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Mozilla Mulls Dropping Firefox For Win2K, Early XP

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the upgrade-or-die dept.

Mozilla 455

CWmike writes "Mozilla is pondering dropping support for Windows 2000 and Windows XP without Service Pack 3 when it ships the follow-up to Firefox 3.5 in 2010, show discussions on the mozilla.dev.planning forum by developers and Mozilla executives, including the company's chief engineer and its director of Firefox. 'Raise the minimum requirements on Gecko 1.9.2 (and any versions of Firefox built on 1.9.2) for Windows builds to require Windows XP Service Pack 3 or higher,' said Michael Conner, one of the company's software engineers, to start the discussion. Mozilla is currently working on Gecko 1.9.1, the engine that powers Firefox 3.5, the still-in-development browser the company hopes to release at some point in the second quarter. Gecko 1.9.2, and the successor to Firefox 3.5 built on it — dubbed 'Firefox.next' and code named 'Namoroka' — are slated to wrap up in 'early-to-mid 2010,' according to Mozilla."

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Sorry- but (-1, Flamebait)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578237)

If you are still using windows 2000- BUY A NEW COMPUTER!

Re:Sorry- but (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578283)

Even worse - I am using linux, which is based on an operating system from 1970.

Re:Sorry- but (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578313)

I disagree. Some people prefer Windows 2000. And if you have a server, you might not want to upgrade. Also, some legacy applications may not run on newer systems.

Re:Sorry- but (3, Insightful)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578447)

And if you have a server, you might not want to upgrade.

If you have a server, don't use it to surf the web!

Re:Sorry- but (4, Insightful)

Lost Race (681080) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579261)

"having web client software installed" != "plinking around randomly on youtube all day"

There are often very good reasons to have a usable and reasonably secure web browser installed on a server system.

Re:Sorry- but (2, Informative)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578469)

If you have a server, you Should Not Be Browsing The Web (tm). And if you're using it as a desktop system...well, I hope god help you.

Re:Sorry- but (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578605)

The response was to the outright dismissal of Windows 2000. Having a web browser installed on a server for convenient download and installation of patches, drivers, etc. seems prudent enough. The dismissal of Windows 2000 entirely is the real jackassery.

Re:Sorry- but (1, Insightful)

GNUbuntu (1528599) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578703)

Having a web browser installed on a server for convenient download and installation of patches, drivers, etc. seems prudent enough.

No, it's very much not prudent on a production server. God help any company who hires you as a server admin.

Re:Sorry- but (4, Insightful)

zehnra (1076641) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578791)

Not everyone works in a large corporation...sometimes the 2 servers company A owns needs updates, and they're not going to have a whole WSUS deployment set up for those 2 servers and 10 workstations they own. I've worked in many environments where it's necessary to have a working web browser on a server.

Re:Sorry- but (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579017)

USB, CD-R, Active Directory, rsync, ssh/scp, FTP...
It's never necessary to have a web browser on a server.

Re:Sorry- but (4, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579251)

It's never necessary to have a GUI on a server.

Re:Sorry- but (2, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578795)

Depends. Using Firefox (or even IE) on a production server to hit support.microsoft.com, or an internal intranet site to get drivers and tools is fine. Using google to search down stuff and go get it is a different thing altogether. Logging in a root can be bad too. it's all in how you use the tools. The most important security tool is the gray stuff behind your eyes...

Re:Sorry- but (3, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578813)

My guess is that you've never seen a server application with a web interface for its configuration.

That means you've never installed a commercial database.

I don't take much stock in your sys admin knowledge.

Re:Sorry- but (4, Funny)

WaXHeLL (452463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578907)

What's this web interface you're talking about? Real system admins don't even use the command line -- they go in there and start writing/manipulating machine code.

Re:Sorry- but (1, Flamebait)

GNUbuntu (1528599) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578911)

You would be wrong on all counts. Way to fail.

Re:Sorry- but (1, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578947)

So you have never installed Oracle or Cache or DB2?
How do you configure these databases without their web interfaces?

