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Microsoft

Win95 Lifecycle Draws to a Close 702

Posted by timothy
from the b'bai dept.
Mr_Perl writes "As many Everquest players discovered recently directx 8.1 is not being made for Windows 95, sending stores everywhere into a frenzy to slap little stickers over the words "Windows 95" on game box system requirements sections. Microsoft has picked November 30th, 2001 as the date that Win95 moves into the unsupported phase of it's career, making it even more useless to those who still keep it around for playing the latest games. Looks like Win98 is slated for execution June 30, 2003."
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Win95 Lifecycle Draws to a Close

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  • damn... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:26AM (#2669714)
    once Win2k is unsupported, it's product activation time for everyone

    • Microsoft is trying to establish the idea that they can kill their products even when people still are using them.

      When this happens with Windows XP, you will no longer be able to change parts in an old computer, because doing so would require re-activation, which Microsoft won't make available after a date the company picks. This is a way of forcing users to pay more, not only for software, but for hardware, too. (Microsoft's big customers are hardware manufacturers.)

      I really, really don't like Microsoft's abuse. I don't like things like the Registry, which is a database that frequently has errors that cannot be fixed with the tools Microsoft supplies. All settings for most programs are contained in the registry, and if there is bad error, it can be necessary to start over completely, and re-install all programs. For some people with a lot of programs, this can take 20 hours.

      I don't like the artificial limitations which cause Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME to crash even though there is plenty of memory available.

      I don't like the sloppiness and built-in weak security. This has caused billions of dollars of grief for people all over the world.

      I don't like the fact that the operating system re-configures itself without any notice to the user. When there is a problem with a connection, as there often is after a computer is moved, there is no notice that something has changed.

      Monopolies are not necessarily bad. Abusive monopolies are terrible.

      I am very much looking forward to the time when Linux configuration and documentation are good enough that I can stop supporting Windows completely.

      Why does a man who has 70 billion dollars feel that he has to squeeze money from people? Why doesn't Bill Gates relax and make a good product? Does it really make all that much difference to him to make another billion?

      --
      Senator Biden (and Osama bin Laden) say that the Saudi government cannot continue without U.S. support: What should be the Response to Violence? [hevanet.com]
      • by Osty (16825) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:23AM (#2669853)

        I really, really don't like Microsoft's abuse. I don't like things like the Registry, which is a database that frequently has errors that cannot be fixed with the tools Microsoft supplies. All settings for most programs are contained in the registry, and if there is bad error, it can be necessary to start over completely, and re-install all programs. For some people with a lot of programs, this can take 20 hours.

        I haven't seen a registry corruption in years (not since win95, actually). And the reason for that was me mucking around in regedit before I had an idea of what I was doing. Otherwise, smooth sailing all the way. In my mind, the registry is better than a pant load of .ini files. Everything's in one place, so you know that if you need to find something, you just have to fire up regedit (and the trees are generally setup pretty logically, though you can't fault Microsoft for idiot third-party developers).


        I don't like the artificial limitations which cause Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME to crash even though there is plenty of memory available.

        Without those "artificial limitations", it's likely Win95 never would've seen the light of day. See, much of Windows 95's vaunted instability was due to Microsoft buckling under the pressure of their ISVs. Microsoft had actually removed most of the 16-bit code, and many nasty bugs. However, many ISVs told Microsoft that they weren't going to develop for Win95 immediately, since they felt that their Win3.x apps still had some life, and many OEMs and partners told Microsoft that they would not upgrade to Windows 95 unless some app (depends on the company what app that would be) was available. Thus, to be able to make Windows 95, it needed to have much better backwards-compatibility. Which meant re-introducing lots of nasty 16-bit code and a number of bugs that win3.x developers had come to rely upon. Was it wrong for them to do that? Yes, probably. But when you're a business, making money is important. Had they not, no money would be made. QED.


        I don't like the sloppiness and built-in weak security. This has caused billions of dollars of grief for people all over the world.

        Erm, choose the OS family you're speaking of. Yes, win9x had very weak security, and for a good reason -- it's a home system, and at the time win95 was written the internet wasn't so popular. Now, if you want to make the "billions of dollars" argument, you'll have to refer to NT, which is not win9x, and has some pretty impressive security features. Yes, there were problems, too (note that IIS is not considered part of the OS), but a lot of that (I'm not saying a majority, but a lot) came from admins who had no clue what they were doing when it came to NT security. My point? Pick one or the other -- either you're talking about win9x and the weak security argument holds up, or you're talking about NT and the "billions of dollars" argument could make a fair case, but not both.


        I don't like the fact that the operating system re-configures itself without any notice to the user. When there is a problem with a connection, as there often is after a computer is moved, there is no notice that something has changed.

        I'm assuming you're referring to the fact that Windows networking defaults to DHCP. Don't you think the same thing would happen on any other OS that uses DHCP to get an IP address?


        Why does a man who has 70 billion dollars feel that he has to squeeze money from people? Why doesn't Bill Gates relax and make a good product? Does it really make all that much difference to him to make another billion?

        Either you're very naive and have no clue how publicly-traded businesses work, or you're deliberately trolling. I'll assume the former, as it's up to the moderators to decide the latter. Okay, quick lesson in the economics of a publicly-traded coporation: That money Microsoft makes does not go directly into BillG's pocket. Microsoft is responsible to its shareholders to continue to be profitable. It does that by releasing product. In the cycle of product development, there comes a point where you have to call it "good enough" and release it so that you can sell it and a) recoup your R&D costs, and b) hopefully make a profit to keep your shareholders happy. This is what Microsoft does. Yes, Microsoft, just like any other group of developers in the world, would love to sit on a product until it's 100% perfect. Doing that, however, is economic suicide. I'm not even talking just the loss of a monopoly position. Microsoft can survive without that. I'm talking about disappearing off the face of the free market. You can't run a business designed around selling product without releasing product. It's just not possible.

        • by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday December 07, 2001 @05:26AM (#2669962)
          I haven't seen a registry corruption in years (not since win95, actually). And the reason for that was me mucking around in regedit before I had an idea of what I was doing. Otherwise, smooth sailing all the way.

          I've reinstalled Win98SE twice because of registry rot, and now again there are weird things happening that are impossible to localise. You could assume I'm a moron, of course.

          In my mind, the registry is better than a pant load of .ini files. Everything's in one place, so you know that if you need to find something, you just have to fire up regedit (and the trees are generally setup pretty logically, though you can't fault Microsoft for idiot third-party developers).

          So as long as you only install MS products you'll be fine. I CAN blame MS for creating a system that crashes if you dare to install products from other companies.

          I'd MUCH rather have a pantsload of ini files. Then I can sort them by date and find the most recently changed ones and fix/delete/restore them. I use an installer tracker and find the average large app inserts hundreds of entries in the registry, many just cryptic strings. It's beyond human understanding.

          • by bribecka (176328) on Friday December 07, 2001 @08:02AM (#2670207) Homepage
            I've reinstalled Win98SE twice because of registry rot, and now again there are weird things happening that are impossible to localise. You could assume I'm a moron, of course.

            No wonder everyone here hates MS so much--the article talks about Win95, you're using Win98SE. Trust me, THOSE SUCK. Win95 sucks, 98 sucks, 98SE sucks, ME is probably the worst of all of them. Try 2000 and you won't have to worry about all those problems. Not that 2000 doesn't have any problems, but it is a much, much better OS and the problems are fewer and farther between.

