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Microsoft's Ticking Time Bomb Is Windows XP

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the tic-tic-tic dept.

Windows 829

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Shona Ghosh writes at PC Pro that the final deadline for Windows XP support in April 2014 will act as the starting pistol for developing new exploits as hackers reverse-engineer patches issued for Windows 7 or Windows 8 to scout for XP vulnerabilities. "The very first month that Microsoft releases security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will reverse-engineer those updates, find the vulnerabilities and test Windows XP to see if it shares [them]," says Tim Rains, the director of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing group. Microsoft says that XP shared 30 security holes with Windows 7 and Windows 8 between July 2012 and July 2013. Gregg Keizer says that if a major chunk of the world's PCs remains tied to XP, as seems certain, Microsoft will face an unenviable choice: Stick to plan and put millions of customers at risk from malware infection, or backtrack from long-standing policies and proclamations." (Read on for more.)"In either case, it will face a public relations backlash, whether from customers who complain they've been forsaken or those angry at Microsoft for pushing them to upgrade when, in the end, they didn't need to." Microsoft makes little or no revenue from customers with old PCs, and desperately wants them to buy a new Windows system of some sort. "It's very easy to say 'just upgrade,' but not all business can do so," says Lawrence Pingree, citing money, resources and mission-critical software. "One of the main reasons why people cannot leave XP is compatibility with other software." Nor is Microsoft blameless. XP has hung around because of the mistakes Microsoft made with Windows Vista, the OS flop that outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer copped to as his biggest regret. If Vista had been more like Windows 7, or had shipped at its original "Longhorn" timetable of 2004, then been followed three years later by Windows 7, XP would not have had the opportunity to lock up the ecosystem for a decade. Pingree has a suggestion for Microsoft. ""If it's such a big problem, maybe they should offer an 'Extended Life' [support] subscription and charge for it.""

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829 comments

The Solution is Obvious (5, Insightful)

Nova Express (100383) | about 4 months ago | (#45759375)

Microsoft should extend support for XP...but only on a cash-for-patch basis. Sell patches at $5 a pop for XP user's, or a one Year Security Update Subscription for $20.

It's a win-win situation....

Re:The Solution is Obvious (5, Funny)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#45759387)

There will be no second act here if the protagonist solves the dilemma in the opening minutes sir.

Re:The Solution is Obvious (5, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 months ago | (#45759407)

The question is: How much does it actually cost them (in dollars) to support XP?

I get the feeling this is just to try and push people to upgrade, not because XP can't be supported.

I own two machines which cannot be upgraded for very good reasons.

(And right now they have auto-update disabled because of the "Windows update uses 100% CPU and leaves the machine unusable" problem which appeared a couple of months ago - a coincidence that this happened just before XP is retired...?)

Re:The Solution is Obvious (2)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 months ago | (#45759535)

"I own two machines which cannot be upgraded for very good reasons."

What are those? I support a couple of XP machines for a friend who is content with his old CAM software because it does what he wants and the post-processor works with his old Fanuc control, but they no longer connect to the internet. Cut the cord, problem solved.

Re:The Solution is Obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759745)

Find the latest "Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer * for Windows XP" for the current month. Download it, install it, then do Windows Update. I have had multiple machines have issues sometime since June I think because of some bug. Hangs on the webpage for a long time, checking for updates. Doing that will make it work real quick.
Make sure it's for XP, your right IE version, 32- vs. 64-bit, etc.

Re:The Solution is Obvious (1, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45759501)

There really are only a tiny number of people for whom such a subscription would make sense. Everyone else would be better off just replacing their PC with a newer one running Win7/8. Windows 7 has XP Mode which works pretty well, and people who absolutely need XP for that one bit of ancient hardware that doesn't even work in the VM would be better off retiring their current machines from day-to-day use and saving them just for that single purpose.

People who are still using XP day-to-day are idiots and Microsoft shouldn't encourage them. There is almost no scenario where continuing to use XP as your main desktop makes sense, although I'm sure there will be plenty of replied from people who claim that they absolutely have to.

Really (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759569)

Do you have the $6.5 million Microsoft wants from our organization to upgrade our workstations to Windows 7? $6.5 million is a damn good reason not to upgrade.

Re:Really (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759625)

You're right. Better to save that $6.5 million and invest it for the inevitable $50 million malware cleanup.

Re:Really (5, Insightful)

DrLang21 (900992) | about 4 months ago | (#45759699)

$6.5 million? Even if you had to pay the retail price for all of those (which you don't) that would mean that you have nearly 22,000 workstations that are connected to the internet. What the hell does your company do that it has that many computers operating but doesn't have the easy ability to invest $6.5 million???

Re:The Solution is Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759659)

There is almost no scenario where continuing to use XP as your main desktop makes sense, although I'm sure there will be plenty of replied from people who claim that they absolutely have to.

Well maybe if Microsoft would quit fucking with the GUI...