Re:Sorry- but (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27579141)

Go fuck yourself up the ass with a hot curling iron you self-important e-penis waving faggot. No one gives a fuck who you are or what you know, "way to fail" indeed. Your fucking parents are probably thinking the same thing about you right now you shit.

Re:Sorry- but (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579195)

No, it's very much not prudent on a production server. God help any company who hires you as a server admin.

I wonder. Does this apply to terminal servers too?

It would be rather absurd at a lot of companies to log into the vpn, log into the terminal server, and then search in vain for the web browser, only to be told after calling the help desk they can't browse the company intranet, or use any of the internal web applications like the CRM, web based project tracking, web based defect tracking, web based groupware, web based order entry and inventory tracking systems, etc, etc, etc because the new idiot server admin has a strict policy of not installing browsers on production servers.

Re:Sorry- but (1)

Bio)-(azard (1421513) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579281)

I use the browsers on all of our servers. I have never seen a reason not to. I will use them for updates, fixpacks, and the MS Knowledge base and such. No, I don't sit at my servers and browse the net or even slashdot. :-)

It makes me wonder what kind of websites all the admins who claim to never use a browser on a server are visiting... hmmmm

Re:Sorry- but (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579025)

You're asking for trouble that way. There is nothing stopping you, aside from utter laziness, from getting the updates on there through other means even if it means burning the thing to CD.

You don't give people access to surf the internet on a server.

Re:Sorry- but (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578503)

Windows 2000 works just fine at the office for the 2 systems I actually allow Windows on.
Why should we downgrade to XP when we don't have any need for it?

Re:Sorry- but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578701)


"There is an Arm that never tires
When human strength gives way;
There is a Love that never fails
When earthly loves decay."
--Wallace

Re:Sorry- but (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578783)

"I disagree. Some people prefer Windows 2000. And if you have a server, you might not want to upgrade. Also, some legacy applications may not run on newer systems."

That's a trivial number of users.
They can, if they wish, look into the many possible workarounds. If I want to run a Win2K machine, that's my problem. If I need it for a special app, then it will run that and I'll surf with another machine.

Re:Sorry- but (5, Insightful)

timothyf (615594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578933)

Sure, some people do... but how many people are actually in this category? And is it worth the Mozilla Foundation's time and money to provide official support for it?

It's a legitimate question, and I'm betting the answer is: "Not enough to worry about." If you don't want to upgrade to XP or Vista because of the typical reasons I hear (don't like activation, too bloated, whatever), then switch to Linux or something. Or just keep using Firefox 3.1. Or fork Firefox to support Win2K, since you've got a vested interest in it. Just because it's your problem doesn't make it Mozilla's problem.

Re:Sorry- but (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578461)

Why?

I mean, obviously if software vendors are going to discontinue support, that's a decent enough reason. But you understand it's kind of circular reasoning to argue that developers are right to drop support because people shouldn't be using it, because developers are dropping support?

In general, I don't buy new stuff just because it's newer than what I have. I'm not particularly outraged that Win2k support is being dropped, though. It is old, and if your old system is working fine with all the old software and drivers, then keep using it with Firefox v3 or v3.5. That's fine.

Still, if your computer is 6 years old and still working for you, I say stick with it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Just try to keep it secure, since you won't be seeing new security patches.

Re:Sorry- but (1)

jesser (77961) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579193)

How are you going to keep it secure without getting patches for newly discovered security flaws?

Re:Sorry- but (1)

f1vlad (1253784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578815)

I know a person who is using Windows 95, and spends all his space time patching it :) So Windows 2000 is not surprising. They still have AOL dial-up to go with it.

Firefox.net? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578271)

Is this a joke? Making firefox run on .NET and dropping Win2k compatibility?

That seems like something only M$ would do!

Re:Firefox.net? (3, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578349)

I'm not sure where you're getting the .NET from. TFS reads "Firefox.next" - not "Firefox.NET" or somesuch. TFAs certainly don't mention any .NET.

At least they give some manner of justification - Microsoft themselves dropping support for Windows XP SP2 and anything older than that. fair 'nuff, I suppose - it's not like Firefox will magically stop working once they drop support and if somebody really, really wants to contribute patches to deal with older OS's, there's nothing really stopping them from doing so (or forking if the Mozilla peeps would actively block such patches from being included ).

