Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Creaky Operating Systems Form IT Foundations

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the *shudder* dept.

Operating Systems 478

maotx writes "The Washington Post has an article on how aging operating systems are still widely used. The article states that "The research firm IDC estimates that of the roughly 514 million paid-for copies of Windows on desktops and laptops worldwide at the end of 2004, almost 21 percent were the aging Win 95, 98 and Millennium Edition releases." That equates to around 108 million copies being used."

cancel ×

478 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

ha haaa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981614)

--nelson

Re:ha haaa (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981739)

That equates to around 108 million copies being used.

Don't forget the Linux-installations, which are mainly used to get pirated copies of Windows.

Windows 3.11 (5, Funny)

kyoko21 (198413) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981616)

Windows 3.11 for workgroups running TCP/IP and NCSA Mosaic. :-)

Re:Windows 3.11 (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981847)

Same here - WFWG 3.11, Opera 3.62, Netscape 2.02 & 3.04, MSIE 5.02, DOS 5.01, SPRINT.

No worries about viruses, trojans, popups, pupunders, spyware, flash animations, redirects, and so on.

No worries about upgrading. If a site doesn't work with these clients, generally there is nothing there I want anyway. The only problem is some pdf files won't work in Acrobat 3. Then I use Linux with Suse. YMMV.

All the best,

Mike Monett

If it's not broken.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981620)

..don't fix it.

They're talking about Windows 95... (3, Insightful)

jnetsurfer (637137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981629)

...doesn't that mean broken?

Re:They're talking about Windows 95... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981824)

I must say terrible moderation. Maybe funny, but certainly not insightful. And moderating it as funny is a stretch. Is it really that funny to post a 4 word comment about windows being broken? Hell, Windows 95 worked well enough. The only windows OS that was actually broken was Windows ME.

-5 Redundant and played out.

Re:They're talking about Windows 95... (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981840)

Maybe it wasn't considered broken in 1995, but it is 2005 we're living in. It is definately broken, not because of particular software bugs but by the aged design (which causes every MS operating system to suffer up-to-date, because they didn't fix it, some could argue whether completely or not). It is another matter that i consider it's design to be normal either if it would be 1995 or 2115. But it is a personal opinion, not something that could be generally agreed upon.

Re:They're talking about Windows 95... (2)

jnetsurfer (637137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981842)

I must say terrible moderation. Maybe funny, but certainly not insightful.

Not to shoot myself in the foot, but I would have to agree. I was not trying to be insightful, I was trying to be funny. This really was a typical "bash windows" comment.

And I do agree with the parent -- the worst was Windows ME! Windows 95 isn't so much "broken" as it is now just really, really old...

Re:They're talking about Windows 95... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981850)

Yes, most of us are tired of the jokes. For whatever reason, though, there are always the fucktards who decide they'll mod up the same God damned garbage they've seen other people mod up. They're the type of people who follow the herd in a pathetic attempt to feel cool.

Re:If it's not broken.. (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981698)

I've ran across all sorts of ancient crap OS at internet cafes around Australia and New Zealand. But also plenty with pirated XP.

If the place is run by anyone interested in computers, you find the better Windows. Better Windows doesn't sound right. But plenty of the coin fed booths stuck in the corner of corner stores use 95 and older.

You're right... (1)

globalar (669767) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981713)

...Just reinstall it.

Re:If it's not broken.. (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981721)

I agree. I'd rather they be using Win 95, 98, and ME than XP OEM with all of its remote vulns leavin it to be taken over and used for DDoS's and spam.

Re:If it's not broken.. (3, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981811)

One of the less obvious advantages of not using either Win2k or XP is that many of the more recent worms are designed specifically with them in mind. Even if one enters your system, it probably can't run, and the vulnerabilities it's looking for aren't there. Win98 is more mature than either, and has less openings remaining to exploit.

Re:If it's not broken.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981749)

..don't fix it.

Isn't that the sign on the wall int he office of the Windows 95 updates manager?

Lets not forget (5, Insightful)

Anti_zeitgeist (583666) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981624)

there are hospitals, companys, schools...etc that have ancient computer sitting around still doing random easy tasks. There is no need to update those computers...unless a larger load of work is needed to be done.