            Even if you actually decided to buy the OS, the $100 or so would be well worth getting rid of the frustration of 95/98/etc. A guy here at my work uses 98 and it is nothing but trouble.
            • Amazing, isn't it? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by HMV (44906) on Friday December 07, 2001 @09:17AM (#2670439)
              People will bring servers to their knees to get the latest one-line change to the Linux kernel, and yet they'll run a mid-1990s version of the Windows lines and wonder why they have trouble.
              • by bribecka (176328) on Friday December 07, 2001 @09:34AM (#2670531) Homepage
                People will bring servers to their knees to get the latest one-line change to the Linux kernel, and yet they'll run a mid-1990s version of the Windows lines and wonder why they have trouble.

                Seriously, if Win95 was released 8/24/95, do you realize what version of the Linux kernel was released just 4 days later, on 8/28/95?

                1.3.21 [memalpha.cx]

                Is anyone here running that version of the kernel? If you don't want problems with Windows, the least you can do (besides not using it at all) is to use a relatively current version). I can only imagine the flaming if someone was on here complaining that their 1.3.21-based distribution had problems with their new hardware.
            • Try 2000 and you won't have to worry about all those problems. Not that 2000 doesn't have any problems, but it is a much, much better OS and the problems are fewer and farther between.

              That's what everbody used to say about NT 3.51, then 4.0... Supposedly it was going to "revolutionarize the way we do computing," or some such crap, very similar to the XP propaganda.

              And you know what? Back in 1998, I tried to install NT on a machine that had Linux, SCO OpenServer, and Windows 95 on it. The Windows installation program wiped out my entire partition table, then said there was some kind of error and it couldn't continue (and it only gave an error code, it's not like it actually explained what the error was).

              This product, my friend, is below any conceivable standards of software quality and engineering. I haven't used any MS junk since the above incident, and I've been happily running Linux with 12-15 months uptime on average, and unparalleled flexibility and robustness.
            • by sphealey (2855) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:11AM (#2670638)
              No wonder everyone here hates MS so much--the article talks about Win95, you're using Win98SE. Trust me, THOSE SUCK. Win95 sucks, 98 sucks, 98SE sucks, ME is probably the worst of all of them.
              Actually, Windows 95 OSR 2.5 wasn't a bad home/light duty corporate/laptop system.

              Which points out one of my real peeves about Microsoft: at a certain point they stop releasing service packs and patches, and start releasing changes to the OS using all sorts of sneaky non-documented methods. If you were an OEM and had access to OSR 2.5, great. But if you were a home user of W95, after Service Pack 1 (W95 SP2 being basically useless) you were out of luck. Same with NT 4 today: where is Service Pack 7?

              sPh

            • Try 2000 and you won't have to worry about all those problems.

              No, you'll just have problems with Win2k not flushing the write cache on IDE drives before powering off. The "bugfix" from Microsoft didn't fix it.

              What did it cause us? Registry problems, incidentally. Win2k refuses to boot because the registry is corrupt. Not even safe mode. And having an ERD or using the backup registry doesn't help; every time you log in the registry changes and trying to roll it back to a recent (2 days ago) backup confuses the shit out of AutoDesk Inventor since they're paranoid about pirated software. Using an old registry also confuses Office 2000. So I ask again, what use is this proprietary, very undocumented, unreadable and practically unfixable single point of failure? Hell due to its very nature backups don't even work!

              Give me separate ini files or give me a human-readable, fully documented registry. Ideally, give me all of that and a bugfix that actually works!

              Win2k is a lot better than anything that came before. It is not, however, infallable. These problems are experienced on high-end (dual proc, 1G RAM) CAD workstations with mid-end (AutoDesk, Inc.) software. Who do you blame now? Microsoft, for creating a horrendous single point of failure, Microsoft, for not actually testing their bugfix, or AutoDesk for following Microsoft's reccomended programming practises and using the registry for everything and anything?

      • by Red Moose (31712) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:32AM (#2669874)
        When this happens with Windows XP, you will no longer be able to change parts in an old computer, because doing so would require re-activation, which Microsoft won't make available after a date the company picks.

        This is so goddamn true, and has never even occurred to the mainstream press. Or it has and they are just ignoring it. Sometime in the future, probably after the 2003 "end of life" for WIn98, WindowsXP .NET will appear, and MS will say "We no longer reactivate unsupported products" - i.e., Windows XP.

        This is the reason I am going for Windows 2000 because hopefully by the time games are no longer made to work on it, say by 2003 or 2004 (whenever the future .NET/XP codebase splits from the 2k one irrevocably), Linux will be mature enough to be a true alternative (playing catch-up with Win32 by KDE and GNOME is not my idea of an alternative, unless you are a MacOS freak who thinks that running Office 98 on MacOS really is "Thinking Different").

    • Re:damn... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bi()hazard (323405) on Friday December 07, 2001 @06:05AM (#2670013) Homepage Journal
      Actually, Microsoft's actions in regards to support of old software herald a fundamental shift in the way computers evolve. In the past hardware has been the sole determinant of what is possible-primitive graphics limited interfaces and creativity, limited processors precluded advanced and complex applications, and the immature state of the internet put computers in a cage. Every new generation of hardware immediately brought about a new generation of software with greatly improved capability due to the fact that such software could be written, but the hardware could not run it.

      In the old days, when hardware was the sole bottleneck, some hacker in his garage could write something that shocked the world. Look at Doom-a shareware program by a few hackers. Look at Wolfenstein-a slick but fiensishly complex work produced by experienced corporations. The complexity of software is now orders of magnitude greater than it was ten or fifteen years ago.

      Suprisingly, this exponential increase in software complexity has begun to outstrip Moore's Law: only the newest 3d games require the latest hardware. Almost everything else runs well on a 2 or 3 year old system. Furthermore, graphics cards are the key to top performance, and chip speed, while relevant, isn't as critical as it used to be. This trend will continue as ambitious projects run into barriers set by graphics cards and network connections.

      What does this mean? While certain hardware components will remain critical, the new bottleneck for most applications will be software. The latest applications with all the bells and whistles will be fiendishly difficult to develop and debug. Security will become more important with the advent of always-on broadband connections. Since software development is holding things back, software companies must give users compelling reasons to upgrade; they can no longer rely on rising cpu speeds to drive sales.

      Microsoft is the monopoly on the desktop, and therefore the most threatened by these changes. Some people still use windows 95, and still prefer it over new versions, in 2001. That's six years! The product line has already begun to enter stasis and fragment. 95, 98, NT, ME, XP, 2K vs. Linux, MacOS, BSD, BeOS, Solaris...there are as many competing strains of windows as there are competing OSes! If Microsoft allows itself to stagnate its power will erode, and third parties will find reliable ways around the barriers to competition MS has set up. The MS leadership has many faults, but stupidity is not among them. Something is going to give.