In all seriousness, I am on Windows 7. But I only made the jump after I found out that it was possible to make it look pretty damn close to Windows 2000.

Re:The Solution is Obvious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759713)

And you are a fucking moron since you think people don't have other needs compared to yours, so why don't you shut the fuck up asshole.

XP is a vulnerability itself. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759503)

Seriously, it's 12 years old. If you're using 12-years-old Linux kernel today, nobody would give a fuck about your problems. Because you using 12-years-old shit is the biggest problem itself.

Re:XP is a vulnerability itself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759613)

If you're using 12-years-old Linux kernel today, nobody would give a fuck about your problems

... because they can upgrade for free, which is not the case with windows...
And don't even get me started with the piece of shit that is windows 8, linux users are not forced to use a half-tablet OS

Re:XP is a vulnerability itself. (4, Funny)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 months ago | (#45759681)

And don't even get me started with the piece of shit that is windows 8, linux users are not forced to use a half-tablet OS

Gnome 3 and Unity would like a word with you.

Re:XP is a vulnerability itself. (0)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 4 months ago | (#45759751)

And Windows XP users can switch to Linux too.... it's been a very long time since I've seen a piece of software that runs on Windows XP that doesn't run on WINE as well... a lot of it runs better on WINE, actually. And for that tiny handful of programs that don't run on WINE? You can run an XP VM, with no network access...

Re:The Solution is Obvious (2)

houghi (78078) | about 4 months ago | (#45759553)

Car analogy: If you bought a car, the company will take out as many errors as possible. However sometimes they miss one. During warranty, they will repair it for you free of charge.

Now imagine that you bought a car and you want some of the same security features new cars have, like seat-belts and third break light. The old company does not do any security upgrades anymore. You still have several options.
1) Pay the company to do it for you (as you suggest above)
2) Pay another company to do it for you
3) Do it yourself

Number 2 and 3 are possible because you or somebody with the ability can just take a screwdriver and start.
So what they need to do is OpenSource it when they don't give any support anymore.

Re:The Solution is Obvious (3, Insightful)

CaptainJeff (731782) | about 4 months ago | (#45759619)

Better car analogy: When a defect (mistake in the fundamental design or implementation of the car) is found that affects its safety, a recall is issued, and the manufacturer fixes it for free. Regardless of warranty status of age of the vehicle.

Re:The Solution is Obvious (2)

DrLang21 (900992) | about 4 months ago | (#45759723)

These are hardly safety issues here. If someone dies or gets injured because of unpatched Windows vulnerabilities, it will be the fault of whoever used Windows XP in the system that caused it, not Microsoft.

Re:The Solution is Obvious (3, Interesting)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about 4 months ago | (#45759675)

Microsoft will never Opensource XP. Mostly because it would be a major liability with no benefit to them. Yes, liability. If you have your programmers going through the code and find a module that obviously didn't work like it was supposed to, and exposed the machines to a 0-day hack, your lawyers would race to file law suites against Microsoft to compensate for the companies losses. Or lets say you figure out what ALL the settings in the registry do, including the ones for exclusive use of the FBI/NSA/Microsoft. Now you know that they were fully able to bypass the Microsoft supplied firewalls, and grab whatever info they wanted. And you would spill that knowledge all over the net.

Where is Microsoft's benefit in all this? It's just not there.

The only project to Opensource XP that I've heard of is ReactOS [reactos.org], and it is STILL in Alpha stage, even after all these years. I suppose if the demand for it is there, some companies could be encouraged to donate time/money and accelerate the project, for their own benefit.

Re:The Solution is Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759673)

Microsoft should extend support for XP...but only on a cash-for-patch basis. Sell patches at $5 a pop for XP user's, or a one Year Security Update Subscription for $20.

It's a win-win situation....

Something is wrong about charging people to fix problems you created in the first place.

I hope a plumber or electrician does this to you in the near future.

Re:The Solution is Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759697)

Or let them trade-in valid Vista/7/8 Licenses for continued XP support. I've bought a half dozen computers over the years with Visa/7 Licenses I don't use, and simply install my old originally legal copy of XP. I figure since I was forced to buy MS licenses for the newer OS's they are pushing, if they go unused I can ethically use legacy software w/o license.

Yeah I find Vista/7/8 inferior(with exception to the physical resource limits in XP).

The funny thing is... (-1, Flamebait)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 4 months ago | (#45759379)

If windows 7/8 wasn't a downgrade from XP in every respect, this discussion wouldnt be here.

Tip: make good software = customers buy. Make software which does nothing but negatives for the previous owners = no buy.

If DX11 wasnt forced on me, i would still be using XP. Suppose thats one way they got us to upgrade, April 2014 will be the last straw.

Re:The funny thing is... (4, Insightful)

murdocj (543661) | about 4 months ago | (#45759397)

This is absurd. Yes, Vista was a disaster, but Windows 7 was a huge upgrade from XP.

