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Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the here-you-hold-the-thumbscrews dept.

Microsoft 650

An anonymous reader writes "If Windows XP were a photocopier, Microsoft would have a duty to deal with competitors who sought to provide aftermarket support. A new article in the Michigan Law Review argues that Microsoft should be held to the same duty, and should be legally obligated to help competitors who wish to continue to provide security updates for the aging operating system, even if that means allowing them to access and use Windows XP's sourcecode."

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Where do you draw the line? (5, Interesting)

glasshole (3569269) | about 6 months ago | (#46681173)

Photocopier vendors do not open the controller software up to competitors / vendors who provide support. They just give them specs for replacement parts. Do you force Apple to let 'competitors' support OS X 10.5 on G5 Macs? Do you force Google to let competitors still support Google Wave?

Re:Where do you draw the line? (0, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46681189)

Lets draw it like this: Full disclosure of the entire manufacturing process is a mandatory safety requirement that must be met before bringing any product to market.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681275)

More barriers to entry? I guess it'll be good for the lawyers.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (2)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46681287)

I don't think so. Full disclosure should limit liability and increase our satisfaction with our merchandise. Happy people have no need for lawyers.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#46681377)

it's a pretty easy barrier if enforced on _everyone_.

you see, a supplier wanting to hide something based on "trade secret" or whatever(often used to hide just blatant copying anyways) ? well fuck then they don't sell on one of the biggest markets.

if eu and usa did it at the same time then manufacturers would have no option really - and their suppliers would need to either comply or get out of the business, making the barrier for 3rd parties to start making competing products smaller - not bigger.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681281)

No its not, manufacturer is responsible for product safety but that doesn't mean anything must be disclosed.
Any piece of hardware has a warranty and support period, beyond that, its not a manufacturers problem. No product can be supported to the end of times. You can't take a Ford T1 and expect to get replacement parts or maintenance from Ford.
End of life must be announced and for win XP that has certainly been done. We don't expect patches for MS-DOS, I don't see what the big problem with XP is. Win XP has served for 12 years, give it a break, that's a long time for software product, how much more do you want.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46681327)

No its not, manufacturer is responsible for product safety but that doesn't mean anything must be disclosed.

No, but they should be. Cars have ridiculous safety standards, with engineers poking their noses into everything and it hasn't prevented cars from being a success.

I don't know of a car flaw that can tank an economy, cause a nuclear disaster or cause oil to spill out into the sea. But a software flaw can do all these things.

The risk to society is too high for things to continue in this way, and there are many other qualified people who would love to shoulder the responsibility if greed pushes MS or any other company to refuse to work.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681345)

Oh c'mon, you know how it would work in this time and age. If some blunder in MS software caused a nuclear meltdown, MS would be declared too big to fail and you can shove your damage claims where the sun doesn't shine.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (5, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 6 months ago | (#46681537)

Oh c'mon, you know how it would work in this time and age. If some blunder in MS software caused a nuclear meltdown, MS would be declared too big to fail and you can shove your damage claims where the sun doesn't shine.

If you use MS software (or anyone else's software) in a situation where it could cause a nuclear meltdown, you are using it against Microsoft's explicit terms and conditions, so they wouldn't be at fault at all.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681365)

This is why the EULA of microsoft windows says that you are not allowed to use this software for mission critical purposes. Specifically mentioned is nuclear power plants and medical devices.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681339)

No, but if there was a market for T1 spare parts, someone would come and open a business that deals with just that. That is the whole point of the whole thread!

Who decides when the "end of life" of a product is reached? Its maker, or its user? Who decides when an item has outlived its usefulness, its maker or its user? Who the fuck is MS to tell me what I think is still usable and what is not?

The point here is that if XP was a car, you could rest assured that even if MS decided to discontinue offering spare parts, the market of people who still want to use it is SO big that businesses would be popping up left and right pumping out spare parts for it.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681399)

Really? Even with simple products like decorative candles? If I were come up with a novel process of coming up with a unique looking decorative candle that made me distinctly different from my competitors and gave me a competitive advantage, I would be required to publicly disclose it for everyone to see, including my competitors and would immediately lose any advantage I had.

Sounds an awful lot like communism to me. I'm not being facetious, by completely depriving industry of all forms of intellectual property watch all investment and innovation draw to a complete halt in whatever country enacts such terrible law and they would move all production to whatever country doesn't have such a law. No company would willingly give up any trade secrets which put them at an advantage. Contrary to anti-IP propaganda on Slashdot product development is very expensive!

You might claim I could patent it, but you anti-intellectual property advocates naturally oppose those as well. I as a candle-maker would also require a patent lawyer for creating such, then a patent litigation lawyer to enforce it when a big candle making corporation steals my process. I'm sure the lawyers might love your little proposal as every manufacturer would have to patent everything under the sun and aggressively defend them.

Even with food manufacturing, where we have numerous inspections by the FDA and state/federal/local health agencies, mandatory disclosure of nutritional information, KFC and Coke still aren't required to disclose their secret recipes. Full public disclosure of the manufacturing process is not required for product safety.