      Planned obsolescence is Microsoft's new model. If the old system does everything it needs to, nobody will upgrade. Therefore, believes MS, the old system must not be allowed to do the necessities. Since the necessities will soon be effectively free from hardware constraints software must be the new control mechanism. Hence, product activation, .NET and passport, and the end of support for old OSes. Product activation codes will create an artificial link between new hardware and new software, while .NET, passport, and digital rights management place control of the most critical applications and data almost irrevocably in Microsoft's hands. Online, with everything dependent on MS servers, they can easily block out third parties (just as AOL's AIM fought with MSN messenger) and discontinue support for old software. They can sell subscriptions and monitor users. If MS has its way the existing hardware driven revenue engine will be replaced by one of purely artificial control. By leveraging its monopoly and turning proprietary crippleware into a standard Microsoft hopes to be a far more formidable presence in five years than it is now.

      Think about it-by various methods you can currently communicate with windows users, even if you use another OS. However, in Microsoft's vision this is impossible. With the ability to constantly change its closed standards MS will block out any attempts at compatibility with its proprietary formats; you will only be able to exchange word documents if you have an up to date and registered version of office on a supported OS. Even linux users will *need* access to an updated windows box to interact with the rest of the world. MS considers linux it's number one threat right now, and this sinister plan is the only way it could possibly eliminate that threat.

      Microsoft's existing monopoly will allow it to quietly build this trap. Businesses will fear the costs of changing to something new and different, a herd mentality will prevail, and MS will not be foolish enough to drive companies away prematurely with licensing extortion. Once a business is locked into .NET it will be almost impossible to convince it to reimplement its entire set of mission critical information services with something completely new; a gradual transfer will not be possible. Users will naturally want a platform compatible with the one they use at work as computing becomes more tightly integrated into the fabric of everyday life. In fact, use of an incompatible platform may severely inhibit the ability to perform many jobs, as well as precluding telecommuting. This is how Microsoft plans to rule the world in the future, and this scenario is not at all farfetched. The only thing standing between them and absolute power in the world of personal and business computing is the acceptance of their new control mechanisms by the mainstream of users. So far the mainstream has been frighteningly compliant. There was a time when predictions such as these would have been dismissed as paranoia or trolling, but today there exists irrefutable evidence that Microsoft has already put these plans into motion. After all, these plans are the logical course for a capitalist to follow.

      • Re:damn... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tackhead (54550)
        > Planned obsolescence is Microsoft's new model. If the old system does everything it needs to, nobody will upgrade.

        So true.

        Just for a lark, I installed Win3.1 and '95B on a ~1GHz, 7200RPM drive, 256M, decently-high-end machine.

        Holy fsck, it boots fast. 3.1 in less than a second. Win95B took up less than 100M when all the extraneous crap was configured out of the install.

        Side note on the Registry. Is it just me, or is a good portion of "boot time" reading in the 7-8M of fragmented files that USER.DAT and SYSTEM.DAT become after a few months?

        I suspect defragging doesn't work, because the files are in use during defragging, and many defraggers (with good reason) ignore system/hidden/readonly files.

        I concur with the "gimme 1000 .ini files any day" approach. Put the config files (and any custom DLLs) in the application's directory, where they belong. I should be able to "uninstall" an application by merely deleting a directory tree.

  • MS-DOS (Score:3, Funny)

    by 10 Speed (519184) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:28AM (#2669717)
    Luckily MS-DOS is still supported!!(for the rest of this year anyway)

    And I have a still shrink-wrapped 6.22 upgrade...I wonder if it'll ever be collectable....

  • Hummm... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Sharkyfour (14327)
    Does anyone else find it odd that all verions of MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 are supported by Microsoft longer than Win95? They've still got another couple of weeks on 'em for some reason... Nothing major, just seems... odd. I'm probably missing something since I should have been asleep 4 hours ago. ;-)
    • Re:Hummm... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by TheAJofOZ (215260)
      I find the entire matter odd really. Apple make OS 7.5 (and perhaps even 7.6) and lower available for free and have shown no signs of changing that. For people who have old hardware (such as the PowerPC 7200 which provides net access to our lounge room) an old OS is vital to making the system usable. I guess it's not really fair to expect a company to give away licences for anything but you have to wonder about the quality of upgrades if ending support for a 5 or 6 year old OS is going to affect a lot of people.
    • Re:Hummm... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you look at the notes at the bottom of the Windows Lifecycle [microsoft.com] page, Microsoft blames the January 2001 Java settlement with Sun for not being able to produce more Windows 95 CDs.
    • Does anyone else find it odd that all verions of MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 are supported by Microsoft longer than Win95? They've still got another couple of weeks on 'em for some reason... Nothing major, just seems... odd.

      Probably because Win 3.11, aka "Windows for Workgroups" was targeted at corporates rather than consumers. Some companies are notoriously slow at upgrading ("don't fix what ain't broke") and I wouldn't be at all surprised if WfWG was still in use.
  • If they do that... (Score:3, Informative)

    by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp@freeshell.COBOLorg minus language> on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:32AM (#2669728) Homepage Journal
    Are they going to make a scaled down, slightly less bloated version of their kernel that they sell for less and that we can use for all the latest stuff?

    That's exactly what I use Windows 95 for.

    I put a copy on my Dad's old P-133 laptop so that he could do word processing for his job (he's not quite Linux ready, and neither is the laptop). It runs. And so do the programs I installed on it.

    I know what you might be thinking: "that's old stuff, and old stuff is as supported as it gets on 95." Well...
    there are still a lot of products out there that use simple Pentium chips and small memories that keep coming out that could use a good Windows API every now and then.

    So what is our recourse for "Lite" systems, if not older versions of the software if Windows is required?

    I suppose if we wait a few more years, the Windows clone will be ready, and that could replace it...
    • by cgleba (521624)
      http://www.98lite.com 98lite basically strips the crap out of 98 and makes it nice and simple like 95
      • Did you mean "nicer than win98 and simpler than win98" ?

        There are actually tons of OSses which are nice and simple around: BeOS, RiscOS, AtheOS...

        But no: definitely not win95.

        This had indeed quite more features than win3.1 but I am not sure it was that better as all the new features it had were as many reasons to crash.

        It therefore seems that stability approaches with 2000 and XP (though the latter crashed at boot time yesterday... nor eason but I had 3 differently moving mouse pointers on screen...).

        So, no: What was "nice" with win95 was that it triggered the disparition of the former Presentation Manager Ergonomy features.
        It didn't make these as simple, though as it was using many features which were coming from differently designed platforms (NeXTstep, MacOS, RiscOS, AmigaOS...) hence making its behaviour not relevant in some situations... (the situation has not evolved ever since and besides the keyboard text selection flexibility, there is not that much either revolutionary, nice or simple in win95 GUI).
      • Very much like 95 - you won't get any support for such configuration from any sane solution provider (officially, of course the solution provider which offers true support with hard guarantees for consumer Windows has still to appear).
    • That light stuff is called "CE". However bloat and all the latest stuff seem to belong together. A lot of software doesn't run under CE.

      If you want a lite version of win98 try win 98 lite [98lite.net] to remove the internet exploder.

      But there are always light versions. If you want simple word processing you can choose wordpad. If you want simple browsing you can use opera (5.12, 6.0 is beta quality) or ie. 3.0 (or netscape 2.0). However if you want all the latest you will find that you need all kinds of updates of the OS. Lots of cpu and ram help, however you do not need them (yet) for you wordprocessing.