Re:Lets not forget (1)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981648)

Or the hardware fries and no replacements are readily available. Then it'd likely cost much less to get new hardware than it would to find equivalent replacements.

Re:Lets not forget (1)

Bad D.N.A. (753582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981702)

Mod parent up for funny sig

Re:Lets not forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981803)

Please post the signature. I'm and anonymous troll^Wvery hot chick and can't see it.

Thank you.

yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981625)

first post!

Re:yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981644)

you fail it big time!

props to the real first poster!

Banks (2, Interesting)

Luthair (847766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981627)

A bank I did work at recently still ran Win95a

MSDOS 6.22, baby! (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981744)

We're still running an old app that needs DOS. We have part of it running in a DOS window on an NT4.0 machine (NT's DOS sub-system is different from later Windows' versions).

Re:MSDOS 6.22, baby! (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981752)

Fedline?

Maybe a wake up for the OS Companies? (4, Interesting)

PepeGSay (847429) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981633)

This sounds like a message for the users, but maybe it is a wakeup for the OS makers. If that many people still see their OS as viable and are willing to use it... then should the OS companies really be holding a gun to their head in what can only be an attempt to wring more money from them?

Re:Maybe a wake up for the OS Companies? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981732)

Continuous development occurs all over the computer industry.
We have no qualms about purchasing the newest greatest graphics card or processor. Merely "programs" written in binary and tweaked and modified to get a bit faster, or a bit more. Not many complaints come because you can't buy the older slower models.

Its fairly easy to see where the figures come from - only recently I picked up my old laptop and fired into Windows 95. At this point in time, its probably pretty safe to run without a virus checker, and its responsive on the hardware it was designed for. The laptop would balk at windows 2000, let alone XP.

Many people purchase the operating system with the computer, and expect the latest and greatest, most secure they can get OS, and lots of those same people will still be using Windows XP in 5 years time or more.
People are compelled to change by an inability to do something (or perception of), Windows works for them, why bother changing?

There is no gun being held to anybodies head to upgrade. Focus shifts onto the newest OS like in the graphics card example, people still have and use old graphics cards, yet nobody bats an eyelid.

Re:Maybe a wake up for the OS Companies? (1)

PepeGSay (847429) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981800)

But... your graphics card isn't being marked as the bane of existence because it is *still* vulnerable to a SYN attack. :)

Re:Maybe a wake up for the OS Companies? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981832)

Notice how people have stopped moaning about the problems with Windows 95?

Same reason.

In a similar way that when nVidia have been slated for their 5x00 range of cards, but the fuss is dying out now.
People used to bitch and complain about Windows blue screens, but that joke is old now, and the remaining windows 9x boxes can't be crashing that much to still be usable.
My windows 98 hardly ever crashed, but thats because I took care of it and made sure I didn't install crap. The ones that go down often are either badly built, or poorly used.

Re:Maybe a wake up for the OS Companies? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981853)

well, it's more of an issue of os companies targetting new computers(biggest market they can get cash from i suppose).

while there's millions of users out there with older tools that still work perfectly well.

re-installed one nat-doing box tonight(new network config..)... released while watching the bios on that machine that it's 10 years old(and wasn't a speed monster back then) - and still works, and i still can buy network cards for it that work. who would have thought that 10 years ago?

another thing.. in the last 10 years there hasn't been that much advancement in the ui department of the 'common' household/office apps - been so stale that you could easily think of running the same apps as 10 years ago.

now.. that same 10 years old pc could easily perform the duties of a music player box, and this modern day desktop that i'm typing from can easily in 10 years perform duties of a pretty good moving pictures box... so in 10-15 years probably we'll have ample surplus of boxes that can perform well enough for any common task from movie recording to who knows what(so why bother buying new computers then when there's few points _now_ for it?).

IDC Research (4, Insightful)

rpozz (249652) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981634)

"This research into making sure companies have the latest version of Windows was sponsored by Microsoft."

Inertia (5, Insightful)

spaeschke (774948) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981638)

Does Win95 still access the internet? Play Solitaire? MineSweeper? MP3's (even on old, creaky Pentium I systems)?