Sorry, your proposal is not practical in any free nation. It might have had some traction in the USSR to make sure whatever innovation any private inventor could make would immediately be copied by the state.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46681549)

Really? Even with simple products like decorative candles? If I were come up with a novel process of coming up with a unique looking decorative candle that made me distinctly different from my competitors and gave me a competitive advantage, I would be required to publicly disclose it for everyone to see, including my competitors and would immediately lose any advantage I had.

Sounds an awful lot like communism to me.

We don't live in a world where most people are illiterate and working 60 hour weeks. Someone will invent those candles just because it's fun and they have time to be bored. They'll enjoy the respect people give them for having created them, and that will be all the compensation they need. So... if you're that put off by the idea of doing anything useful unless you have a "competitive advantage" over your peers, frankly, it will cost us nothing if you decide to go sit on a tree stump until moss grows on you. Why the hell should we care to be your enforcers?

Re:Where do you draw the line? (2)

qwijibo (101731) | about 6 months ago | (#46681415)

That may be a good idea for things like medical or aviation related devices where people can die if they fail. There are regulations in these fields for exactly this reason, and that's why it's such an expensive and long, drawn out process to bring new products to markets in highly regulated industries like these.

However, putting that burden on every industry would just move all technology jobs to countries without such regulations. Then what would you do to stop people from buying crappy, poorly supported products from those countries? Moving production doesn't help solve the underlying problem.

For software, it should be sufficient for them to release the code and let someone else take over the market they've given up on. Culturally, we only recognize the profit oriented side of business, and ignore the benefit to society that could come with allowing that intellectual property to go into the public domain once it's no longer commercially viable.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46681521)

That may be a good idea for things like medical or aviation related devices where people can die if they fail. There are regulations in these fields for exactly this reason, and that's why it's such an expensive and long, drawn out process to bring new products to markets in highly regulated industries like these.

However, putting that burden on every industry would just move all technology jobs to countries without such regulations. Then what would you do to stop people from buying crappy, poorly supported products from those countries? Moving production doesn't help solve the underlying problem.

For software, it should be sufficient for them to release the code and let someone else take over the market they've given up on. Culturally, we only recognize the profit oriented side of business, and ignore the benefit to society that could come with allowing that intellectual property to go into the public domain once it's no longer commercially viable.

Same way SparkFun lost those yellow multi-meters. Stop the boat at the shore, destroy all the illegal merchandise. Any idiot can manage this task. Many do.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (5, Insightful)

flux (5274) | about 6 months ago | (#46681193)

Actually Google already gave the Wave to the Apache foundation, so I guess they're set from that point of view.

That aside, I don't think a company should be forced to provide any level of support for a ten-year-old product. They could even be up-front about ("this product will not be supported for longer than five years") and people still wouldn't care. Well, until the day came.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (5, Insightful)

qwijibo (101731) | about 6 months ago | (#46681355)

With software, and by extension the hardware it requires, the lifespan is incredibly short compared with almost every other product out there. I'd like to see more companies release the software, code, etc. to the public domain as a formal way of walking away from it, but leaving customers with something more than "gee, must suck to be you" for support.

Borland released old versions of tools like Turbo C when it was no longer relevant commercially. Even though I paid for those tools when they were commercially relevant, I always liked the spirit of giving away old software. There's no cost to releasing it to the public domain. There are plenty of third world countries learning on and using technology that we throw away. There's a benefit to those people having software and learning technology but there's absolutely no money in it.

There are fringe cases where ongoing support is needed for really old systems. For example, I've been in machine shops with computers that drive CNC machines that run on 386's under DOS. As long as the machines keep working, it's a valuable part of running their business. Today it's nearly impossible to find replacement parts, but smarter shop owners bought extra pieces when they were disappearing from the market long ago. If something breaks, these people are willing to pay a premium to people who can help them. They know it's not a great situation, but it's much better than spending hundreds of thousands to replace everything that depends on old systems.

Proprietary interfaces, boards and drivers that integrate machinery with computers are the legacy components that makes it hard to replace these old systems. If they used an RS232 interface for low bandwidth data and Ethernet for higher bandwidth, it wouldn't be hard to reverse engineer what's going on and write software that runs on modern systems that could serve as a replacement. But a proprietary interface that requires an ISA slot and custom cables means there is no way to modernize that doesn't require new custom hardware.

The space shuttle is another good example of what happens when something is decades into its service life, but has components that were never expected to live that long. NASA can't just load everything on an iPad and hope each crew member bringing their own is enough fault tolerance and stands up to the extreme environment of space.

XP isn't all that old, as evidenced by the number of users who don't want to get off of it. It makes sense that Microsoft wants to get rid of it - there's no price for a support contract that would make it mutually beneficial to keep tech support trained on it and developers dedicated to working on it. But at the same time, Microsoft is not the kind of company that is likely to release it to the public domain either. The last thing they would want is an open source community picking it up, keeping it current with security patches and making it work on new hardware. That's the antithesis of the forced upgrade model.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46681241)

I can tell you, I would have been happy if Apple had open sourced their Rosetta support. It would have been nice if they'd open sourced their Classic support. They could have released carbon as an open source project. Instead those things just disappeared, you can't even buy them.

