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Microsoft Extends Win98/SE Support

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the expanding-it-out dept.

Microsoft 415

An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet reports that Microsoft is extending technical support for Windows 98 till 30 June 2006, despite being days away from switching support to a CD. It seems Windows 98 will also have all necessary security updates till the new expiry date." The article states that Microsoft will have "...During that time paid over-the-phone support will be available, and "critical" security issues will be reviewed and "appropriate steps" taken."

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thank god (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951901)

because this is important stuff.

yep i sure do (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951948)

rule yu.

ESR's Match.com Love-Letter (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951902)

I do the club scene a lot, some say I am a good dancer. I enjoy having a few drinks, usually ale or mead, and I have been known to cause a scene now and then...

Eric paused, breathing heavily. He'd never done this before and he wanted to make sure all of his best qualities were included in this email.

I am a geek, to be frank, and I enjoy hacking UNIX and maintaining Open Source programs such as Felchmale^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HFetchmail and a bevy of FAQs regarding 386 sound internals and role-playing games. I've been doing this for 15 years though I've never held a job in my life.

Eric wondered if this woman he had found on match.com would be impressed with his talents. He decided to put more detail into the message.

I recently drove 24 hours straight, with but two stops for gasoline, from Pennsylvania to Kansas City in an effort to destroy my two arch-nemeses. I would have succeeded except that I blew a head gasket as I was about to shoot one of them from my moving car on Route 69. I am an excellent shot and love guns in general.

ESR pondered for a moment, wringing out his soaked handkerchief, and continued with his typing.

So what languages do you know? I fancy myself quite an accomplished amateur linguist and know Anglo-Saxon and Old Icelandic inside and out. I often compose little riddles in them for fun and mental exercise. In fact, I'll include one for you now!

Chewing on his tongue and squinting, Eric pushed his mind into overdrive and produced a beauty of a riddle on the spot:

Windeth I towarde the skye
I haveth eye but blinde am I

Pleased with his linguistic talents, undoubtedly matched by no one, Eric then asked his potential love-conquest:

Can you guess the answer to that? In case you can not, the correct answer is "my erect penis." I hope you enjoyed that; I do this sort of thing all the time.

Eric exhaled slowly and rubbed his belly. It was growling and no doubt wanted its nightly bottle of Jagermeister. He decided to finish up the email in anticipation of the coming alcoholic stupor.

Well I don't want to make this email too long -- I have a lot of responsibilities in real life to deal with. My role-playing group is coming over and we are spending the next week holed up in the forest near my home in character playing out a possible scenario from Beowulf. I need to get dressed up and I can not find my bear-claw mittens.

Eric wondered how to wrap up the email, something that would hook the lady on him and make her want more...

I hope we can meet and have sex. Despite my cerebral palsy, I am a monster in the sack! Maybe you'll get to see for yourself, LOLOLOL! ;-)

Eric S. Raymond

you fail it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951926)


Re:you fail it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951951)

I wasn't trying for FP, fucker. I fail nothing.

sure you werent (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951986)


Re:sure you werent (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952060)

i love you all.

EVERYBODY SHUT UP (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952083)


Don't use so many goddamn caps you godless shitstain.

Shame Red Hat didn't do the same! (3, Offtopic)

dan dan the dna man (461768) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951905)

And yes thanks people I already have Fedora on some machines and Red Hat Enterprise on the rest, I just wish support for 7.3 and 9.0 had been extended by Red Hat and not left to third parties..

Re:Shame Red Hat didn't do the same! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951955)

RedHat Updates are still available, and will be available in the future. The up2date service for free is what being discontinued. To me, it seems better than a CD based support, anyway.

Re:Shame Red Hat didn't do the same! (1)

jasonbowen (683345) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952117)

I must have misread this page [redhat.com] where it says that errata are no longer issued for end of life products and that you should upgrade. Though it is interesting that they did issue an updated kernel for 7.x-8.0.

Heh (5, Funny)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951906)

Having to support their own old buggy products are their biggest liability. Popularity does have its downside.

Re:Heh (2, Interesting)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952058)

Popularity is not a problem in an of itself. It merely multiplies the liability of buggy code.

If M$ had actually written decent code, encouraging bug-free and secure design (ie firing anyone responsible for a buffer overflow bug), Joe sixpack-type people would have no reason to upgrade to 2k or XP.

Of course, that may have been M$'s intention from the beginning...

Re:Heh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952159)

I could pretty much say the same thing about any piece of software - open or closed source. I suppose in your world, though, every piece of software is perfect by version 1? I can think of a dozen reasons to get away from 98 and no reason not to. The 9X's were disgusting, buggy, pieces-of-shit. The NT line has always been much sturdier. The only thing that ever held them back from Joe Six Pack was software support which is not an issue with XP.

Good (0, Insightful)

mpost4 (115369) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951907)

This is good news for the people that provide support for friends and familys that have not gone to XP, don't have to worry about new holes that will not be patched I still think some one that does not know computers should really go MAC OS X.