If your statement is correct... (3, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#45759423)

If your statement is correct...

This is absurd. Yes, Vista was a disaster, but Windows 7 was a huge upgrade from XP.

then why won't all XP software run on Windows 7, and why hasn't everyone seen the error of their ways, and upgraded their XP systems?

My dad owns a number of companies which all went out and bought extra XP systems and stuck them in a closet for future deployment because of the software compatibility issues between XP and Windows 7 and later. Specifically, they don't want to have to re-buy all their machines, and re-buy all their existing software, and rewrite from scratch all their Microsoft COM component based glue code the next time they hire a new person into the office.

Microsoft is out of its teeny little mind if it believes small cash flow based businesses have the available capital to enable them to do this; the incompatibility is killing adoption of anything later than Windows XP for almost every business I know that has 100 or less employees, which is 95% of all businesses in the U.S..

Re:If your statement is correct... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759465)

They can't afford the capitol to upgrade their systems, but they can afford to stockpile machines in closets.

It is cheaper than programmers at 100K/year (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759527)

And then there is the overhead expenses (roughly the same as salary).

And then there is difficulty in layoffs...

Re:If your statement is correct... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759485)

windows 7:

networking under xp was much easier. The home group is a total disaster, 9/10 times there are problems with pc's connecting. It used to be so easy..

control panel is a total disaster, nothing looks alike.

copy dialog was bad, now it is a total disaster, 2 different large dialogs, why don't do it like every other program. Overwrite Yes/No/All/Skip

UI: Microsoft seems to only makes stuff that you need to get used to, why not just make something that looks great from the start?

Stability of windows 7 is ofcourse mostly better than xp. Explorer crashes less than under xp, 64bits is better...

And then microsoft started to push the ribbons through everyones throat... Like that wasn't enough, they did it again with filled rectangles (metro).

Re:If your statement is correct... (4, Insightful)

Goody (23843) | about 4 months ago | (#45759509)

You're conflating compatibility and technology upgrades. In general, considering the usability, user interface, and functionality of 7, it is an upgrade from XP. Compatibility with applications written for previous OSs is a totally different item. If you really want to support an application that works with only one end-of-lifed OS until the end of time, then you're going to have issues to deal with. It's either update the application or embalm the OS environment you're bent on sticking with. Run XP in a VM on new machines with a modern host OS.

There are plenty of reasons to criticize Microsoft, but I don't think OS application compatibility is one of them. You can run DOS apps from the 1990s on Windows 7. If your business can't afford to update that XP-dependant app, you probably shouldn't have written such a specialized app to begin with or used the development environment and libraries you chose.

Re:If your statement is correct... (2)

gigaherz (2653757) | about 4 months ago | (#45759689)

Chances are the software won't run on Windows 7 because said software was making use of "features" of XP that were actually not supposed to be used that way, be it internal features, undefined behaviour, or implementation errors. The bigger issue is driver compatibility, where it is not so easy to keep supporting old driver models.

Re:The funny thing is... (1)

prajendran (3456063) | about 4 months ago | (#45759429)

I still use XP and Windows 7. As a user. I don't find one much better or worse than the other, making a voluntary upgrade unlikely.

Re:The funny thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759467)

I develop on 7 at work, but only have XP at home because it suits my needs and fits nicely into a VM. Telling me that I need to get 7 because it's better in some indeterminate way is like an advertiser telling me that I absolutely must buy some newer, better shampoo or laundry detergent even though I'm perfectly happy with my current shampoo and laundry detergent.

Re:The funny thing is... (1, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#45759511)

For varying definitions of "upgrade".

So far, I have not identified any benefits for me from using 7 compared to using XP. But I have trouble with a few pieces of software that refuse to run. Now, please explain to me again why I would possibly WANT Windows7?

Re:The funny thing is... (2)

murdocj (543661) | about 4 months ago | (#45759567)

Faster, smoother, better UI, better supported, easier to use... need more?

Re:The funny thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759731)

For me it isn't any faster. Maybe the OS is more efficient, that's possible, but I don't notice it. I think today's bottlenecks aren't in the OS any more.
The UI is worse, as the default UI is even more tasteless than XP's and many custom themes don't work in Win7.
Better supported? Well, better supported by whom? Microsoft, sure. But I find most software works better in XP, including Firefox, which happens to be the program I use the most, by far.
And it's much harder to use than XP, because they complicated various aspects of the Explorer shell and also removed a few features that I really miss. Admittedly, they added one or two minor features too, but I don't think that compensates.

All in all, I think XP is a better product. And with Windows 8 coming on, you can see where Microsoft is going with Windows, and it isn't a pretty place. Rather than slowly drowning in upgrades, I rather stick with XP and figure out solutions to cope when Microsoft drops support.

Re:The funny thing is... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759539)

Yes, Vista was a public relations disaster

Fixed that for you. I ran Vista for years.