Of course, legally they are not required to support those things now, but I would favor a law change that would require it.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | about 6 months ago | (#46681489)

Rosetta was licensed from Transitive, which was eventually bought by IBM. Apple didn't own it, so they couldn't open-source it.

I'm willing to bet that Classic drew on an ancient codebase with bits of licensed code mixed in. Getting it in a state where it could be open-sourced was probably more trouble than it was worth.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 months ago | (#46681507)

Apple would have continued to ship Rosetta, but IBM bought Transitive (from whom it was licensed) and was still annoyed at the publicity that Apple had given them in the switch from PowerPC to Intel, so decided to return the favour and refused to license Rosetta for a new version of OS X. Apple tried to spin this in a positive way ('look how hip we are, stopping supporting that old crap!') but it didn't really work.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (2)

tlambert (566799) | about 6 months ago | (#46681259)

Photocopier vendors do not open the controller software up to competitors / vendors who provide support. They just give them specs for replacement parts.

Do you force Apple to let 'competitors' support OS X 10.5 on G5 Macs? Do you force Google to let competitors still support Google Wave?

The paper (if you read it) claims that the requirement should be enforced based on the Microsoft having monopolistic power in the marketplace. Apple doesn't wield monopolistic power in the marketplace for desktop operating systems.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681429)

The paper (if you read it) claims that the requirement should be enforced based on the Microsoft having monopolistic power in the marketplace. Apple doesn't wield monopolistic power in the marketplace for desktop operating systems.

This is all a bit more subtle than that. The problem is; how do you define the market? When you go out and buy a computer and operating system in a shop, it's clear that Apple an Microsoft have a duopoly (which is a bit dodgy when you consider that they have cooperation on patents locking competitors out of the market; but we will leave that aside). When you come to look after your old computer that is no longer true. Microsoft will not generally provide OSs for Apple computers and Apple will certainly not willingly provide them for PCs. This means that, whilst Apple does not have a monopoly on computing in any way, they do have a monopoly on support for old Apple computers.

The correct answer would probably be that there is already competition in this market. By changing to a Linux os perating system you can maintain your 15 year old computer fully supported. Unfortunately, in many cases that's not true. Device manufacturers only provide full documentation and support to Microsoft and the Linux drivers cannot be guaranteed. This means that while your computer will work and your operating system will be supported, your actual whole system may not be.

The correct place to attack would be the device manufacturers who are effectively deliberately constructing a cartel with the active or passive cooperation of Microsoft. Any device manufacturer who has failed to provide documentation should be liable to either replace the entire computer or provide access for support until such time as either RedHat or Ubuntu declare the device fully supported.

Of course, this is all before we get into discusions of locked in proprietary data. Google's Data Liberation Front [wikipedia.org] would be a good example of how a company could escape liability by ensuring their customers are not locked in. Unfortunately the original DL homepage [dataliberation.org] seems to have been converted into a redirect.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 6 months ago | (#46681267)

The problem is a bit more complex than that. Microsoft has not really been all that informative about their end-of-life policy for their operations systems, and it is certainly nowhere to be found in the EULA or the contracts they happily signed for $$$ with the companies, that are now in a pickle because of it.

Further, Microsoft can support Windows XP, they just want more $$$ to do it (so, if they can do it for one company, and the goods they're selling are infinite, why can't they for all the rest?). If they offered a path to upgrade that didn't cost an arm and a leg, they wouldn't see this kind of lingering on XP that they do. If they spent a little more time streamlining their upgrade process and provided proper support for older binaries, maybe. Try to run a Win16 binary on Windows Vista+ and see what happens - hell, even binaries officially supposed to run under Windows 8 won't. Not every company has a bottomless budget for IT and development to remake their critical software, and Microsoft has until now seemed completely oblivious to that.

Lots of private customers are still lingering on XP too, why wouldn't they? It came pre-installed. It works. Its familiar. It won't get upgraded until the hardware dies. So, Microsoft, live with the consequences of your greed and offer free upgrades, it's not going to hurt the bottom line - hell, it might even prop up those dismal sales figures for Win8.

Or do the right thing and release XP as open source.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681381)

The problem is a bit more complex than that. Microsoft has not really been all that informative about their end-of-life policy for their operations systems, and it is certainly nowhere to be found in the EULA or the contracts they happily signed for $$$ with the companies, that are now in a pickle because of it.

If so, those companies must be extraordinarily clueless, because Microsoft are very open and up front at a very early stage about their official and public end of life policies. Much much more so than Apple and Google and most other software vendors. http://windows.microsoft.com/e... [microsoft.com] . In a few cases, as with XP, they have later extended the official EOL date, but that doesn't change the fact that they from the launch of the OS had an official support lifetime.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (3, Informative)

will_die (586523) | about 6 months ago | (#46681411)

Microsoft has been really clear on their end of life policy for probably a decade if not more. The only way to say they have not is if you say all those increases in time they have given are an indication of unclearness.
However with your definition of $100 USD, cost to upgrade OS from XP to Windows 7, as being "an arm and a leg" not to sure about the rest you wrote.