Sadly Enough (5, Insightful)

j0keralpha (713423) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951908)

Corporate usage of this OS is still widespread, mainly due to inertia more than anything else. Microsoft is desperately trying to get companies to switch, but getting Officer Level peeps to understand the inherent benefits is proving to be... difficult...

Re:Sadly Enough (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951966)

Well I think MS realizes that if they start a push towards upgrades there is the possibility that the fees involved might push the coporates to free alternatives... Maybe by pushing for upgrades only with Office and backend items they can leave 98 on the desktops and save themselves from companies going with a mass conversion to Linux?

Re:Sadly Enough (3, Informative)

jsupreston (626100) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952145)

FYI, as of Office 2003, you have to have either W2K sp3 or WinXP. Office XP looks like the last one to support Win98. The ongoing saga of 98 support being cancelled is why I bought the Microsoft Action Pack (were they not going to cancel support back last summer? The dates have changed so many times I can't remember). I mainly run MS stuff at home due being able to support work (and I don't think Reader Rabbit runs under Linux very well). To upgrade to WinXP Pro at home was going to cost me on the order of $500 at oem pricing, plus the cost of other app upgrades. For $300 US I got a 10 user license of XP Pro, all the server products and a 10 user license of Office XP and now Office 2003. I don't like supporting the evil empire, but with this I am supporting them a lot less than I used to.

Re:Sadly Enough (3, Insightful)

wine (211387) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952171)

Maybe by pushing for upgrades only with Office and backend items they can leave 98 on the desktops and save themselves from companies going with a mass conversion to Linux?

While Microsoft keeps pushing Office upgrades, I wonder how many corporations will notice the benefits of OpenOffice then ;)

Re:Sadly Enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952277)

Although that to some extent makes sense, it's also sort of flawed. If anything MS should still try to push people to XP if possible. Main reason being that Linux is making grounds, but it hasn't pushed very far. As win98 users get more and more out of touch with up to date software systems it probably won't make a difference to them what they upgrade too as XP looks more alien than KDE does. The next version of windows will probably be even farther away from what Win98 looked like, support even less software that worked on Win98, and Linux will only improve in the future.

Re:Sadly Enough (5, Insightful)

GeckoFood (585211) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951984)

Corporate usage of this OS is still widespread...

Not just in the office, but the home user market still has a huge installed base for Win98. To completely drop Win98 would further anger a large number of customers. I am no fan of Microsoft, but I would have to say that keeping support alive for another couple of years if a wise choice if they don't want to further upset their customers.

Some will leave Microsoft anyway, and that's unavoidable. However, this way they have time to evaluate a little better what transition to make. Microsoft will of course hope that they will all go for XP or whatever is next.

Re:Sadly Enough (5, Informative)

inkedmn (462994) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952178)

It only makes sense that 98 is still widely used, as upgrading to 2K/XP costs more than my mother-in-law is willing to spend on the stuff that lets her read her email...
I ran 98SE for *years* before switching to Linux, and for John Q. Homeuser who has AOL and doesn't use the internet for anything more than checking local movie start times and ordering flowers for his wife's birthday, it's enough.

Re:Sadly Enough (2, Interesting)

aheath (628369) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952298)

There are many people who are quite happy with Windows 98 or Windows Me because the can do everything that they want to do with these operating systems. I suspect that Microsoft decided not to alienate the trailing edge of their customer base.

All the friends and family members that I support are running Windows 95/98/Me unless the bought a new computer after Windows XP was released. Many people see no need to go through the hassle of an OS upgrade unless they are also moving to a new PC. Microsoft would sell more OS upgrades, and manufacturers would sell more computers if it was much easier for the average person to migrate to a new OS or a new computer.

I also suspect that Microsoft has a legal obligation to support a product for 7 years after its initial release date. I'm fairly certain that consumer protection laws require that spare parts and repair services be available for products for 7 years. It is my understanding that fixes for the Year 2000 bug must be available for 7 years.

Re:Sadly Enough (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952026)

It isn't inertia, it's ROI. I'd bet you a million dollars that if you magically and seamlessly transformed every Windows 98 corporate installation into 2003 or XP Pro today, that by the end of the year revenues would not be affected... at least not positively.

Corporate change requires urgency-borne motivation. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" may be a highly ironic cliche to wield when discussing Windows 98, but it's the fundamental reason for upgrade lag.

Re:Sadly Enough (4, Insightful)

elf-fire (715733) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952040)

Why do you think this is mainly owing to inertia??? Many SME's just have a setup that does the job. Why would they need to upgrade? One smalll company I do some consultancy work for has a custom database still running on Windows 98. Not a setup I would ever choose, but for them it works. As long as it sits well protected behind a good firewall, and the user 'administering' it knows what *not* to do security is not really a big issue. Even though I am very succesful in introducing OSS into other parts of the company I could not find a single reason for them to change this particular setup. Doing so would just cost them money. I see the same thing at many SME's that operate in a non technical market.

Re:Sadly Enough (2, Insightful)

holy_smoke (694875) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952050)

Corporate usage of this OS is still widespread, mainly due to inertia more than anything else.

