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Microsoft Operating Systems Upgrades Windows IT

Time To Dump XP? 1213

An anonymous reader writes "Gartner is saying it's time to plan your migration now (if you havent already done it). I for one know my company still has loads of users still on XP, citing training costs (time and money) rather than software license fees. Is my company alone in wanting to stay in the 1990s or is Windows 7 the way forward?"
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Time To Dump XP?

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  • by DesScorp ( 410532 ) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:12AM (#32510686) Homepage Journal

    Another example of why companies like Gartner are useless. They're little more another source of advertising for computer companies.

    Your decisions on your OS should be driven by your needs first and foremost. If XP is still supported, and it's doing the job well for you... why switch? Switch if YOU need to, not because someone like Gartner says "Hey you, get out of the past and get with the future. All the cool kids are running *insert OS here*"

  • Pfff... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PhongUK ( 1301747 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:12AM (#32510692)
    If someone needs to be trained to use Windows 7 then there is something wrong with them.
  • Dont know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:13AM (#32510716) Journal

    I am at a Fortune 500 and everything is still XP. Most companies I know are not migrating at this time.

    Although, if they have to retrain (Citing time and cost) Plus the cost of a new license then why not move to Linux and at least drop one of the costs (Licensing)

  • XP is productive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:13AM (#32510718)

    FOr business do you really need anything more than XP?

    The problem with XP is not that it'snot perfectly satisfactory but that it's not maintained. New software won't be written for it. That's the reason to migrate.

    On the other hand one could make a lateral move. Linux is more like XP in feel than even Win 7 is. And software is in production for Linux. So perhaps a lateral move is not so unthinkable in terms of training costs at this particular point in time.

  • Migrate this! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:15AM (#32510742) Journal

    God no, you're not alone. We need stable environments for consistency of software development. We have a dozen home-grown tools, and 2x that from open source type things, and jumping service patches is a holy pain, much less an entire OS. We were still supporting Win2k machines until two years ago.

    "Migration" is in Microsoft's interest, not yours.

  • by superglaze ( 1112971 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:16AM (#32510762)
    Flamebait, I know. But honestly, having used 7 for a while on my personal machines and having to still use XP at work, it's 7 all the way. I shall pretend that Vista never happened.
  • Staying with XP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NetDanzr ( 619387 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:18AM (#32510788)
    Same at my company. Given that we use largely Web-based applications, there is no cost for porting apps to Win7 (if necessary at all); the only external cost would be to retire a few older printer that we tested as not working with Win7. However, with the few Win7 machines we have, we experienced two problems:
    • Retraining for Win7 is prohibitive, from a production perspective. We can't afford people to be idle for a day or two. (This also assumes converting from Office 2003 to Office 2007, which eats up most of the retraining costs
    • Anti-piracy controls on Win7 are far from perfect. We have only three machines with Win7, and yet we experienced a total of four times so far a black background and a screen that our product key was invalid. A call to Microsoft has always solved the issue, but it's still a hassle.
  • Re:Pfff... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:18AM (#32510802)

    Maybe I just haven't worked in large enough companies, or in desktop support, to have encountered this sort of thing personally. It just always seemed to be kind of ridiculous that there would be "training costs" associated with moving between two versions of the same product from the same company, especially when nothing really substantial has changed from a user perspective, as far as I can tell. The buttons are in the same place and do the same tasks. What, really, is the big deal?

  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:20AM (#32510836)

    If XP is still supported, and it's doing the job well for you... why switch?

    The problem is, at 9 years old, XP won't be supported for very much longer. Any responsible company should be looking at a migration plan, identifying legacy apps that need to be updated, and starting up projects to do so. Companies have a bad habit of waiting until the last minute to figure this stuff out and then end up being forced to run old out of support software because they didn't give sufficient time or resources to updating their legacy internal apps that won't work right on the new platform. This is how we end up with so many companies still using IE6.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:23AM (#32510894)

    That's nice, but XP is also "kinda good". It'll die when it can't run a supported version of Office anymore.