Re:Where do you draw the line? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 months ago | (#46681519)

Why try to enforce it on the supply side when you can do it on the demand side. Require that all software that your organisation purchases be under an open source license. That way, you have the rights to go to any company you like for extended support. There are lots of options, ranging from in-house support through small businesses with a dozen or so coders up to behemoths like IBM.

Nah just have copyright last for 14 years (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681177)

Nah just have copyright last for 14 years max.

Then Microsoft will have to actually build stuff significantly better than XP rather than disappointing stuff like Windows 8.

You think progress would be slow because the shortened/reduced monopolies would reduce investment into innovation? Well Microsoft has spent billions and what we got is stuff like Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

A shorter copyright term would definitely "help them focus" on innovating rather than extending or leveraging the reach of their existing monopolies don't you think?

Re:Nah just have copyright last for 14 years (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681363)

Shorter copyright would actually not hinder but force innovation to happen. Right now, you can invent something and if it turns out to be "gold", you can milk it forever. No need whatsoever to ever invent anything again.

That's supposed to spur innovation? Could someone show me how?

Re:Nah just have copyright last for 14 years (3, Interesting)

Camael (1048726) | about 6 months ago | (#46681499)

Right now, you can invent something and if it turns out to be "gold", you can milk it forever. ...That's supposed to spur innovation? Could someone show me how?

I agree with you, and its not. Copyright extension was a blatant cash grab engineered by a corrupt legislature to rob the public through the Mickey Mouse Act [wikipedia.org] .

I suppose we should be thankful there is a limit of any kind. Actual quote :-

Actually, Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution.

Re:Nah just have copyright last for 14 years (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46681501)

Shorter copyright would actually not hinder but force innovation to happen. Right now, you can invent something and if it turns out to be "gold", you can milk it forever. No need whatsoever to ever invent anything again.

That's supposed to spur innovation? Could someone show me how?

Imagine living in a world where half the population is illiterate and the majority are required to work labor from dawn till dusk, where free time is scarce and every single moment spent pursuing "flights of fancy" instead of pursuing "real work" has a significant cost to the individuals involved.

Copyright was created for such an environment. Did quite well by us in moving beyond that way of living. Now that a high school student has access to publishing tools that will reach a global audience, it's just holding us back, but it was effective when it was created.

Though, it was patents that were responsible for unleashing innovation. Not because they enticed people to innovate, but because they gave us tools to force trade secrets to be disclosed. Patents WERE an "open source movement". That was their reason to exist. It was never to "motivate companies to compete". Hell, companies were non-profit by law back in those days, and had to justify the social good they brought to the community each year or they were dissolved. The idea of motivating them to do the duty they were given after the fact is kind of ridiculous in such a setting.

Re:Nah just have copyright last for 14 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681581)

but it was effective when it was created.

The scientific evidence for that claim is nonexistent.

no. (5, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | about 6 months ago | (#46681187)

I am a critic of M$ but I do not think they should be required by law.

Only in the case of some sort of long-term contract that is still in effect, that mentions specifically updating software until a time in the future...unless that is the case.

These laws are complex and the photocopier example is interesting.

I am against artificial scarcity for sure...that's one reason I hate M$...but I think this may cross the line. If M$ wants to let XP die then they have the right to refuse to make vital trade secret info available to people who want to keep it alive.

I have a feeling the photocopier example is more about purposefully creating artificial scarcity. It's not quite analogous b/c it's an actual machine not software.

I'm not giving M$ a pass. Its about property rights. If people love XP so much (i remember it was the only windows version i could really get work done using...would still choose it today) then the community will come up with a solution...which should be legal to give away for free.

Re:no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681237)

I HATE Microsoft, I frigging HATE them. I hate how they have created an IP bubble. I hate how they did all that monopoly crap and messed up a lot of good companies and people. I cannot wait for Microsoft to fail. I miss Steve Balmer, but NO!

If you want to try to pass some laws to prevent this sort of thing in the future have at it. You want to know who is to blame it is the consumers. Don't blame a snake for being a snake. The pro-linux crowd has been warning you about this for a decade!

So here is your big wake-up call. If you don't do something about the future guess what is gonna happen?

Re:no. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681451)

So here is your big wake-up call. If you don't do something about the future guess what is gonna happen?

The big wake up call is that anybody not willing to continue to provide full support to a 13 year old OS version should be avoided? Got it. Now checking current official Apple support for Mac OS 9.2..., and commercial Linux distro support, bug and security fixes for their 2.4.0 kernel based releases.

Re:no. (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46681253)

If M$ wants to let XP die then they have the right to refuse to make vital trade secret info available to people who want to keep it alive.

