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The Life and Death of Microsoft Software 187

Posted by Zonk
from the holding-vista-above-pride-rock dept.
coondoggie writes "With Microsoft aiming to release Vista real soon now, they've been retiring older versions of the Windows OS. For IT outfits it's yet again time to evaluate what stays and what goes, and make plans for the future. Network World discusses the life cycle of Microsoft's software." From the article: "'Generally, it is a bad idea to run unsupported software, but there can be a business case to run it,' says Cary Shufelt, Windows infrastructure architect at Oregon State University, in Corvallis. The university still has some NT machines running in isolation in its labs. But Shufelt says there are security risks in allowing connections to legacy machines and that the university makes sure to minimize those risks. 'We don't allow [Windows] 9.x clients to connect to our Active Directory,' he says. 'But we try to stay current with technology so these issues don't typically come up.' Others say they also stay current to avoid headaches and fire drills."
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The Life and Death of Microsoft Software

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  • All NT here (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 14, 2006 @01:58PM (#15720412)
    The university still has some NT machines running in isolation in its labs.

    All our Windows PCs run NT, from NT 4.0 to NT 5.2.

  • Joke (Score:5, Funny)

    by ch-chuck (9622) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:00PM (#15720436) Homepage
    I *knew* if I just type "microsoft life cycle humor" into google something would come up:

    The Life Cycle of Software

          1. Programmer produces code he believes is bug-free.
          2. Product is tested. 20 bugs are found.
          3. Programmer fixes 10 of the bugs and explains to the testing department that the other 10 aren't really bugs.
          4. Testing department finds that five of the fixes didn't work and discovers 15 new bugs.
          5. See 3.
          6. See 4.
          7. See 5.
          8. See 6.
          9. See 7.
        10. See 8.
        11. Due to marketing pressure and an extremely pre-mature product announcement based on over-optimistic programming schedule, the product is released.
        12. Users find 137 new bugs.
        13. Original programmer, having cashed his royalty check, is nowhere to be found.
        14. Newly-assembled programming team fixes almost all of the 137 bugs, but introduce 456 new ones.
        15. Original programmer sends underpaid testing department a postcard from Fiji. Entire testing department quits.
        16. Company is bought in a hostile takeover by competitor using profits from their latest release, which had 783 bugs.
        17. New CEO is brought in by board of directors. He hires programmer to redo program from scratch.
        18. Programmer produces code he believes is bug-free.
        19. See step 2
  • by also-rr (980579) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:01PM (#15720438) Homepage
    We have a piece of Microsoft software, X. An application Y outputs its data to application X. So far so good...

    It does this by (during the export process) loading the software X. Don't ask me why, I didn't write it.

    Microsoft app X+1 is now available. App Y *will not export* to app X+1 because the executable has been moved and it can't talk to the new version anyway.

    The App Y developers could fix this... but they wont because they have moved onto App Y+1 which we don't want to buy (not yet mature enough). App X is no longer available in the company and we cannot buy licenses for a variety of reasons (mostly due to integration and the fact that version X and X+1 running together cause major problems). There are no other export options except to pay for monkeys to retype all the data - on a weekly basis.

    Software upgrades and end of support can attack you in the posterior in unexpected ways, and sticking with old software may not be an option. If you have given away the ability to make your own modifications, or put your data into formats you cannot read, you better make sure it's in your risk register.
    • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:25PM (#15720632) Homepage Journal
      What you say is true, but i am not sure it is unique to software or even closed source software.

      I visited the Mercedes museum in Germany a while back. One thing that struck me was the display of old fashioned factory equipment that was based on the then-new Otto cycle engine. The machine would have a leather drive belt that went up to a rotating drive wheel hanging from the ceiling. It seemed that there'd be one engine turning a row of linked drive wheels and each separate machine would have a leather drive belt that powered it.

      I am sure that at some point, that engine broke, or a leather drive belt broke, or a machine broke. Supposing that any of the companies involved had moved on (think about the rapid pace of engine development during the earliest years of internal combustion engine deployment into factories) and would no longer offer parts or replacement units for any of the peices of this big moving puzzle.

      The factory would be in a position to
      - create the needed replacement parts themselves
      - pay the original creator to fix the problem
      - pay some new person to fix the problem
      - abandon some or all of the systems and retrofit something else in its place

      Now, you might say "ok, but if the engine had failed, wouldn't any engine work as long as it had a shaft outout and spun the same direction at the same speed?"