Then, quite simply, for most people who just want email and browsing it's more than sufficient for them. Same goes for a lot of small businesses. They don't need multi-Gigahertz machines or recent OS licenses. They just need something that will run their word processors, spreadsheets, and print docs.

Re:Inertia (1)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981679)

Then, quite simply, for most people who just want email and browsing it's more than sufficient for them. Same goes for a lot of small businesses. They don't need multi-Gigahertz machines or recent OS licenses. They just need something that will run their word processors, spreadsheets, and print docs.

Well my old lecturer once told me that you need 75MHZ for every task you do on a computer so add them up together and you will get the MHZ of a computer you need. So by his logic word processor and spreadsheet and printing and email would need 300MHZ. But less does it I think probably.

Re:Inertia (1)

spaeschke (774948) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981703)

RAM, my friend. In multitasking it's all about memory, not so much about the cycles. Hell, I would keep multiple apps open in Win95 before I ever even got a Pentium. It's more than doable.

Re:Inertia (1)

yuri benjamin (222127) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981720)

Is he talking about simultaneous tasks or each possible task that you might want to do at different times?

Re:Inertia (1)

Grrreat (584733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981821)

"Pentium I systems" dang I just callem pentiums. Why do we have to calle them 'Pentium I' or even 'Clasic Pentiums'. Windows 95 ran fine on a 486 if you had a 486DX 100MZ processor with 16mb of RAM.

Not everyone is a geek (4, Interesting)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981641)

And there is a sizable portion of the computer-user population that views their computer as a simple tool for a specific job. Grandma wants her email, and so to her it's an email receiver and not much else. Any ol' OS will do the job for her, so whatever she has is what she's used to is what she'll keep. Forever. It's not as if machines break down all that often. And if all you use the machine for is one simple job, it doesn't seem slow to the user. It's good enough.

It's like the toaster to them. Who buys a new toaster or blender until the old one breaks? Same with computers for a surprising number of people. I've seen it with my relatives, I've seen it with friends. I've been appalled by what some of them use, but talk to them about upgrading and it's "No thanks, it works just fine."

Re:Not everyone is a geek (1)

nightski (860922) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981656)

Actually, many of the people I talk to like this would love to upgrade their computer and make it better. Especially when using Windows 98 with all the crashes.

But most of them don't even know what "Windows" is, or even an operating system; let alone upgrade it!

Re:Not everyone is a geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981718)

I've run Win98SE for about 5 years, and I have to say that it's not that unstable. Blue screens are very rare. In fact, the worst crash I ever had was under windows 2000, which took out an entire partition (thank fuck for backups).

Re:Not everyone is a geek (1)

bechthros (714240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981781)

Was it a NTFS partition? I've seen 2000 and XP just completely lose NTFS partitions literally over 30 times at my ex-job, and once on my machine. None of the MicroServices guys could get a decent answer from MS about why it happened. Never seemed to happen to FAT32 partitions, though...

But you know what's really cool about 98SE? It can still see my "missing" NTFS partition, allowing me to back everything up. While both 2000 and partitionmagic (under 98 even) are like, "drive F? There's no drive F, what are you talking about?" Open up windows explorer and it's all right there.

Re:Not everyone is a geek (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981694)

Yes, but if you don't replace your toaster, it's not like there are new kinds of bread out there that will deliberately infect your old toaster with mold and make anything that comes out of it unfit to eat.

Re:Not everyone is a geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981835)

Actually, I've seen the opposite. Non-geeks usually like to get the latest whizbang version because they get caught up in the hype and think that the latest is the greatest and safest. The geeks know the internals, so they know how to configure an older box to run their specific apps safely.

It's not like toasters at all but like cars. The regular folks drive newer cars because they feel safer in them. But the auto-mechanics fix-up a 60s Mustang or 80s Renault 5 Turbo Rally and smoke the roads.

What a non-story (5, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981642)

Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but not everyone is on the bi-annual hardware upgrade cycle.

And if you think that the weakest links in the IT department are the computers being used, then you're part of the problem. Hint: the problem lies in the parts you can't upgrade.

Windows ME sucks!!! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981643)

May god have mercy on the souls of anyone currently running this OS.