99.9999% of the bullshit surrounding Vista was just that. Pure, fucking, unadulterated bullshit, spewed by the same mewling retards who still don't understand why their shitty operating system from well over a decade ago needs to die.

XP is over. Fucking deal with it.

Re:The funny thing is... (0)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 months ago | (#45759739)

The reason why vista was surrounded by "pure fucking unadulterated bullshit" was because that operating system was "pure fucking unadulterated bullshit" which kept leaking into surroundings.

Re:The funny thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759543)

And a ferarri is an upgrade from a fiat. but a fiat will get you around just fine. Some people seem to think that "newer" equals "better" but there is a lot more to it; hidden costs like needing to upgrade ram/hd (or the obvious cost of the upgrade) and then the relearning (esp. for older people who have just learned to click on those 2 icons called "mail" and "internet" their grandson setup). its just a whole lot of trouble and money for no reason (yes, there are technical/security reasons one might upgrade, but these people are unaware of that)

Try looking at things from another perspective than your own sometime.

It is amazing what we in the computer/tech industry expect of our users. I can not really think of any industry that simply resigns when it becomes difficult and just blame it on users not being smart enough. if car manufacturers could get away with that, imagine the roads...

Re:The funny thing is... (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 4 months ago | (#45759419)

What an idiotic statement. Windows 7 is superior to Windows XP just as Windows XP is superior to Windows 9x and just as Windows 9x was susperior to 3.1...

I challenge you to name those downgrades you experienced.

Re:The funny thing is... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759471)

No proper start menu. No, that abortion that was provided with Windows 7 does not count. Note also that the standard start menu wasn't removed from Server 2008. Draw your own conclusions from that.

Dependence on Windows Search for document folder redirections (which is an anticompetitive dig at other SMB servers IMO).

That retarded handling of privilege elevation (why for the love of god isn't there a "Run this command with elevation" command? No, RunAs doesn't work - in fact, RunAs got thoroughly broken).

Windows 7 is not a superior product. It just has fanboys.

Re:The funny thing is... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759563)

Replying to a colossal faggot neckbeard.

Re:The funny thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759571)

Speaking of idiotic statements. You forgot Vista in your list, but that would ofcourse have made you wrong in your assertion (but at least you would have been honest then)

And anyways, there is more to a system upgrade than the OS - like the applications, which i hear are having trouble working across the different versions.

But blindly assuming that the new version is by definition superior in all ways for everyone is indeed idiotic.

Re:The funny thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759603)

Performance in a VM configured the same way is way worse on 7 pro than XP pro. (all stock installs from MDN installs plus drivers the OS requested).

The nagging of the OS complaining that it is not original every time I change the VM specs is a serious annoyance

The reason to even have a windows VM is to be able to run apps that I can not run on Linux (econfig!!!). Why would I run 7 if the app will not run it and require XP?

Neither systems can come close to the uptime that I have with my Linux VM (Current is about 150 days for a reboot due to too many kernel updates with security updates), while the windows VMS need reboot every 3 weeks or so. At least 7 and XP is about the same here (and way better than 9X)

Interfaces are both pretty outdated, very rigid, and unpleasant to use with the standard software (not as rigid and irritating as MacOS though, so it is a bonus here when comparing the two). Manageable with KDE for windows IMHO, but then, no advantage for anyone here).

Now back at you.. Name how windows7 is superior to XP?

Re:The funny thing is... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 months ago | (#45759421)

If windows 7/8 wasn't a downgrade from XP in every respect,

Wrong. Windows 7 is better than XP in every way

(For the pedants: "Except size on disk")

Re:The funny thing is... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759457)

Except speed.

Except size on disk.

Except size in memory.

Except stability. (I want something which isn't dicked about with except for fixing what's broken.)

Except activation method. (XP was the first, so MS were cautious in introducing it, and its rules are abundantly clear.)

Except ability to run about 20 years' worth of software and on far older and newer hardware, since it has had such a long service life and represented the pinnacle of backward compatibility before MS decided DOS-based software (Win98) has surely all been retired.

XP is not just "good enough": it represents an engineering zenith. It's everything "Linux on the desktop" still hasn't reached (A couple of days ago I tried to install Linux on a 7 year old office machine which runs office apps just perfectly under XP, and my first experience on reboot was a login screen where you had to wait about half a second for each character to appear. Not good.)

Re:The funny thing is... (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 months ago | (#45759725)

(A couple of days ago I tried to install Linux on a 7 year old office machine which runs office apps just perfectly under XP, and my first experience on reboot was a login screen where you had to wait about half a second for each character to appear. Not good.)

Should have installed a 7 year old version of Linux.... I kid, I kid. The thing was probably trying to use accerlated X on the desktop. Which distro was it? Try an XFCE based variant/spin, that should do the trick.

