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This Is Not the OS You’re Looking For

May 1st, 2014 - 2:14 pm

Vulnerabilities happen, especially in Windows XP which was always hole-ier than a church picnic attended personally by Moses and Jesus. So when the story came out the other day that a new Internet Explorer vulnerability was found and that it was a bad one, I wasn’t very surprised that Microsoft decided to patch the XP version, even though official support for XP ended recently. But this did shock me:

The decision is a notable reversal for Microsoft, which had ended support only weeks ago for Windows XP and the versions of Internet Explorer that run on it. According to research firm NetApplications, Windows XP still accounts for more than 26 percent of the desktops in use.

More than a quarter of Windows users are still using XP? Imagine, Mac owners, if you were still stuck on late 2001 vintage OS X 10.1 “Puma.” I came into the Mac community in early 2006 with the release of the first Intel-powered iMac — over eight years ago — with 10.4 “Tiger.” And even that looks and feels ancient now.

C’mon, XP users — get with the second decade of the 21st Century before it’s more than half over.

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Top Rated Comments   

Sometimes the hassle of migrating old but critical software outweighs the benefits (?) of upgrading the OS.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've seen the 21st century, and I'm not impressed.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (35)
All Comments   (35)
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Those XP users are mostly in China and maybe Russia, is my understanding.

They're using XP because it's much easier to pirate, and they don't care about having anything newer.

(Oh, there's some medical and industrial stuff using XP because the attached hardware or custom software is Very Picky, but that stuff is rarely - quite wisely - attached to The Internet.)
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doze 7 and 8 were released with registration and activation cracks inside of a few hours of release. I believe 7 was available illegally before it hit the retail chain, in fact.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, we've got $1million plus of instruments that require XP. Our solution (for now) was to pull those boxes off the network, and set a new Win 7 box beside them, which is attached to the network. When we need to get data from the XP boxes, we pull it off with USB sticks and plop those into the WIN 7 boxes. It's a kludge, but it works OK.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you talk to XP users, and ask them 'WHY?...
You usually get one of two answers. Sometimes both.
1. It works.
2. It does everything I need it to do.
It's hard to argue with that kind of reasoning.

Oh, almost forgot, from a business owners point of view, reason #3: It's paid for.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
People will use a working system until it stops working. I have an XP Box in my office, hooked to a dot matrix printer. Why? Because it was available, and it works. Why would I upgrade and cost the state considerably more money?

I understand you like the latest and greatest things, Stephen, but not everyone needs that kind of performance, nor can they afford it.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
The last time I paid for an OSX upgrade, it was only $29. But that was two years ago, I think; the last upgrade to Mavericks was free. Even OSX Server, which I have installed on one machine, is only $20 and includes some very nice phone support for civilians such as myself acting as home IT chiefs.

Maybe Windows boxes aren't as cheap as some people think.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Had XP Pro on my work computer, and Corporate forced a change to a Win7 box (our IT guys "Upgrade" almost all the win8 boxes to 7 ASAP). Now one of my labeling printers no longer works, and the software is buggy as all get out for the one that does work. Engineering lost their Blue Print printer to the change and iirc that was a 2000 box. For much of what most folks do on a work computer, the latest and greatest isn't all that much faster and financially isn't a savings of any sort.
One of my Win 7 laptops is now a full time Ubuntu box (Lubuntu actually). I'm quite close to going with a flavor on this machine as well ... the one web site I used to go to that only worked in windows is now dead (effin Fox killed off Speed2) so not much reason for me to stay other than just not going through the install.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
(edit)
Our lab has several bits of machinery that uses proprietary software and most of it runs on XP, and not long ago got rid of a GC that used 2000. On some of that stuff and upgrade requires a new machine, so to get Win7 is a $100,000 plus purchase.(/edit)
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
In addition to all of the software that somehow wouldn't run on the new OS (dispite MS's claims of compatibility), many hardware vendors took the new implementations of windows (vista, 7, and windows -hate point 1) to cheerfully stop driver development for things like scanners, printers, cameras, digitizers, etc., and demanded the purchase of a new model with a 'supported driver'.