What you say is true, however I would suggest that the real reason that Win9x is still so widespread is that the software meets the business' needs and they don't see a reason to spend more money on new software "just because". Remember, software is a tool - a means to an end. Is it the business' fault that the software maker failed to design a robust product?

Re:Sadly Enough (1)

asciiRider (154712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952085)

There really aren't many reasons to upgrade in a corporate setting. 98 does a good job of running Office. Unless you want to manage your desktops with Active Directory - no real reason to upgrade...

Re:Sadly Enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952197)

There really aren't many reasons to upgrade in a corporate setting. 98 does a good job of running Office.


Windows 98 + Client32 + Office 97
+ Novell server w ZENworks =
My big, spurting erect penis

There is NO REASON for me to switch in my environment. I just roll out a standard desktop (new or broken - just re-image it!) and sit on my ass and play StarCraft all day.

I am actually impressed... (5, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951914)

Wow. MS has really been listening to users recently... This particular move came even faster than the idea to include a more configurable firewall and popup blocking! I am actually quite impressed. Perhaps they are learning THIS from Linux? Listen to your users and make changes quickly to fit what they want and need?

At first you would think that they would want to "force" users to upgrade to XP/beyond but they realized that it probably will not happen for most users that are still running 98. If you can't beat them join them?

Being a recent re-convert from Linux back to Windows (still use Linux for a lot but Windows solely for "desktop stuff") I am glad to see that it was worth paying the "MS tax" on the new computers I recently purchased.

Just my worthless babbling,

Re:I am actually impressed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951985)

It is a shame that RedHat didn't listen to their users as well.

Re:I am actually impressed... (4, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952028)

they are still forcing the same way they have been forcing for a few years.

there's practically no new stuff coming out for win98(drivers, software, hardware..) and this 'support' doesn't mean that it's getting everything patched either and made sure it would run on modern hardware, it just would mean that there's somebody that would take your support call(and may or may not prove assitance enough to be of any use). now they don't just act as if win98 doesn't exist(which is pretty much what they threated to do).

if you can't milk them one way milk them/us the other way.

Re:I am actually impressed... (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952068)

>there's practically no new stuff coming out for win98

Before there was nothing for Linux. Didn't stop that OS in its popularity.

And really, if someone hasn't upgraded Windows, its a good chance they are quite satisfied with their hardware and performance right now.

Re:I am actually impressed... (4, Insightful)

TehHustler (709893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952104)

Yes but Linux was new technology. Win98 isnt. New stuff will grow and grow, old stuff, usually, dies out.

I can't believe we didn't hear this news sooner, Win98 is by far the largest userbase of all the MS systems, especially at home/school. Looks like they finally realised that they cant force things onto people... yet

It's simply capitalization (2, Insightful)

sunilonline (609351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952076)

I don't think it has anything to do with them not promoting XP. I think MS has simply realized that many people who use Win98 simply don't care enough or don't have a need to move to XP. Once they made that realization, it couldn't have taken long for them to see the money they could make in an extra two years of support.

Slightly stereotypical observation: People that use older OS's don't mind having to or think they have to pay support fees, because they don't want to change what already works for them.

Re:I am actually impressed... (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952121)

The end result is the same but I don't think this had anything to do with the users input, if so, I think these additions would have been done many moons ago. MS is trying to manage the delicate balancing act of lock-in a customer or potentially lose a customer. The much smaller competition listens to users and gives the users what they want because they have to gain market share to survive. MS does the same changes but only after the competition starts gaining ground and the scale tips towards lose a customer.
You can call the adopted changes a welcomed addition, others call it a very late addition, MS calls it innovation.

Didn't work for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952131)

"I am glad to see that it was worth paying the 'MS tax' on the new computers I recently purchased."

Glad it worked out for you, but I wish I had a choice in the matter, because I don't use Windows at all, and I have to pay the tax anyway.

Almost 10 years of a crappy OS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951935)

10 years of crappy OS - Why ? So comapanies can keep their lousy outdated infrastucures ?

Re:Almost 10 years of a crappy OS (5, Insightful)

mhesseltine (541806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952010)

  • Because if it isn't broken, it doesn't need fixed.
  • Because it saves money by not spending it on unneccesary hardware/software upgrades.
  • Because I don't want to give Microsoft any more money than I have to.
  • Because I'm working on transitioning to Linux desktops, but still have a couple of sticking points.

Other than that, no reason.

Red Hat (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951945)

Yet "Red Hat will discontinue maintenance and errata support for Red Hat Linux 9 as of April 30, 2004"

Someone, quick, find out how this makes Microsoft... bad and Red Hat... good....?!

Re:Red Hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952016)

Because "appropriate steps" in Microsoft speak means ignoring the problem.

Re:Red Hat (2, Insightful)

nolife (233813) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952165)

Someone, quick, find out how this makes Microsoft... bad and Red Hat... good....?!

Someone quick, find out who has a copy of the Win98 source code so we fix it ourselves or contract with with someone that does. Oh wait.. One vendor and no source. Damn, locked in again.