Is there any OS more unstable?

Re:Windows ME sucks!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981652)

Yes!
BSD is dead
-> decomposing
-> unstable

Re:Windows ME sucks!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981742)

That's silly. Microsoft didn't even release a service pack for it, so based on the logical assumption that Microsoft has the user's best interests in mind Windows ME must have been perfectly stable and bug free from the beginning.

Re:Windows ME sucks!!! (1)

bechthros (714240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981815)

Well, yes and no. The way I always looked at it was that 98se/lite worked TOO WELL - so they released ME to break it. And as such, it performed admirably, hence no need for service packs...

Only when it's old? (4, Funny)

lgbarker (698397) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981649)

You mean Windows isn't supposed to creak when it's new?

Re:Only when it's old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981754)

Its those 10 foot wide sceurity cracks that cause all that creaking!

I used NT 4.0 for a long time because (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Cowdog (154277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981650)

I used NT 4.0 forever because it just had such a workmanlike user interface.

Actually, ObOnTopic, the most interesting thing to me about this topic is how easily Microsoft killed NT 4.0 by simply witholding support for USB. NT4 actually was, ah, very workable, if not workmanlike, except for that crucial missing USB connectivity in the later years.

Re:I used NT 4.0 for a long time because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981705)

Well, that and it's propensity to run out of GDI resources, thus causing GUI corruption. That was a bit of a pain.

Re:I used NT 4.0 for a long time because (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981759)

I hear it also had a propensity for adding spurious apostrophes in the possessive "ITS". I'm sure if we could get rid of those apostrophes, internet traffic would be reduced by 5% overnight. Toss in the badly-formed "plural's", we'd knock off another 7%.

Re:I used NT 4.0 for a long time because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981809)

Hell, save even more bandwidth - use smaller fonts!

Re:I used NT 4.0 for a long time because (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981767)

as a non computer person, i never cd figure out why there was not a 3rd party software to get USB into NT - was it really that hard to do?
this has bothered me foryears (since our startup bought 50 dell boxes with NT4 and USB ports !!)

Re:I used NT 4.0 for a long time because (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981770)

NT4 could (in theory) run on a 33MHz machine with 16MB RAM. At least that's what the box said. I'd never try that.

However, 2K has most of the goodness of NT4 with the addition of USB and Plug'n'Pray.

Re:I used NT 4.0 for a long time because (1)

zackeller (653801) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981828)

NT4 hardware support once 2k was released dropped off dramatically. I have a laptop I'd love to run NT4 on, but it doesn't have any kind of wireless support.

It might be full of security holes, but it would run on anything.

RIP, NT 4.0.

Re:I used NT 4.0 for a long time because (1)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981837)

Don't forget that NT also lacked ACPI and IDE support. Your IDE drives showed up as SCSI. With NT, you could only create a 2GB parition (max) because setup created the partition with FAT and required a reboot before it converted the partition to NTFS (if you selected it).
NT also didn't have slipstreaming which lead to problems with programs overwrote system files from service packs.

These work as well as they did when they released (5, Insightful)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981654)

Remember these operating systems work as well as they did when they were released so why change?

Windows 95 or 3.11 doesn't suddenly lose features when they become 5 years old. the analogy to 'creaky' isn't flawed. operating systems don't wear out or 'break' over time they just get found exploits for or don't provide newer functionality that might be needed.

But you can patch them and do workarounds for their security problems that keep them every bit as secure as anything else new out there (maybe even more so!!!) and if you don't need newer functionality but just to keep doing a job then why spend money needlessly on something that doesnt need to upgrade and still works?

I bet there are many of completely secure Linux 2.0 and Windows 95 servers and desktops in use by business that will keep doing the job they are needed to for years to come, maybe longer.

Security disaster waiting to happen... (3, Insightful)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981655)

Although using an old operating system is fine for just some box sitting there not connected to any sort of network, once you plug it into a network you have a disaster waiting to happen. Many of these old operating systems are sitting there unpatched just waiting to become a sysadmin's worst nightmare. Although, if it was possible to keep these old OS'es patched, I don't see anything wrong with using them.