Re:Firefox.net? (1)

aoteoroa (596031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578553)

They are just calling the next version firefox.NEXT not firefox.NET. I skimmed over the developer forum and didn't see anything about using .net.

Re:Firefox.neXt? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578637)

Is this a joke? Making firefox run on neXt and dropping OS X compatibility?

That seems like something only @pple would do!

Re:Firefox.net? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27579167)

It reminds me of something a gay would do. Very gay indeed!

forcing users to upgrade (5, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578289)

Did Mozilla get taken over by Microsoft or something?

Re:forcing users to upgrade (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578379)

Personally, I've found Firefox has been getting shittier and shittier with each release. It's so bad I've switched to opera for the time being.

So it definitely has Microsoft's fingerprints on it.

Re:forcing users to upgrade (5, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578413)

Ever try running Firefox 3 on a version of Linux from 2003 or 2004? Get ready to build Gnome from source, because the versions (of Gnome) that are compatible with distro's of that age don't support Firefox versions higher than 2.

XP is what, 4 years older than that?

Re:forcing users to upgrade (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578479)

I went through that once. You have to upgrade about 8 system libraries to build Firefox 3 for that era. I use KDE and found that KDE components did not have to be recompiled though (newer libraries had different major versions and so could be installed along side the older ones).

Re:forcing users to upgrade (2, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578501)

Oh yea, if you're running a Mac, you need OS X 10.4 (Tiger, released in 2005) or better.

Why should windows get off so easy, eh?

(On reflection, I think it's GTK or GLib that you have to upgrade to make firefox 3 work on an older linux distro)

Re:forcing users to upgrade (2, Interesting)

Spaseboy (185521) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579073)

To my understanding, the point of limiting SUPPORT for a release to a specific set of OS versions is that it makes it easier and cheaper to help users who have problems.

The Mac OS X argument is simple: it wasn't until 10.4 that Apple publicly stated they would freeze the API. Up until 10.4 Apple could change the standard API's and programs that operated a standard way could be broken. IIRC MS has not CHANGED the Win-32 API since 95. They have added to it, naturally, just like Apple.

gnome changes too often (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578969)

What possible dependancy of SP3 could firefox need?

To make code work even in Win2000 is trivial, unless yourequire the latest 1gig of new APIs. Even then stop being lazy, find portable libs to use.

At least windows GUI api changes are extras, and not changing the core. Old APIs should always work, either by keeping old copies, or by layered emulation.

Re:gnome changes too often (5, Insightful)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579121)

It's not about needing, it's about testing. By dropping support for XP-SP0, you declare that you've never tested your software on XP-SP0. It might work, or it might not. Some code might have recently been written which breaks on SP0 because of a bug that has been fixed since SP3. Or it might not.

Point is, dropping support for older Windows versions decreases the amount of testing needed. That is the biggest value, not about utilizing newer APIs.

Re:gnome changes too often (2, Insightful)

Runefox (905204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579269)

Of all the comments so far, halfway down the page, this one makes the most sense.

A sincere thanks. The rest of them were starting to hurt my brain.

Re:gnome changes too often (1)

mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579137)

I seem to remember one of the targets for > 3.5 was an Aero theme on the windows platform. Its probably hard to make something Aero that would also work well on 2k.

Re:forcing users to upgrade (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579075)

Firefox 3 runs just great on RHEL4. RHEL4 is looking pretty old these days.

Re:forcing users to upgrade (5, Insightful)

Twigmon (1095941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578439)

Just a quick note for clarification, only gecko 1.9.2 and firefox built on that version of gecko (firefox 3.6?) will lack support for 2000 and xp. The development (3.5) and current version (3) will likely still be supported and still receive updates.

I actually agree with this move - it adds time/bloat/etc for each platform you want to support. By choosing to drop some of the less used platforms, assuming by then xp won't be used much, you can really save on development time/etc.

Re:forcing users to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578949)

"it adds ...bloat... for each platform you want to support"

um. then yer doin it wrong...