Hard for me to believe there's any vital trade secret info in Windows

Re:no. (2)

tlambert (566799) | about 6 months ago | (#46681295)

I am a critic of M$ but I do not think they should be required by law.

Only in the case of some sort of long-term contract that is still in effect, that mentions specifically updating software until a time in the future...unless that is the case.

These laws are complex and the photocopier example is interesting.

A potentially more interesting example is replacement auto parts, which automobile manufacturers are required by law to stock for 10 years after the last date of manufacture so that owners of the vehicles can repair them or have them repaired by a third party. Since the last ship date for Windows XP was the last contractual date that Microsoft allowed vendors to bundle it with new computers, that would give them about an 8 year support requirement for "replacement parts". Note that the automobile example would apply to the GM ignition switch, which had an engineering change to correct a design defect - and any security flaw is technically a design defect.

I think that the more companies attempt to treat intellectual property as real property, the more that the negative aspects of real property law should be applied to their products.

E.g. if I use your patent, and you don't stop me using it, then I've engaged in adverse possession, and have "established an interest" in the intellectual property which you must therefore allow me to continue to use, just as if my driveway had been over the property line for 10 years, and you didn't do anything about it, or if I'd been parking my car at your curb, and it didn't bother you until I started parking my RV there and blocking your view.

The paper's argument seems to be along similar lines of thinking.

Re:no. (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 6 months ago | (#46681343)

An interesting angle though, MS is in the process of officially declaring that they have no further commercial interest in XP whatsoever. They won't sell you a license even if you beg them. It's a little hard to call it 'valuable intellectual property' with a strait face when they refuse to derive any value from it.

Not really sure how much to make of that, just throwing it out there.

Depends (5, Interesting)

fredprado (2569351) | about 6 months ago | (#46681191)

Microsoft or any software company should be forced to provide full support for their commercial products for as long as they hold copyright over them.

Re:Depends (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 6 months ago | (#46681211)

I like this concept.

However, it would probably drive the companies bankrupt.

(Imagine supporting win 3.1, win 98, win me, win nt, win vista, win xp, win 7, and win 8 all at the same time because they share copyrighted code.

Re:Depends (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 6 months ago | (#46681243)

I like this concept.

However, it would probably drive the companies bankrupt.

(Imagine supporting win 3.1, win 98, win me, win nt, win vista, win xp, win 7, and win 8 all at the same time because they share copyrighted code.

Well, they could sign away the copyright and release the source code for any software they no longer want to support.

Re:Depends (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 6 months ago | (#46681261)

Let them be let off the requirement to support (excepting for other contractual arrangements) when they relinquish copyright.

Re:Depends (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 6 months ago | (#46681493)

Confusion over mixed copyright ownership.

Re:Depends (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 6 months ago | (#46681279)

Well, then don't release a "new" system every other year. There is no reason we all couldn't still be on Windows 3.11.7000, except MS renamed it and sold it again and again and again.

Re:Depends (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681373)

Great, that way they would still have to support XP for all those that didn't want to upgrade and we didn't have that argument now in the first place.

Re:Depends (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 months ago | (#46681319)

However, it would probably drive the companies bankrupt.

It should suffice to retain copyright but make publicly available: complete machine-readable compilable corresponding source code, with a grant of permission for any third party to publish patches, compile binaries, and redistribute them after taking reasonable steps to ensure they distribute them only to lawful possessors of a copy of the original software.

Re:Depends (2)

sjames (1099) | about 6 months ago | (#46681349)

All they have to do is formally release the source into the public domain. That would end their obligation.

Re:Depends (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 months ago | (#46681229)

For corporations, copyright lasts 110 years.
That strikes me as unreasonable.

Yes, both the length of the copyright and requiring someone to provide support for that long.

Re:Depends (3, Insightful)

Cenan (1892902) | about 6 months ago | (#46681299)

Relinquish copyright on the product and the problem is solved. Release the source and there is no problem.

Re:Depends (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681313)

Oh, did you PAY for a decade of support when you bought win xp? No you paid only for the product - as is. You want support you buy that separately.

Re:Depends (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681375)

Gladly. Know a company that would gimme support for XP? Preferably not MS, they're kind expensive, or so I heard from the UK.

Re:Depends (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 6 months ago | (#46681533)

Oh, did you PAY for a decade of support when you bought win xp? No you paid only for the product - as is.

What we paid for was quality software, but that's not what we got.Long term support s not such a burden if the product works well in the first place.

Re:Depends (1)

hardtofindanick (1105361) | about 6 months ago | (#46681459)

Unless fredprado steps up and explains why copyright should be linked to support this comment is not insightful 5.

An Alternative Law (5, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 6 months ago | (#46681207)

Personally, I think they are going about this the wrong way. The Gov't should be sending Death Squads to kill all members of any household still running XP, or running any version of IE less than 10. Brutal? Maybe. But, boy will it do wonders for the social lives of us Web Developers.