      Probably, with some work. I assure you, i cannot go and put my BMW's engine in my Audi and have it all just "work". Engine swaps even when you're taking an identical engine from an identical car are non-trivial. Once you have different interfaces, lots of custom work has to be done to make things work, and it is a painful laborious process.

      This would tend to suggest that retrofittability is critical in selecting the components that make your business run, which, when taken to the software analogy would suggest "demand documented open interfaces with open source software".

      Yet the question arises - are any of the machines I've described still in use? Is using a leather belt still the best way to transfer power to a factory machine? Or do thinigs become obsolete not because of abandonware, but because progress has truly taken place? Now power is distributed via electricity, not leather belts and drive wheels. And the power doesn't come from a gas engine installed on site, the production of power has been outsourced to the power company. every part of this original system has become obsolete, irrespective of the simplistic, logical, obvious interfaces and boundaries.

      Sometimes, it makes sense to just throw the old stuff away because the cost of evolving outweighs the cost of leaping.

      And often times, the cost of compatability is high. Everyone seems to understand that one big reason Microsoft gets into security trouble is due to the desire to maintain backward compatability... the need to maintain interfaces and expected behaviors. Compatability/retrofittability/ease of integration are sometimes at odds with innovation and progress.

      As an aside, if you're interacting with Microsoft Application X and require the binary, it usually means COM. Newer versions of X often include a backward compatible COM interface. Have you tried App Y with App X+1? Or are you going off of what the vendor says -- that to use X+1 you need Y+1?

      • In the industrial setting you refer to, you can maintain a staff of master mechanics to craft replacements parts and perform repairs when needed (sure, sometimes you may need to bring in outside help, but for day-to-day, it works). A few years ago I supported a distribution center in Indianapolis which ran on that same model. They had cheap forklifts from the early 70's, and had two mechanics on staff who maintained them in-house. You're right, at some point, it becomes the wise financial choice to bring
        • The issue with software is also one of understanding what was happening. The difference between a 1800's era machine shop running off a common shaft and a 777 airliner is that a couple of mechanics could maintain the 1800's machine shop. Or a couple of forklifts. But could a couple of mechanics, without a support organization behind them, deal with a 777 airliner? Hardly.

          The situation we have today with software - even open source software - is that even if you have the source code it is not feasible fo
      • Yet the question arises - are any of the machines I've described still in use? Is using a leather belt still the best way to transfer power to a factory machine? Or do thinigs become obsolete not because of abandonware, but because progress has truly taken place? Now power is distributed via electricity, not leather belts and drive wheels.

        Are they in use now? I can't answer that, but I can tell you that my father's factory used this type of setup until well into the '80s. Earlier, they had converted from

        • Flat belts and line shafting survived for such a long time because they were open, adaptable, and modular.
          They worked with power sources like windmills and water wheels, then steam engines, and later electric motors.
          If driven equipment had a stoppage, the belts could slip and spare the drivetrain. New parts were simple to make on basic lathes.Speeds were easy to change by swapping pulleys. Bearings were easy to make (and recycle, in the case of Babbit metal).
          New belting was as close as the nearest cow. :)
          Wo
      • by hackstraw (262471) * on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:56PM (#15721231)
        The factory would be in a position to
        - create the needed replacement parts themselves
        - pay the original creator to fix the problem
        - pay some new person to fix the problem
        - abandon some or all of the systems and retrofit something else in its place

        Now, you might say "ok, but if the engine had failed, wouldn't any engine work as long as it had a shaft outout and spun the same direction at the same speed?"

        Probably, with some work. I assure you, i cannot go and put my BMW's engine in my Audi and have it all just "work".


        So, how did we answer these questions? Or at least we try?

        Open standards and interchangeable parts.

        Sure there is always going to be some degree of customization because the standards or interchangeable parts will never satisfy every situation and every case, but an engine swap would be impossible if it were not for standard hex nut sizes, and things like that.

        Computers are still new, and they are becoming more commodity and interchangeable over time. For the most part, you can have the hardware and software of your choice and share things like the web, email, pictures, music, movies, etc. Tons of stuff.

        Now, there are custom apps or environments that do not always conform to standards because there is not one, nor is there enough of a market to create one. And that is where you pick an environment, for good/bad/indifferent, block it off from the outside world, and then DON'T TOUCH IT.