Re:forcing users to upgrade (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578565)

Did Mozilla get taken over by Microsoft or something?

Amen brother. What kind of moron had the idea not to support XP SP2?

You might as well drop Vista support as well. And Linux. Just move to Haiku and die like you deserve for thoughts like that.

Re:forcing users to upgrade (3, Insightful)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578663)

"forcing developers to support aged buggy platforms with dropping adoption levels"

There, fixed that for ya. Really, it's disingenuous to whine about there being a user impact when dropping support for these platforms without also acknolwedging the ongoing support cost to Mozilla's finite development and QA resources.

WinOld users will still be free to use Firefox 3.5, and will get updates for a good while. And since the source code is available, users of Win 2000 through XP SP 2 can band together to produce their own updates if so desired.

However, my bet is on no one caring enough to waste the time or energy.

Re:forcing users to upgrade (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578705)

Did Mozilla get taken over by Microsoft or something?

Why does dropping support for a 10 year old OS automatically mean a bad thing? Perhaps the peeps involved in Mozilla development realized that fewer OS's to support means more resources can be dedicated to moving forward with the app.

Honestly the only real flaw in my theory is that it could applied to Microsoft, too.

its hard to write code that cant work in xp (2, Interesting)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579041)

What possible components can firefox need from SP3? WMP 11 ? Some obscure api somewhere? Or is it that not one can be bothered to keep a VMware XPsp2 system running to test with.

I bet there still will be more sp2 systems out there than PPC macs.

Or even PPC linux for that matter.

Re:its hard to write code that cant work in xp (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579227)

What possible components can firefox need from SP3?

Vulnerabilities that the various service packs fix.

Or is it that not one can be bothered to keep a VMware XPsp2 system running to test with.

As I've already stated, it takes resources to do that. Every OS they have to test ... why am I explaining the obvious?

Re:forcing users to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27579293)

"Why does dropping support for a 10 year old OS automatically mean a bad thing?"

How old the OS is is completely irrelevant. The important factors are how many people are using it, and is it capable of reasonably doing what you need?

If everybody were still running Windows 3.1, you would design for Windows 3.1 and be happy about it (well, may be not that happy).

There are still many people using Windows 2000, pre-SP3 XP. And even a number of people running 95, 98, NT 4, and ME!

Re:forcing users to upgrade (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578923)

Well seeing as how Microsoft isn't even going to be supporting XP for free after 2009 I don't see why Microsoft should, but nice try you fucking ignorant shit troll.

Re:forcing users to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27579123)

You must not have been paying much attention. It was less than a year after Apple moved to OS/X that Mozilla dropped all support for OS9 rendering my place of employment without a decent way of browsing the internet despite the fact we had perfectly usable machines. Yeah, OS9 is old but it worked fine for us and there was no need to upgrade anything, at least at that point in time.

I feel their pain (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578331)

I hate developing using old tools.

As long as they don't jump the gun on MS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578421)

Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2000 are due for retirement on 7/13/2010.

As long as Firefox waits until after that date to yank support from non-test code, I don't see a problem.

It would be interesting if 3.5 were ready by June or earlier, and they had to decide whether to ship it before MS pulled the plug, or wait until July 13. The "workaround" would be to have a "final release candidate" shipping instead of a "released version," then "release" the very same code on 7/13.

Re:As long as they don't jump the gun on MS (2, Interesting)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578735)

Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2000 are due for retirement on 7/13/2010.

As long as Firefox waits until after that date to yank support from non-test code, I don't see a problem.

I disagree. It'd be a waste of resources for Mozilla to commit development and QA resources to supporting platforms that will be within scant months of their retirement date by the time "Firefox.next" is out.

The allegorical rat flees the ship while it is sinking, not afterwards.

I think it makes sense (1)

SlipperHat (1185737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578431)

If Microsoft discontinues support for those versions of Windows, why should Mozilla?

Because (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578773)

Mozilla/Firefox needs more users and being inclusive is a far better option.

Look at it this way, do you want to give people more reasons to stick with IE?

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578843)

Does IE8 run on those systems?

Re:Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578917)

OMG, all three W2K users will switch to IE when support for the not even released Firefox 3.5 ends. Think of the statistics!