Re:The funny thing is... (1)

linebackn (131821) | about 4 months ago | (#45759655)

If windows 7/8 wasn't a downgrade from XP in every respect,

Wrong. Windows 7 is better than XP in every way

(For the pedants: "Except size on disk")

On the other hand there is the abomination known as Windows 8.

And that is all one can easily find in most stores these days.

um DRM http://slashdot.org/story/114371 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759703)

http://slashdot.org/story/114371

or

http://en.windows7sins.org/

etc etc

So upgrade already (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759381)

You can run XP in a virtual machine if you have software you must absolutely run that cannot run under Windows 7 or 8.

If your business cannot support the cost of an upgrade, you really aren't doing it right and probably aren't making much money anyway.

Windows 7 has been out for over FOUR freaking years. Quite the whiny bitching already.

Re:So upgrade already (2, Informative)

murdocj (543661) | about 4 months ago | (#45759401)

You can run XP in a virtual machine if you have software you must absolutely run that cannot run under Windows 7 or 8.

If your business cannot support the cost of an upgrade, you really aren't doing it right and probably aren't making much money anyway.

Windows 7 has been out for over FOUR freaking years. Quite the whiny bitching already.

This. People are complaining about a version of the O/S that came out 11 years ago.

Re:So upgrade already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759537)

People are complaining about a version of the O/S that came out 11 years ago.

... And on the other side of the court the "lets praise any newer version, no matter what it does" people. Let the battle begin! :-)

To me it sounds like it has little to do with "the people", but much more in how MS (mis)represents XP. For what reason it does that "we can only guess" ...

Personally I find it remarkable to read (but not at all a surprise) that the "now washing even whiter!" last two versions of MS flagship share bugs with an, as you put it, 11 year old one.

That ofcouse leaves the question why they fix problems that are found in Win7/8, but (now) see such problems to do the same for XP, even though it shares the same code.

Re:So upgrade already (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about 4 months ago | (#45759747)

Because it takes many man-hours to backport the fixes, build the code, test the build, Q.A. the build, sign the build, and then push it through the distribution system. They have been doing it for over 10 years, and they simply don't want to continue spending resources in supporting it that could be used to build better, newer software.

Re:So upgrade already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759545)

This. People are complaining about a version of the O/S that came out 11 years ago.

But I have software that only runs on the classic Mac OS! Are you saying I must upgrade to OS X and Intel chips? Motorola FTW!

Re:So upgrade already (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759405)

Support runs out for Windows XP, whether it's on actual hardware or in a virtual machine. A disconnected system doesn't need to upgrade to a more modern OS and then run XP in a virtual machine. A connected system can't run XP in a virtual machine or it's at risk just the same. Virtualization thus offers no solution.

Re:So upgrade already (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759595)

We still run XP on a few remaining machines and we don't really have the money do upgrade the. We aren't really making that much money, because that's not really the aim of the company - we essentially provide serviced offices* for self employed people (including the two directors). In essence, the company's aim it to provide employment for a whole bunch of people. Sure making a bit of money is nice, but at the moment, as long as we break even and the brokers make money, we're happy.

* Not just serviced offices - completely bespoke systems to do their job - we're the only company in the UK to do what we do.

Re:So upgrade already (4, Informative)

linebackn (131821) | about 4 months ago | (#45759599)

You can run XP in a virtual machine if you have software you must absolutely run that cannot run under Windows 7 or 8.

Not if the software you need to run is a device driver for special hardware.

And you still have the issue that the VM may need to talk to the outside world and therefore be as "vulnerable" as real hardware.

Re:So upgrade already (4, Interesting)

BUL2294 (1081735) | about 4 months ago | (#45759679)

I'm sorry, but tell me an easy way for a non-technical business (e.g. a dentist's office) to shut off Internet access in most consumer-grade VMs (VMWare Player, Hyper-V, Win7's VirtualPC, etc.) while keeping network access alive. Yes, there's things like fiddling with hosts files and the like, but no consumer-level VM offers a "keep networking but disallow Internet access" switch. (Sure, you can disable NAT, but then your VM can't network, so what's the point???)

Also, Microsoft's Win32 application compatibility via the Windows 6.x kernel is decent for 32-bit and weak for 64-bit (WoW). To add, there's so much 16-bit code floating out there in businesses, written during the Win9x era, especially from vendors that no longer exist. Even trying to get some Microsoft programs working is a chore--e.g. Visual FoxPro 9 SP2. (I don't give a shit how "old" it is, it's still used and doesn't work well with Win7 x64). Microsoft has the R&D resources to figure out how to run 16-bit code on 64-bit Windows (e.g. NTVDM running on WoW--essentially a VM within a VM), and we'd be fully in the 64-bit OS era...