Re:Red Hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952305)

Because last I heard, you can just download [redhat.com] Fedora and upgrade.

Error in ZDNet article. (5, Informative)

Threni (635302) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951949)

Even if support had been switched to a CD, MS had still pledged to provide security related fixes, AFAIK.

Well, good. (3, Interesting)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951960)

I won't claim to have ever been a fan of Microsoft, but this seems this seems like a genuinely nice move. Rather than force many people to either a) live without continued updates and tech support or b) upgrade to newer Microsoft OS software (which isn't cheap by most people's standards, including mine.)

The consumer wins in this one. Yay for that.

Re:Well, good. (0)

Dagrush (723402) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952022)

The consumer wins in this one. Yay for that.

Technologically illiterate peoples of the world rejoice!

Re:Well, good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952242)

Fuck you, you elitist cum drop. W98 is the BEST OS for gaming. End of discussion. XP is ass. I'll use 98 because of FRAMERATES not some security active directory RFC open source bullshit agenda that gets thrown around here. If MS takes away 98 support then the game developers won't support it and next thing you know my game isn't running at it's fullest potential, and instead of burying your ass online 100% of the time it may only be 99% because I'm losing frames or had to turn off bump mapping. So kiss my ass, long live 98!!

Re:Well, good. (1)

UrgleHoth (50415) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952100)

Do you mean nice as in an altrustic gesture by Microsoft? or just nice for the user.
Look as Microsoft's history. When has the company (As opposed to the B&M Gates Foundation) made any product decisions for purely altrustic means? When they gave away IE, would you call that an altrustic move? Their motive, like most for profit companies is to maximize profit and minimize loss. This appears to be a minimize loss action, perhaps either to staunch the flow of users to Linux, as prior posters have mentioned, or maybe simply to appease their customer base.

Re:Well, good. (1)

Jondor (55589) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952120)

Maybe, or maybe they got afraid that to many '98 users would eye linux as a usable alternative on the same hardware.. Raalizing that most users just use whatever is on the hardware, keeping them under windows until the next upgrade is probably also a good idea..

Heh (5, Funny)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951961)

I actually helped two people switch from 98 this week. They both started over the phone almost identically.

Friend(s): I can't make a boot disk, it doesn't recognize the drive anymore.
Me: You have to go into the BIOS, change the boot order and pop in a cd.
Friend(s): The what-os?
Me: I'm on my way.

These aren't dumb people, but I installed their OS's and now they think they can't handle it on their parents' computers. I do like impressing people with simple things though, like showing my nephew a yo-yo for the first time.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952290)

I thought that the installer simply popped up when you put the CD in the machine after it had booted into Windows 98? I seem to remember older versions of Windows being installed that way.

I could imagine the senario... (0, Troll)

kaiwainz (739019) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951962)

Microsoft Customer "care": "Welcome to Microsoft how may we victimise you?" Customer: "My system has just been hacked. What do I do? what do I do?" Microsoft Customer "care": "Nothing my dear, YOU'RE NOT QUALIFIED!"

Re:I could imagine the senario... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952051)

holy shit, could this be less funny?

She thinks Tux is cute (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7951967)

But I think she is butt ugly. ODSN Personals.

Well done (0, Interesting)

relrelrel (737051) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951970)

Well done to Microsoft, they're showing greater care to their clients, better than some Linux companies are doing at the moment. One thing Microsoft does offer you is good, free support, and when Linux ('Free OS') is charging for their product, and then updates and support are costly, it isn't a way to make friends.

Re:Well done (1)

You're All Wrong (573825) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952072)

"Linux ('Free OS') is charging for their product"

Total bullshit. It's such bullshit that it's /not even wrong/, it's just completely meaningless. "Linux" is not a company. "Linux", therefore, does not have a "product". "Linux", therefore cannot charge for said product.

I run 4 different 'Free' OSes, and all of them cost me $0.00.


Re:Well done (1)

wine (211387) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952144)

Your critisisme towards Linux is waaay too general

Linux per se is free of charge. Some companies might charge for their support, manuals or precompiled binaries. But that doesn't really change the fact that Linux itself free.

Re:Well done (1)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952150)

Well done to Microsoft, they're showing greater care to their clients, better than some Linux companies are doing at the moment. One thing Microsoft does offer you is good, free support, and when Linux ('Free OS') is charging for their product, and then updates and support are costly, it isn't a way to make friends.

OK. Who modded this up?

MS may "support" their customers in the sense that they still provide security updates, but they sure don't give free tech support. No one should be expected to give free tech support anyway.

The issue is that GNU/Linux have the ability to switch to a different distro, or support their own obselete software via access to the source code. With Windows you are *totally* dependent on MS. There is no way around that. Add to that, at the point the computer industry is right now (GNU/Linux getting ready to make a serious entry on the desktop) if MS refuses to bend over backwards for their victims, they could stand to lose a huge market share to tho competition.

Re:Well done (3, Insightful)

azaris (699901) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952206)

MS may "support" their customers in the sense that they still provide security updates, but they sure don't give free tech support.

Oh but they do. Kind of. The KB and MSDN articles are available for free. There are also many MVPs (and many more non-MVPs who just want to help people out) who respond to questions in the microsoft.public.* newsgroup hierarchy. Technically that's not MS support but many MS employees, some more knowledgeable than any support hotline rep could ever be, also frequent these forums.

If the Linux "community" counts as support then so does the Microsoft "community". You don't necessarily need open source to take advantage of a large community of users sharing their knowledge.

Re:Well done (2, Interesting)

LS (57954) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952191)


You missed the point entirely. Microsoft's business model is to charge for their products. They make billions of dollars from this, so they provide the support for free.

Linux is not a product or a company - it is free, almost a natural resource. So a third party will come in and charge for support for those individuals who WANT it for the FREELY available Linux.

It's like complaining about the helicopter skiing company that charges for rides up an isolated mountain, when a ski resort provides the lift rides for free once you buy your ticket. whatever. Why do I waster my time. You are obviously a troll.

Security? (5, Interesting)

Shakey_Jake33 (670826) | more than 10 years ago | (#7951987)

Perhaps MS is trying to look at the big picture? I mean, like it or not, a large amount of internet users, especially coperate and home users who see little reason to upgrade from their 200's, are still using Windows 98. And rightly so from their perspective. Many people just want to use the internet, do a bit of word processing now and then and so-on, and from their perspective, there is little reason to move OS, or even upgrade computer. And with such a large amount of internet users still on this OS, maybe MS saw that keeping this secure is a near-requirement? I'm sure MS would love everyone to move to XP, but I'm sure even they know that that's not happening.

Longhorn release date? (5, Interesting)

Dreadlord (671979) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952004)

I wonder if it has anything to do with longhorn release date, which is supposed to be released in 2006, or maybe they've found that they won't be able to release longhorn in 2006, so decided to extend their old OS's support?

It just helps MS make mroe money (4, Insightful)

Sonic McTails (700139) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952005)

I find that all the time I've used Windows (since 3.1), I've never had to call tech support, and most users would be fine without ever calling. Most users will just stay with the older, outdated systems then upgrade, so Microsoft can get even more money from the few people that do call in with Windows 98 issues as last I checked they still made you pay by the minute. It doesn't require as much effort to patch an issue in 98, and the amount of money from tech support that you could rake in from keeping it supported could be a very considerable amount.

What choice did they have? (2, Insightful)

jakoz (696484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952008)

Seriously. Ignoring all other concerns, if they extend the release date of their next OS a couple of years, they should extend the same treatment to their last supported. If anything, this is the most solid admission (in public terms) I've seen of the admission of a very delayed Longhorn release date.

This is bad for Microsoft (5, Insightful)

Synesthesiatic (679680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952012)

The holdouts are really squeezing a lot out of Microsoft

This may have been a nice thing to do, but it's a bad business move IMHO. Companies still using Windows 98 have been shown that if they're stubborn enough, they'll get their way. Not only did Microsoft lose out on the Windows 2000/XP licenses they would've bought, they have to continue to pay to patch up the old workhorse.

A similar thing happened with NT 4, although Microsoft didn't give in. I think they'll have a hell of a time when it comes time to EOL Windows 2000.

Re:This is bad for Microsoft (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952161)

Like I said before... MS is probably banking on the idea that if these companies aren't forced into a company-wide OS upgrade they might be more willing to upgrade Office (according to the Slashbots, where the real money is made).

Customers are going to get their way whether MS likes it or not. They are no longer the only viable game in town. Free software has shown that it is slowly starting to be taking hold by some early adopters...

If I was MS I would fear that if I didn't listen to the users that I would be out of work soon.

Significance in the date? (-1, Redundant)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952015)

I wonder how close that June 30th 2006 date is to Microsoft's internal expectations of when Longhorn is going to ship. Why not June 30th 2005 for example; that's still 18 months away which should be more than enough for everyone who is going to upgrade to have done so, and at that point XP will have been shipping for almost four years to account for the "upgrade when I get a new PC" crowd.

Re:Significance in the date? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952041)

Dates are exceedingly important.

Look for the triggers and synchronicities your soul has set up for you at this time. They will guide you.

Many people are triggered by digits which may have gone from double to triple to quadruple. 11.11 is an example.

Digits often reflect grid numbers. I believe that we live in grid 553 moving our consciousness to grid 555 or elsewhere.

There are also all kinds of numerology events linked to the terrorist attack that have been posted on the Internet. They merely reflect the fact that reality moves in patterns.


Date Of The Attack: 9/11 - 9 + 1 + 1 = 11
September 11th is the 254 day of the year: 2 + 5 + 4 = 11
After September 11th, there are 111 days left until the end of the year
119 is the area code to Iraq: 1 + 1 + 9 = 11
Twin Towers, standing side by side, look like the number 11
The first plane to hit the tower was flight 11

The State of New York was the 11th State to enter the Union
New York City consists of 11 letters
Afghanistan consists of 11 letters
The Pentagon consists of 11 letters
Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted of the first WTC bombing, contains 11 letters

On Flight 11, there were 92 people on board: 9 + 2 = 11
On Flight 77, there were 65 people on board: 6 + 5 = 11

The letters in Osama Bin Laden's name add up to 11.

Re:Significance in the date? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952122)

In fact, all words, phrases, and acronyms of length greather than 10 letters, and less than 12 letters, add up to 11.
-1 Offtopic

Re:Significance in the date? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952276)

My penis is 11 inches long.

Well I still use Win98 (0, Offtopic)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952017)

Granted the following:

1) I run a hardware firewall and Anti-Virus on subject computer so Security from the Operating system doesn't concern me hugely
2) The system runs fairly stable (not quite as stable as XP, but I crash maybe 1x per week).
3) I dual-boot with XP for everything that is XP only
4) Re-installing MS Office and the zillions of other programs that require serials that I may or may not have turns me on to no end...
Bottom line, I'm not leaving Win98 anytime soon if I can help...

Re:Well I still use Win98 (5, Insightful)

locknloll (638243) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952154)

2) The system runs fairly stable (not quite as stable as XP, but I crash maybe 1x per week).

Note how Windows has changed our way of looking at computer systems & technology in general - something that only breaks down about once a week is considered fairly stable. Makes me shiver...

Re:Well I still use Win98 (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952194)

Hey, thats better then what Netscape did. Used to be that running Netscape on say, a Solaris system would mean you had to reboot just about every other page load. Or rather Netscape would cause a kernel panic every other page load.

Its not like Microsoft invented crap software, its been around forever.

Re:Well I still use Win98 (0, Offtopic)

bigjocker (113512) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952160)

1) I run a hardware firewall

I think you applied the term Fire-Wall too literally ... BTW, how do you use the computer after toasting it?

Repackage and Sell Again (5, Interesting)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952018)

I think they should try and clean it up an then start selling it as "Windows Classic" for whatever faults it has is has been an extremely popular OS for the consumer market.

Re:Repackage and Sell Again (1)

Synesthesiatic (679680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952105)

I think they should try and clean it up an then start selling it as "Windows Classic" for whatever faults it has is has been an extremely popular OS for the consumer market.

Everybody who wants Windows 98 already has it. They don't have it because it's better, they have it because it's good enough. If you've got a new machine (why else would you be buying an OS? Upgrading from Windows 3.11 perhaps :P) why not run Windows 2000/XP for the extra stability?

Yes, I know, there are some games that don't run on 2000/XP, but if you're someone that cares, odds are you've got a 98SE CD around anyways, right?

I'd like to know why (4, Funny)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952020)

The article doesn't delve into the reasoning behind the decision. It would be interesting to know if:
  1. Some government somewhere muttered "Anti-Trust..." or
  2. Overseas retailers started threatening a mass migration to some form of Linux or
  3. IBM's decision to migrate to Desktop Linux played a factor or
  4. Some other factors were involved.
Some might argue that Microsoft cares about their customers but then again, some people believe in the healing power of crystals.

Re:I'd like to know why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952186)

You missed the most important options:
  1. Money,
  2. Profit.
Some arm of microsoft realised it is better to charge for support than to loose the customer to a competitor.

That is a long, long period of support (5, Insightful)

ChrisWong (17493) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952032)

Continued security updates for ... 8 years? You will be lucky get 8 months from Fedora. Somebody please point me to a Linux distribution that offers that duration of support at any price. Wow.

Stuck in oblivion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952034)

Or something like that

Damn. (4, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952036)

This is an extremely good thing for people who use Microsoft products, both in terms of what it will do now, and in terms of what it seems to hint at regarding how Microsoft will support its discontinued products.

This means it's a horrible thing for the rest of us, because it will slow the rate at which people are becoming disillusioned and ultimately fed up with Microsoft. I had always thought that Microsoft's stringent policy of bullying and abandoning anyone who won't go along with their periodic forced upgrades is the best gift MS's competitors could have possibly recieved; now the chance to take advantage of that gift is to a certain extent gone.

After all, it's hard to give people reasons to switch away from something they're used to, and hard to convince people to switch away from something they're used to. It's just so much easier when Microsoft creates the reasons and does the convincing for us. If they stopped doing that, we'd have to win on the actual merits of our products, and we don't want that, do we? This is a black day indeed.

Now is the time for MS to adopt apt-get (-1, Troll)

Debian Troll's Best (678194) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952045)

Despite their occasional protestations to the contrary, Microsoft is no stranger to the use of open source software in their products. It is a widely known fact that Microsoft has incorporated elements of the BSD TCP/IP stack and networking tools into their own code, and have done so completely legally: the BSD license allows for this type of code 'borrowing' by corporates. However, I believe there is another opportunity for Microsoft to successfully 'borrow' from the open source community to quickly and efficiently deal with this latest need to keep potentially unprofitable Windows 98 desktops supported: apt-get.