Re:Because (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579247)

Look at it this way, do you want to give people more reasons to stick with IE?

Well since Internet Explorer 7 doesn't run on Windows 2000 either, ditching Firefox for IE would be at least a step back for the user. Mozilla should be using this decision as an opportunity to educate users on how operating systems get old and fall out of the scope of support at their ISP, OEM, and what have you.

Re:Because (1)

Phoenix Rising (28955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579311)

If, in 2010, someone is still using IE 5.5 on Windows 2000, then they're not likely to turn to Firefox.next to cure their problems at that late date...

What does XP SP3 provide that they want? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578437)

I don't get what feature is available in XP SP3 and above that would justify the change? Can anyone enlighten me?

Re:What does XP SP3 provide that they want? (0)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578691)

Microsoft will be dropping support [microsoft.com] at this time as well.

Re:What does XP SP3 provide that they want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578805)

Uh, so?
 
Unless they want to make changes that are only compatible with SP3 and later, why make the distinction?
Mozilla shouldn't play babysitter and slap people's wrists just for running an old OS.

Re:What does XP SP3 provide that they want? (1)

SECProto (790283) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578977)

legit question - i run SP2 for no good reason (other than that i use ubuntu as my main OS, and only occasionally restart to windows for the odd photoshop/excel necessity). but I have never been able to upgrade to SP3 - why make it unusable on SP2 without some reason?

Re:What does XP SP3 provide that they want? (1)

bagofbeans (567926) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579059)

In my experience with 2K and XP, the service pack problems have always been when applying the SP to an existing install. Slipstream SP4 -> 2K install CD, SP3 -> XP install CD for a fresh install (when you are ready to do it) and you are good to go.

Win2K and XP SP3 -- similar status from MS (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578451)

Both Win2k and XP are in "extended support" mode, according to MS. I'm not quite sure how MS can justify this for an OS that is still being sold by MS.

The Mozilla foundation won't be the first to make this decision -- for example, recent iTunes releses haven't run in Win2k and Windows Defender won't install on Win2k (unless you edit the MSI file, after which it will install and run fine under Win2k).

Re:Win2K and XP SP3 -- similar status from MS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578593)

Lots of Microsoft games also don't install on Win2k.

But if you figure out how to install them, they usually run fine.

I've seen warning messages for a lot of games, like Battlefield 2142 and a bunch of others from that time period, but they all run fine on Win2k.

I prefer Win2k to WinXP because Explorer has smarter folder resizing behaviour. Also, it's faster. In my tests between Win2k and WinXP on the same computer, Win2k is about 15% faster for most CPU-limited games. (Warcraft III, Left4Dead (when on single-core), etc.)

Re:Win2K and XP SP3 -- similar status from MS (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578661)

Because it doesn't really need any more updates.

They'll continue security patches until 2014 or something crazy like that.

You just won't get any more bug fixes. And I would like to think that after almost 10 years you've gotten enough bug fixes to be happy.

Re:Win2K and XP SP3 -- similar status from MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578975)

Because it doesn't really need any more updates.

You mean like the time zone fix, which wasn't pushed on automatic update, because it's not a security fix.

Re:Win2K and XP SP3 -- similar status from MS (1)

NeverNow (611234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578677)

Your MSI editing example shows the wrong reasons to drop legacy support: commercial advantages, carelessness or laziness. Instead, the burden of keeping an app compatible with several OS's, and behind held back in terms of features, performance and the like become valid reasons, sooner or later. In other words, dropping Win2K and XPSP3 "just because" seems... just stupid to me. But I'm not sure that's the case. Also, I understand MS make and sell XP, but you don't necessarily need to follow them in their forced upgrade path. We all know XP will still be around on millions of PCs when even its security updates are history. Then again, most of those PCs' users are not likely to keep Firefox extremely up-to-date, are they?

How about helping MS out... (3, Insightful)

cjjjer (530715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578467)

...and stop supporting 2000/XP all together, we need to get rid of any MS destop OS that can run IE6.

Why? (0, Redundant)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578477)

What's the reason for this?