Slashdot Poll ? (3, Interesting)

Lennie (16154) | about 4 months ago | (#45759383)

I feel a Slashdot Poll might be in our future:

Number of Windows XP security updates Microsoft will release in the first and second year after they said they wouldn't:
- 0
- 1-5
- 5-10
- 11 or more

Re:Slashdot Poll ? (1)

lukeshep (581612) | about 4 months ago | (#45759717)

- 1-5 - 5-10

I hope your overlap on 5 was intentional comment-bait, likewise the lack of comedy option

Can't complain (5, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about 4 months ago | (#45759385)

Although Windows XP still works wonderfully for me, and although I'd like to continue using it (with security updates of course), I really can't complain. It's one of the longest supported OS's in PC history. Nothing else has come even close, and no vendor is talking about having anywhere near a decade+ of support in the near future, either.

Red Hat 10 year Extended Support (4, Informative)

iYk6 (1425255) | about 4 months ago | (#45759417)

Red Hat offers 10 years of support. And new versions of Red Hat are generally better than previous versions, so there isn't as much need to hold on to old versions.

Source: http://www.serverwatch.com/server-news/red-hat-extends-linux-support.html [serverwatch.com]

Re:Red Hat 10 year Extended Support (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 4 months ago | (#45759453)

That's a server OS. Any server OS that isn't supported for at least a decade is bullshit, anyway, in my opinion.

Re:Red Hat 10 year Extended Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759505)

>That's a server OS.
That's a misconception. RHEL isn't only for servers.

There is no difference.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759549)

between a server OS and desktop. Only what applications you install.

Re:Red Hat 10 year Extended Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759491)

Oh, that's funny. A server OS. That also has compatibility problems if you are using one that is 12 years old like XP and want to move to a new one. The ABI has changed, the drivers may not work, etc.

Re:Red Hat 10 year Extended Support (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759493)

10 years PLUS optional (extra cost) 3 year extension for RHEL5 and newer ("Extended Life Phase"). For OS older than that it's 7+3 years ("ELS").

Note that they handle sources differently for ELP/ELS, so I suspect none of the free rebuilds will be able to extended beyond the core phase. The Oracle (OL/OEL) RHEL rebuild also only talks about the main 10 year product cycle at the moment.

Ref: https://access.redhat.com/site/support/policy/updates/errata/

Re:Can't complain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759627)

The number one reason I'll never go back to Windows XP: WDDM [wikipedia.org]

Re:Can't complain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759657)

But that extended support was a fluke, wasn't it? To cover the gap left by Vista's failure.

But yeah, still have XP for games here. It's a sparky OS with fabulous driver support. Only 32bit but WTH, it even hibernates properly, something that's /still/ really spotty in Linux.

Not really (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759389)

The fundamental flaw here is this is all assuming that Microsoft is somehow better at identifying vulnerabilities than the hackers themselves. All evidence suggests that this is not the case.

And? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759399)

Stick to plan and put millions of customers at risk from malware infection

Not trolling, but sticking with XP - even with continued support - is still putting millions of customers at risk from malware infection. Win 7 is much more secure (I assume 8 is too but I won't touch Win 8).

One of my clients is going to stick with XP (it's on about 1/2 their systems) and only upgrade to 7 if the workstation needs to be replaced. Some of their workstations have been running for 8 - 10 years and still meet the needs of their users. If it ain't broke why replace it?

Re:And? (0)

bkmoore (1910118) | about 4 months ago | (#45759447)

One of my clients....Some of their workstations have been running for 8 - 10 years and still meet the needs of their users. If it ain't broke why replace it?

That's a bit like saying it's ok for one of your clients to stick to a fleet of cars and trucks that lack modern safety features such as seat belts, air bags, engineered crumple zones, etc. Sure it works and they could make deliveries with it. But it be very bad if one of those trucks got into a collision. Also, there would probably be issues finding affordable accident insurance.

Just like everyone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759409)

Photoshop 7.0 was released in 2002, AFTER Windows XP.
If today there is a new bug that can be exploited, do I expect that Adobe fix it for me, free of charge?

Since for my day-to-day use Photoshop 7 is good enough, why am I "forced" to upgrade?

Microsoft isn't Putting Customers at Risk (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759413)

Microsoft isn't putting customers at risk by not patching what will then be a 13-year old operating system. They had a full life cycle plan in place and customers have had many years advance notice to plan their transition. The lack of resources placed on transitioning legacy software to something other than an end-of-life OS is squarely the fault of the customers. The people in charge obviously don't place a great deal of importance on security or support. They have made their decision, let them suffer the consequences.

Re:Microsoft isn't Putting Customers at Risk (3, Insightful)

_Ludwig (86077) | about 4 months ago | (#45759515)

On the one hand, quite true, fuck ’em. They brought their problems upon themselves. But on the other, their problem becomes everyone else’s when several million corporate PCs are added to the world’s botnet population.

