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Get On My Lawn Software

Get ON my lawn is a software philosophy that believes good software grows better with time.

Get on my lawm shuns trends and salesmen disguised as programmers.

Get on my lawn shuns the fancy new framework.

Get on my lawn curates quality old software like a garden tended with care and patience.

This is software that has stood the test of time, and, though it may seem antiquated, it’s as robust as an old wise oak tree.

Software for the mature discerning adult


  • Must be old, at least 15 years old.
  • Must still be widely used
  • Maybe it feels a bit antiquated
  • Despite this, it is still well loved by its users. (unlike, say, COBOL)
  • Mostly hasn't changed in all that time
  • As long as its still runnable on modern hardware, open source is not a requirement.
  • Is not vim or emacs
  1. SQLITE August of 2000, (22 years old) SQLITE has the distinguished honour of being the only program in existence which uses the file system apis correctly

  2. RSYNC June 1996 (26 years old) Rsync is the only program I would trust for copying large files or large numbers of files between any two points across a network. Rsync natively supports SSH and in some configurations, uses an extremly clever "rolling checksum" algorithm to avoid sending redundant data over the wire. Why aren't games consoles and update systems using RSYNC? We'll never know. Just be careful with your trailing slashes.

  3. Excel, 1987 (35 years old) Love it or hate it, excel gets shit done, it still gets shit done, and it's been getting shit done for a very long time.
    its formula language and macros system fulfills the promise of users solving their own problems in a way every other system has failed. Possibly because it is hidden from the ruinous grasp of professional programmers attempting to turn it into a "real" application platform.
    fun fact: Excel Formulas are the world's most popular pure functional programming language. Move over, haskell.

  4. The NES/Famicom software platform, 1985, (37 years old) If you want hyper sentient dog scientists from the year 40,000 to be able to run your software, write it as an NES rom. Trust me on this.

  5. Hypercard. 1987 (35 years old) Does this belong on the list, given that it's no longer maintained? Well, there are still people who actively use hypercard, either on real mac hardware, or in an emulator. They use hypercard for fun, and to get useful organisation work done. Bill Atkinson, who created hypercard, still uses it himself. There are many imitators and clones, but somehow none come close to the unique mix of features and simplicity of the original. There are practical benefits to software that never changes.

  6. TeX. 1978 (44 years old) I can't say much about this, since I haven't heaveily use it. But despite many other formats coming and going, the LaTeX math expressions are still the undisputed defacto standard for encoding nicely typeset mathematical expressions. . In addition, the Knuth-Plass linebreaking algorithm pionered in TeX is still finer and more sophisticated an algorithm than the linebreaking algorithms used in most browsers, word processors and GUI systems.

  7. Graphviz and the DOT language, 1991 (31 years old) Forget microsoft visio. Stop worrying about agonizingly clicking and dragging around little boxes and lines. Just type in the straightforward DOT language and let one of a collection of layout algorithms do the hard work for you.

  8. Milkytracker’s first release was in 2005 (17 years ago) but its core is much older. Milkytracker is built to spiritually continue and be compatible with older dos based and amiga based tracker. What is a tracker? It’s music making software whose UI is patterned after the style of music making software that was originally popular on the C64 which were called “trackers”. I’m not a musician, i can’t make it work. but this thing can still run on ancient pocket computers.

  9. Cron (1975, 47 years old) need to automate something according to a schedule? what are you doing fucking around with things like jenkins or bamboo? you don’t need fucking java to run a script twice a day. . cron uses the crontab format, which though it is somewhat cryptic and error prone, is one of the most robust and enduring file formats ever; tab seperated values, one record per line, commented lines start with #. boom. done. no need for libxml, parse it with 6 lines of C.

  10. Maildir (c. 1995, 27 years old) not exactly software, but a kind of protocol or disk format for storing, syncronising and reading Mime messages, while avoiding concurrency and file corruption issues. It's the simplicity and obviousness of the idea that makes it so robust and popular. Not just for mail, it could be used by a notes application, or a CMS, if those things were less about chasing the latest trends and more about reliability and interoperability. offlineimap rules!

10b. Rsync Cron and Maildir, used together.

  1. Pandoc (2006, 16 years old) I always wanted to add this and now it's just old enough. What can I say? It's a convert any document format to any other document format swiss army knife written in haskell. I am a big fan of its markdown dialect: LaTeX math expressions? awesome. Fenced regions with attributes? Amazing. Whether you're publishing a book or extracting content from a website, it's just wonderful.
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