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Firefox to Drop Pre-Windows 2000 Support

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the they-dropped-mac-os-9-long-ago dept.

491

cyclomedia writes "While more and more platforms are getting (or aiming for) Firefox ports, the trunk itself seems to be going the other way. In an effort to clean up the API calls used and reduce the codesize a patch was posted at Bugzilla removing support from pre-W2k versions of Windows. There's a fiery discussion going on over at the Mozillazine forums about this after a counter bug was filed. The official position appears to be that Firefox 3.0 will maintain this un-compatibility, but developers are, obviously, free to work on a separate Win 98 compatible 'port.'"

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Why not? (4, Insightful)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494088)

MS has basically stopped supporting pre-2000 so why shouldn't firefox? Anyone using their computer to browse the web with firefox should probably make sure they have 2000 or better just to keep the nasties out of their system.

Re:Why not? (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494118)

Nasties can only get in your system if you expose bad ports or use an insecure program to run it.

Up until now, the most secure thing for win 98 users (for whatever reason they are still using it) has been to sit behind a router and use firefox.

Knowing that firefox won't support them will be bad news in my eyes.

Additionally, aren't Win 2000 and Win xp less secure than running an old OS which doesn't have the available OS features which l33t virus people exploit?

Re:Why not? (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494234)

... for win 98 users (for whatever reason they are still using it)...

'Cause they don't want to pay for a new version or bother getting a pirate copy, or deal with the headaches of upgrading, and maybe it simply works for them and feel no obligation to change?

Additionally, aren't Win 2000 and Win xp less secure than running an old OS which doesn't have the available OS features which l33t virus people exploit?

All versions of Windows have holes which Microsoft will never fix. But no updates at all will ever come for very old versions. Holes in 98 will forever be there while with 2000 and XP you can at least still hope for fixes. AFAIK most significant exploits and virii are applicable to all versions of Windows since they share the majority of their code base (especially the Win32 API).

Re:Why not? (5, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494711)

'Cause they don't want to pay for a new version or bother getting a pirate copy, or deal with the headaches of upgrading, and maybe it simply works for them and feel no obligation to change?

I've personally never met anyone for whom Windows 98 Just Works. But I guess maybe that has something to do only being brought in when the Windows 98 shit hit the fan. Seriously though, who could still be running an original installation of Windows 98? Standard operating procedure for Win 98 pretty much dictates a fresh reinstall every so often anyway. Why not upgrade while you're at it?

What is it with Windows and legacy support, anyway? Only in the Windows world (it seems) do you get a significant number of people who stubornly refuse to give up their applications and OS from 1995. Well, I guess there might still be some Amiga users out there... ;-) IF they're happy with an OS from before 2000, they should be happy with a browser from 2006. Can they really expect developers to continue to support them?

-matthew

Re:Why not? (5, Funny)

zimus (68982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494511)

Up until now, the most secure thing for win 98 users (for whatever reason they are still using it) has been to sit behind a router and use firefox.

Actually, up until now the most secure thing for win98 users has been to leave the computer turned off, and unplugged from the wall.

Re:Why not? (4, Informative)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494614)

W98 support will be dropped for Firefox 3.0 because it's using Cairo (which does not build on W98

Firefox 3.0 is at least a year in the future, mid-2007 that is. If you haven't switched from W98 nearly 10 years after it's been released, you're asking for trouble no matter what.

Additionally, aren't Win 2000 and Win xp less secure than running an old OS which doesn't have the available OS features which l33t virus people exploit?

W98 is a piece of crap security wise.

Re:Why not? (5, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494154)

Pre-W2K systems are still in wide use in the home. I know this because my Computer Club regularly services them at PC Clinic [grc4.org] . Dropping support for pre-W2K systems puts Firefox in a bad position for these systems. We may have to look at Opera instead.

Re:Why not? (2, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494246)

Part of the argument for dropping Win9x support is that it doesn't run on Linux from 1995-1998 either.

I think its smart to drop support for Win9x; its a dead code base, and its numbers will only shrink.

Someone in the counter bug report got all huffy about using Win32 API calls (in response to another developer saying there are APIs that would help reduce code complexity alot, but can't use b/c its not compatible with 9x). I'm not sure what people expect; at some point, you're going to have to make calls to the OS, especially for a GUI app.

Re:Why not? (2, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494386)

I'd make the argument that I see, today, many more Windows machines from that era than Linux machines. Microsoft has actually done a better job with API backwards-compatibility than Linux has.

Sure, Linux still supports QMAGIC and ZMAGIC A.out binaries, but last time I wanted to run a binary from that era, I had to download and compile libc5. Open source is the only thing that keeps software from that era alive. (Else we wouldn't have QuakeForge, Twilight or DarkPlaces.)

Re:Why not? (4, Insightful)

SiChemist (575005) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494465)

I would say the main reason you don't see many machines running that vintage of Linux is that they could be upgraded to a newer version for free. I don't think there will ever be a large number of machines running an extremely obsolete version of a free operating system.