      Note that i am writing this on a windows 95(b) company machine, that still does telnet fine, and will telnet fine the next year. (I could get NT4, but they block the registry there, I like to edit the registry for oracle)
    • Agreed. To take your ideology a step farther, you could use 98lite to strip down 98[SE] (slightly faster kernel than 95) but not ME (I experienced serious issues with anything below a PII) and use applications like Opera or Eudora Lite though the latter is becoming difficult to get.
  • by Katravax (21568) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:32AM (#2669731)

    Questions

    • If they no longer sell it, and no longer support it, technically it's abandonware, right?
    • Have there been any court decisions on abandonware and whether it's legally okay to trade it/hack it/despoil it in general?
    • If so, is there anything to be gained by rifling through it as much as possible?
    • What is the license enforcement on software abandoned by a still-in-business company? Has MS been enforcing MS-DOS licenses? If not, will that make Win95 sort of a free-for-all too?
    • by pthisis (27352) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:47AM (#2669778) Homepage Journal
      If they no longer sell it, and no longer support it, technically it's abandonware, right?

      There is no legal definition of abandonware (nor any legal concept of it).

      Have there been any court decisions on abandonware and whether it's legally okay to trade it/hack it/despoil it in general?

      Copyright does not require support of the copyrighted work.

      Has MS been enforcing MS-DOS licenses?

      Yes. SPA and other copyright enforcement goons still catalog and penalize illegal copies of MS-DOS.

      If not, will that make Win95 sort of a free-for-all too?

      No.
    • by kfg (145172) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:49AM (#2669785)
      I'm afraid there have been legal issues with abandonware. This is, in fact, a hot topic among those of us that enjoy older games.

      Like it or not, just because a company ceases supporting software dosn't mean that they have in any way abandoned or renounced their copyrights, which still last 95 years.

      Since MS, quite overtly, ceases support to force upgrades expect quite vigorous defense of their intellectual property rights.

      KFG
    • Depite what the Korean-hosted old-warez sites tell you, there is no such thing as "abandonware" and the copyrights will still stand, even if the product is essentially obliterated off the face of the planet. No, there is no "24 hours to delete your downloads" law, either.
    • IANAL, but I seem to recall lawyers arguing on this, and if I recall it correctly it is like this:
      * abandonware is a legally useless term
      * it is still illegal to trade what people refer to as "abandonware".

      The only people the term mean anything to, is those that want to justify trading older games.

      Personally I think copyright should not go that far back. People SHOULD be able to trade abandonware, because society earns nothing from having people live on their royalties instead of coming up with something new.

      Copyright should be ~5 years, that leaves enough of a window for people to exploit their material/software.. After five years they better come up with something new.
    • 1) There is no legally recognized concept of "abandonware." Unlike with trademarks, copyrights do not require evidence of enforcement or support or anything other than assertion of copyright (and proof of copyright, if disputed).

      2) Even if there were, win95 would clearly not be abandonware, as other versions of Windows are still supported. One can hardly say that v2.0 of a program is "abandoned" because the company only supports v3.0 - the program is still supported.
    • In the future if I want to use an older version that requires a key that can only be obtained through electronic registration (as I expect MS will do soon, if XP doesn't require this already), and it is no longer supported, does this mean there will be NO WAY to do an install of the older OS?

      In the lab I work at we still have a few AT machines, that run an early version of DOS and have programs in Basica to control some instruments. When we thought the system and program disks had been lost for a while we couldn't figure out how to re-obtain the things we needed, but at least all we had to look for was some disks, and not also a registration confirmation.

      I am thinking maybe the reg scheme that I expect to become commonplace will require upgrades every 5 years, whence you can no longer reinstall the OS, which lets face it, you have to do quite a bit with Windows.
  • The wait (Score:5, Funny)

    by rjamestaylor (117847) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:33AM (#2669736) Journal
    Looks like Win98 is slated for execution June 30, 2003.

    It always takes so long to execute criminals in this country...

  • Microsoft support (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Whelkman (58482) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:39AM (#2669747)
    While perhaps this isn't the most apropos place to say this, Microsoft's software support track record isn't too bad. I mean if you dig deep enough you'll find Internet Explorer 5 for Windows 3.1 which runs three times as fast and with ten percent the crashes as Netscape 3 (forget about NS 4 on a 486). And as much of a power grubbing monopoly they are, they still support an operating system most people haven't seen in three years.

    Face it, the opportunity cost of maintaining any product in the 9x/ME line will continue to rise in the upcoming years. The fact that 95 through ME were essentially the same product with performance tweaks, bug "fixes," and feature additions made it easy(er) to spread DirectX willy nilly. But now we face Windows 2000 which looks like MS already wants to kill and XP, two projects that (supposedly) share minimal common code with their older brethren.

    I'm sure most properly designed software that runs on 98 through ME will still run on 95 for years to come. You just won't see the latest gaming patches for it. And who runs Quake IX on Win95, anyway?
    • Re:Microsoft support (Score:2, Informative)

      by gusnz (455113)
      You won't find Internet Explorer 6 or Windows Media Player 7 for Win95 either, on that vein. Go to MS's site and it'll say "Windows 95 users, experience the wonderous yada yada of IE5.5 / WMP 6.4 in all its glory, because it's all you're getting".

      I also found that IE5.01 is out of support as well, and installed IE6 (which I need to test pages, as a web developer, don't worry I have a couple of Mozilla versions to make up for it ;). It's not that flash, just more integrated junk and a bit more advanced DOM support like Mozilla.

      My old PII 333 can't keep up with the latest XP .NET shenanigans, and doesn't have enough disk space for more than one OS. So it's Win98 for me, at least until 2003 when I have to start reg hacking my way into installations ;).

      Seriously, most Windows INF (installation script) files have $CHICAGO$ at the top as their version signature, the codename of Windows 95. I've yet to meet one that says '$MEMPHIS$' or similar. Surely it's just an exercise of finding the right installation/'advpack' DLL versions to get these programs going, as the core system API can't be that different once installed? Perhaps just install DX8, and manually copy over the DLLs and any relevant registry settings for DX8.1?

      At the moment I'm running IE4, 5 and 6 concurrently. Come 2003, I'll relish the challange of adding 7 and 8 to the mix ;).
      • Re:Microsoft support (Score:3, Informative)

        by Whelkman (58482)
        You can generally download and run more things from Microsoft than they advertize. Almost nobody knows about IE 5 for Windows 3.1, but it exists. Similarly, you can get updates for Windows 95, but you'll have to stray from "Windows Update."
  • Support for MS OSes? (Score:5, Informative)

    by The_Shadows (255371) <thelureofshadows@noSpAM.hotmail.com> on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:40AM (#2669749) Homepage
    MS OSes will be unsupported:

    MS DOS x.xx (December 31, 2001)
    Windows 3.xx (December 31, 2001)
    Windows 95 (November 30, 2001)
    Windows NT 3.5x (December 31, 2001)
    Windows 98/98 SE (June 30, 2003)
    Windows NT 4.xx (June 30, 2003)

    Anyone else find it odd that MS will be supporting DOS, Win 3.x and NT 3.5 a month longer than 95? I mean, seriously. I can count the number of people I know that have win 3.x system on one hand.

    I only wish I could do that for people who use 95. :-)
    • by mattACK (90482) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:54AM (#2669796) Homepage
      One of my old coworkers at a previous job supported WIndows for Workgroups 3.11. Really challenging from what she said. The support issues with that OS were ironed out YEARS ago. Nowadays it takes little more than a good support script to read off to satisfy the vast majority of Windows 3.1x issues. (She and her coworkers used to play Frisbee while on calls. Just a long cord, wide aisles, and hours of fun. Fun yah!) Plus the new software/hardware market for Windows 3.1x is dormant at best.