      • by caleb_is_a_dharmabum (973232) on Friday July 14, 2006 @05:01PM (#15721653)
        +1 car reference.
      • As many posts point out, many companies stay on whatever outdated software because it serves their needs and continues to do so.

        Introducing planned obsolescence into your comment(are any machines....) sidesteps the career limiting risks a system administrator faces when her PHB wants a shiny new software application.

        Diverting attention away from Microsoft's security woes by throwing up backward compatibility is a fallacy.
        The big reason microsoft gets into security trouble is the organization has no incentiv
    • by jimicus (737525) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:26PM (#15720640)
      It runs even deeper than that.

      Consider the following scenarios - all fictional, but all perfectly conceivable in any sizeable organisation:

      • App X runs just fine, but is reaching the end of its supported life. Version X+1 has already been discontinued and cannot be licensed, any upgrade has to be to X+2. But there is no upgrade path from X to X+2 unless you want to re-key all several million rows of data, so you've got to go to X+1 first. However you never bought version X+1, so you don't have installation media and, as discussed above, you can't (easily) get it.
      • App X is used exclusively by the finance department and is reaching the end of its supported life. X+1 is available, but it's very expensive. The finance director will have to sign off on any migration plan and he doesn't see the business need to upgrade - after all, version X has always worked so far. He's the one who'll be signing the cheque to buy version X+1. So what if the older version is not supported? We've not needed the support yet. In this case, technically the finance director is in the right - the change is expensive, has a risk attached and has little perceived benefit - however it might be wise for the IT department to have a plan B sitting in the wings in case application X suddenly breaks one day...
      • App X depends heavily on Fred's Shiny Database and will not speak to anything else. The company that developed App X went out of business long ago, but their product is still critical to the business. Nobody's got around to investigating a replacement because the only people in the IT department who even knew it existed were made redundant in the last round of layoffs. Meantime, Fred's Shiny Database Company has been taken over by Ceefax Data Ltd, who are discontinuing Fred's Shiny Database in favour of their own product.
    • Without knowing the problem it may be possible to write a fake app X that would take the data and then export it to application X+1.
      Or if it is just the location of the executable you couldn't you just put a link from the old location to the new one?

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:02PM (#15720453)
    There are rather few "good" reasons for the everyday user to buy Vista (unless it comes bundled with a new PC anyway). There have been many incentives to switch from NT to 2k (USB support), or even from 2k to XP (better support for a lot of hardware). But so far, the big "visible" incentive (aside of the 3D interface) is the DX10 support. Now, that's not something you can sell to a company. What for does a company need a component that mainly carters to gamers? Actually, most would love to NOT have it.

    Also, there's the big black cloud of DRM that hovers over Vista, where pretty much nobody really knows yet just how dark it will be. Many people will abstain until that fog cleared, definitly something neither MS nor the content industry would enjoy. So, another incentive will be that certain content will only be available to you if you use Vista and its stronger DRM.

    Another thing that doesn't bother companies too much. Actually, yet another incentive NOT to migrate, so your employees can't waste their time watching youtube.

    What does bother companies, though, is support. So the faster support for XP ceases to exist, the faster companies will migrate. So, let the spinning start.

    Whoopsie, already started.
    • Vista is also updated from the ground level up. New memory management, caching techniques, security protections, networking stack, audio stack, video driver ring move, etc etc etc...

      It may not 'look' that much different, but has as many differences as NT4 to Win2k did.

      I find articles like the one posted quite suspect. Legacy hardware can easily run WinXP as well, and there is Virtual PC for the hard core legacy apps that can be tightly wrapped in the new OSes security...
      • This is all true, but the question your manager will ask is "Will it make us more productive?" He doesn't care about more secure memory management or ring X permissions, he cares for support of this or that hardware piece you have and compatibility with other companies you deal with. At best, he cares for stability so you don't lose your work in a crash.

