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Microsoft Counts Down To XP Death 766

mikejuk writes "Microsoft have just released an end-of-support countdown gadget that ticks off the days until XP is no longer supported — but it only runs under Vista or Windows 7! It focuses the mind on the fact that XP is being forcibly retired. It is a wake-up call to think hard about the unpleasant situation and consider the alternatives.So as you watch the count down to XP's death tick by think about the problems created by using software that actually belongs to someone else..."
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Microsoft Counts Down To XP Death

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  • oblig (Score:5, Funny)

    by tulcod ( 1056476 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:02AM (#35893976)
    does it work under wine?
  • Doesn't *ALL* software "belong to someone else"? Even with FOSS software you depend on others to maintain it. If they stop, then you don't get updates. Now sure, you could theoretically go down to the local college and get a programming degree and learn to do it yourself--but how often does that REALLY happen? At least with MS, I know the software is going to be supported for several years, and not become adandonware because Jeremy got a new job and doesn't have time to update it anymore.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:05AM (#35894042)

      So then buy from Redhat, or Ubuntu or whoever. Lots of folks will provide support for FOSS software. This is an old piece of FUD you are spewing here.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:10AM (#35894136)

        But if you can't do it yourself, being dependent on RedHat or Ubuntu really isn't any better than being dependent on Microsoft other than philosophical differences which really don't enter into a business decision.

        • It's very different, because there are multiple organisations that provide linux support and nothing to prevent new organisations springing up, while only one organisation provides windows support.
          You wouldn't want to grow dependent on anything without there being a second source supplier who can step in if the first one fails. And similarly, multiple competing suppliers will result in better and cheaper service.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, good thing RedHat is still supporting all their releases... Oh ... wait ... no they're not. RedHat 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 - all gone. RedHat Enterprise Linux 1, 2, 3 & 4 - all gone. Gee, maybe retiring old versions of software is just ... universal?

      • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:34AM (#35894602) Homepage Journal

        XP is dog-eared shit. It's so long in the tooth, that it regards SATA as an exotic technology.

        Try installing from a CD onto a piece of post '04 hardware. It will often refuse to recognise disks, displays, and any network devices. Unless you have slipstreamed your own installer with several of the service releases, you must resort to sneaker-net from a working machine to supply the endless list of drivers. Thank God there is working USB 2.

        Without a later SP, you cannot even connect to most wireless APs. WPA2 is a blocker, and it's pull a cable, or back to shipping hundreds of megabytes on your flash drive.

        Then? Prepare, once you have connectivity, for the 100-odd updates and patches. I suggest you assume 3 hours and three reboots - with a fast network.

        That people and organisations continue to prefer this situation to Vista or Win7 is a complete indictment of Microsoft and their utter failure to produce real value for users since 2001.

        Apple is shooting through the roof. Corporations where I would see only HP or Lenovo are 20-30 % Mac! Mind you: this means buying from a company with no significant enterprise sales division and no spec customisation for large customers.

        When people leave XP? They really want to leave Microsoft. Apple would still be selling single-digit percentages, had MS not so totally and arrogantly fucked their core business.

        • xp is FINE for my netbook with that skimpy atom cpu.

          you want to FORCE either vista or win7 on me? and I do dual boot to linux; but some things do need windows, still.

          my asus netbook is a year old. the o/s is being abandoned? that seems unfair.

          xp is a very mature product. win7, not so much. win7 is alright for bigger boxes but WRONG for smaller ones. removing xp is removing a choice that actually did work well enough.

          • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:48AM (#35894886)

            XP was forced onto netbooks because Vista, and 7 are to much for netbooks, and MSFT forced manufacturers to install bigger processors and actual hard drives to get XP onto those machines.

            Remember the first netbooks were a lot like the ipad in terms of hardware. small flash memories(4-8 gb) low power processors etc all running Linux. MSFT realized the threat and extended XP's life because that was easier than cutting down windows 7 to fit on the first few Netbooks.

            The only thing that really surprises me much any more is just how easy people forget reality and their own history.

    • Even with FOSS software you depend on others to maintain it.

      True, but with free software, you choose on whom to depend.

      If they stop, then you don't get updates.

      With free software, companies compete for you to depend on them. If they stop, you can switch to another company offering support for the product. True, an unpopular free software product is in the same boat as proprietary software with respect to end of life concerns, but the more popular ones have a wider choice of support options.

      • "True, but with free software, you choose on whom to depend."

        Just like you can choose to depend on MS. BTW, which linux distro releases patches for 10 year old releases, I'm curious..

        • by Synn ( 6288 )

          "which linux distro releases patches for 10 year old releases, I'm curious.."

          If you installed a 10 year old release of Debian you could likely update it to the current release version with no problems.