      On the other hand, Windows95 systems have many more capabilities and require actual human beings to troubleshoot and whatnot.
      So considering how much more money the must be losing to support Windows95, and how cheaply Windows 3.1x can be supported, it probably makes sense in a capitalist way.
      Course, I could be reading too much into it.
    • It's not that odd, since everything that can run W95 can run W98 too, IOW there is no reason not to upgrade from W95 to W98.

      Hardware and software running with Windows 3.x or MS-DOS however can not generally be assumed to be upgradeble to W98 or newer.
      • by Stormie (708)

        It's not that odd, since everything that can run W95 can run W98 too, IOW there is no reason not to upgrade from W95 to W98.

        How about not wanting to spend $106.99 [amazon.com] upgrading a shitty installation that's only there so I can play some Windows games?

    • Anyone else find it odd that MS will be supporting DOS, Win 3.x and NT 3.5 a month longer than 95?

      MS explains [microsoft.com] it (somehow):

      "Windows 95 as produced for the OEM channel includes a version of Java technology that Microsoft has not been able to manufacture since March 31, 2001. Given that inventory supplies are limited, Microsoft notified OEMs in March 2001 that we would continue to license Windows 95 only through the end of November 2001."

      Hmm, I thought Java wasn't too well "tied" to the OS at the time, is its removal really that hard? Couple of years ago I bought a CD-ROM of AmigaOS for emulator use [cloanto.com], and all "third-party" stuff was removed very successfully... =)

  • Win2k next... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NatePWIII (126267) <nathan@wilkersonart.com> on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:41AM (#2669756) Homepage
    I wonder if Microsoft is not trying to rush the "abandonware" concept. I mean if they can get rid of everything except for their next iterations of WinXP and .NET server, they can probably make up a ton of lost profit from people who don't license "every" copy of Windows they are using. That is the motive behind this in my opinion, I wouldn't be surprised if they accelarate their "unsupport" policy.
    • Microsoft tries very hard to obliterate their previous products when the next product arrives. e.g. when Windows 2000 showed up in stores, Microsoft went back on their promise to provide just one more service pack for NT (would have been SP7). They've made Office XP incompatible with Windows 95. Windows Media player versions above 6.4 are not available for Windows 95 or NT 4.

      And that's just the things that Microsoft does AFTER a product is considered obsolete. You should also count in how Microsoft designed NT 4 to not support hard drives larger than 8 Gigs, made different version of DOS incompatible, designed the OSes to slow down as they get a couple months old, and oh some many incompatibilities.
    • by Erris (531066) on Friday December 07, 2001 @08:36AM (#2670307) Homepage Journal
      It's not abondonware, it's forced "upgrade" or forced sales. Just look at that goofey "lifecycle" page! What's the excuse for things not working after 4 years? Changing technology? Improvements in software? Right. Their language gives it all away.

      The hardware underneath has not changed much. A month ago they celebrated the last of the 16 bit code again. That chunk of code could have run on an 8088, just like MS DOS 3.2 can run on my AthlonXP. The hardware folks have gone to great lenghts to maintain compatibility. In the same way I can move Linux hard disks around the room from a 486 to an Athlon and have it boot.

      Where's the software improvement? Can anyone out there name one thing that I can do in XP that I could not do under Win3.1 or DOS? Movies, check, audio, check, ethernet, check, IP suite, check, instant messenger, check, dancing icons and goofey sounds, check. All of it was possible, despite the artificial 16Meg RAM limitations, under their dinky single user non multitasking software. Today, their dinky single user non multitasking softare acts much the same, but it's a little faster thanks to hardware improvements. Win 3.1 flies on the same hardware that 9x chokes with more code than it takes to fly the space shuttle. If bloat is improvement, OK, there has been some real change.

      M$ would have you believe that you are a "consumer" of software and that bytes somehow go stale in time. I've never eaten a byte in my life. It's hard for me to believe that their non compatibility issues are anything but planned.

  • Just because Win95 has reached its end, DOS based games like Duke Nukem 3D work fine on Windows ME. After all, Win95 plus patches and bloat is what WinME is. This doesn't mean that Win 95 won't work any more, its just not going to be supported. There are still plenty of copies out there, its just not worth the money to support them any more.
  • if people wouldnt rush out and buy XP like mad
    MS couldnt stop supporting older versions that
    easily. the majority of people doesnt seem to
    have a problem with activation, doesnt seem to
    have a problem with higher costs, huge required
    diskspace, enforced digital rights management,
    sloppy support for MP3, discontinued support
    for older games and applications and more.
    its similar to politics: people get the politicians they vote for and they get the
    OS they buy.
    • Have there been any court decisions on abandonware and whether it's legally okay to trade it/hack it/despoil it in general?

      When it's as simple as checking a box during installation (or 5 minutes on the phone, if don't have an internet connection), sends no personal data, and is very non-intrusive (you have to do some major hardware upgrades to force a re-activation, and XP doesn't need the customary yearly re-install like the win9x line), what's the problem? It's simply a company protecting their IP.


      huge required
      diskspace,

      Yes, XP takes about 1GB of disk space for installation. But with 80GB drives running for $150USD (less, even!), that's roughly $1.88 worth of disk space. Stop living in the past.


      enforced digital rights management,

      I'm not sure what you're referring to here. Care to explain?


      sloppy support for MP3,

      Bullshit. Windows Media Player never did encode mp3's at a bitrate higher than 64kbps, but it played them just fine. XP's version of WMP can encode at a higher rate if you pay $10 for an add-on pack, and it plays mp3's just as well as previous versions. As well, there's nothing stopping you from installing other apps to rip and play mp3s.


      discontinued support for older games and applications

      As far as older apps go, only things that relied on low-level system calls are broken (things like Norton Utilities, for instance). For games, I don't follow your reasoning at all. All the games I currently have run perfectly fine (even Quake1!). Hell, I can still run the old Commander Keen games just fine (no sound card sound, but that's simply because I'm lazy and it's nostalgic for me to use the PC speaker for those games). Yes, XP is based on Windows 2000, and yes, Windows 2000 did have some compatibility problems with games. That's fine, as Win2K was not aimed at the gaming public. Microsoft made a concerted effort to make sure many older games work well in XP. You may have to update your video driver (the native nVidia drivers don't like OpenGL, for instance, though if you get nVidia's latest release it works fine), but if you're a gamer you do that already.


      and more

      Care to list more so I can debunk those as well?


      If you're going to bash something, please at least try using it so that you have something on which to base your arguments. You seem to be regurgitating the same old arguments that have been thoroughly disproved over and over again. At the very least, get creative if you're going to make up stuff.

      • by clare-ents (153285) on Friday December 07, 2001 @05:08AM (#2669922) Homepage
        "
        When it's as simple as checking a box during installation (or 5 minutes on the phone, if don't have an internet connection), sends no personal data, and is very non-intrusive (you have to do some major hardware upgrades to force a re-activation, and XP doesn't need the customary yearly re-install like the win9x line), what's the proble
        m? It's simply a company protecting their IP.
        "

        Advance the clock five years. Windows XP is now 'unsupported'. You have a hard disk crash and need to reinstall your operating system. How do you intend to do that when the phoneline has been shut down? Suppose you upgrade your PC after support has been discontinued - new OS for you.