Re:Security disaster waiting to happen... (4, Insightful)

dameron (307970) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981748)

Put a DOS or WIN95 machine on your network, unpatched from the original cds (floppies!) and call me when it get's compromised.

-dameron

Re:Security disaster waiting to happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981751)

Are you just making stuff up?? Tell me O Wise One... What security risk does a firewalled Windows 98SE running 3rd party apps pose? Hmm?

Re:Security disaster waiting to happen... (1)

old7 (564621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981838)

I am currently using an old laptop w/Win98SE, browsing with Firefox. I can't remember the last virus I had. Oh, I have other computers, about 7 others, including two 3.0 Ghz beasts.

The laptop is great because I can take it where I want it and connect wirelessly to my network.

I still use win 98s (4, Interesting)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981661)

I still use Wndows 98 because I don't want to pay for an OS I won't use for more then a few months. I'm switching to Ubuntu Linux soon and if my modem wasn't a winmodem I'd already be using it.

Re:I still use win 98s (2)

Da_Biz (267075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981711)

I, too, use Win 98se on my IBM Stinkpad. After a long day of beating on servers and network equipment, the LAST thing I want to do when I get home is to wrench on my laptop.

I think this is a very different attitude than one I used to possess ten years ago, when I was relatively new to doing IT in a corporate environment. Back then, every new hardware and software release was like Christmas (or Hannukah, Kwanzaa, et al.). Now, it's just BLAH.

Don't get me wrong--I love technology. I'm just less apt to implement it for my own personal use just because it's shiny and new. I'll replace it when it stops working.

Anymore, I'd rather spend my time travelling, reading or listening to music. Either I've become burned out on IT or I've acquired a life (or both).

Winmodem? (1)

iced_773 (857608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981724)

Dude, get DSL!

Re:I still use win 98s (1)

puto (533470) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981791)

Well,

If I were you I would shell out the 1-15 bucks for a regular modem.

The old adage do not bite your nose off to spite your face comes to mind.

Puto

Don't think they care about recommendations... (1)

TodPunk (843271) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981663)

A company I work for supports some software that has some pretty strict requirements to run. Their minimum requirements are relatively low for hardware, but we always say it will run slow and might cause other specific issues.

Despite the minimum of requiring Windows XP/2000, we still get a lot of people running windows 98 and NT. They don't even have service packs.

If you're looking for a way to get your company/organization to update their software, you should look elsewhere than minimum system requirements or suggestions from tech experts. It's just too easily disavowed with an /enlightened/ thought to the effect of "Well, it worked before."

Re:Don't think they care about recommendations... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981775)

I had that the other day. Someone with a bunch of machines running NT4 SP1 and their IT hadn't signed off on SP6 yet (WTF have they been doing for the last 6 years???!!!).

I told them sure, but if it breaks you get no support. For some bizarre reason an unsupported new application is OK but SP6a from 1999 isn't... whetever..

If "Windows ANYTHING" is your foundation... (1, Funny)

stevens (84346) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981669)

...then you have my sympathy.

you want believe what some government agencies ... (3, Interesting)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981674)

are using.

I used to work for the company that wrote a software for IBM mainframes. We had to deal with the different agencies. each used something REALLY old, I had to maintain virtual machine environment, so we can bring up some of those older OS versions if necessary for debugging. I remember one funny case when someone called from the agency I won't give a name (but you can figure it out), the guy said he had the software crashed, but he DID NOT WANT to give any details of what was wrong, neither to tell which operating system he was using. We had to deal with his boss and his boss' boss to get the information we needed to debug the problem.

Well, there were two reasons why they've used OS'es that old. First, if it works, don't upgrade it. It ain't broken so don't fix it. Second, upgrade may require bigger hardware, and you have to justify the cost of upgrade, so why bother?

For those familiar with the history of IBM mainframe-based OS'es, we had to maintain OS/VS1 (or something like that). blah.

Re:you want believe what some government agencies (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981741)

Installing a new release of the operating system often means that every application on that system must be tested, which requires time and money that does not exist or is in short supply. You can't just install a new release of the operating system and hope nothing breaks.

Re:you want believe what some government agencies (1)

spaeschke (774948) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981757)

You think that's scary, I was a records clerk in the Army, and enlisted personnel records were kept on machines that would have been considered ancient back in the mid-80's. The system was called SIDPERS, and was a gigantic OD green box with an old 5 1/4" floppy drive and tape back up. The monitors were old green and black monochrome CGA. I got out in 1998, but they were still using SIDPERS at that point, and frankly I wouldn't be surprised if they still were.

Of course officer records was a different matter. Modern computers hooked to a central DB. Bastards.

Half don't care, the other half don't know better (3, Insightful)

msim (220489) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981677)

Abelit being slightly offtopic, half of those people running older OS's probably don't give two whits about newer software (my girlfriends grandparents pc is still running win95 OSR2!) and the most complicated thing they have done is write aodoccument or print out an invoice.

The other half just accept their pc is getting slower and slower with all the cruft (and spyware too?) and other crap that is slowly killing their systems.

Then again i doubt anyone here is running anything older than win2k/ Macos X unless they are a tightarse.

(this is where i mention my laptop is a P120 running Win98)

Probably used for trivial tasks (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981688)

Like running old cnc machines or some old databases for warehouses. They probably don't need new operating systems.

-BTW. Ncaa tourn.
I hope Duke loses. How did Washington get a 1st round seed. Northern Iowa selection shows me that the NCAA tournament is not fair. Too many school left out that could beat them.

Re:Probably used for trivial tasks (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981788)

I hope Duke loses. How did Washington get a 1st round seed. Northern Iowa selection shows me that the NCAA tournament is not fair. Too many school left out that could beat them.

UNI plays good ball and is giving Wisconsin a run for their money - if any school from Iowa didn't deserve a bid, it was the University of Iowa.

Laptops (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981689)

My experience with laptops has been that the manufacturer only supports it with the version of the operating system that was originally installed on the laptop. They have no interest in expending any effort on updating the laptop-specific software to be compatible with newer releases of the operating system. That means that you are stuck with whatever came on the laptop until it finally dies. From the manufacturer's point of view, the "solution" is to buy a new laptop.

Re:Laptops (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981794)

not exactly...I'm not much of a computer person, but even I cd figure out how to partition the disk and put win2K on my spring 2001 hp laptop running ME. I'm sure all the /. geeks will love the reason why: after ME crashed and I had to do a clean install, I decided having two independent OSs, I cd use one as a backup if the primary crashed (which actually worked - when ME crashed again, it was really easy to use the MS tool that recovers files from the .cab folders. I forget what the command is, but you startup the broken OS, get an error that such and such file is gone, boot in the good one, get the file, repeat untill fixed

Re:Laptops (1)

yuri benjamin (222127) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981798)

the manufacturer only supports it with the version of the operating system that was originally installed on the laptop.

Oops. I should've known that before I nuked XP and put linux on this laptop. Too late now. I hope I never need support from the manufacturer.

And there's some very good reasons... (2, Interesting)

bechthros (714240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981693)

1) 98se, especially with 98lite installed and IE removed, *smokes* any other MS-windows based OS I've ever seen (and I've seen 'em all) in terms of performance. My machine crawls when I boot to the 2000 side, the 98 side is like *butter*, and I hardly ever have to reboot. Sure, the buttons aren't all round and bubbly, and there's no transparency support, but I have yet to find a single thing that I want to do that 98 won't support.

2) DOS-based (which is to say, 95, 98 and ME) OS's are not nearly as widely targeted by virus writers. The vast majority of new viruses target the 2k/XP/2k3 systems, for the simple reason that they're SOOOOO full of holes.

3) 95 and 98 (ME, eh, not so much) have been out long enough that 99% of the problems with them have been fixed. Of course, I wouldn't go to 98 until ME came out. My rule of thumb is go with whichever MS OS is the second most current one. That said, I still don't feel the burning need to upgrade to XP, and I doubt I ever will.

4) Like somebody already said, if it's not broke, and it's paid for, why change? Why waste money on the new version and then waste more money on the man-hours for MicroServices to install it, migrate everything, deal with all the users whining about where all their desktop wallpaper went, etc... just to wind up with a system that's ultimately slower and more vulnerable to attack?