Re:Why? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578671)

Exactly my question. What advantage do they get by dropping the support? Can they add some new wicked feature they couldn't before? If so lets hear it and we can decide if its stupid or not. Otherwise this is meaningless.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578817)

Legacy support is one of those things where cost comes into play. Development costs are not zero. Somebody has to spend time with the code. Fixing bugs. Implementing features.

And that reduces development time you can spend elsewhere.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578883)

RTFA.

From the proposal (actually, the first line of the damn thing):

Supporting multiple OS versions is not zero cost, in terms of testing, code complexity and developer sanity.

Furthermore, I'd hate to see Mozilla get bogged down in the same must-maintain-backwards-compatibility-cruft that MS fell victim to. Firefox is already bloated enough.

Whats Required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27578483)

Whats in SP3 that is required to run Firefox? If there isn't anything, then it shouldn't be required.

Re:Whats Required? (1)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579187)

As far as I can tell this is just about them stopping testing for such platforms. That is, it is not about requirements but about testing resources.

It will probably work but they are not going to guarantee it.

At most I would expect a warning message on installation.

Dropping a big selling point! (4, Interesting)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578639)

It used to be that one of the big selling points of Mozilla/Firefox was that it could run on almost any OS! Mac, Windows (95 and NT 3.51 and up), Linux, BeOS, OS/2, Solaris, and more!

To me this meant I could go to just about any computer, use Firefox, and have every web page render the same regardless of the OS. And I didn't have to worry about purchasing or learning a new OS just to browse a web site.

What happened to all of that?

I would almost think that with the economy as it is, Mozilla would want to keep Firefox as popular as possible by keeping it running on all these older computers out there that will NOT be replaced any time in the near future.

And personally, I'm still disappointed there is no Windows 9x version any more. Thank goodness for SeaMonkey 1.1.x and Opera!

Re:Dropping a big selling point! (1)

drwtsn32 (674346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578745)

It used to be that one of the big selling points of Mozilla/Firefox was that it could run on almost any OS! ....

What happened to all of that?

Not having to ensure compatibility with really old operating systems enables the developers to spend more time adding features and capabilities, for one.

Re:Dropping a big selling point! (1, Insightful)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579231)

What happened to all that? Even the cheapest computers these days can run XP SP3. The number of people still using XP-SP0 or a 2001-era Linux is like, what, 0.03%? It absolutely makes no sense to talk about running on XP SP0 as a selling point when almost nobody uses XP SP0.

It's not like they're dropping support for SP3.

"And personally, I'm still disappointed there is no Windows 9x version any more."

As a software developer I gave up on Windows 9x 5 years ago. I used to worry about Windows 9x users 6 years ago. However, I did not have access to Windows 9x (all my machines were running XP), making it very hard to develop and test for it. Finding a Windows 9x CD or ISO was almost impossible even 6 years ago. I asked my user base to help me with testing on Windows 9x, and nobody responded. Once in a while, maybe once every 4 months, one user (of the approximately 20000 in total) asks about Windows 9x support, but is not skilled enough to help me with testing.

How can you reasonably expect any software developer to keep supporting Windows 9x in such conditions?

OSS (2, Insightful)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578665)

Isn't this the merit of OSS, in that someone who needs Firefox to run on older Windows clients can maintain a branch that implements 1.9.1? I'd need to know "why" Gecko 1.9.2 doesn't run on older versions of Windows to make a value judgement as to weather or not this is a bad idea.

Particularly when it comes to security, too much backward compatibility can be a really bad idea, and it is partially MS-fault that everyone expects all general-purpose consumer Windows software to run on older depreciated platforms adding code complexity, inefficiency and a greater risk for security issues.

Apple users have dealt with (for a long time) that certain updated software might require a newer OS release than they have and the vendor left it up to them to make the call if upgrading the OS+software or sticking with what they have is the right call.

Re:OSS (2, Interesting)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579115)

Isn't this the merit of OSS, in that someone who needs Firefox to run on older Windows clients can maintain a branch that implements 1.9.1? I'd need to know "why" Gecko 1.9.2 doesn't run on older versions of Windows to make a value judgment as to weather or not this is a bad idea.