        Unless it increases productivity, he will not shell out the dough for new software. Even if you have a corporate license, he will shun the downtime for the
    • Microsoft [microsoft.com] has promised to continue to sell XP to OEMs and retail for a year post-Vista, and to system builders for two-years post-Vista. They can't wrap up support while they still sell it. They'll still be selling it (with very few takers) until Q1 2009, assuming no delays. Based on Win98 and WinME, it'll have support for 12-24 months after that. So we'll see XP supported when Blackcomb/Vienna is rolling out.
    • Not only do I not know why Vista would be such a tremendous improvement over 2k/XP (fine, fine, they changed a bunch of stuff, does that really make it worth the lateral upgrade?), but the issues with DRM and the Mac OS X-induced feature creep have made me decide to replace my old laptop before Vista is released, to guarantee that I don't get stuck with it.

      This isn't just a MS-hatred-induced unwillingness to upgrade. 2k/XP are orders of magnitude more stable than 9X was - so stable that I don't feel like g
    • "or even from 2k to XP (better support for a lot of hardware)."

      This is a lie and you are spreading FUD. Support for hardware comes in the form of drivers from the software companies. Just because microsoft writes some of their super special drivers doesnt mean that the os is devoid of support if those super special drivers arent there. No major hardware company has dropped support for windows 2000. Theres a good reason for that too, the underlying layer hasnt changed. In win2k its just not loaded with all t

    • I can see a lot of support for DRM within companies - from the "only run signed applications" angle.

      Seriously. If the majority of your staff have a clearly defined role and only need their computer to do one or two tasks, what better way to guarantee that this is all their computer does than to nail what applications can be run in a GPO? Of course, it's been possible to lock down Windows quite a lot through policies for some time, so arguably it's not providing anything the business shouldn't have already
  • by suggsjc (726146) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:04PM (#15720472) Homepage
    I'm not trying to flame here, but whenever a topic like this comes up there will always be someone posting about how they've had the same *nix/BSD box running for X years.

    I do understand the concept of legacy hardware and software, and that if it ain't broke... However, almost EVERYTHING has a given lifecycle. I don't think that software should be any different. People are going to complain that M$ stops supporting their older OS'es (especially close to a new OS release) but honestly, how long should they be responsible for maintaining the code?
    I hear the statement that "we paid for the software...so they should support it." In the open source realm, most people don't pay for the software, just for support and updates. So, in that same respect the people that bought windows paid up front for their support and maintenance, but how long should that be for? Is that something that should be included in the license...we guarantee to support this product for X years?

    Sorry for the slight rant, but I know how people like to get all uppity about this stuff. But at least in this case I think it is completely justifiable.
    • I don't expect support after X years (though it would be nice to get at least "guaranteed" support for X years when you buy software Y). But from what it looks like now we'll be facing software with a "best before" date soon.

      XP already has the potential for being some kind of software with an expiration date. What if MS decides that they won't "activate" your copy anymore after the support ended? So far, I can't see a reason why they could not.
    • I have a laptop running Win98. The laptop cannot run XP and so Vista is not even a faint possibility. There is nothing wrong with the laptop, it works fine. It has no residual value, but replacing it with something that can run Vista (even without all the fancy chrome) will cost $700 or more.

      Microsoft have decided that they don't want my business and they would really prefer it if my laptop were consigned to landfill.

      If Microsoft doesn't want my business, then perhaps one of the lightweight Linux dis

  • by guruevi (827432) <evi.smokingcube@be> on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:04PM (#15720473) Homepage
    "We don't allow Win 9x to connect to AD". It's not like there is a huge security risk for having AD run authentication for Win 9x. I can agree that you don't run AD on those boxes, but I have Win NT and Mac OS boxes connecting to AD. I can't change anything in the AD, I can just read stuff everybody else can read. Or is AD broken? In my company there are still Win NT 3 boxes standing around, they are firewalled...
    • I think that banning 9x from AD is just a convenient way of making sure that users, who have AD credentials, don't use them to connect to various network services which could be impacted by an infected or rootkit'd machine.

      Of course, there's always the issue of key loggers harvesting passwords, but that's probably a lost cause anyway, short of a search and destroy mission for all Win9x in position of staff.
    • AD 2003 has stronger password hashing than did older versions. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but 98 only supported old LanMan passwords, where 2000+ will support Kerberos.
    • It is most likely because of the ease with which you can bypass 9X security.If you actually want to know who is on your network it would be foolish to allow Win9X machines as all you have to do to bypass login is press cancel.