As many of you know, apt-get is a superb tool for distributing, versioning and updating software. As frequent users of Slashdot also know, apt-get can have a number of novel uses, ranging from music distribution to control of space probes, but that is beyond the scope of this post. My suggestion is to both Microsoft and the open source community that apt-get be included in a Service Pack for Windows 98, and that apt-get be used to continue to download updates to this venerable, yet unprofitable (for MS) operating system.

Put simply, apt-get is robust, well tested, and perfectly suited for 'hands off' updating of legacy operating systems like Win98 (look at the years of testing it has undergone in the Debian community). Microsoft can turn their attention to more profitable aspects of the business (such as emerging markets as Xbox Live!), and leave the support of apt-get to the open source community, who does a superb job of supporting these things already. It's a win-win situation. MS can still support older Win98 desktops by relying on the power of open source, and the Debian community gets access to a rich new vein of end-user talent, honed by years of experience with the one OS and their reset buttons.

Would any Debian developers care to comment on a possible strategy for approaching Microsoft with this idea? Obviously a proof of concept would be desirable before we start contacting MS reps. Does anyone have Delphi or VB skills?

Could have been a black eye for MS (4, Insightful)

FearUncertaintyDoubt (578295) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952049)

If a new vulnerability were to surface, and MS refuses to provide an update for the millions of Win98 users, and this causes a lot of trouble for them, it just looks bad for MS. Fair or not, given the way they are portrayed, saying, "hey, we told you, we aren't supporting that anymore" isn't going to stick. It's going to be another case of how Microsoft is responsible for another security problem.

2006 (4, Insightful)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952061)

Perhaps they're extending it to 2k6 because of Longhorn? I mean, it makes sense. Just before they released XP they stopped support of 95. They probably want to wait for Longhorn before they drop support of 98. I can't see any other reason they'd support an OS for so long. (Let's ignore the fact that perhaps they should support all of their OS's regardless. Though that'd be some task.)

I guess businesses are finally fighting back. (2, Insightful)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952067)

I think Microsoft has forgotten over the last few years that people still keep their old computers, and businesses don't like upgrading their operating systems every 18 months. Any reasonably large systems platform, be it Windows or Linux, requires huge amounts of effort to correctly integrate applications. And once you get it right, changing things is a very tough sell.

I've been a Windows admin for quite a while, and I've worked in some very complex environments. In some cases, we're talking about over 50 "supported" applications that the IT department has to ensure work with each other and the OS. The other end of the spectrum, of course, is small business and home users, who don't want to change until they absolutely have to.

The thing that has had me most upset with MS in the last 4 years or so (besides all the security holes and worms...) has been their assumption that everyone will instantly upgrade to the next version of the OS as soon as it comes out. Lots of places still use NT 4.0, both on the client and server side. Try getting support for it now...Microsoft couldn't be bothered. I know you can't extend support indefinitely, but Microsoft should at least acknowledge that there are thousands of copies of Win9x and WinNT still in production.

Well, people have been suffering under WIndows 98 (4, Funny)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952077)

Well, people have been suffering under Windows 98 for years. Microsoft oughta be stuck supporting the crap they served us in the first place.

Just desserts, man.

I'm in the process of helping the parish office at my church to upgrade to Windows 2000, because their Windows 98 network gets screwed up about once a month. I want Microsoft to feel some of my pain, since it's their fault in the first place.

MS, You made your crap, now sleep in it.

This is good news because I figure it's much less likely for them to pull support for Win2k any time soon, which is actually decently stable. Anyone who needs a reliable system should upgrade from Windows 98 because it's crap, but I see no little or compelling reason to upgrade Windows 2000. Therefore, I was expecting MS to drop it like a hot potato to force upgrades. The problem with Win98 is that a lot of people are using it because they can't afford to upgrade. Therefore, MS shouldn't screw these people by forcing an expense on them they aren't willing to support this dog.

I expect Windows 2000 will be used for a long, long time.

Re:Well, people have been suffering under WIndows (0)

notbob (73229) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952115)

Windows Server 2k3 & XP would be a better choice, as Win2k is the older release, no reason to not come all the way up to the latest for an upgrade.

I know Win2k & XP have almost the same core, but still a good idea to go up to XP.

Other countries out there (5, Interesting)

aml666 (708712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952079)

I do some projects with companies in other countries (Venezuela, Brazil, ...). I have yet to do business with a company that has an OS later than Windows 98. These poorer countries/businesses(US as well) simply can't afford to upgrade. Unlike most "consumer-minded" Americans, there are a lot of people out there who actually can not see any benefit in upgrading from an OS that does what they need.

Windows 98 works fro most small business needs (especially if they are not on the internet). I believe that this also applies to Office 97. I still use Office 2000 and OpenOffice.

Jumping to Linux. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7952109)

My previous computer (450Mhz PIII with 64MB ram) was a Windows 98 machine. I was fed up Windows Failing me, and with Windows XP out (no way was it going to run on my machine) and MS trying to make me switch, so I switched, to Mandrake Linux in December 2001. I kept windows on there until April 2002 for the transition period though.