Re:An Alternative Law (2, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | about 6 months ago | (#46681263)

Personally, I think they are going about this the wrong way. The Gov't should be sending Death Squads to kill all members of any household still running XP, or running any version of IE less than 10. Brutal? Maybe. But, boy will it do wonders for the social lives of us Web Developers.

Of course, it would also put a lot of web designers out of a job if they no longer need to spend hours working around quirks in older browsers, so be careful what you ask for.

Re:An Alternative Law (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 6 months ago | (#46681309)

Personally, I think they are going about this the wrong way. The Gov't should be sending Death Squads to kill all members of any household still running XP, or running any version of IE less than 10. Brutal? Maybe. But, boy will it do wonders for the social lives of us Web Developers.

I might agree, if the versions of IE eligible for that treatment also included greater than or equal to 10...

Re:An Alternative Law (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#46681387)

Gov't should be sending Death Squads to kill all members of any household still running [old stuff]

War on the Poor. Lovely, Mitt.

In many cases you have to buy new hardware to upgrade.

No. (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 6 months ago | (#46681217)

It would be nice if they moved it to public domain and released source. However, I think limiting copyright would be good enough. Then they'd have to offer something better than free xp if they want more money. This upgrade treadmill the software industry has everyone on motivates them to do exactly nothing beneficial to the users giving them money.

Re:No. (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681423)

The problem is, exactly, that it's getting harder and harder to justify upgrading your OS. It worked up to XP, but from there on ... but let's take a look down the MS OS timeline.

3.11 -> 95. A no brainer. 95 was leaps and bounds ahead of 3.11, which was at best a GUI to DOS.
95 -> 98. Finally networking that really works and doesn't need you to resort so some kind of third party tool to actually USE your network.
98 -> 98SE. Stability increase, far, far better support for various bits of hardware.
98SE -> ME. Erh... Well, let's be honest here, there were some ... hey look, is that George Clooney?
98SE -> 2k. The compatibility of the 9x line combined with the stability and the security from the NT line.
2k -> XP. Where 2k was "a business system that got some touch from a private user system", XP was where the private user became home again. 2k was a bit sterile, XP now offered everything they needed. Much better USB support, WLan out of the box, a much smoother user experience altogether and near perfect stability (outside of driver woes).

And that's where the "must have OSs" end, pretty much, from Joe Randomuser's point of view. He needed 95 for "true" 32bit stuff. He needed 98(SE) for easily working networking. He needed 2k for complete USB support. He needed XP for WLan support. But what would he need Vista/7/8 for? Nothing he could possibly want to plug into his computer has a problem with XP. Nothing he could want to run has an intrinsic problem with XP (yes, some newer games want a DX version that MS deliberately did not make available for XP).

What will in the near future possibly convince people to move away from XP and towards 7 or 8 (or, probably, by the time it really matters, 9) is 64bit support, something that didn't really work out well for XP, and about the only thing where I can say with a straight face that 7 trumps XP in every way, from OS itself to drivers. But to most "normal" users, a limit of 3.something GB isn't that big a deal, considering that most of the software they'd want to run is suffering from exactly the same problem, since it's 32bit soft.

Re:No. (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 6 months ago | (#46681531)

Not all reasons to upgrade is obvious to the user. Like security. A lot has happened to the underlying OS since XP. The only way to back port that to XP is to ....upgrade XP to use the Vista/7/8 kernel. Which would introduce the same compatibility problems the users may want to avoid.

Re:No. (1)

dkf (304284) | about 6 months ago | (#46681579)

2k was a bit sterile, XP now offered everything they needed. Much better USB support, WLan out of the box, a much smoother user experience altogether and near perfect stability (outside of driver woes).

The stability only really came with SP1 if I remember right; there were a few core problems (especially with networking) prior to that.

Wake up and succeed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681219)

It's a damn business opportunity for anyone with business sense.

No (5, Insightful)

scream at the sky (989144) | about 6 months ago | (#46681235)

It's 12 years old for crying out loud, let it die.

That's like arguing that Nokia should still be providing support and software upgrades for the 6100.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

Re:No (1)

Rollgunner (630808) | about 6 months ago | (#46681331)

It might be a sound argument if 27% of the world's cellphones were Nokia 6100s (the estimated percentage of the world's computers still running XP).

Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681421)

I really don't doesn't understand where some people are getting so upset. 12 years is a good run and unlike some other companies, MS has given fair warnings to users. It's not like the software is going to be remotely disabled or revoked. People can continue to use it as long as they want. MS is just stopping support. No new updates or patches. That's it.

People don't get upset when Apple stops supporting their ancient (2-3 year old ) hardware. I can still use my iphone 3Gs, but I can't connect to iCloud. I can still use WinXp, I just can't (read: shouldn't) connect to the internet.

There are alternative OS out there, try one of those. Oh, your hardware isn't supported on Linux? Get upset with your hardware manufacture for not supporting it, they're the ones you bought the device from after all.

Re:No (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681425)

You can actually still get parts for old Nokia phones. Not from Nokia, of course...