Re:Microsoft isn't Putting Customers at Risk (5, Funny)

linebackn (131821) | about 4 months ago | (#45759557)

Microsoft isn't putting customers at risk by not patching what will then be a 13-year old operating system. They had a full life cycle plan in place and customers have had many years advance notice to plan their transition. The lack of resources placed on transitioning legacy software to something other than an end-of-life OS is squarely the fault of the customers. The people in charge obviously don't place a great deal of importance on security or support. They have made their decision, let them suffer the consequences.

What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven's sake, mankind, it's only four light years away, you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that's your own lookout. Energize the demolition beam. I don't know, apathetic bloody planet, I've no sympathy at all.

After 13 Years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759561)

Yeah, after 13 years, an operating system just starts to wear out. The colors fade, the sounds get scratchy, the error messages use dated language, it starts burning oil and eventually, the tranny goes and you're stuck with a heap.

But hey! I like classics! I'd still be on DOS if the hardware didn't give up the ghost. (The computer's engine went and I couldn''t get a new one - it was like having a Karmann Ghia).

Anyway, Windows is like a Detroit automobile: loaded with bugs and after the warranty period, you are on your own.

So, in January or February I'm gett'n a MacBook and pretend I'm rich.

patches ? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759425)

New features for life on XP - no.
      Security features for 5 more years, if it means back porting them - yes.

Re:patches ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759433)

I working in health care, our PRIMARY robotic pharmacy dispenser runs DOS 6.x
It works, vendor has not mentioned any intent to replace the code so why should we.
I drive to work in a 14 year old - it works, so ... ?

If you think I am joking ask your hospital about ( McK..... )

I wonder... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759437)

How many of these anti-xp storys are sponsored by microsoft...

I wonder if they know they'll face the same problems when win7s time is up.

That's the price of making a gem surrounded by piles of shit like vista, winME, and windows8.

Mac has superior model (0, Troll)

nysus (162232) | about 4 months ago | (#45759439)

Who the hell wants to be bothered with cumbersome upgrades of an operating system just to get modest and often questionable improvements? Your average consumer is basically left with the option of buying a new computer to upgrade their OS.

I'm so glad I switched to a Mac over five years ago. I'd rather not have to worry about my OS these days. Upgrades are free. Can't beat that.

Re:Mac has superior model (4, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about 4 months ago | (#45759473)

You're under the false assumption that everybody buys new hardware every year or two. I have hardware that's been running for over a decade, and is still working just fine.

Re:Mac has superior model (3, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about 4 months ago | (#45759629)

I have hardware in a cupboard that failed after a year or two or in some cases even earlier but I never bothered to jump through the hoops to get it fixed or replaced under warranty. I also have working computing gear that dates back to the 70s. That fact that some hardware has survived a decade doesn't mean that all (or even most) hardware will do so.

Businesses usually replace a desktop box every four or five years, laptops maybe every two or three. Any five-year-old desktop running XP or similar will have ageing components, hard drives wearing out mechanically, fans dying etc. which makes them ripe for replacement. They also probably don't support affordable amounts of RAM (typically 8 or 16GB) which can make a serious difference to performance in 64-bit operating systems -- nearly all XP installs were for the 32-bit version which limits out hard at 3.5GB. XP also has the 2TB drive volume limit and no TRIM for SSDs. Older boxes have no hardware support for SATA-3 and usually poor support for SATA generally. They may still be AGP rather than supporting any version of PCI-e, no USB 3.0 ports, the onboard video is crude and slow etc. etc.

Re:Mac has superior model (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759583)

I have an iMac that I actually really do like. Its used primarily, now, as my TV / Media Center.

I haven't been able to upgrade OS X for 2-3 versions now...my video card isn't supported. I can replace that, though, right? Nope.

The last OS "upgrade" I did get got rid of Front Row. This was the software that lets you use the little mac remote control to operate a full screen menu system, access and play all your media, etc. Think XBMC but quality. That was pretty much how I controlled the thing. Now I have to use mouse and keyboard and zoom in using accessibility features to see the screen to find media.

Thanks, Apple!

Re:Mac has superior model (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759633)

This is just so wrong... Apple supports only their last two versions of OS X. 10.6 will be unsupported very shortly, and has been out less than 5 years. Combine that with the fact that newer machines often REQUIRE the newest Apple OS, and that puts Enterprise in a situation where they either fragment the hell out of the OS their userbase is on, or constantly do OS upgrades every year on the entire fleet.

XP a Time bomb? (2)

mseeger (40923) | about 4 months ago | (#45759451)

No, the time bomb are people still running XP....

Re:XP a Time bomb? (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 4 months ago | (#45759525)

Stupid question probably, but if people like XP why wouldn't Microsoft continue to sell and support XP? The market for it is obviously still there.

Re:XP a Time bomb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759559)

Because it is technologically obsolete, and the cost of maintenance and development outweighs the economic benefits. Supporting obsolete technology is also a risk for Microsoft, because their competitors are not held back by such legacy software.

the whole wwworld is watching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759495)

support your local moms. free the innocent stem cells. upgrade to POT (Personal Open Terminals) to share all the goodwill. don't forget to lighten our load & give away more than we keep in this time of inequity.....