      That said,I think Microsoft will find it a lot easier to get companies to toss Win9X than it will be to get them to toss Win2K Pro and WinXP Pro when Vista comes out.The 9X line was notorius for being crashprone and buggy,whereas Win2K Pro and WinXP Pro are very capable OSes.And from

    • I would wager that 9x authenticating against AD per se is not the problem, its having 9x plugged in at all and running on their internal network that's the problem. Allowing it to authenticate is just encouraging the problem. Also, since 9x boxes were client machines, they would likely have users interacting on them and therefore more things are likely to go wrong than just having a service running on a firewalled NT box in the closet. If MS is no longer supporting 9x, then the AV vendors aren't going to ei
  • Despite Microsoft's Windoze vulnerabilities, we may be running some pretty old code for a while. We're international and pretty reluctant to export technology and software to certain countries, like Russia and China.

    Most of our desktops that run Microsoft Office applications are running Windows 2000 Pro. We have a few high-end workstations that run XP and they may be upgraded to XP-64 if we can solve a particular problem with some software (there are no 64-bit Quicktime codecs for Windoze and we're reliant

    • Our servers range from pee cees running Windoze to pee cees running Linux to Apple X-Serves.

      I believe you meant to say:

      Our servers range from pee cees running Windoze to pee cees running Linux to Apple X-Serve pee cees running OS X

      Or more accurately, you shouldn't have used the term "pee cee" for any server
  • by MECC (8478) * on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:06PM (#15720494)
    They just slowly get virtualized....

  • by saleenS281 (859657) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:09PM (#15720522) Homepage
    This is exactly why we have VMware. Need to run an app for 98? Put it in a virtual session. Get all your *real work* done on the external OS, whether that be Windows/Linux/whatever. You turn on your network connection to the virtual machine only when you need to transfer files on and off of it. IIRC, you can also setup a firewall to block what can and can't get to that virtual machine... need ftp out? Only allow ftp. Most of this can be setup so even the most illiterate user can figure it out.
    • by molarmass192 (608071) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:49PM (#15721197) Homepage Journal
      ... except if you need to make use of a specialized ISA/PCI card, that's where the weakness of virtualized hardware comes into play. FWIW, I have a vmware image of Win98, just in case, I've only ever used it to spy on USB traffic from Win-only USB drivers, and even that's been a while.
      • You're assuming that specialized ISA/PCI card doesn't have a Linux driver written for it, if it does, you should have no issues porting it into VMWare. If it doesn't, in most cases you should be able to find someone willing and able to write a driver for you for the right price.
  • Fire drills (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AJWM (19027) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:15PM (#15720558) Homepage
    Others say they also stay current to avoid headaches and fire drills.

    Strange. I always though staying current was a headache and a fire drill.

    (Heck, I still use 9.x on my kids' computers. Works fine for their software, and they're usually not on the internet. When they are it's behind a NATed firewall and using firefox.)
  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:25PM (#15720633)
    On the day of the 11th, the day support for all Win 98 systems, I stopped by a Fedex and realized their POS systems (pun intended), were are win98. I let the guy know that Microsoft stops support for them and he said 'good luck getting corporate to upgrade'. At that point I realized that this was a POS system that was sold to them by another compny and that it is most likely that TONS of POS systems still ran 98.

    I suspect that alot of companies at this point may actually decide to replace these systems with Linux based POS to save money and as a result of that, they will see the benefit of using Linux elsewhere as well. The big issue will be that these companies will have to upgrade all their terminals and hardware as well as all their software and potentially, if they just switched to Linux and a Open Source POS system, they could save MILLIONS.

    Feel free to insert opinions here. I'm interested how others think corporate America will respond.
    • It's actually not a pun, it's more of a double-entendre...
    • They will upgrade based upon the POS software, NOT the OS that is under the software.

      Most folks here on /. were not around for the Windows 3.x - win 95 VS OS/2 wars. Whant to know why Windows won? Marketing helped, but the BIG thing was Microsoft introduced this nifty, simple (and much maligned) programming tool that made it EASY for companies to get their custom apps on the desktop - Yep, Visual Basic, plus things like Visual C++ (and Borlands C++ and Pascal etc)

      Companies don't _REALLY_ care what the OS
      • They may. If the upgrade requires a new OS and hence new hardware, this is when the situation becomes more difficult. Most older POS systems either have upgraded to newer OS's or have gone out of business. Assuming that the company is still in business, the only OS's that are sold that they could upgrade to are XP. This will require new monitors, hardware, etc.