        That's not protecting their IP. That's disabling software I purchased.

        Do they have a number I can call to register the transfer of my software when I sell it or move it to a different computer?

        Secondly, scale this up so every application you have needs to be registered before use, and every audio CD has to be registered against each of your CD players, every book has to be registered against your ebook device. Now, if you think it's a hassle dealing with the insurance company after your laptop got stolen think how bad it will be now after you have to get each and every application reissued to you and disabled from someone elses use.

        How does this improve the world we have today?
        • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2.anthonymclin@com> on Friday December 07, 2001 @06:02AM (#2670008) Homepage
          A dial-in product activation is already common on many pieces of software that predate WinXP. 3D Studio and AutoCAD are two common examples that come to mind. And web-based authentication is common too - look at any Macromedia product.

          In all these cases, if you write down the number the person on the other end of the phone gives you then you can reinstall later to your heart's content.

          The XP authentication will use the same number if there aren't hardware changes. Hence your written down response number will work and you wouldn't have to call.

          Furthermore, Microsoft *will* keep a database of registration and activation and if you call back in 5 years I'm sure they'll still be able to look up your pertinant info.

          David Coursey over at ZDNet [zdnet.com] actually approached Bill Gates on this "deactivation" concern at a special dinner surrounding the XP launch. Here's a quote from the article [zdnet.com]:

          WILL WINDOWS XP EXPIRE?
          "Nonsense!" was how Gates responded to my sharing the concerns of some readers--this is the urban legend I wrote about last Wednesday--that Microsoft plans to use its activation technology to turn off copies of Windows XP when Microsoft decides to stop supporting it.

          This idea was so far from left field that I had to explain it a couple of times before Gates responded and then reminded me he doesn't license his software that way--you get to use it forever, and Microsoft has to convince you to give them more money by offering new innovations.

          While I agree with Gates that the fears are unfounded, there are people who believe this nonsense, which I've already tried to debunk once. So, remember the words of Chairman Bill: "Once you buy it, you have the right to use it forever."


          There you have it from the man himself. "Once you buy it, you have the right to use it forever." I especially like the fact that when asked about this it took Bill a couple of times before understanding what the question was. The idea of "deactivating" users honestly never crossed his mind.

          So....when support is no longer provided for XP in the future, you may not be able to get updates, patches, etc., but you will deffinately still be able to run it. That wonderful legal agreement called the EULA protects your interests too you know.
          • Buy?!? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by BitHerder (180499)
            >> There you have it from the man himself. "Once you buy it, you have the right to use it forever."

            This is an strikingly disingenuous quote from a man who has gone to great lengths to emphasize that when you purchase Windows you are buying, not software, but the license to use it.

            They've made quite clear that Micros~1 is shifting its focus from selling applications to selling *service*. In other words, you are not buying anything, you are renting -- and have the right to use it as long as you continue to pay up.

            It's like saying, "Once you buy a satellite dish, you have the right to use it forever". Sure, you do. But unless you pay for the service, all the dish does is hang off the side of your house.
  • "Looks like Win98 is slated for execution June 30, 2003."

    Okay, so I admit Win95 and Win98 are truly atrocious DOS-based turds, and M$ is technically right to phase them out.

    *but*

    Consider this : have you ever tried RealNetwork's RealPlayer ? you'd download the free version, install it, then after a while, it tells you that it didn't want to work anymore and that you have to go download a newer version from RealNetwork's site. You're happy with the version you have, but the software maker refuses to let you decide whether or not you want to keep the old version and not go through the pain of re-installing again.

    Well, similarly, there are a whole lot of people out there who have a Win9x OS installed, and a bunch of apps that work reasonably well with it, and they'd be quite happy to keep using it. But M$ has decided to discontinue support for Win9x, so in effect, they've decided for the user what they should use. RealPlayer is a royal pain in the @ss when it disables itself, but at least it's free. When M$ discontinues support for Win9x, they slowly and painlessly force you to go *buy* a newer version of their OS !

    Of course, it's nothing new, every manufacturer in the world (software, hardware, automotive ...) ends up discontinuing products, but usually it's only after the product is really very deprecated. I can still find aftermarket parts for my 30 year old car for example, but who's going to make aftermarket "parts" for Win9x ? nobody, because M$ is the only one to know what is in their products. And do you think a 5 year old OS is deprecated ? Linus Torvalds probably begs to differ.

    So at the end of the day, it just goes to show that people should really consider opensource OSes as a long-term alternative for Windows : in 15 years, if you don't find a driver for your Linux kernel v1.2, you can always end up making it yourself if it's important enough to you. Or you can recompile this old program that you really need badly. Just like I can adapt parts from other brands of cars to mine, or even remanufacture one from scratch if I have to, because the car isn't "closed source".

    In short, fsck planned obsolescence and fsck Micro$oft ...

    • Well, similarly, there are a whole lot of people out there who have a Win9x OS installed, and a bunch of apps that work reasonably well with it, and they'd be quite happy to keep using it. But M$ has decided to discontinue support for Win9x, so in effect, they've decided for the user what they should use.

      I'm sorry, but this is totally ridiculous. How are they deciding what the user can't use? It's not like Win95 is not going to work anymore (well, whether it worked or not in the first place is debatable, but that's another post) once it's unsupported, it just means they're not going to patch it anymore. You can use Win95 for the next 50 years if you like, they're just not making new stuff for it.

      Sega hasn't "supported" the Genesis/Megadrive in six or seven years, but I can fscking well still play it! Or should they be obligated to keep making new stuff for it, as you seem to be insinuating Microsoft ought to be doing for Win95? Considering how outdated Win95 is at this point, I'm suprised they supported it this long.
      • I'm sorry, but this is totally ridiculous

        Just to clarify, I wasn't taking issue with your statement that open-source software is superior- because I'd agree with that. It would be nice if they could at least release the source to their products at the end of their supported life, if not completely open-source it from the get-go.

        I was disagreeing with your assertion that because they're not supporting the OS any more, it's suddenly become unusable.
      • by rseuhs (322520)
        I'm sorry, but this is totally ridiculous. How are they deciding what the user can't use? It's not like Win95 is not going to work anymore


        Rule #1 for defending Microsoft:


        Be so narrowminded and shortsighted to fail to see any future developments. And call everybody ridiculous who does.


        It's correct that Win95 continues to work, but for WinXP you will need Microsoft's good will (aka WPA). Of course they will grant you gracefully to use XP, so that people like you can tell how nice Microsoft is and nothing changes. However the version after WinXP, will have WPA that works and will be enforced so people like you will tell us that nothing changes, MS just enforces what they did not before. BTW, they force XP on new PCs and inflate [zdnet.com]
        XP-selling numbers to proclaim XP as "the standard" and abandon older versions earlier.


        Is Microsoft evil? No, they just don't care about laws and can get away with it. (BTW: Didn't Bill Gates lie under oath? Wouldn't mere mortals go to jail or at least be fined?)


        Is Windows a safe investment? Only in short-term.

  • by Looke (260398) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:50AM (#2669787)

    Until I upgraded my computer, I still had Windows 95 on it. When I replaced the 300 MHz K6-2 processor with a 450 MHz one, I was surprised to see that Windows did no longer run.