  • Re:Pfff... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by adonoman ( 624929 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:24AM (#32510928)

    There are plenty of people in every organization who have lists on their desk detailing how to do each thing -

    To Open email:

    • Move the mouse until the pointy thing is over the yellow "O" picture
    • Push the left button on the mouse
    • Push the "Enter" button on the keyboard.
    • Click on "Inbox" on the left side of the screen.

    These are the same people, who after having a job working on a computer for 10 years, still use a single finger and hunt for every key-press.

  • Re:1990's? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kermyt ( 99494 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:25AM (#32510940) Homepage
    Yeah but MS didn't get XP right till august of 2004. and why was the parent modded funny? Are mods modding based on sigs now??
  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:26AM (#32510950)

    Another lesson my company is painfully learning is:

    Do not write large applications in microsoft languages for microsoft operating systems.

    We are going to hardware and operating system agnostic packages in a big way.

    For the problem software tho, it's going to be a rough road until the packages are rolled out (and that will take a couple years). At any point, our current software could be killed by an arbitrary microsoft patch since the language (vb6) is out of support.

  • Re:Pfff... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rkfig ( 1016920 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:28AM (#32510986)
    Hundreds of employees each spending 20+ minutes to figure out where the fuck the print button went in the new version of Office, for example. No, clicking on the ball in the top corner of the screen is not even close to intuitive, and no, there isn't anyone that actually clicks on the take a tour of $new_product to find these things out. Even if they did, multiply that half hour to hour of tour across an enterprise, and it is significant.
  • Re:Dont know (Score:4, Insightful)

    by courteaudotbiz ( 1191083 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:28AM (#32510990) Homepage
    Absolutely agree with you on this, except that you will have to convince all your software suppliers to create a version of their software for Linux, or you will have to find other software for the employees at your pretty big business to do their job.

    Unless all they are using is MS Office that you can replace with OO, you're gonna have the hell of a time finding equivalent software, but in the end, it might pay. Or be painful.
  • by Corporate Troll ( 537873 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:30AM (#32511032) Homepage Journal

    The reason I'm not getting 7 is because.... I already have an XP license which works perfectly fine on my 6 year old P4. It's not exactly cheap to upgrade, since you say: "Just get more RAM". Assuming you want 2GB RAM, with a typical machine having 2 or 3 DDR memory slots, thus needing 2 sticks of 1GB at about 35.99$/piece (Quick search on, you might find better deals).

    Add in the license for Windows 7 (Upgrade is out, because you're on XP).... 99.99$ for the Systems Builders 32-bit version (source: also newegg)...

    Total: 171.97$/seat and that's ignoring workhours....

    Only to upgrade... Which has zilch benefit....

  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:31AM (#32511050)

    ...but we just rebranded them as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

    -Brought to you by VMWare and Wyse.

  • by AndrewNeo ( 979708 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:33AM (#32511076) Homepage

    As long as it can run Office 2003, there will still be people who use it. (*sigh*)

  • Re:XP is the 90's? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:33AM (#32511080)
    Fuck dumping XP. Dump Windows.
  • Re:Dont know (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:34AM (#32511108) Journal

    I would tend to agree but in today's offices there really is not a lot of specialty software. 99.9% of the users use office, e-mail, chat, and a very small list of other common apps. Heck, where I am now, the accounting and other custom application are all run on HPUX or Solaris systems and the people open a terminal to the remote server to access them. It was done because it costs less to manage the apps that way, no need to distribute them to the desktops, etc.

    Maybe I am wrong and smaller companies pay to have custom apps written for the desktop or maybe small companies are using custom apps to do stuff. Dont know, all the companies I have worked for in the last 15 years are Fortune 500.

  • Re:Pfff... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:40AM (#32511182)

    If someone needs to be trained to use Windows 7 then there is something wrong with them.

    I have a PhD in computer science and still use XP (when I'm not using Linux) because of the "training costs" of migration. Am I going to go take a class on Windows 7? No. But it's annoying and time-consuming to hunt around for things and figure out how they're done now, set up all the network printer connections again, etc., when I could be getting stuff done, or posting to slashdot :) After switching to Office 2007 about 1 1/2 years ago, I am now accustomed to it, but I *still* don't see what I gained by migrating to the Ribbon interface and re-learning where to find everything. If anything, I still think it's *less* productive than the previous straightforward menu system augmented by toolbars.

    You might argue I'll have to migrate eventually so why not now. In the case of Windows 7 that's true, but I did skip Vista entirely and am very glad I did.

    Again, I am not against keeping up with technology and retraining myself but only when there is a benefit to doing so.

  • by eldepeche ( 854916 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:41AM (#32511204)

    I like Windows 7 a lot as well. I work for a cloud software company, and as a non-developer who had used prerelease versions of 7, I upgraded my machine as soon as it came out. Display hotplugging magically started working properly, and the Aero Snap feature is like a useful version of Tile from 3.1. The only issue I have is related to the Cisco VPN client, but that's because we won't pay to upgrade to the latest version.

    Having spent the XP-Vista era in the Mac and Linux world, I was pleasantly surprised with 7. It doesn't seem to have all the terrible bug/features that everyone spent the 00's complaining about.

  • Re:Pfff... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:44AM (#32511244) Homepage

    User coddling is what encourages that behavior.. The request should be forwarded to the users manager with a note, "Tell them to STOP wasting company time with this ridiculous crap."

    but no, we get a 2 month training window to re-train all the employees on the use of the new Office version... Yet my suggestion to switch to Open Office was shot down with the "It will cost too much to re-train".. no wonder I quit and left that company.

  • by buswolley ( 591500 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:46AM (#32511272) Journal
    BUt then most /. posts are redundant. Good going.
  • Re:Training?????? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dn15 ( 735502 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:47AM (#32511298)

    Train for what?
    Can people not just figure out where they moved the buttons you click on to?

    As someone who does IT/support for hundreds of computers daily, believe me when I say training is always an issue. People tend to memorize the exact steps necessary to complete a task, including the appearance and location of buttons. If an icon changes or a button gets moved, they don't try to intuit where it might have gone or look in menus that sound like they're related to the function they're looking for. Instead they react as if their world has been turned upside down, and they just give up and call for help.

  • by Corporate Troll ( 537873 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:50AM (#32511358) Homepage Journal
    That still doesn't justify the upgrade if everything works fine....
  • Re:Not only... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:51AM (#32511378) Journal my company still using Windows XP SP2, but we are still using IE6. Feh...and they complained that Audacity was a security risk because it was "open source, so anyone could hack it".

    You should tell them that XP has some open source bits - namely BSD TCP/IP stack - in it. That should have them scrambling to migrate to 7, then.

    Not that it would make things any more secure, in the circumstances...

  • by eldepeche ( 854916 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:54AM (#32511432)

    The 7 taskbar is also very intuitive. If an application has more than one window open, you see a little stack of tiles. if you hover over the stack, you get a bunch of live previews of that application's windows.

    Seriously, if you are so bad at using computers that you need training to go from the "number of windows and window list" of XP to "stack of tiles and window thumbnails", you are an automaton who can and probably should be replaced by someone younger and more mentally flexible.

    If you are valuable enough for your non-computer skills, then your company should pay to send you to a week-long computer skills course at the local community center. Shouldn't cost more than $100.

  • by imakemusic ( 1164993 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:55AM (#32511450)

    What does Windows 7 bring to your business that XP doesn't?

    Shiny. Can't really think of anything else apart from the ability to quickly arrange two windows side by side.

    Would that same benefit be provided by other operating systems?

    Yes, OSX contains a lot of Shiny but the programs I use every day don't run on it.

    Is the difference between Windows 7 and FreeBSD (for example) enough to justify the license cost (not just the initial cost, but the requirement to track licenses as well)?

    Yes. My programs don't run on FreeBSD.

    If you're going to need retraining anyway, it seems like now would be a good time to consider other alternatives.

    Or just stick with XP for now...

  • Re:Dont know (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:56AM (#32511458) Homepage

    Dont need "equilivant" Wine recently is far more stable.

    I even have Sony Vegas video editing software running under it.

    I am sure that crappy VB6 sales app your company pays $6800.00 a year for will run fine..... Now will they support it or blame every bug in the thing on your Install....

    If they can blame it on something else, they will..

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:57AM (#32511480) Homepage Journal

    I've been in this software business for twenty seven years, and one thing I've learned is timing is everything. You gets tons of people trying to make money doing something, then the person who gets a good enough product out at the right time -- not too early, not too late -- wins the prize.

    The same goes for upgrading. Vendors want to you to upgrade ASAP, especially if there's revenue involved. If you listened to them, you'd upgrade too early. But you can also upgrade too late. Here's how you know you've got the timing right: nothing much happens. What? I go through all that pain in the ass for nothing much to happen?

    Yes. Exactly so.

    The vendors do not have a solution to all your problems. They're peddling software updates. So you're a fool upgrading early to achieve IT Nirvana. But you're equally a fool to wait until your hand is forced, and you have to meet heaven and Earth to do multiple years of updating in a single quarter, disrupting the operation of your employers and leaving users in a world of unfamiliar user interfaces.

    Lack of drama is the hallmark of competency. Each quarter looks more or less like the last one, with no notable emergencies or sudden "improvements" that leave people with allegedly powerful but unfamiliar tools. You can't do that if you wait until your hand is forced.

    We're coming up on the one year anniversary of Windows 7. For Windows XP shops, this is a good time to start planning a transition that will be done before this time next year.

  • Re:Pfff... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:58AM (#32511504)

    but no, we get a 2 month training window to re-train all the employees on the use of the new Office version... Yet my suggestion to switch to Open Office was shot down with the "It will cost too much to re-train".. no wonder I quit and left that company.

    Have you seen how much has changed since Office2000? Those 'simple' shifts in how things are arranged, let alone the damned ribbon concept, threw people for a loop. I freaking hate Word 2007 with how things are arranged and I've been using it for over a year now, and I'M the guy that's supposed to pick up these things quickly. At home I do use OpenOffice, but damned if that isn't as big or bigger of a change to users than the switch from Office 2003 to 2007.

    If you quit your job because of that, then you probably shouldn't have picked a career in IT where not everyone is IT.

  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:58AM (#32511522)

    No, seriously. What killer new features does Windows 7 have that are worth the time and expense of an upgrade from XP? The only one I've heard mentioned, that it sucks less than Vista, doesn't apply to XP users.

    When it gets down to it, there are two main reasons to upgrade to Windows 7: Eventually, it will become impossible to get new machines running XP. And Microsoft really wants your money. Neither of these benefits the user.

  • Re:XP is the 90's? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:00PM (#32511564)

    mods should now have their names signed on everything they mod so they can be properly flamed for idiotic mistakes.

  • Re:1990's? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xeno man ( 1614779 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:01PM (#32511572)
    Why is it time exactly? What benefit would most companies exactly get from upgrading? If everything works and there is no foreseeable change in the software that the business runs to conduct business, why spend hundreds of dollars per computer for a new OS and maybe some extra RAM to do exactly what they are doing now?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:06PM (#32511678)

    All "fixed that for you" posts are not just redundant. They're also stupid.

  • by glavenoid ( 636808 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:07PM (#32511714) Journal
    I think the current and recent moderator pool is from the newer users who are used to moderation on sites like reddit and digg where people tend to vote emotionally, and unused to slashdot's trend of promoting comments rather than demoting them.

    It doesn't help matters any that the new(er) metamoderation system is completely unlike the old (working) system, and that metamoderation seems to do absolutely nothing these days...
  • Give me a reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:26PM (#32512050) Homepage

    I'd cite the same reason business will give: "Give me a single business reason to migrate. Tell me what Windows 7 will do for me that Windows XP isn't doing for me today.". Note: "XP's being EOL'd." is a very weak business reason. The primary benefit's to the vendor, my only benefit is ending up exactly where I started. Various features of Windows 7 itself aren't good business reasons either. I don't run Windows for it's own features, I run it for the applications I use every day that need Windows underneath them to run. "But your applications aren't going to support XP anymore, you have to upgrade Windows to run them." also isn't a very good business reason, again it's arguing that I need to spend a lot of money and time and effort getting right where I already am today. It's also circular, because my application vendors are going "Microsoft isn't supporting XP anymore, so you're going to have to upgrade to new versions of the applications that'll run on Windows 7.".

    Now, "Windows 7 provides better security and you won't have as many problems with malware." might be a better business reason. Still weak, but better. But it'll get me to thinking: what makes me think Windows 7 really will be any better? Many of the vulnerabilities in Windows come not from Windows but from things like Internet Explorer and Outlook. I can eliminate many of them by just not having those things around, by using Firefox and Thunderbird and the like instead. Except, oh look, I can't because Microsoft doesn't allow me to remove IE. It's always there, it's always active and it's always used for certain things. And Windows 7 doesn't change that. Other vulnerabilities are caused by things like Windows' file-sharing capabilities. Except, why are my desktops even sharing files? They aren't network file servers, they've no business even having the ability to give other machines network access to their filesystems at all. Except that Windows won't let me turn that service off without crippling Windows itself, and Windows 7 doesn't change that. So why am I spending time and effort upgrading to a version of Windows that has the same basic vulnerabilities built into it's design that my existing one does, as opposed to say spending that effort convincing my application vendors to support an OS where I can completely remove the things I don't need and not have to worry about whether there's vulnerabilities in them anymore?

    I'll probably have to migrate this year as a purely technical matter, because support won't be there and I can't afford not to have security updates and AV support. But it won't be because I'm deriving any real benefit from the upgrade, it'll be because a vendor needs more upgrade revenue and is in a position to twist my arm. And as a pure business matter I'm going to be looking seriously at ways to get that vendor out of a position where he can twist my arm anymore, because it's just not good business to be at someone else's mercy.

  • by besalope ( 1186101 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:31PM (#32512138)

    I migrated my business and home use from XP several years ago. We now use Mac and Ubuntu Linux everywhere. Benefits:

    - freedom from worry about malware (80% of XP malware runs on Win7, no malware in the wild for Mac and Linux)


    Yeah.. except the first Mac botnet was discovered in the wild well over a year ago []. While Windows is indeed a larger target for malware due to marketshare, claiming that there is no malware on MacOS and Linux is just an ignorant view of security.

  • Re:XP is the 90's? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:32PM (#32512144)

    Yes but it was also sarcastic so he could have been shooting for funny. and now he's stuck with informative and crying in his coffee, once again misunderstood by a cruel world that never comprehends his jests.

  • Re:Training?????? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:32PM (#32512148)

    . If an icon changes or a button gets moved, they don't try to intuit where it might have gone or look in menus that sound like they're related to the function they're looking for. Instead they react as if their world has been turned upside down, and they just give up and call for help.

    Only because it means that they can sit around doing nothing for awhile.

  • by RulerOf ( 975607 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:36PM (#32512224)

    Vista is loaded on the 'corporate' PC but XP is on the development PC. XP works, it's stable. End of story.

    Should I have to use or admin your products, all I care about is that you actually know how to develop for Vista or later and that your product follows its security model and conventions.

    There are plenty of apps developed for Vista and 7 that do obnoxious shit like default putting downloaded files in ~\Documents\Downloads. For fuck's sake, there's ~\Downloads for that, and it works quite nicely. Yes, I'm looking at you, Chrome. Smart enough to avoid UAC by installing into AppData, but ignorant and audacious enough to break the much improved home folder in the same stroke.

    If an app did that on Linux or OS X, people would pitch a fit... especially the developers.

  • Re:Pfff... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:45PM (#32512328)

    How did you get through ~8 years of college level education on computers and still have a user interface confuse you??

    I'm not sure how 8 years of learning how to create your own computer software systems has anything to do with learning someone else's (possibly crappy) UI.

  • Re:Pfff... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kscguru ( 551278 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:45PM (#32512336)

    Every time someone talks about how great XP is working, I have this odd compulsion to point out the Linux equivalent.

    If you ran Linux systems that old, you would be using a 2.4.18 kernel (remember LinuxThreads?). You would be using OSS, because ALSA was still incomplete and PulseAudio hadn't come around yet. Your system's compiler would be gcc-2.95, your python implementation would be 1.5.x and run none of today's code, you would still be on an XFree86 server that doesn't support any graphics card made after ~2004. Your web browser would be Mozilla, because Firefox hadn't come around yet (and today's Firefox doesn't support kernels that old). Your OpenSSL libraries would have started at version 0.9.6b, and been patched roughly twice a year since release.

    The odd thing is, were this Linux you would be flamed for trying to get modern things running with such old versions. But as this is Windows, you feel entitled to complain about having to re-learn something new and brag about the "effort" you save.

    As somebody who programs for both Linux and Windows for a living - your "saved effort" comes at a significant cost to me. It is increasingly hard to write Windows software that works on both XP and Win7; every new feature has to be written twice, once using the right Vista+ API and once to degrade gracefully on XP. Linux is marginally better - there's a new trendy library-of-choice every few years, but at least old ones disappear before too long. Hardware tends to be less than 5 years old, Linux installs tend to be less than 5 years old; yet tech-savvy XP users somehow feel entitled to stay with a 9-year-old OS. Most people don't keep cars that long; why expect an operating system to last?

  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:48PM (#32512382)
    Holes found and fixed. Mac and Linux are not impervious to malware, they just have a much higher level of resistance due to the Unix security model... and a much more vigilant community to fix problems promptly. I don't have the illusion that I am completely secure against malware but I do have a high level of confidence that I have a secure system. This is the opposite of Windows where I assume that the systems are compromised and insecure.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:50PM (#32512424) Homepage

    Cost is usually rather low on the reasons for wanting to stay with Windows XP. There is an increasing amount of Microsoft phobia in business lately... at all levels. Moving to a "newer" Microsoft product used to bring cheers from the users. Now it brings groans. Why? Lately, it seems, Microsoft has been dumping far too much change on users and it is a burden. To this day, I STILL don't know how to find my way around Office 2007 and now there is Office 2010?!

    And in a business sense, change can be expensive. There is downtime, re-training/re-learning, and the cost of mistakes that happen more often when big changes occur. (Almost no one ever cites the potential cost of mistakes during a migration... they can be quite costly at times.)

  • by AdmV0rl0n ( 98366 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:50PM (#32512426) Homepage Journal

    Win 7 has had some of its speed issues sorted out. But some of the glaring problems and failures from Vista simply remain and are not going to be fixed. Vista was not a good release, but unlike with ME where MS changed the underpinnings, this time they have kept them.

    There has been some movement in terms of applications being recoded and reworked, or simply versioned up to close the hole, and many driver problems have been resolved. But older drivers, programs, applications - all largely the same problems as under Vista. Microsoft threatened to provide shims for none working programs and applications, but these are a sticky plaster over a bigger problem. We don't live in the 1990s any more. The enforced upgrade of hundreds of machines then now equats to thousands of machines (assuming a portion of general growth). The idea people are just going to hand over ever larger bundles of money for beta level PRE SP1 releases is really quite over. Given the state of the economy, and given the pain of trying to move, many will simply hold on until they absolutly have to - and will only change then.

    Microsoft made the largest error in their history with 7. They changed the look and feel, moving many items around for no real reason apart from making it'new'. Thus the cost is retraining. They also chose the time to introduce changes at every level, breaking drivers, applications and programs, and the new OS only has partial compatability. They would have been vastly better breaking their OS into 32 bit legacy and brand new 64 bit, with a complete break from the past. They should have continued to fully rework and support XP and 2003 as the end of line 32 bit market supply, and continued to make money out of that. At the same time they should have introduced win 7 (or you may say Vista) as the 64 bit future OS. The infexible approach of saying 'we are ending xp' 'move' has no real reflection in terms of where the world sits on this.

    In terms of 7 its still riddled with pathetic bugs (the deletion of a user and inability to create without having to clean registry all the way back to Vista is still there) and application, driver, and program issues are just as bad as they were with Vista. The fact is 7 has been sold across the tech world because some people wanted something new. And they for whatever reason don't see the bugs, or prefer not to talk about them. Or they cite its a new MS release and say its 'always been like this, and it will be sorted by an SP'. However, again, this is not the 1990's and people should not be 'beta' testing full releases for the vendor. Its riddled with issues on SMB/CIFS with older devices, it has numerous problems in terms of WiFi, the entire area of networking including VPN (PPTP is a spectacular screw up, dropped connections, or connections that no longer work as they should) - not to mention retarded control panel and network screens.

    The only kudos I can really give it, is that the Vista speed issues and complete sluggishness of that has been turned round. But most of the very core problems remain, and are not going to be fixed. With that as a background, I think many people will simply not move yet, no matter how much Gartner thinks they should. The days of IT being handed money like confetti really died quite some time ago and the reality of this remains today.

  • Re:Pfff... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:54PM (#32512484) Homepage Journal

    Have you seen how much has changed since Office2000?

    You missed his point. If you are going to switch too a new version of MS Office that requires that much training, then the cost of retraining is not a valid objection to switching to Open Office.

  • Re:1990s? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:55PM (#32512510)

    If XP was released in 2001, then it's tech was developed in the 90's. Indeed the NT kernel it used goes back quite a way.

  • by Scoth ( 879800 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @01:18PM (#32512942)

    I'm not sure if you've ever had experience supporting people, either over the phone or in person, but a surprisingly large number of people immediately lock up and scream for help if anything the least bit out-of-place happens. Maybe a Word toolbar gets rearranged somehow, or they accidentally move an icon somewhere, or their Big Project drops off the Recently Used list... stuff like that utterly stops workflow. The concept of fumbling around, trying stuff out, or otherwise figuring it out is a foreign concept since they're still in the camp of fearing they're going to break it or get a "virus" somehow.

    You can argue they're unemployable, but I'd hazard to say even a majority of the average non-technical office workers are like this. Now throw in Windows 7 and IE8, and suddenly there's a lot of little differences they'll have to learn and/or get used to. Maybe throw Office 2007/2010 with the ribbon in if perhaps they were still using an old version of Office as well. I do tend to think the fear and cost is overstated, but you can't discount it entirely either.

  • Re:Pfff... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @01:24PM (#32513040)

    The odd thing is, were this Linux you would be flamed for trying to get modern things running with such old versions. But as this is Windows, you feel entitled to complain about having to re-learn something new and brag about the "effort" you save.

    Actually there is a huge difference. For me, a primary motivation for updating linux is getting driver support for new devices. On windows, the stable driver abi and supply of 3rd party drivers means XP supports everything on my laptop, even though it came out years after XP was released.

    As for python and Mozilla, you don't need the latest kernel to run those. (That's right, I don't update my linux kernel unless I have a specific need, either. Call me crazy).

  • Re:Not only... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bdenton42 ( 1313735 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @01:25PM (#32513058)
    Hardware is cheap. Migration and Training is not so cheap.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @01:26PM (#32513070) Homepage Journal

    The support deadlines aren't rigid. Microsoft has extended support for Windows in the past. I was using Windows 2000 until late last year and was still occasionally getting security updates.

    You have a point on working on a migration plan, getting the pieces in place, though the actual migration doesn't have to happen for a few years.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @01:42PM (#32513336)

    XOR should never have been used. It should be IOR(inclusive OR) and OR since in Latin languages 'or' almost always implies an exclusive choice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @01:54PM (#32513516)

    What killer new features does Windows 7 have that are worth the time and expense of an upgrade from XP?