          • "which linux distro releases patches for 10 year old releases, I'm curious.."

            If you installed a 10 year old release of Debian you could likely update it to the current release version with no problems.

            Been there, failed at that... Support for jumping revs of glibc is NOT as good as it could be.

    • by Asic Eng ( 193332 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:12AM (#35894160)
      Well Open Source does give you the option to hire someone to pick up the source code and make improvements/bugfixes. Not particularly interesting for a private user, but relevant in a commercial context.

      We've seen people taking advantage of that option (for somewhat different reasons) just recently with OpenOffice, and for KDE3 there is the Trinity "fork".

      Regarding "Ownership" though - I completely agree, just because MS stops support doesn't mean you can not use the software anymore. Similarly Ubuntu or Redhat will also eliminate support for older versions at some point.

    • by Synn ( 6288 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:17AM (#35894242)

      With FOSS software when the programmers stop updating, new programmers fork the code and continue to update it.

      This happened with X11, Open Office, etc etc. As a user of FOSS you can pretty much rest assured that the software you use will be supported so long as it fills a need or isn't replaced by something superior. It won't be abandoned even if you don't code, simply because other programmers can pick up the ball and keep going with the product.

      Corporate software is much much more likely to become abandonware. Companies go out of business, their corporate goals change, a product may not be generating enough income, or they simply want to sell something new and shiny. Compare that to a product like Emacs. It was first released in the mid 70's and just had a new release last month. Odds are it'll still be around 30 years from now.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:40AM (#35894742) Homepage

      Doesn't *ALL* software "belong to someone else"? Even with FOSS software you depend on others to maintain it. If they stop, then you don't get updates.

      This isn't entirely about updates. Once Microsoft disables the activation servers, you won't be able to install it anymore. From the article:

      Then there is the small matter of the activation codes and the activation servers that Microsoft has to provide to make it all work. Windows XP is the first such Microsoft OS to reach the end of support state. Given you can no longer buy XP will it still be OK to activate newly installed copies once support ceases? It seems unlikely that Microsoft would turn off the activation service close to the end of support but what about ten years after that?

      Currently if you have a copy of Windows 98, 95 or even earlier you can install it if you have the right hardware. This might not be the case with XP - and what does this mean for digital history?

      Now, obviously the guy writing the article doesn't know when MS will turn off the activation servers.

      It's one thing to say you won't get updates ... it's another thing to say that you don't get to keep running the software in a lab for testing or extended support. I can only imagine that point of sale or other things with XP might linger for quite some time. If XP actually phones home to see if it's still allowed to run, it's theoretically possible those could just stop working (though I have nothing to support this suggestion).

      At least with FOSS, you're still allowed to install something old and busted -- if MS turns off the activation servers, you might not be able to do that. In this case, "owned by someone else" refers to the ability to disable new installs, and possible basically lock out existing installs.

  • Damn glad I stuck with Forth.

    OS? I don't need no stinking OS...

  • derp derp (Score:2, Insightful)

    So as you watch the count down to XP's death tick by think about the problems created by using software that actually belongs to someone else..."

    Yes, you're better off with opensource. It's much nicer knowing software you depend on may be abandoned without notice.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      So then buy from redhat or another FOSS vendor.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      it's WAY better using proprietary software because companies abandoning proprietary software MIGHT notify you? That makes lots of sense. NOT! With open source, you at the very least have the opportunity to fix the bugs you find while using the software and have a chance of getting it to work on your systems for years and years later. With proprietary software, you are SOL once the owner stops support.

  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joe_cot ( 1011355 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:07AM (#35894086) Homepage

    Windows XP is almost 10 years old. Find me a Linux distro that supports 10 year old versions, on the desktop.

    No one cried foul when Windows 98 was EOLed, after only 8 years. That was because they liked XP. Microsoft has pushed back the EOL on Windows XP multiple times due to complaints, but it's time to move on.

    If you dislike Vista and 7, use something a different operating system. Don't pretend Microsoft should support 10 year old software.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:28AM (#35894472) Homepage Journal

      Except Microsoft is still selling XP. I mean new copies of it to day. I can still buy a PC that comes new from the factory with XP.
      How long did Microsoft support 98 after it stopped selling it? Windows 2000?
      That is the difference. Stop XP should have five years from the day they stop selling it.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Skater ( 41976 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:30AM (#35894518) Homepage Journal
      Perhaps Microsoft should investigate why people are still using XP and haven't upgraded. The new Linux distributions are much nicer in many ways (I've been using Linux since 1998 in the server, on the desktop, and sometimes the laptop), so people want to upgrade. Why don't people want to upgrade to 7?
    • by e70838 ( 976799 )
      Ubuntu is there since 2004. If you accept that new releases of Ubuntu are comparable to the service packs of windows, the support is similar.