    The problem was well-known; K6-2 processors of above 350 MHz were incompatible with Windows (or surely, it's the other way around?). A patch was available, but guess what? It only applied to Windows 95 release 2 or later. We poor souls still running the very first Windows 95 release were left in the dark.

    After throwing out Windows, the following years were a happy multiboot-story of Linux, BeOS, FreeBSD and DR-DOS. Windows is not missed, other than the occasional urge to play Need for Speed again;-)

  • Where I work, the decision was taken, many years ago, to go 95 instead of NT. Most users still have 95. The reasoning was: a) we had a shedload of dodgy DOS apps which wouldn't run on NT, b) upgrading 1,200 machines would cost big bucks.As a result, we run about 1 support person for every 70 staff.

    I remember going to a pre-release technical thing at the end of 94 and the reaction they got when they explained what 95 actually was (can't remember clearly 'cos I had a very heavy night the night before) was incredible. We had to sign an NDA so we weren't allowed to tell people that it was basically Win 3.11 with a few bits rewritten as 32bit and a mutex (yes, just one) around the bits that couldn't cope with the pre-emptive multi-tasking (most of it). How they managed to get away with selling it as a "32 bit multi-tasking operating system" is beyond me. It's not 32bit, it's not (properly) multi tasking and I'm not sure it's worthy of the name "operating system. They admitted at the time that half of it was still 16bit - hence the constant "out of system resources" when the 64K user/gdi heaps ran out. The number of times I've heard users ask "why is it out of memory when I have 256Mb RAM?". The only answer I could give is "because your operating system is a bastardised heap of 16bit crap". My work machine runs 2K and people can't believe it when I say I reboot about twice a month (and yes, I develop in C++ on it). 2K might not be very good, but it beats the crap out of 9x.

    I shall not mourn its passing - not that 98 is much different. They should never have been developed.

    If someone's got a link to an official looking article on the subject, please post so I can send to the management along with a comment "now can we get rid of this fucking shit".

    Ding dong the shit is dead!
  • by arsaspe (539022) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:08AM (#2669823)
    Lets have a minute of silence for Windows 95. A quick win32 hack that has been a thorn in Microsofts side ever since. It will be sad to see it go, since after 6 years of bugfixes it was just starting to look really good.
  • And since it's not really a profit to deal with win95 anymore, they shut it down. What's the deal here? If you don't like windows, they you should be happy, right? I honestly don't see the duality there. If there is such a large group that doesn't want their games for win than for linux, then there should be a gold mine there. But will people buy a lot of games for linux? In short, make your own future and choose on your own what to include in it.

    On XP, anyone who has experienced any real trouble on their own with the licenses? I haven't, but I don't use a home licence (I do run legal mind you all, msdn subscription). As far as I've understood it, you to have to get a new serial if you do something, you have a 30 day grace period and there is no trouble at all getting this number if you have internet access. We are just talking minutes online or minutes on a phone. Could be it be that people who don't want to pay for their windows screaming out in anger about this?
  • by Bob_Robertson (454888) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:15AM (#2669833) Homepage
    Win95 was the last version of Windows I could make work the way I wanted it to.

    It's also the last version I will ever have bought.

    I don't blame MS for moving it into the dustbin of history, but I believe they should be asking themselves what it is about their later products that people would still be using Win95.

    If Microsoft, as a corporation, were capable of asking themselves such questions, they wouldn't be Microsoft.

    Newer! Slower! Bigger! Less Modular! More Microsoft!

    Bob-

  • Unfortunate (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ctar (211926)
    That's really unfortunate...I kept away from Win98 as long as I could, and now am trying to keep from moving to Win2K in order to play games...


    If MS continues to publish OS's with license restrictions like XP (which they will) I think it will force more alternatives like Linux to evolve and compete...Especially if the older MS alternatives become unusable...

  • Help me out here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rackrent (160690)
    I'm fairly certain there's a law that if an automobile manufacturer discontinues a model/goes out of business, they have to provide parts/support for that vehicle for ten years. Is this true or simply an urban legend?

    I only ask this question since M$ seems to ignore things like my 5-year-old laptop which could never handle anything above Win98, but works fine with Win95
  • Win95 was DOA...

    Hey just because it was popular doesn't mean its the right thing to do... I mean would you jump off a bridge if all the popular kids did it? Of course I say all this while I wait for Win98 to download the 50 gig of updates it needs since it was released over a modem (ick).
  • by steveha (103154) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:33AM (#2669875) Homepage
    It makes sense for Microsoft to do this. Other companies do similar things. It isn't free for Microsoft to keep supporting old software.

    Microsoft has big labs full of computers, and testers who work in these labs. If they support DirectX on Win95, that means they need to run tests on Win95, which means they need computers set up and running Win95, and they need to pay the testers who will run all the tests on Win95. When the testers find bugs, the DirectX developers need to fix the bugs, too. None of this is free.

    It's not that Microsoft will be going out of their way to make sure things break on Win95; they just won't pay any attention to Win95 anymore. Stuff might even work, especially since MS will still be testing against Win98, which is similar to Win95.

    One of the things I like about HP: they have an official policy that they support their products for five years after they stop selling them. Microsoft seems to have chosen a similar guideline of about five years after they stopped selling stuff. That's not bad.

    It's true that when everything older than WinXP is dropped, that you won't be able to buy any non-activated MS software new. By then I expect to be running 100% Linux, including games, so I'm not worried about it, but even if I were there is a huge pool of Windows software out there at swap meets, on eBay, etc. It will still work as well as it ever did.

    MS isn't doing anything evil or unexpected here. Support can't last forever.

    steveha
  • Windoze 98 dies in 2003, huh? Well, then I guess that's when I can no longer buy new Windoze-based games for my machine, since there is absolutely no fscking way I am installing Windows XP on this system. I will absolutely not tolerate invasive spyware and pervasive copy protection measures on my machine under any circumstances. Nor will I move to Windows ME Harder, which was even more crash-prone than Win-98.

    If game companies wish to continue to enjoy my custom, they can bloody well port to Linux. Hell, I'll even buy a Mac if I have to. But Windows XP will absolutely never cross the threshold of my home.

    Schwab

  • by dabooda (412228) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:43AM (#2669888) Homepage
    I'm not being sarcastic here (although I do shake my head), but they are a company that makes money. The way they used to make money was by releasing their OS in increments (... 3.*, 95, 98, 2K, ME) every few years. But it's getting ridiculas as people own one of their OSes for a year before the new one comes out. Their customers sit on their old versions for years before upgrading ...

    So how do MS make sure that they have a sustainable income? They create an OS that is ever changing, "Rent your software!".

    Ok, if they had come up with that idea in 1995, then they would have achieved their sustainable income (with minimal effort) and be on easy (easier) street. But they have to get rid of these older OSes that people won't upgrade. How do they make people go to XP? Start cutting out support of course!

    So in a few years, XP will be it, MS can maintain their income with minimal effort and the hardware industry will we happy supplying new PCs for an ever growing OS that will make older PCs whine and cripple under its fluffiness ...

