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A legacy system is not necessarily defined by age. Legacy may refer to lack of vendor support or a system's incapacity to meet organizational requirements. For example, a large mainframe may use a 64-bit Java, while a Linux platform might utilize code from the 1960s. Legacy conditions refer to a system's difficulty (or inability) to be maintained, supported or improved. A legacy system is usually incompatible with newly purchased systems.
Legacy systems are high maintenance and may involve intricate patching and modifications. Porting techniques are often used for software adjustments or adaptation. Older hardware may require added compatibility layers to facilitate device functionality in incompatible environments.
An organization might continue to use legacy systems for a wide range of reasons, such as the following: