The Serpent

// Cursing the Internet since 1998

Goodbye to Some Legends

Visiting the software graveyard is never easy
Posted May 28, 2024 General

I try to embrace change; modernisation, new tech and just getting old in general. But sometimes it hurts a little, when once great technology gets retired into oblivion, never to be seen again.

This year, we’re going to say goodbye to two greats: ICQ and VBScript.

I Seek You

First on the chopping board is ICQ, an instant chat messaging platform from the mid 90’s. You’d be excused if you thought it had died long ago, but it held on after being sold to a Russian firm back in 2010 and became the western version of VK. ICQ allowed the masses to enjoy instant chat without having to learn commands, or care about servers and networks required to access the original chat system – IRC. It made the complexities transparent and brought about easy to use features such as group chats, actions and even dedicated server support for business use (though I don’t know anyone who ever used it in such a way). By about 2000, there were over 100 million users. No doubt anyone who was using it back in those days will brag about their ICQ number, which effectively issued numbers in sequence – so the lower the number, the earlier an adopter you were.

ICQ started in 1996 and will finally stop seeking on June 26th, 2024. The only thing we won’t miss is that giant foghorn start-up sound introduced sometime around version 2000b.

VBScript – The Malware writers’ choice

Next on the chopping block is VBScript, Microsoft’s answer to automation in the 1990’s, but realistically every script kiddie’s dream-come-true which resulted in countless worms destroying Exchange servers throughout the turn of the millennium.

VBScript has a longer send off than ICQ – with Microsoft doing a phased deprecation. In fact, the notice was somewhat lowkey, featuring in the Deprecated features for Windows client (Windows 10\11) and not much else. I’m not sure how many users still rely on it, but it’s still a big player on some older ASP based websites. It’s going to stick around as an “on demand” feature for a while, before eventually being removed altogether. PowerShell is the official recommendation for those looking to alternatives.

And let’s not forget…

Lastly, we should probably say goodbye to WordPad. The lightweight text editor that wasn’t quite Word but not quite Notepad either has finally be removed as of this year. So long old friend, you were good for opening a hosts file and not much else, but we’ll miss you.

Goodbye to Some Legends
Posted May 28, 2024
Written by John Payne