    I guess the point is that it's business. That is the whole deal with capitalism. I'm not a communist, I'm just baffled at everyone's amazment at this issue. It's a dog eat dog world and MS the fattest dog ... for now ..
    • by m_evanchik (398143) <michel_evanchikATevanchik DOT net> on Friday December 07, 2001 @05:11AM (#2669926) Homepage
      Your argument makes sense up to a point, but it is that point that makes Microsoft such a dangerous monopoly. Microsoft takes its older software off the market to limit the usefulness of said software. What is wrong about this is that it effectively renders useless an otherwise still useful product. The equivalent would be if Ford owned the patent for making gasoline, and then decided to change the mixture in gasoline every five years so that you had to buy a new car every five years. Sure the old car still "works", you just can't find any gas to run it on!

      Independent developers design software for MS products because of the platforms' ubiquity. One 'feature' that Microsoft customers are implicitly paying for is the availability of software. By taking away that platform's continued availability to new users, MS dries up the development market for older platforms, forcing users to upgrade even if they have no compelling need for the upgrade through the upgrade's intrinsic changes. Users upgrade to keep up with the newer software and for the continued hardware support, not for the OS itself.

      It is a particularly vicious circle. It would not be so dangerous if Microsoft did not have such a chokehold on the software market. I am hopeful that this chokehold will encourage the development of viable alternatives, like Linux. On the other hand, MS's monopoly advantage might be too great for simply the best technology to win out.

      The issue raided of "abandonware" in earlier posts is a reasonable one. Copyrights and patents are given so that creators may benefit from their creation, for the benefit of society. When intellectual property rights are enforced to discourage the dessemination of knowledge, as in the case of "abandonware", the intellectual property laws have had an opposite than originally intended effect.

      When MS pulls the plug on an OS, they are effectively pulling the plug on all the people who developed software for and worked on that OS. Because these people added value to MS's product, they have a legitimate proprietary interest.

      If Microsoft was explicitly renting out their software, their actions would be somewhat more defensible. As they are claiming that they are selling a perpetual license, however, but acting as if they are only renting it, there is a legitimate case to be made for MS's misreappropriation of previously sold goods.
  • "Customers who purchase Windows XP Professional have full downgrade rights to, Windows Professional, Windows NT, Windows 95, and Windows 98."

    Now if only I could figure out how to downgrade RedHat 7.2 to XP, so I can get microsoft support.
  • About fucking time. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cuthalion (65550) on Friday December 07, 2001 @05:09AM (#2669925) Homepage
    Having developed under windows a bunch, the worst part is: There's no one Windows - All the different windowses have various subsets of the Windows API that they support. Win95 was always the least featured of this set. Under Win95 you can't assume that there even IS a web browser or directx (though NT4 has the latter problem too, but it did have OpenGL). Despite their claims of non-OS integration, MS used IE as an excuse to add a bunch of functionality in kind of surprising places, so a Win95 out of the box install (not OSR1 or 2) is missing some really handy stuff. For instance, what standard folders (eg, Desktop, Program Files, Documents & Settings, etc) you can query the location of depend on whether you've got IE installed or not. Anyways, developing with Win95 in mind has been a big pain in the ass for a while. I, as a developer, encourage MS to 'force' people to upgrade.

    It's like trying to develop for 5 different unixes, but you can't use the preprocessor since it has to all be the same binary.
  • Kinda a shame... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Knile (18599) on Friday December 07, 2001 @05:25AM (#2669958)
    Windows95 was a huge step for the Windows world (note I didn't say computing world), and I bet most Windows people's memories for their OSes aren't even 3 years long. It's going to go out without much of a funeral, which is interesting, because it helped a lot of people "get into" computers, myself included.

    Don't forget your roots.
  • by vscjoe (537452) on Friday December 07, 2001 @05:51AM (#2669992)
    Yes, Microsoft shouldn't have to support outdated messy software like Windows 95 forever. But the real question is: why did Microsoft get away with selling such a mess as recent as five years ago? It's not like there have been any major breakthroughs in general purpose operating systems in the last couple of decades. Today's Windows NT/XP isn't all that different from what people already had in the 1970's and 1980's.

    The irony is, of course, that while Microsoft has been learning on the job and shipping outdated software, customers have been financing their learning experience and suffered from frequent, incompatible upgrades to boot.

  • Sue microsoft... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) on Friday December 07, 2001 @06:10AM (#2670022) Journal
    If you live in brasil.

    Our consumer laws says that a company must keep support for a product up to 5 years after it's dicontinued.

    Since win95 were discontinued only in 1998, they must keep support for it (at least here) until 2003.
  • by Lunastorm (471804) <(lunastorm) (at) (myrealbox.com)> on Friday December 07, 2001 @06:42AM (#2670059) Homepage
    My old Nintendo won't play Luigi's Manson, and my old Playstation won't play the Playstation 2 games, and don't get me started on not being able to play Gameboy Advance games on my original Game Boy.
  • by GW Hayduke (19878) on Friday December 07, 2001 @07:47AM (#2670160)
    Now the standard run of the mill /.er takes a lot of stuff for granted. Yes, we can peek and tweak our systems so they run acceptably regardless of the OS. But I know for a fact that trying to do tech support for older machines running w95 can be a complete PITA. Especially with people giving their "hand me downs" to family members. Amazing on how these days when we do a broadband install, how many people have slower machines that really can't appreciate the bandwidth that they are getting. Not even to mention the fact that online shopping (which is a big seller in the rural area we cover) doesn't really work with the 3.0 browsers.
    Now before this gets modded into oblivion, just think about how fast the web is changing everything. People (other than gamers) aren't just using their computers for word processing, it's all about email,browsing,home finance, online banking, shopping. As the websites get larger and more complex, they suck up more space and memory on the computers.
    Luckily windows 3.1 dialup support died for us Dec 31 2000, so we didn't have to worry about Trumpet winsock et al. anymore.
    Windows 95 can be a major problem when working with a newbie who still thinks that the mouse is a "foot pedal" like that on a sewing machine (yes it's true, I actually had a call like that). I mean the Internet Setup Wizard is a piece of cake, but the majority of the people who are hip enough to navigate the web have allready moved on to 98/ME/XP/2K whatever.
    This can actually help out ISP's by not having to worry about support for computers that were "given" to people without the CD. (ever try changing DUN settings or reinstalling Client for MS without the CD on an "upgraded" system where the CABS weren't installed?)
    I've experienced this first hand with "Why is the internet so slow?" check the settings, and the person has 8MB o RAM running w95 and someone gave them a CD with I.E. 5.x and somehow they got the thing to kinda run. By the time they have to go out and get SIMMS enough to run the browser du jour (Opera notwithstanding) they might as well go out and get a whole new system for $700 USD.
    Now don't get me wrong, I don't think the way MS handles things is correct, but at some point the lower end of the bell curve of internet users has to catch up to really experience everything the web/net has to offer.
    Look at dialup, without updated modem drivers/init strings, the cheap HSP modems
    won't maintain a connection. If the computer starts losing memory, the winmodems die. It doesn't occur to these users who think that computers just magically "work" that it could be their own system, and not the network and support that the ISP offers.
    But I still love all the phone calls I get because the default error message states "call your network administrator" everytime something happens... NOT!
    So I guess in closing this is going to be a way to keep people happy in the long run.
    I mean hey I still have netscape 2.0 running on a 1MB RAM Macintosh, but other than email, what good is it?
  • by sharkey (16670) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:22AM (#2670705)
    I'm still waiting for Windows 95 to make everything I do faster, and more fun. It still doesn't do that.

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