When rivers carry material (sand and mud) into the ocean, it somewhen gets deposited somewhere. Popular choice is the ocean floor. During the millenia, alot of material gets stacked there. Under the high pressure of the above layers, the porose material slowly turns into a stone like material. This process is called lithification, from lithos, which is probably greek for “stone”.
In the cretaceous (like, 100 million years ago), the place i currently live was part of a strait, located between islands on the size of ireland or so. Later, the ground moved up, the sea receded, and out of the many islands, mainland europe merged. The lower ground of the (now dry) strait still attracts water, so a huge river decided to flow here, and cut deep into the deposits. Results are huge sandstone cliffs which are quite nice to look at.
Now lets talk about software lithification. People like to write software. They also like to write frameworks and libraries, which other people will use then. These other people will take it for granted, and base their own frameworks and libraries on it. Huge software stacks develop, and the base libraries get assumed as given and gets somewhat semi-forgotten.
Lets invest some time into understanding the software we already have.
I think this effect is related to technical debt.