Re:Why not? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494594)

Also, newer versions of Windows have a significant increase in system requirements. For Linux, the increase is negligible.

Re:Why not? (3, Insightful)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494656)

For Linux, the increase is negligible.

While that may be true of the kernel, it is not true of the desktop
environments (Gnome, KDE, etc) or of any apps that make use of the
large widget libraries (qt, gtk, etc).

Re:Why not? (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494556)

As a possible counter-argument, OS/2 has (at least) two different actively maintained Firefox trees, multiple SeaMonkey trees, etc., and it (Warp 4) dates from 1996. :-)

Even if the official version stopped, though, I'm sure an unofficial one will appear. If the OS/2 folks can do it with their much smaller numbers, I'm sure the Win9x folks can do it.

Re:Why not? (1)

Bohemoth2 (179802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494155)

I don't understand the controversy either. Much of the problems in windows is due to backwards comatability considerations. Just dont upgrade to Firefox 3.0 thats all. plus you are always free to fix any bugs yourself.

Re:Why not? (1)

junir (969728) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494175)

As it says in the forum, Firefox is a browser for the masses. Many people still have 98 boxes at home.

Re:Why not? (2, Insightful)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494346)

Many people still have 98 boxes at home.
If they're content using an old operating system, then they will probably be content using an older browser. It's not like they can't use Firefox at all; they just won't be able to use 3.0, which won't come out for at least another year.

Re:Why not? (2, Insightful)

shotgunefx (239460) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494447)

I've got 9 PCs in my home.
3 older running 98se
2 Running XP

The rest running various linux distros.

Yeah, I could upgrade those 98 machines, but up until now, for the purposes they are used for, no reason to.

One of the 98se machines I use almost constantly, the others less often, I for one would be peeved if they dropped support.

As a matter of fact, I'm posting from one right now using FF.

Re:Why not? (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494555)

We truly feel sorry for you then. Somebody ought to work on that. I hated it too when I was using Firefox 1.07 and then Firefox 1.5 came out and suddenly version 1.07 just died on me. There's got to be a better way to write software so that when new versions come out the old versions just don't give up the ghost. Truly a terrible dilemma.

Re:Why not? (3, Funny)

JonLatane (750195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494493)

Expecting a version of Firefox to be released in 2007 to work on Win98 is like expecting lunchmeats produced in 2007 to work on bread made in 1998.

Re:Why not? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494185)

Anybody still using pre-Windows 2000 would be much better off using Ubuntu.

Re:Why not? (4, Interesting)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494380)

I use Windows 95 OSR2 on several boxes at home, and nasties don't happen. Why? Because OSR2 doesn't support many of the infection vectors present in newer Win32 flavors. It's too old.

Re:Why not? (1, Insightful)

daveewart (66895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494398)

[People should] make sure they have 2000 or better just to keep the nasties out of their system.

You realise that most network worms *only* affect Win2000 and WinXP, right? Win98SE is probably the most stable and least problematic version of Windows ever. Seriously.

LOL? (1, Funny)

billybob (18401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494498)

Win98SE is probably the most stable and least problematic version of Windows ever.

Man, that's the funniest thing I've read this week! Win98, the most stable version of Windows ever! HAHAHAHAH... Man, I'll be laughing all fucking day at that one!

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494518)

Most stable? You are completely batshit insane.

Re:Why not? (1)

codemachine (245871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494520)

It is nowhere near the most stable. However, it can be more secure, since it doesn't have all of those NT network services that worms can exploit with no user intervention.

For those of us who don't open up random emails and visit random websites, it is probably easier to stay virus and worm free on Win98.

Re:Why not? (1)

kailoran (887304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494550)

Sure, 98SE is way better that 95 or 98, and Me is piece of crap, but saying that 98SE is the most stable Windows ever is a bit of an exaggeration. Most stable non-NT Windows, ok, but it still has that wonderful ability to die for no apparent reason.

I had a W98 crash on me today. It went something along the lines of "Bad user, wants to access a network share, let's crash explorer"

Re:Why not? (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494602)

In my experience, the Win95 OSR2/OSR2.1/OSR2.5 variants are at least as stable as Win98. I prefer OSR2, personally.

Re:Why not? (1, Flamebait)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494566)

You realise that most network worms *only* affect Win2000 and WinXP, right? Win98SE is probably the most stable and least problematic version of Windows ever. Seriously.

Score: 4 Insightful? Holy crap, at best it should be Score: 4 Hilariously Funny.

Ignoring the laughably ridiculous stability comment, from a worm perspective the only factor that "saves" non-NT based Windows versions is a complete and utter lack of functionality. Worms generally target functional systems, and 98SE users seldom ran SQL Servers or Exchange boxes or network services, so they were "immune", but not because of any pinnacle of design. Of course users who ran IRC clients or messaging clients or simple file sharing or virtually any other listening service quickly found themselves owned.