Re:And there's some very good reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981793)

I'm a die-hard Win98 user and I agree with most of what you said except #3. My 98 box still crashes/hangs randomly and I doubt anything will fix that. Also, some newer apps don't get QA'd on Win98 so they crash more often.

But yeah, I've spent two years fine-tuning my 98 box, and I won't change my primary PC to another OS until I absolutely have to.

Breaking News!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981695)

Not. How is this new? Anyone who has parents with PCs know they will never upgrade their operating system unless they buy a new system.

Hell, I'm not going to do it for them. I pretend I don't know the first thing about computers. "Mom, you know I'm a network engineer. I know as much about computers as you do."

So what about Linux? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981699)

Look at that - a hundred million+ machines running Win9x. This should be exactly where Linux shines, revamping old machines with new desktop life. Except, of course, that combos of KDE/GNOME + OpenOffice.org + Mozilla are even weightier than their Windows equivalents, thus destroying an upgrade path.

It's very frustrating. Yeah, you can use Fluxbox and Dillo and stuff like that, but it's hardly an enterprise desktop, is it?

Much as I love Linux, it's painful to see massive Microsoftian bloat in the major desktops and apps, all the time removing an incentive to upgrade. Or, in cases like this, eliminating an upgrade path altogether!

If Linux was slim, fast and snappy, it'd be an absolutely perfect solution. But while it offers barely any perfomance advantages over XP/MSO, it's not so attractive.

These 100 million machines could and should be running Linux, if we'd paid attention to elegant code and performance. But instead we're seeing ever more newcomers turned off by the weight and sluggish performance. It's distressing.

Win 3.1 (1)

genius_jim (833704) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981700)

Had a customer yesterday 486 DX 66 with Win 3.1 There still out there.

Qemu, vmware, bochs as archival software. (4, Interesting)

dameron (307970) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981716)

About six months ago I had to access some information on an aging (as in 13 year old) PICK server. The multiport board was fried years ago and I couldn't raise a terminal on the serial port. After a few hours of trying to capture the data I had the person who needed access to it copy it to a pad of paper from the screen.

Not good, to say the least, but the server in question hadn't been fired up in years.

Since then I've been putting disk images of our currently running database software on a Qemu image along with a copy of the qemu source and binaries on a DVD (and in the future the media might change, but you get the idea).

For emergency situations I can put a dvd into any available machine and have a "live" version of our DB running in minutes. I'd have loved it if I could've booted that PICK server in an emulator.

-dameron

Trustworthy Computing (2, Insightful)

stevemm81 (203868) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981727)

For those of us afraid of hardware-based trustworthy computing, this is why it will not happen for a long, long time. More and more home users are going to be satisfied with the machines they have now until they break, and companies wishing to sell online content to them are just going to have to deal with the fact that they're not going to buy a new, trustworthy computer to access the content.

Trustworthy Computing-Grandpa. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981860)

Don't worry. All of those computers will be running old content anyway.

What? (1)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981730)

I thought that *BSD was DYING.

Well, duh (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981737)

I mean, are you really going to upgrade a piece-of-crap P166 to Windows XP, where it will run like shit? Or are you going to run DOS or Win95 or maybe Linux if you're 1337 enough, and still have it run acceptably fast?

Re:Well, duh (1)

Ayahusca (868732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981768)

I upgraded my girl's 233 to not even XP but Win 2000 Pro, and it was running like damn, was taking half an hour to open the My Computer, so I guess old computers should be ok enough with old OS's.

Re:Well, duh (1)

spaeschke (774948) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981833)

I haven't had any problems like that. I passed down my old PI/133Mhz to my father just so he could browse and email. Installed Win2K on it, and it runs fine. Sure, it takes a little longer for it to boot than it would with Win98, but once you get passed the bootsplash it runs fine. More than adequate for what he does with it, and Win2K is a whole lot more reliable than the 9X series could ever hope to be.

Creakiness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981755)

Any OS that knows no separation between data and executable code, that has a single word-writable system directory with a mix of executables, libraries and config files where everyone and everything can happily write and overwrite stuff, that has an easily corruptable registry in an obscure binary format, that uses drive-letters which are randomly permutated every time a new device is attached, that stores the system time as local time and not as UTC, etc etc etc, must be considered a "creaky" OS in the sense of this post. Unfortunately, it looks like even Longhorn will be just another creaky OS...

Old Software and Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981773)

Almost every place I've ever worked at that wasn't an IT/support shop has legacy software or hardware not supported by 2K/XP or even OS X, and they usually require Win98 (Or MS-DOS, or MacOS classic) to run it.

Sometimes it's a matter of supporting expensive, complex solutions that they don't want to pay to upgrade, like database apps like FileMaker. Yeah, you can upgrade and migrate that. But for how much cost? Time? Training? Lost data and functionality?

Other times it's things like Quark XPress forcing print shops to keep MacOS classic around because they took 3 or 4 fscking years to release an OS X version.

I'll *never* run XP. I primarily run 98 - behind a strong firewall of course - but will occasionally boot 2K for specific apps or network functions.

But never, ever XP. If I want wasted cycles propping up candy-like shiny red buttons I'll launch linux/KDE and get some real functionality with my eye candy.

Stifled Innovation (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981774)

What this really demonstrates is how stifling Microsoft's OS monopoly has been. When the core functions of a product have changed so little, have offered so little innovation, that there's no compelling reason to upgrade after more than ten years, it's clear that it is a stagnant product.

When no other businesses can enter the market and compete against your stagnant product, but a significant competitor for your product can be put together by a bunch of enthusiasts, then you have a company that has been successful in suffocating an industry.

3.1 (1, Troll)

sosegumu (696957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981776)

I'm a shameless garbage picker and recently I found an old box with 8 mb memory running Windows 3.1. Being curious and hoping to get an old hard drive to running a smoothwall box, I snagged it and took it home.

Even though it was sitting in the rain, when I dried it off/out it booted right up and I played a little game of solitaire. But the really crazy thing is that it actually booted up much quicker than my Windows XP box with a AMD Athlon 2400+ & 1GB Memory.

Go figure!

Debian (2, Funny)

BradWarden (869007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981782)

oh....I'm current

Video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981789)

It's amazing how many game titles on the shelves at CompUSA require Windows 95/98/Me and won't run on Win 2K/XP.

Upgrade model (1)

Lexor (724874) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981802)

If Microsoft had a reasonable upgrade model we'd all be current. Instead, they strong-arm everyone to pay for the latest version. Imagine if shareware authors did the same...

Re:Upgrade model (1)

Mancat (831487) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981820)

And would you expect authors of Unix software that is upwards of ten years old, to continue to give active support and software patches? Microsoft does a fairly good job of this. I can still keep 2000 up to date with WinUpdate, and up until recently (may still be possible), WinUpdate still worked fine for NT4 as well.

Re:Upgrade model (1)

Lexor (724874) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981841)

This 'aint no $20 Linux variant, you're talking about the mainstream PC OS from the world's biggest software factory. I sure hope they continue to support your $200+ investment.
What I'm talking about is the hanful of MS desktop OS licenses that I now own that are now all but worthless thanks to Microsoft and their pitiful incremental upgrades.

OS does not age... (2, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11981804)

A copy of a 10-year-old OS does everything it did when it was first compiled and installed (and maybe a bit more with the right add-ons). It is the software-industry (and virus writers) that reset peoples expectations and make the old OS seem decrepit.

Sometimes maintaining an old OS for an old system can be the best use of time and money. I have a 10-year-old machine that does a great job scanning old slides, negatives, and photos. And another 10-year-old laptop ($20 for the laptop, $2 for a WiFi card for it) that is perfect for light editing jobs and running a much-loved application that is no longer supported on newer machines (and that has no modern counterpart). So many common computing tasks don't need GHz speed or the latest OS.

Sometimes the best tool for the job is an old tool because old software never wears out (and old hardware is so delightfully cheap).

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11981844)

514 million paid-for copies of Windows on desktops and laptops worldwide at the end of 2004, almost 21 percent were the aging Win 95, 98 and Millennium Edition releases." That equates to around 108 million copies being used."

so theres over 600 million pcs out there and only 1 million zombies? bullshit!

ps . and people said stable debian was old. ha!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?