Back when Mozilla dropped MacOS 9 after Mozilla 1.2.1, some other folks rolled their own 1.3.x versions. And there is even a version of Firefox 3 for OS/2! I was even kind of hoping someone would have hacked together a version of FF 3 for Windows 9x even if it was minus some features, but I guess nobody was up to that challenge. It certainly could happen with 2000/XP if Mozilla.org drops it and there is still enough demand. Perhaps this is really just a call to let the world know that the Firefox project needs some community help!

How about x64 support? (2, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578727)

You know those of us that will never get a SP3 for XP64 per MS "making it so". I know there are so few of us these days, but that's kind of beside the point isn't it?

XP x64 is a different code base (4, Informative)

Jon.Laslow (809215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578903)

XP x64 is based on the Server 2003 code base, not the XP x86 code base. Despite it's age, SP2 is the most recent service pack for the Server 2003 line. As long as it supports Server 2003 SP2, it will support XP x64.

Re:XP x64 is a different code base (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579071)

It's easy enough to say, unfortunately having seen dev. trees come and go. When someone starts saying 'go by the wayside', 'implying code base on so and so' or anything along those lines, we'll also see the same in terms of any upstream OS's based off of it.

I know where you're coming from. I simply don't trust devs not to fudge things up along the way and 'forget'.

Trying to see the reason for this (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578729)

So Moz is only going to support the current shipping service pack for XP and Vista. Why? Is Firefox doing anything (better question SHOULD it be) low level enough for the current version to matter?

The situation with FF on Linux it is bad enough, in that they don't do security fixes for older versions, and new versions generally won't run on old Linux distributions but we understand that Moz Corp doesn't really give a crap about Linux, they make their coin on Windows. But now they are slashing Windows support. Only supporting XP SP3 isn't terrible, but if it is a prelude to dropping XP when 7 ships it will be a terrible thing.

Re:Trying to see the reason for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27579263)

I hear ya brother. There are over 100+ thousand PCs at my corp all on SP2 (by policy). This is just going to push me away from firefox.

Anybody know of a 'light-weight' open-source web browser that does not have a bundled Database server?

TIA

Are they breaking compatibility for its own sake? (4, Insightful)

Andrew_T366 (759304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578739)

Let's get this straight: "Raise the minimum requirements to require Windows XP Service Pack 3 or higher," with no benefit, and no rationale other than for breaking compatibility for its own sake? If that's the case, I venture to say that Mozilla has seriously lost its way.

So, Microsoft ditched support for Windows 2000 and Windows XP pre-SP2? So what; the APIs are just the same now as they always have been. If anything, Mozilla should focus more attention to catering to users of OS versions that Microsoft left behind, where they have less competition...and chances are, the users of Windows 2000 are still using the OS that they are because they're frustrated with Microsoft's "support" policies and the further regressions (performance and usability issues, product activation) posed by newer versions of its products.

I'm seriously still bitter about them breaking compatibility with Windows 95 and NT4 a few versions back: One consequence was that the current version of Firefox was no longer capable of running off a version of Windows not unremovably inundated with Internet Explorer and its ilk. Short of a miracle of penetration from the Linux camp, how are we going to wean people off of a steady consumption of upgraded Microsoft products when we get attitudes and potential decisions like this?

What if I can't run SP3? (2, Insightful)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578809)

SP3 has been a bit crash prone for me on several computers. It's flat out unusable on my laptop. I'd really like to see Mozilla reconsider this one.

Why not, Windows 7 will be out for a couple month (1)

Britz (170620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578869)

in mid 2010. So Windows XP will be 2 versions of Windows behind the current one. Windows 2000 a ten year old that is 3 versions behind. Is Mozilla still supporting Firefox for Debian Etch?

And why would people using XP, that don't even update their os with SP3 be interested in the most current Firefox. They can then still use 3.1.

Okay... (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578943)

I have a WinXP SP2 system at home, which for various reasons not of interest here, I am unable to upgrade to SP3. Chrome works just fine though, so maybe I'll just make that my full time browser on that machine.