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681473)

It's 12 years old for crying out loud, let it die.
That's like arguing that Nokia should still be providing support and software upgrades for the 6100.

Open source it. Support provided. Done.

If you can't compete with the previous generations of your own product that's your own problem.

Re:No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681567)

It's 12 years old for crying out loud, let it die.

That's what I said whan I shot a nigger kid

I still like my WinXP VMs (1)

mathew42 (2475458) | about 6 months ago | (#46681569)

I like my Windows XP virtual machines running in VirtualBox. I can use them to connect to client VPNs without having the VPN client disrupt my network access, run different versions of software in separate environments, etc.

I could possibly consider moving to Windows 7, but apart from being able to search for programs from the Start menu, i really don't see any advantage. For a modern browser, Firefox & Chrome run perfectly when I need them.

I fully intend to keep running my WinXP VMs well into the future, but obviously not on the public internet. I probably should investigate using a Linux VM, but why change what works?

Huh, every company charges for support (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681239)

Heck most Linux companies are based on the model of charging for it...

Oh wait this is /.

Fuck Microsoft, it's the devil. Better?

Re:Huh, every company charges for support (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681431)

Fine by me, too. Then fork over Windows for free.

sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681269)

just look around the internet afte rit goes EOL. too many systems run windows xp embedded CNCs atms etc..

Re:sure (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 6 months ago | (#46681503)

Windows embedded is still supported.

Car analogy (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 6 months ago | (#46681277)

I'm trying to come up a car analogy for this. Is it like typical manufacturers defects, where it can be fixed under warranty for a limited number of years, or is it like a safety recall, where there is no expiration?

Re:Car analogy (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681433)

It's where some third party company pumps out spare parts and addons long after the original maker of the car stopped supplying anything. It's not so uncommon actually, considering there are quite a few car enthusiasts that enjoy modifying and remodeling their cars. There's a whole industry that does nothing but that, actually.

Microsoft has gone above and beyond... (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about 6 months ago | (#46681289)

No other publicly available product has ever had such a long support duration as Windows XP has had.

Microsoft should be under no further obligation to its customers with respect to Windows XP.

However, if individual customers are willing to _pay_ a subscription for further support from Microsoft, they should be allowed to do so.

Re:Microsoft has gone above and beyond... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681509)

Which is exactly what people proposes. The possibility to pay to get extended support for a product. If not from the original manufacturer, then from a third party which shall get what is needed fom the original manufacturer the day they decides to definitely drop support.

You might agree with this or not, but no one said Microsoft should give support away for free indefinitely.

Re:Microsoft has gone above and beyond... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681573)

Microsoft will sell you extended support... last I checked they STILL were selling extend support for IE6. Its going to be expensive... but that's great IMO its holding back the internet and windows devs everywhere.

Re:Microsoft has gone above and beyond... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681585)

Wrong.. check out IRIX.

iPad series 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681293)

I have an iPad series one that cannot be upgraded or any software updated, it is now a brick with Angry birds on.

Why?
Apple have forced all app developers to only release code that supports later iOS 6/7 where the iPAd 1 can only support version 5.

Reason?
Only to obsolete it.

Forget Microsoft force Apple to play the game.

Re:iPad series 1 (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681437)

Why only force one of them?

Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (4, Insightful)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 6 months ago | (#46681301)

The case is based on false assumptions.
Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP to those who are willig to pay for it: http://arstechnica.com/informa... [arstechnica.com]
Case closed.

Re:Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (0)

SeaFox (739806) | about 6 months ago | (#46681405)

Please link me to the page where I can sign my mom up for this extended support for XP. I'm sure she'd be willing to pay a nominal fee.

Her Microsoft Security Essentials is now trying to spook her into upgrading too, by becoming a System Tray-based reminder that XP support is about to end.
I'm waiting for her to crack so I can move her over to Linux Mint/Cinnamon.

Re:Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (3, Insightful)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 6 months ago | (#46681427)

If she is willing to pay a nominal fee, why not spend that money to upgrade the OS? After all, it seems that you are willing to help move her to Linux (which is not a bad idea), so I guess you could also help her upgrade to Win7 or Win8.1?

Re:Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 6 months ago | (#46681481)

Please link me to the page where I can sign my mom up for this extended support for XP. I'm sure she'd be willing to pay a nominal fee.

Her Microsoft Security Essentials is now trying to spook her into upgrading too, by becoming a System Tray-based reminder that XP support is about to end.
I'm waiting for her to crack so I can move her over to Linux Mint/Cinnamon.

Your mom likely has no excuse not to upgrade. What essential software is she running that only runs on XP? The only legit reason to not upgrade is if an organization is running old crappy software that only runs on XP and would be too expensive to replace, which unfortunately is pretty damn common, especially software written for large organizations (like medical institutions) whose development was focused on checking off requirements rather than quality. I blame those software vendors, but there's not a lot the organizations can do about it. Many of them make their software crap so that they can make a ton of money off of implementation (to make it do what it should do out of the box anyway), which is why it's often too expensive to upgrade (and that's in situations where the vendor still exists). While it would be easy to blame the bureaucrats who chose that software, in many situations there's just no better alternative, they or their predecessor had to choose between a turd sandwich and a giant douche.