KDE 2.2 was a lot better than the Windows 98 desktop and thanks to Wine I got my legacy applications working and I was incredibly happy.

Now Ive got my new computer with SuSE 9.0 (1666Mhz with 768 Mb RAM), I won't ever want to go back to Windows if they paid me. Still I know two freinds still on Windows 9x, both with older machines, (233mhz with 32Mb RAM and 800mhz with 64Mb ram) Should I convince them to switch or convince them to get a new computer?

Re:Jumping to Linux. (1)

EinarH (583836) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952266)

(233mhz with 32Mb RAM and 800mhz with 64Mb ram) Should I convince them to switch or convince them to get a new computer?
The 233 MHz dude should get a new computer.

The one with 800 MHz and only 64 MB RAM should get more RAM (get atleast 256MB) and switch to either Windows 2000 or Mandrake 9.2

Why people need Windows (1)

ChrisWong (17493) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952310)

There are some reasons some people absolutely need some version of Windows handy, even if on a separate boot partition. For one thing, you cannot set up a Verizon DSL account -- absolutely the most affordable broadband around -- without running their custom Windows or Mac software.

Why? (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952130)

For God's sake, WHY??

95, 98x, 2k, they're all far beyond their useful life.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

wirehead_rick (308391) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952166)

Because there is nothing that can be done in anything beyond Windwoes 98 that can't be done in Windwoes 98 or Linux.

Why upgrade to newer more buggy Sw with more bloated and less productive features just to put up with more bugs?

Windows 98SE is stable enough to justify it's use. Windows XP has nothing at all to justify it's expense, M$ invasion of privacy, and putting up with more bugs that inevitably exist with new bloated feature laden and bug laden SW.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

TiggsPanther (611974) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952208)

Windows 95 I'd agree with you. But not really with any of the other two.

Win2K still works fine. Apart from a few issues, there's very little in XP over Win2K. And the improvements which are there aren't really worth the hefty price-tag. And that's just for home use.

Corporately, why should companies have to spend stacks of money on replacing software that not only does it's job, but would require newer hardware to support the change.

Hell, where I work I'd dearly love to be able to switch them out of Win98. But the money isn't there. Plus for everything which shifting from Win9X fixes, switching to NT-based throws up another problem.
And that's not even talking about bugs. More in the way that Windows NT/2K/XP works. Not to mention the fact that I dread to think how I'd get it to work with NetWare. (Again, not my choice)

But the simple fact is that older versions still work. And they work on hardware that newer versions simply wouldn't run on. And when you add software and hardware costs, there's very often very little justification to upgrade.

Most home users don't upgrade (4, Insightful)

TintinX (569362) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952229)

The problem for Microsoft is that Average Joe home users, by and large, do not upgrade their OS.
If you think back a few years to when the public were really starting to get turned on to the Internet - this would be the time of Win98 or its SE sequel.
It was also at this time that PCs started to reach the speed and capacity that gave most people what they would want for ever more - Web, Email, Word etc.
Quite a few of my friends and family bought computers for the first time around this period and not a single one of them is even thinking about upgrading. It's just not something that comes into their heads. They switch their computers on, check email, write a letter, book a ticket etc. and then switch them off again.
Ergo, the home user market for Win98/SE is huge and will probably remain so for a long time to come.

NO comparison between Microsoft and Red Hat Linux. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952241)

This is good news. Microsoft gives itself an enormous amount of bad publicity by being the "Doctor Death" of assisted suicide for its own products, particularly when such a large percentage of its customers use the old product.

Note that there is NO comparison between Microsoft and Red Hat. If you are forced by Microsoft to move away from Windows 98, you can only move to a completely new operating system, Windows XP, which almost certainly will require new hardware, is very expensive due to new licensing, has its own bugs, has a completely new driver model, may require new application software, has the same rate of discovery of extreme security vulnerabilities, has a new, forced contract EULA, has more limited security in the case of password-protected network shares, and requires more training.

If you want to stay with an old version of Red Hat Linux, you have many companies willing to patch important old components, which are available completely separately, including source code, and can be installed completely separately. There is not a lot of pressure to upgrade, since the old versions didn't have many security vulnerabilities, either.

If you decide to upgrade to a new version of Red Hat Linux, the upgrade can be free, will not require new hardware (Linux runs fine on an old Pentium II, I've found.), does not require new training, and requires only the old contract.

Note that the principle of abandoning its own products is still there, Microsoft just pushed the date back. Also, those who don't work with Microsoft software may not realize that, without support, Windows 98 users are forced to upgrade, because Microsoft has given itself so many security vulnerabilities.

Not that suprising (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 10 years ago | (#7952285)

I accidentally pointed this out in the original article [slashdot.org] about 98 being phased out.

Namely: Extended Support: June 30, 2002 - January 16, 2004 (Extended hotfix support ends June 30, 2003. After January 16, 2004, this product will be obsolete and assisted support will no longer be available from Microsoft. Online self-help support will continue to be available until at least June 30, 2006.)
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