      With XP, Microsoft has done its best to preserve legacy applications. If an application working on 98 was not working on XP, the application was the culprit and needed to be repaired.
      With Vista, Microsoft has broken compatibility. Application migration is complex. Many drivers do not exist on Vista64 or 7. If you want to keep your perfectly working hardware and soft
    • Vista wasn't an "upgrade" to XP. It was entirely different software that you had to purchase and wasn't backwards compatible with everything in XP. With Linux, it IS an upgrade and it's free. We upgrade servers running different flavors of linux all the time with little incident, but going from XP to Win7 will be a nightmare and we all know it. It might just be easier to switch to linux desktops.
  • Microsoft is trying to ensure the life of their company. XP is not bringing in the revenue for them any longer, so from their perspective it's time to move on. This is really bad for the consumers. People are happy with the product. Companies are saving $$$ by not replacing software and licenses.

    This is potentially good for the economy, because corporations across America will soon be forced to update the operating systems and IT departments may need to hire new techs for installations. Conversely, com

    • Re:kaaaching (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kevinNCSU ( 1531307 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:17AM (#35894260)

      his is potentially good for the economy, because corporations across America will soon be forced to update the operating systems and IT departments may need to hire new techs for installations.

      This is just another version of breaking windows (*sigh* just re-read this, the glass kind) being "good" for the economy because it caused people to buy windows and pay window repairmen. The "good" for the economy would be found instead in people switching to more efficient software, having less system downtime, and more security resulting in less spam/viruses wasting resources. But the simple forced switching causing companies to hire IT workers is not good for the economy.

      Don't get me wrong, IT workers are important for a company, but you need to understand that all they do is lose a company money. Like HR, they usually don't produce product, they are on overhead. A good IT person can "save" a company huge sums of money by being efficient and lowering overhead and downtime company wide, but increasing IT budget is always a loss unless that increase is recouped by their ability to increase efficiencies elsewhere.

    • Re:kaaaching (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PeterM from Berkeley ( 15510 ) <petermardahl@yahMOSCOWoo.com minus city> on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:18AM (#35894278) Journal

      Good for the economy? Would you please look up "broken window fallacy"?

      But in a nutshell, it's not of economic benefit to replace something that serves its purpose INSTEAD OF getting something new which serves a new purpose. The resources used "fixing the broken window" cannot then be used to, say, glaze a new window in a new store.


  • by hrtserpent6 ( 806666 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:16AM (#35894228)
    So in order to encourage you to upgrade Windows XP to a newer version, they create a countdown clock that only runs on systems you have already upgraded??? Is it called the "Schadenfreude Clock"?
  • by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:27AM (#35894450)

    I work in manufacturing. We have HUNDREDS of very expensive machines ($100K - $2M cost each) that are controlled by PCs running everything from Windows 98 to NT to XP. In fact, I think there may even be some tools that still have Win3.11 interfaces. I think the majority are still using NT 4.0.

    They still chug along. It's getting more expensive to get some replacement parts that work, but it's still cheaper and easier than having the tool control software and drivers completely re-written for a new OS.

    I doubt my experience with this is even remotely unique in the manufacturing world. Tools are expensive and tend to stay around for a LONG time.

  • Activation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jiro ( 131519 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:43AM (#35894782)

    So what's going to happen to the online activation?

    Long ago when XP came out there was an issue of what happens when XP gets killed and there's no more activation. I believe Microsoft claimed that they were going to release a patch to take away the activation before killing XP, but I don't know if that's even true. And if it's not, people may be in serious trouble when their XP thinks their new harddrive requires phoning home and Microsoft refuses to answer. Forced upgrades for everyone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know about XP, but Microsoft released a final version of Money that did not require activation, prior to ending their support and all updates. So, historically they have done it before. Then again, there was Plays For Sure...

  • Precisely (Score:4, Funny)

    by Loosifur ( 954968 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:44AM (#35894794)

    That's why I write my own OS, drivers and software. I also dug my own well in my backyard, bought a windmill-powered generator, built my own car, bake my own bread and only read stories that I wrote myself. Of course, with the latter, I usually have to wait about five years to forget the plot, but at least I know I'll like it.

    Actually, I do bake my own bread, weather permitting.

    • Re:Precisely (Score:5, Interesting)

      by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @12:29PM (#35895738) Journal

      That's why I write my own OS, drivers and software. I also dug my own well in my backyard, bought a windmill-powered generator, built my own car, bake my own bread and only read stories that I wrote myself. Of course, with the latter, I usually have to wait about five years to forget the plot, but at least I know I'll like it.