Apparently it's too difficult to make a new unit that uses the same API, and port the code. Or their marketing weasels just took the opportunity to make customers buy unnecessary crap.

That, and Microsoft's fetish with making the UI / Desktop 'new' by hiding all of the familiar tools, knobs and levers in strange places. That's like moving the furniture around on Helen Keller - it served no purpose other than to make people fumble around in the dark for someone's amusement and vanity.

Another issue is that companies had custom code written for web pages that won't run on later versions of IE, or *any* version of chrome or firefox, or was dependent on a set of bugs found in IE 6 and/or the Java running at the time. Accenture is a frequent offender - I've got two clients swearing at that group for their inability to write code that can survive a browser or java update.

It's not 'just' XP - it's a whole host of other things that depend on that long serving, relatively stable platform and the cost to replace or re-develop.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is that Microsoft, when introducing Windows Vista, provided no easily implemented tools to migrate information and program files to the new file structure that Vista introduced, and has been in place ever since.

With nearly a terabyte of data and programs on my Win XP machines, I saw no good way to update, and so kept XP running. Having been forced by Microsoft to finally give up my nearly rock-solid XP implementations, I knuckled under and have been spending the last week and a half trying to get my important files and data into Win 8.1 Update. Still experiencing many very basic problems, even with help.

To say that my frustration is high is like saying that a lot of water flows from the Amazon river. This is why so many people have waited so long to make the switch-over. Even large corporations with big data processing departments are paying enormous amounts to Microsoft to keep their systems running on XP. I don't have those resources.

Microsoft did no one any favors by "enhancing" the file structure to prepare for the future. Next time I have the funds available, this long-time Microsoft supporter (I still remember CP/M, MSDOS 1.0 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11) is going to migrate to Apple. XP may be 12 years old, but it still did the job for me. now that it is gone, I need to look toward the future, and it ain't Microsoft.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've currently got two machines on my desk at work - a thin client off a Windows virtual server of some sort, and an XP box that used to be my primary machine. I still need it because:

a) it has some hardware interfaces that I can't have/use on the other one, and
b) some of the software I need won't run on anything newer than XP.

It's been less than a year since I retired a Windows 95 box that had a node-locked compiler installed on it. If it hadn't died, I'd still be using it for that compiler, to support a major customer who's using obsolete hardware.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
On b) there are these "virtual machine" things you might have heard of. Microsoft even ships one, and you can still get their free XP image to run XP in it, on Windows 7/8.

Now, if that software needs Direct Hardware Access, yeah, you're screwed... but that's how life always is when you're using antiques that nobody's updating support for, on any platform.

(I'm pretty sure there's stuff out there that requires obsolete versions of OSX, or 2.0 Linux kernels, though not as much of it.)
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
See, this is the thing about using a developed ecosystem. The OS hasn't changed appreciably in 20 years, if you ignore the atrocity that is Win8. Why would it? It's already perfect.

I've actually used VMWare to emulate a Win95 box to play my old games. It felt like going home to an old friend. Still perfectly usable, and the names of all the built-in features made more sense. Yes, I'm a curmudgeon, despite still being in my 20s.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The OS hasn't changed appreciably in 20 years"

Maybe from a very-vaguely-defined UI standpoint. Sort of.

I assure you the internals have radically improved, even compared to NT 3.5 (which was much more stable than Win95).
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Heck, I'm still using W2K for my image processing computer. It works, it's paid for, I don't have to get Microsoft's permission to do a clean install and most of the peripherals I'm using do as good a job with it as they would with something newer.

Also, I'm a cheap bastard.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
But I like Word 97....
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I loved -- and I mean LOVED -- Office 95.

Office 97 lost me a little bit with all the automatic HTML stuff, but it was still the best suite of its time.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am doing contract work for a certain federal institution in DC. ASP.Net MVC4. Pretty modern. But we are developing in Visual Studio 2010, in an XP virtual machine, on Win7 boxes.

The word is that we are supposed to be upgrading "sometime soon". But nobody in our group is holding our breath. The bureaucracy is astonishing.

I think entropy died of boredom here back in the 90s....
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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