Orphanware is software that was purchased and installed, but no person in the company was assigned to or has taken responsibility for its operation and maintenance.
The end result is software which may be running on critical production systems, but no one in the organization exists to provide critical updates, reconfigure features or options, resolve outages, or guide users who need assistance with issues. Orphanware, or software which has been orphaned, is at risk of an unrecoverable catastrophic failure.
Since Orphanware has been purchased and installed, but isn't actively managed or kept up-to-date, it is differentiated from Shelfware
, which was purchased but never installed; and Vaporware
, which was never released in the first place.
All of our production software runs on Ubuntu and JBoss; after Bob, our only Windows/.NET expert left the company, all of our production Microsoft systems are Orphanware.