Also running WinXP SP2 at work, as the admins haven't seen fit to make SP3 part of the supported environment. Looks like my Firefox install would have to plateau here as well.

This begs the question--are they TRYING to get me to quit using FF? XP SP2 isn't THAT old of an OS. I can't really understand why it would be dropped. I can understand Win2K, though I have a machine running that as well, since that one has been around a long time and the remaining userbase is likely small. Even so, unless there's an insurmountable technical hurdle supporting the newest OSes and the old ones, why bother? Near as I can tell from the article, Vista and Windows 7 have some *whiz bang!* features they can take advantage of. Hardly seems worth it.

What does FireFox need from XP SP3? (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578955)

I thought the windows service packs were more or less bug fixes and security updates - not new APIs or suchlike that make any difference to applications.

So... what does FireFox need from Win XP SP3 that isn't in SP2?

Re:What does FireFox need from XP SP3? (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579237)

Are you kidding? SP3 is a giant tub of bloat backported from Vista. Microsoft has been slowly boiling us with service packs for a while now.

There's always ... (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27578985)

Wine for Windows! [winehq.org]

(Well, there might be by then ...)

Glad they didn't do it last week (1)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579081)

I just spent several days wiping a Linux installation from an old laptop, and gritting my teeth as I reinstall an old license for XP. I admit that I hated every minute of it, but its for my mother to retrieve her emails while in the hospital being treated for brain cancer. She is in no condition to learn anything new at the moment. Sorry, but at this point my Linux evangelism just when out the window for a while. Don't worry, I have not gone to the dark side.

My beef with dropping the Firefox/XP support is that after re-partitioning, formatting, installing XP, updating that blank slate with SP1, SP2, SP3, and attempting to install all the assorted post SP3 patches I found that IE no longer worked for getting updates, or anything else for that matter. IE was hung solid. So I started to test to find out what caused it. No amount of wiping, installing, patching, hotfixing, or reinstalling any versions of XP, IE6,7,8 would fix the problem, but Firefox continued to work flawlessly no matter what I did to that poor laptop. In my case what caused IE to fail was exactly *SP3*! Had Firefox stopped supporting the XP OS prior to SP3 I likely would not have a working laptop for her right now, or at the very least I would be doing lots of much slower CD-R sneaker-net transfers back and forth. To this day IE, of any flavor, still doesn't work on that laptop, but at least its up to date with all its patches and, quite debatably, safe to use for perhaps a day or two. All I can say is 'Thank You Firefox!' You saved the day once again.

Windows 2000 vs. Firefox 2010 (2, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579119)

Remember, they're talking about a release of an app in the year 2010, and whether they'll support it on Windows 2000. Windows XP and Windows Vista have both been out for years already, and Windows 7 should be current by the time this move gets made.

So that's a 10-year-old operating system, four major releases behind, for which Microsoft won't even be providing security updates after July 2010 (unless they've changed their minds).

XP is another story, mainly due to the fact that Vista not only took forever, but has failed to catch on with the market. Fortunately they're only talking about dropping support for systems running on older XP service packs, not for a fully-updated system.

From a Web Developer Standpoint (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579153)

If Firefox 3.5 ends up rendering differently than Firefox Next and I will be pissed. The amount of browser to develop has ballooned in recent years and have fractioned development lines will not help one bit. For those wanting to say, "Just stop supporting it," well, it is just is not that easy is it? IE6 still has about the same market share as all FF versions combined on nearly all the sites I run. If Firefox 3.5 is left behind, it will continued to be used at a decent clip for several more years, making it one more PITA.... not to mention one more reason to recommend Chrome over FF.

Hmmm (1, Informative)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#27579215)

Windows 2000 is probably the best Windows server platform. It's lean and mean and it doesn't get in your way like the newer versions. It's still supported by all the major database vendors.

It doesn't support IPv6 or LDAP, but that is not important for a lot of applications.

Most of these commercial databases use web interfaces for their configuration. For obvious reasons these interfaces should be firewalled for local access only. This means you have to run the web browser on the local machine to configure the database.

Some of these web interfaces use powerful new web features like AJAX and SVG, so a web browser from 2000 will not work.

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