      Actually, I do bake my own bread, weather permitting.

      I know you're joking but I've several friends who have *built* their own wind-powered generator systems (largely from instructions in MAKE magazine or Instructables) and while small generators like that certainly aren't running their whole houses, they do offset some electricity usage. Likewise, one of them has also made his own inverter for his solar panels, so he can back-drive into the grid (which seems like a Very Bad Idea, but hey he's the one with the master's degree in electrical engineering, not me.)

      I was in a car crash a couple years ago and have serious memory problems. Back when my brain worked better I used to write a lot of short fiction, and guess what? I do reread my old stuff with no clear idea of how it's going to end. Le sigh. So your joke is all too real.

  • by lpp ( 115405 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:46AM (#35894842) Homepage Journal

    It may very well be that some folks within the company really are trying to be helpful and let you know that, hey, there's something newer and better available.

    But in reality, it's just marketing. Advertising. Vista was bad enough when it was released that I think folks wouldn't have wanted to switch regardless of whether they were on Windows 98, much less XP. The situation was exacerbated when the uptake of Windows 7 was still slowed by folks hesitating from moving away from Windows XP.

    In fact, it seems similar to how they've had to try to push people away from older version of Internet Explorer. It seems Microsoft is fighting to keep their new offerings relevant. For the most part, I think they're improving. IE is looking much improved over just the last five years. Windows 7 is close to erasing the tragedy of Vista but could perhaps still use some help.

    As for Office... well, I think the best thing they could do for Office would actually be to start trimming it down rather than trying to add new features. It's better than it used to be but it seems like they're starting to run into a wall where they've reached the limit of real useful new features they can add and are now trying to just spin straw into gold with smaller features and tweaks and UI changes.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:46AM (#35894858)
    The last "support" I saw for XP was SP3 so the lack of any more improvements, bug fixes or security patches really won't make any difference to me. In fact, not having patches forced onto my XP VM could even be one less distraction and annoyance. I fully expect to get at least another 10 years service out of it and will only stop using it when the copies of Office, Photoshop and the development tools I need stop working.
  • Just because ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveywest ( 937112 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:50AM (#35894950)
    Just because Microsoft won't support XP, doesn't mean my company won't still be using 14+ year old software.
  • The large majority of PC owners (not the corporate accounts,) take whatever OS comes with the box.

    The corporate accounts have staff who absolutely HATE change.

    They buy based on functionality and make NO changes. (I know of some FAX servers in an office's closets in the midwest that are still running on IBM hardware and on OS/2 and will until they stop running.)

    The people who hate change even more than IT staff are accountants. They LIKE hardware that behaves like it.

    That is the nature of their customer base.

    The people who buy microsoft's new OSs are OEMs, who don't use 'em either.

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:52AM (#35894988)
    It's time for all coders to go over and give the guys at REACTOS [reactos.org] a hand getting it out of Alpha.
  • Killing Windows XP (Score:3, Informative)

    by DERoss ( 1919496 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @12:20PM (#35895578)

    Micro$oft is killing Windows XP only because not enough users have switched to something newer.

    Per W3Schools, Windows XP is used on 42.9% of computers while Windows 7 is used on only 34.1%.

    Per StatCounter, Windows XP is used on 47.32% of computers while Windows 7 is used on only 30.6%.

    (Both sets of stats from March 2011.)

    The major problem is that I use software with Windows XP that will not run on Windows 7. Those applications do exactly what I want, but there are no new versions for Windows 7. Not only will I have the expense of upgrading Windows, I will also have the expense of replacing otherwise good applications.

  • From the article:

    For example, upgrade to the latest Ubuntu, say, isn't an issue because it is free and if the hardware won't go there you can just stick with the old version, safe in the knowledge that developers aren't actively trying to find reasons to make their latest offerings not run on it.

    Sticking with old versions of Linux can be problematic as well. Unless you're willing to continue using old versions of all of your applications, you'll want to build packages from upstream source. When you try to do this, you'll find that many of them have dependencies on newer versions of libraries which aren't available in the older distro's repository. You can end up in a situation where you're needing to track down and port a whole bunch of libraries yourself... and at the end of the day, you may still find that one of them relies on a kernel feature that simply isn't there. Unless you've got a lot of time to spend mucking around, or are willing to accept the fact that many newer applications simply won't work, running outdated Linux distros isn't going to be a cakewalk.

    You also won't be getting automatic security patches (though I suppose older distros are going to be relatively secure via "security through obscurity").

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @02:14PM (#35897386) Homepage

    As a final act, will Microsoft release an update to XP systems that just disables it, or turns off key functionality?

    Remember when Tivo did that? Remember when Sony did that? Do you have a contractual guarantee that Microsoft won't do that?

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