOL
vector4traffic
vector4traffic 2
JCL Flashback!!!!

//SYSIN DD *
DHUNT44
DWAYNE HUNT 2
Oh my!!! //SYSIN DD * I think that just caused me PTSD (thinking of Poughkeepsie and writing operating system software in assembler language)
Kairho
Kairho Carroll 2
I was in Poughkeepsie, too (1970-1974) but over at the TDC. Started by manually inputting machine code using those front panel switches! PTSD is on the mark!
DHUNT44
DWAYNE HUNT 2
Kairho, you probably still remember the op code for a "BRANCH CONDITIONAL" instruction. I sure do:Hex"47". We actually were there about the same time. I was transferred to Poughkeepsie around Easter 1970.I remember the data switches on the front panel the same as you...........
Kairho
Kairho Carroll 1
I don't remember any opcodes (hooray!) but I do remember dynamically modifying those BC instructions to save space. That's a big no-no these days (criminal, I believe) but quite useful back then. I was at the Homestead in Technology and often consulted with SciComp when they couldn't solve something or needed more computing power, with our tricked out 360/44R and 360/67CP.

I distinctly remember the time I brought down the HASP system (all of it) about a dozen times over 2 days before realizing it always crashed about 10 seconds after I submitted a particular job. And yes, it was a legal //SYSxxx DD card which exposed a really bad READER bug!
georgep
georgep 2
As a comp sci major and an EE I've used Fortran and it wasn't bad. Cobol, yuck. My favorite language was PL/1. You could actually understand it and it had procedures.
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
FORTRAN was designed to replace programmers. As such, it was a failure. Always marked a diagonal slash across the top of the deck to make the reshuffle easier.
Jimsinsky
Jim Sinsky 2
Your comment comes 45 years too late to help me.
TheresaWilliams
Maybe I'm old school, but I miss 3.1.
jmilleratp
John Miller 5
Probably less glitchy than current versions!
lynx318
lynx318 2
Think how many catastrophes there could have been til now if they had updated to Vista!
canuck44
canuck44 5
At least these computers are secure since the operating system is older than the potential hackers. Pity if they do the right thing and replace it for what will they do when the Minesweeper program is gone.
tomtreutlein
tom treutlein 1
Hackers have no problem with old systems which typically have no security. Ask OMB. They gave up millions of gov't employees files with a system older than Win 3.1
TMcDonnell
Just switch to minecraft which I'm sure will come on Windows instead.
crunkteezy
mitchell baird 6
Not the best title for a headline given today's events... Just saying
vector4traffic
vector4traffic 1
Wouldn't systems such as these be air-gapped?
geoffjoy
Geoff Joy 1
Windows 3.1 is its own air-gap. It never had a TCP/IP stack and used dial-up modems for communications, usually through a terminal program like Procomm.
aerobrent
Brent Jones 1
Trumpet winsock, NCSA Mosaic for a browser... I still have an IBM laptop that boots DOS 6.22 with Win 3.1 and can connect to the Internet through its 10Base-T Ethernet. It wasn't too unusual to have them on LANs. :)
georgep
georgep 1
Sorry wrong, Windows 3.1 has it's own TCP/IP stack (Windsock.ocx). I think it's DOS that you are referring to.
georgep
georgep 1
Sorry, finger check. It's Winsock.ocx.
otnielocampo
Otniel Ocampo 1
The windsock worked out of IPX/UBX protocol, not TCP/IP. You needed a separate set of protocol drivers to make TCP/IP work!
tomtreutlein
tom treutlein 1
3.1.1 had TCP/IP
avihais
Martin Haisman 0
Agree - just spent 5 weeks there met many friends and a very sad day.
wopri
That would not surprise me, but on the other hand "Le Canard Enchaîné" is a satirical weekly, so let's wait for confirmation from other sources.
skylab72
skylab72 1
Good grief, if you are running Fortran apps on Wndoze3.1 the quick easy upgrade path is Linux. Old Wine solves many problems, go to the wine Celler. All distros support a Fort77 or later. Sombody is just lazy.
pp233ee
pp233ee 1
Could loan them my Heathkit that uses a cassett tape to store data..
pixelvt
Bill Fox 1
and XP is dead ? I have XP, Win 7, and 10 at home,, but I miss DOS
georgep
georgep 1
Bill,

Dos is still there. Just enter 'CMD' into the command prompt.
lynx318
lynx318 1
Maybe the Y2k finally caught up with them¿
tf51d
Thomas Cain 1
It's probably still running off of an Intel 386 system!
avihais
Martin Haisman 1
With a maths co-processor chip the size of coffee cup.
tf51d
Thomas Cain 1
You know, I posted this with a little sarcasm, but thinking about it, Win 3.1 being a Win32S architecture operating in a DOS shell which was a hybrid 16bit/32bit environment, probably only was compatible with 80x86 processors. Early Pentiums at the latest.
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
LOL, I was kind of thinking the 286 Processor... The 286 Processor was the first processor to effectively run windows 3.1 after all.... And looking back I still have a copy of windows 3.1.... On 3 3.5" Floppies... UGH.. Those memories
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
An interesting article to be sure, but a few inaccuracies.... For one, Windows 3.1 was an Application and not an operating system. Windows 3.1 required DOS (Disk Operating System) to operate. Windows 95 was the very first windows operating system.... Windows 3.1 required 3 1.44 mb floppies to install.

It is hard to imagine that the airport is using that old of software that would bring down a critical system.. LOL, maybe they can update to Windows 95.
devsfan
ken young 0
This is a perfect example of government incompetence.
avihais
Martin Haisman -3
Grow some sensitivity 140 people just died arsehole.
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
I believe this was posted early in the day, and events overtook the headline.
avihais
Martin Haisman -2
Considering the US led war on ISIS due to the Iraq invasion abomination and the inevitable French doing their bit joining in, the title should not have been so blunt in any case past or current tense. Still an extremely ill considered headline.

News sites reported titles such as - The small French airport of Orly Grounds Flights After Windows 3.1 Glitch" How many worldwide airports use the 3.1 based system DECOR or systems 20 years old?
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
I don't see much of a connection between Gulf II and Windows 3.1. The recent terrorist attack upon which you appear to focus seems separate from the continued use of outdated software technology.
avihais
Martin Haisman 0
ISIS grew from Iraq and the invasion being unhappy with the westernised diplomatic setup into their country. Syria is another one of the 22 Arabic states where ISIS is most active. Unfortunately France was an easy target with its large borders being obviously having less chance of being caught smuggling terrorist equipment/suicide bombers there.

Westerners use technology and get court marshalled if civilians are needlessly killed and play by the Geneva convention. Terrorist's have no ethics and rules and fight dirty. No win situation.

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