Re:Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 6 months ago | (#46681539)

In my organization, they have found that most of the XP software will work on Windows 8 32 bit. Thet will not help if there is dedicated hardware, but for a lot of cases, it is simply about testing the software on a new OS.

Re:Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 6 months ago | (#46681409)

But why wouldn't Microsoft release security updates for XP if they're going to developing them anyway? Hell, I know some people who'd probably be willing to pay $100 a year (privately) to not have to go through the motions of upgrading to Win7.

Re:Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 6 months ago | (#46681439)

Because the point is that they want to stop supporting it. Making users feel the pain for getting upgrades is one way to do it. If the patches are free, the problem continues.
And no, I simply do not believe that people would pay $100 per year for patches to XP. They may say that, but when the bill comes, they will not.

Re:Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46681441)

The case would be closed if someone could open up a competing business. Else we're talking a monopoly situation where the monopolist can (and obviously does) charge through the nose.

Extortion is what comes to my mind looking at that business model, not support.

Re:Microsoft still provide support for Windows XP (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 6 months ago | (#46681497)

There is no monopoly. There are alternative OSes you can install on the exact same hardware.

Aftermarket patches already exist (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 months ago | (#46681323)

The pdf seems to completely ignore that in the past, security researchers have written patches for Microsoft operating systems as a stopgap until MS could get its shit together and issue their own security updates.

I also take issue with the comparison to cars.
If you want to drive a car on the road, it requires a safety inspection, no matter how old it is.
WinXP, even patched, is the equivalent of driving around a rust bucket with bad wiring and bald tires.
It's an accident waiting to happen.

About the only thing I really agreed with was this:

For these reasons, Microsoft Windows XPâ(TM)s end of support, combined with a collective action problem stemming from individual usersâ(TM) failure to realize or internalize the costs of not migrating or upgrading their operating systems, could prove catastrophic.

The problem is definitely a failure to internalize the costs of running out of date software.
That's why the police fine people for having broken tail lights or other obvious safety issues.
There's no internet equivalent, but I don't see why this is Microsoft's problem.

Sometimes you can't convince end users there's a problem that needs fixing unless it causes them pain.
MS needs to pull the plug and the chaos that follows will sort itself out fairly quickly.

Re:Aftermarket patches already exist (1)

slugstone (307678) | about 6 months ago | (#46681551)

Not sure when my 1933 model A sport coupe was inspected last. I wonder where I would find the records of inspection.

Linux needs to step up (5, Insightful)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about 6 months ago | (#46681337)

MS is trying to push people off XP. There are other alternatives after all. Many of them are even free. How bad does it make Linux and Chrome look if they can't compete with an 12+ year old OS that MS is actively trying to push people off of?

Re:Linux needs to step up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681543)

>> How bad does it make Linux and Chrome look

It doesn't. GNU/Linux is not "free windows XP". It's a fully fledged operating system (with some of the distros being desktop oriented and quite user-friendly). People don't upgrade not because they hate Windows 7 and 8 (although some do hate 8 and I'm with them on that), but because they don't want change. Don't fix it if it ain't broken. Taking into consideration the need to replace the hardware to keep up with requirements also is a huge barrier.

Infrastructure (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#46681367)

One can argue that an OS is infrastructure, and not a product. Like water pipes and electrical wires, other services depend on them. Thus, an OS is not comparable to radios or clothes.

One is not expected to dig up their house and start over if a company decides nobody is allowed to support the existing wires or pipes bought from them.

What do the contracts say? (2)

jcr (53032) | about 6 months ago | (#46681383)

Microsoft should provide support for Windows XP if, and ONLY if they have a contractual obligation to do so, or they find it economically beneficial to their shareholders to continue this support. If neither are true, then they shouldn't.

-jcr

Define Support (3, Insightful)

enter to exit (1049190) | about 6 months ago | (#46681389)

You'll need to define what support means.They could provide support by turning your xp install into win7 with a xp boot screen. They won't necessarily provide the kind of support you want

No Linux distro provides decades of support either, you're just upgraded to the latest packages and that might as easily break things in the same way xp to win7 might.

Hell no (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681401)

Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

Fuck no, that's just retarded.

Just be honest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46681413)

XP is the only version of MS that actually works. Everything else has problems, its a huge learning curve for users and ever more for admins. There is absolutely no value of any new version after XP. Just more hassle and new "features" also known as bugs.

As much as I hate M$.... (1)

pbjones (315127) | about 6 months ago | (#46681463)

MS has offered upgrades at a reduced cost, it has supported it for about a decade, if people hold onto it, they do so at their own peril. Who holds onto a photocopier for ten years and expects spare parts? Yes I own an old laser printer and sadly, if it breaks I don't expect to have spare parts available. The devil inside me says that people are also holding on to XP because many machines could be activated with the same code, or even without a code in the case of many laptops supplied with a restore CD.

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