        The bottom dollar then becomes...
        new employees to install all new systems + new POS system + new OS + new hardware

        This in comparison to
        new employees
        • IF (the big if) they can get the POS software the want/need

          Like I said - they will probably evaluate whatever is available from the terms of the functionality of the POS software, choose 2-3 candidates, get quotes, and go from there

          If there isn't a POS program that fits their bill in OSS, guess what? Aka for most companies, the functionality comes FIRST
          • Precisely but again this is to assume that people will sell support for a product on an older system. Good luck finding one outside of open source. Most companies wil NOT sign a contract if they cannot get support on an older system. And considering now that most virus and firewall vendors will also drop support for 98, this means 'you are on your own'.

            Again, the issue still remains that there will mostly definitely be the added cost of the new POS, the new SOFTWARE and the new HARDWARE. Compare those costs
    • Or, they could not upgrade at all and save yet more money over Linux. A company like FedEx isn't going to get rid of their old POS machines just because the underlying OS isn't officially supported anymore. They're gonna use the things until the fall apart. As another poster said, I've seen quite a few POS machines still on Win 95 and going strong. Like the guy said: "good luck getting corporate to upgrade." Corporations like that don't upgrade until they're forced to.
    • Feel free to insert opinions here. I'm interested how others think corporate America will respond.

      If it ain't broke, why should I "upgrade" and then break it?

      There are POS devices that still used DOS, Win 98, Win 95, and some that use paper tape without even carbon copies of that tape.

  • by plusser (685253) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:50PM (#15720783)
    Just because a product is old, it does not mean that the product is obsolete. That is something that the IT industry needs to learn.

    The Automotive industry is a good example. Suppose you bought a brand new car today, you would expect that you would be able to operate that vehicle for a number of years, after all it is a big investment. However, if the vendor said after 4 years that the engine could no longer be maintained and that it must be immediately replaced at your cost, you would not be very impressed. You would be tempted to perform your own DIY and install your own engine from a different vendor.

    Thing is, Microsoft in recent years has tried to market a versions of Windows for embedded applications. When users of these operating systems realise that after 4 years that microsoft will expect you to upgrade a major piece of equipment as they no longer support the software it is based on, the customers are not going to be happy.

    An old computer may run old software, but there is every chance that in every other respect that it may still be just as useful as a new one. The computer may have features that are no longer supported such as ISA cards or serial ports that are required to operate certain useful external equipment and embedded applications. In essence the cost of upgrading the computer operating system may be much greater than requesting that existing software is maintained. Unfortuately this is one area where Microsoft are running the risk of loosing the plot.

    As for Microsoft saying that Windows ME is 6 years old and is therefore unsupportable, until 4 and a half years ago it was the latest operating system for home computers. XP isn't even 5 years old yet, but one thing is certain, if Microsoft imsists that I upgrade to Vista within the next 2 years, I will upgrade to Linux or OSX.
    • "That is something that the IT industry needs to learn."
      should be:
      "That is something that the IT industry needs to re-learn."

      it used to bge called maturity. Maturity doesn't make a lot of money for vendors.

    • As for Microsoft saying that Windows ME is 6 years old and is therefore unsupportable, until 4 and a half years ago it was the latest operating system for home computers.

      It has nothing to do with age; Windows 2000 came out *before* ME, and IIRC they won't be ending W2K support until 2011. The difference is that W2K actually worked and was widely adopted (especially by business), where ME was largely regarded as the biggest piece of crap OS Microsoft ever excreted and never had a large install base compar

    • Actually, it's like saying that your brand new car won't be serviced by the dealer if it breaks after 5 years, except if there's a known problem with the car. Five more years later, the dealer won't fix it anymore, period. You can, of course, choose from any of this year's NEW models...