Its time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759497)

Its time to get rid of XP. Please, Microsoft, do not backtrack on this.
Old people need to get with the times and so do these corporations who are living in the stone age.
Come on guys, wake up. Sorry if it means you need to retrain your granny or corporate monkeys, but it's part of life... we all have to learn new things in order to advance.

An easy choice... (5, Insightful)

tambo (310170) | about 4 months ago | (#45759519)

The key to this dilemma comes down to one word:

"Microsoft will face an unenviable choice: Stick to plan and put millions of customers at risk from malware infection,"

I don't think that Microsoft actually considers these people "customers." I think MS very distinctly considers them non-customers of their flagship product, since they have not purchased any of the four latest versions (Vista, 7, 8, 8.1). All of Microsoft's customers should have followed its exhortations over the last five years to spend a few bucks and upgrade dump their now-13-year-old OS.

It's indisputable that across the computing industry, the perceived mandate of legacy support for next-gen OSes is increasingly feeble. In non-desktop markets - e.g., consoles and phones - the presumption was never there to begin with (starting with the Super Nintendo!) Web programming exhibits similar tendencies - how many Java applications from back in the day won't run on modern browsers? And won't that include the entire Silverlight platform in a few years? The tendency is that the river of upgrades will carry all projects of significance along in its current, and the projects that gather on the banks (i.e., don't receive newest-OS upgrades) are... detritus. For right or wrong, that's the view.

Wine is fine - seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759541)

Those computers need to run Windows XP software - that's all. Wine just runs those programs by now. And they have free patches.

http://www.reactos.org/wiki/ReactOS seems like spot on here.

Difference is the reaction on an attack:
Microsoft: "You should have upgraded"
Wine: "Patch is coming".

It sure isn't going to be the year of the Linux Desktop, but we've learnt who is more trustworthy on the long term.

FUD !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759555)

And you know what this is ?? I am here to explain !!

F is Fucked !!
U is Up !!
D is Deliberately !!

Fucked Up Deliberately !!

wga will lose ms 'customers' (3, Insightful)

sjwest (948274) | about 4 months ago | (#45759565)

More of linux shop here but the one remaining ms os pc which had updates until november has just been deemed illegal by somebody last month.

I briefly tried to deal with the issue - the supplier hp told me to get lost, and once through to the right region (hp's website royally sucks) the human blamed ms and gave me a wrong phone number for buck passing.

I have put the machine on a list for debian upgrades for next year.

The craptastic Windows 8 is Microsoft's time bomb (3, Insightful)

JudeanPeople'sFront (729601) | about 4 months ago | (#45759573)

The problem is that you can't upgrade to Windows 7 anymore. Also, you can't buy a new computer with Windows 7. You have to go to Windows 8. Which it's crap, compared to Windows 7. Whoever upgraded to Windows 7 is holding on to it and isn't going to move to Windows 8 until... never.

What I would do if MS (5, Insightful)

jmccue (834797) | about 4 months ago | (#45759581)

Sometime in Jan or Feb 2014, MS should send a patch to XP with a nag popup. The popup will state "XP End of Life April 8, 2014. Please upgrade or you will loose internet connectivity". The number of times this popup appears increases the closer you get to Apr 8. Come April 8, all ports on XP are closed permanently. This illustrates why Open Source OSs are preferable to closed OSs. With Linux/*BSD... one can, if desired and have the knowledge, patch it themselves if they need to run a very old release of a system.

Microsoft doesn't have to do anything. (1, Insightful)

techvet (918701) | about 4 months ago | (#45759661)

The procrastinators need to get off their a** and upgrade their systems, replace them with *nix/MacOS boxes, or whatever it takes to get off Windows XP. Windows XP is an 11-year old OS and users have known for years that this date was coming. For users to be upset at Microsoft is the height of absurdity. Apple gives their operating systems significantly shorter support and yet nobody complains about them.

No viable upgrade path for Business Users. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759687)

The problem for many businesses is that they waited too long to upgrade. I work for a company with 10K+ workstations. Until earlier this year all were XP. The company had held out for Windows 8, unfortunately, Win8 was completely unusable in the business environment. So in order to mitigate the risk of XP, the push began to get systems upgraded to Win7. Unfortunately there are many, many apps that are not compatible with the Win7 Environment, and no-one is willing to spend the money to upgrade those apps at this time, knowing full well that Microsoft has to do something better than Win8 for the business. Why upgrade the Apps to Win7 or Win8 when we can wait for Win9 and see if then its worth spending the money? In the meantime there will be XP machines floating around by the hundreds, and even hundreds more XP apps moved into virtualized environments. The sooner that Microsoft acknowledges that they boned their business customers with Win8, the sooner things can move forward.

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