Fossil: N. 1. In Software, A Misfeature That Becomes Understandable Only In Historical Context, As A Remnant Of Times Past Retained So As Not To Break Compatibility.

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:fossil: n. 1. In software, a misfeature that becomes
understandable only in historical context, as a remnant of times
past retained so as not to break compatibility. Example: the
retention of octal as default base for string escapes in {C}, in
spite of the better match of hexadecimal to ASCII and modern
byte-addressable architectures. See {dusty deck}. 2. More
restrictively, a feature with past but no present utility.
Example: the force-all-caps (LCASE) bits in the V7 and {BSD}
UNIX tty driver, designed for use with monocase terminals. (In a
perversion of the usual backward-compatibility goal, this
functionality has actually been expanded and renamed in some later
{USG UNIX} releases as the IUCLC and OLCUC bits.) 3. The FOSSIL
(Fido/Opus/Seadog Standard Interface Level) driver specification
for serial-port access to replace the {brain-dead} routines in
the IBM PC ROMs. Fossils are used by most MS-DOS {BBS} software
in preference to the `supported' ROM routines, which do not support
interrupt-driven operation or setting speeds above 9600; the use of
a semistandard FOSSIL library is preferable to the {bare metal}
serial port programming otherwise required. Since the FOSSIL
specification allows additional functionality to be hooked in,
drivers that use the {hook} but do not provide serial-port
access themselves are named with a modifier, as in `video
-- The AI Hackers Dictionary