      The point is, Microsoft isn't MAKING you upgrade; they're just creating an incentive for you to upgrade. You can go on using whatever software you're using for however longer you want, but don't expect Microsoft to suppor
      • If the dealer refuses to sell spare parts for my 1985 car because it's "too old" and "obsolete", I can go to the NAPA store or the junk yard to find them. I can (and do) fix my own old car myself; it was designed for reasonably easy service in the most common cases, and no reasonable repair is impossible. I can take it to any independent mechanic in town, and they'll fix it sooner than I could get an appointment at the authorized dealer's service shop. They sell a factory service manual that shows how to fi
      • But then if you pay the car dealer he will still service the car after the warranty has expired for a fee. He won't expect you to pay $1800/£1000 for a complete new engine that isn't actually required, only to find that the engine is too big and it won't fit in the engine bay. Also the manufacturer has a duty to provide spares for a car for at least 7 years after the last model was produced.
    • I had an interview at a radio station in Cape Town recently. The program cueing software there ran (on a huge 26 inch screen or something) Windows95. It wasn't network connected, the OS got fully out the way of the application - I couldn't fault them.
  • I wrote a blog for Free Software Magazine [freesoftwaremagazine.com] about the dangers of buying into a proprietary system. In summary, if you give up the freedom to make your own IT decisions, you can expect to pay for it (and dearly). It's no fun to have your core logic hostage to the whims of a third party who doesn't know you exist and wouldn't care if they did. We're doing new development in Python, and while I hope that people keep updating it, we don't go out of business if they stop.
  • There are still advantages to staying with Windows 2000. The absence of a backdoor that allows Microsoft to install software is the big one. The stuff coming in via Windows Update is sometimes a win, and sometimes a lose. Do you want to take that risk? Especially since Microsoft doesn't make any contractual promises that they won't break your machine or install a new security hole. And since occasionally, they do.
    • In a corporate environment you're not going to be using Windows Update, you'll be using something like Windows Software Update Services (at the least) which gives IT complete control over which updates go out to clients. No bothersome "geninue advantage" type crap necessary (yet). Thankfully WSUS is free, and is one of the few MS server products that I'm actually very happy to be running.
      • No bothersome "geninue advantage" type crap necessary (yet).

        Only a matter of time. They're currently "boiling the frog" with DRM.

        ---

        Unregulated DRM = Total Customer Control = Ultimate Customer Lockin = Death of the free market.

  • I see no reason to upgrade, most applications still run fine on windows 98, even though I did migrate to win2k for its security and folder permissions aspect. Before I switched, my win98 machine was bulletproof, no crashes, no viruses and very little overhead. If I didnt have to play with permissions I would probably go back to win98. so until it becomes "manditory" to upgrade the OS, I wont be switching... and even then it would probably over to Linux
  • huh? (Score:2, Informative)

    From TFA: "It isn't only aging operating systems, however, that have their support lapse. Windows XP Service Pack 1 will be retired for good on Oct. 10, and users are being advised to start planning now for completing upgrades to XP Service Pack 2, which has been touted for its security improvements."

    This is a non-issue. Service Pack 1 is not an Operating System, it's a major bug fix/addon revision. Service Pack 2 has all the features SP1 has, plus it's a free upgrade to even pre-SP1 Windows XP. This i
  • by Danathar (267989) on Friday July 14, 2006 @04:11PM (#15721338) Journal
    In the sense that I can call somebody on the phone.

    yet I still run it.
  • I work with two os2 machines (one warp, the other is version 3), one old Mac (os 7 or so), one OS X, several flavors of Windows(95, 98, 2000, and XP), linux and unix. This is the joy of working in a research lab. You buy a piece of equipment and use it til it dies and usually that equipment is tied to an os. So we keep the ancient mac for a specialized scanner, we keep the OS 2 machines for confocal microscopes, keep the windows 95 machine for a different confocal microscope. Lets just say I have learne
  • You mean, Microsoft used to support Windows?
  • old isnt always bad (Score:2, Informative)

    by MERVERNATOR (589408)
    At the organization where I work, 500+ user systems run Win2K(few XP) and all our servers run NT4. when an oddball virus hit about a year ago that we actually sent samples of to Trend Micro because no one had seen the thing yet (some new variant of rbug or something) it was killing network ability on everything, as well as crashing explorer.exe on many systems. the only systems it didnt hurt were the NT4 ones. had those serves been upgraded to 2K/2003, we probably would have had a total failure. I also hav
  • I've never seen a U-Scan run anything higher than older versions of NT, some run 9.x. Fat freakin chance trying to upgrade them let alone trying to take them out of service in a supermarket to upgrade them. I think that if CUSTOMERS just raised enough hell with Microsoft and told them what to do they'd have to buckle eventually. But going back 20 years we've all believed the "It's really just a cheap shitty desktop" hype and gone along with every piece of shit 'improvement' they've ever tried to jam on us.

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?

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