    I remember a time when you could get a serious discussion of Windows shortcomings around here. The fact that the parent post got modded insightful is proof positive that /. these days is populated mostly low-grade IT monkeys and people who have never been CTO of anything larger than their parents' basement.

  • Re:Pfff... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paradxum ( 67051 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:16PM (#32513896)
    I see one problem with your Rant. You assume NO UPDATES!

    So that means that Windows XP without any Service packs.

    This is where things fall apart since I have been running systems with linux for 9 years, applying the service packs and upgrades. And I have a fully functional system that has never been wiped and reinstalled.

    So the next question is what is a service pack and what is a full version?
    Windows: Service pack = free, New version = pay me
    Linux: Service Pack = new version (for most distros)

    The whole not having to pay each time you get a new major version number makes a difference I guess.

    The thing is that if you try and take the stance that service packs do not remove functionality, then you forget all the issues we've had with SP2 (and a few with SP3)

    I don't really have a 1 to 1 comparison since they are structured differently.
    If you do assume NO UPDATES then in windows, most hardware does not work on bare winXP eaither. (Most requires at least SP1 most are SP2)
  • by RulerOf ( 975607 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:19PM (#32513928)

    Win7 just works. It's stable. It's faster and feature-rich and up-to-date. It has a lot of great short-cuts and productivity enhancers in the UI. End of story.

    That's what so many IT pro's don't understand about Vista and 7. They install it and immediately turn a bunch of new features off and revert to the "Classic" Start menu.

    Meanwhile, while they're hunting for an application buried deep inside some terrible folder hierarchy that stretches across the whole screen, I tap the Windows key, type the first three letters of an Application name, hit enter, and I'm there. Meanwhile, my colleagues whine about the lack of an "Up" button while I just click the back button on my mouse or the folder name in the breadcrumb bar.

    I call the classic start menus and such "I fear change" mode. Fitting, I think :D

  • by RulerOf ( 975607 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @03:52PM (#32515220)
    I wasn't strictly speaking to development. Development is only one aspect of using a computer in a sea of virtually limitless possibilities.

    Given that there are two Windows OS's that are newer and have better features tailored to the way people use Windows, software development included, it stands to reason that, even as a developer, if you don't know or are too shortsighted to see these benefits more recent versions of Windows offers, you should still target NT6 as the primary platform for your application irrespective of its compatibility with previous Windows versions.

    It is woefully ignorant for a software publisher to restrict their customers to a technically inferior, harder to use operating system because its developers are too ignorant or stubborn to learn what newer ones have to offer.

    I understand that I'm ranting a little bit, and my argument doesn't apply to legacy applications, but it's incredibly pig-headed and stupid for a piece of software developed after 2006 to be completely incompatible with NT6+. It's irresponsible and lazy, and is tantamount to targeting a web app at IE6 only. I'm sure I don't need to express why that is a really stupid idea.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @05:08PM (#32516150)

    the learning curve was very high: from display settings to network settings to machine name to how the Start menu works, I was starting from scratch.

    And that is why after 14 years working in IT, I finally quit. I got sick of constantly having to relearn new things and have old skills that I possess no longer be of any practical use.

  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @05:28PM (#32516412)

    We run development on macs. We can then load Windows XP or Windows 7 Via Boot Camp or parallels. (Development macs all have at least 8GB some now with 16GB of RAM). OSX is stable, unix, and we can run windows exactly like it says on the tin: in a window. Heck we can even run OSX, XP, 7, and a flavor or two of linux all at the same time.

  • Re:XP is the 90's? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:35PM (#32518500) Homepage Journal

    Windows 7 is also pretty much essential for SSDs. XP and Vista treat them the same way they treat hard drives, not aligning filesystem metadata to blocks and putting it in the middle of the disk to reduce average seek times. Only 7 supports TRIM too.

    The new taskbar is pretty good too IMHO.

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