Windows 98SE was the final polishing of a stinky piece of shit (I'm excluding Windows Me!, as it was adding peanuts to the shit). Revising history to paint it as a good point in the Windows legacy is outrageously ridiculous, and I'm agog that there were idiots that moderated it up.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494618)

oh please. i have both a w2k box and a win98se box and the win98se box has a far longer uptime than the 2000 box. saying win98se is a piece of shit is stupid. the win98 boxes dont have their filesystems crap out after a year of usage unlike win2k and are far better in practice to admin.

Re:Why not? (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494644)

Win98SE is probably the most stable and least problematic version of Windows ever


I respectfully disagree. The most stable version is XP SP2, in my opinion. However, I do agree with you sentiments. Win98SE was, in its day, a pretty good version of Windows. Certainly better than 95 or (the horrible) ME.

Re:Why not? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494683)

Yes there's no more stable and safe OS than Windows 98SE! Especially when you're on that OS whipping through internet at millions of bytes an hour! [start miming a snowball whipping through space at a million miles an hour.] Safe!

Re:Why not? (1)

lxt518052 (720422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494684)

If you leave your Win98SE running for a day or two, without doing any real work on it, it will get very slow in response. The OS gradually eats up all the memory until it shows you the BSOD. It's a common knowledge that pre-2000 Windows have serious memory leak in the OS. The faster your PC is, the sooner it shows you BSOD.

IMHO, a regularly patched Win2k with a decent firewall is a far better choice than obscure(to worms) Win98SE if you want your system to be stable and secure. And needless to say, on slashdot, Linux is even better.

Re:Why not? (1)

Kainaw (676073) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494725)

Win98SE is probably the most stable and least problematic version of Windows ever. Seriously.

I never had any stability or security problems on my Windows 3.11 office network. I think that would give Windows 98SE a run for most stable and least problematic.

Re:Why not? (1)

bubbl07 (777082) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494499)

Assuming it were true that the 2k/XP version of Windows keeps the nasties out better than pre-2k environments, where do you draw the line? If one really wanted to keep the nasties out, he/she could just not use a Windows OS altogether. This is about convenience and the exorbitant prices of licenses on Windows OS's. Sure, it's inconvenient to switch to *nix (for example), but then so would upgrading from Windows 95/98 to 2k/XP for those who don't want to pay for the license or for the less technologically-savvy (for whom the upgrade process may be beyond). Of course, this is assuming that the less tech-savvy will not obtain a pirated version of Windows.

shrug (5, Interesting)

aleksiel (678251) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494104)

i'd be hard pressed to find someone who runs anything pre-win2000 as their main/only computer and also has technical sense enough to want to use firefox.

Re:shrug (2, Interesting)

timelorde (7880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494190)

Me, for one. Older hardware, still in decent shape. No reason to throw it away just yet.

Factory-installed Win 98. IE used only for windows update. Internally, it might be swiss cheese, but it runs so few services (and it's protected by an external firewall), it's probably more secure than the older "NT" derivatives...

And it's "too slow" for the kids. No Flash, IM, iTunes, etc.

I NEED MUH FIREFOXEN!
 

Re:shrug (2, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494267)

No one is saying throw it away. But to expect an application to support your legacy junk is unreasonable. You can still use Firefox, you just won't be able to upgrade after a certain point.

If you want to keep running your old hardware on your almost 10 year old OS, go ahead, but don't keep everyone else back that wants to move forward by demanding FF to support you.

Re:shrug (1)

aleksiel (678251) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494286)

but are you using it as your primary box or just one you don't want to toss yet?

Re:shrug (1)

lpcustom (579886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494290)

You won't lose your FIREFOXEN! You just can't upgrade to the newest version. hehe
Nevermind I'm not going to post this.....
ah hell why not.....

Re:shrug (3, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494350)

I NEED MUH FIREFOXEN!

There's no logic bomb that says that NEXT YEAR when FF 3.0 is realeased, FF 2.0.x suddenly stop running on Win98.

Re:shrug (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494533)

My work uses only win98 and win95 because newer versions of windows won't connect to the server. We don't have the $30-40 thousand dollars to blow on a new windows or linux setup.(while the server software is available for linux the front end software require windows).

Firefox is the only browser that we can use safely. it's not like we can trust IE. with the firewall I have kempt viruses to a minimum and spyware is an occasional hassle.

So there's a dozen machines for you. Why because they haven't had hardware failures. Personally I have never used XP for anything longer than 5 minutes. I never trusted it.

How can I let win95 and win98 float around work. easy all viruses are written for tech that's in win2k and above. and while there are security holes all around nobody's using it anymore.

So why should we spend money we don't have, to upgrade to virus filled software and complex licensing?

Re:shrug (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494729)

You don't need to upgrade your machines. When FF 3.0 comes out and doesn't support your platform, just continue to use FF 2.x (or whatever the last version to support Win9x happens to be).

However, you might consider setting up a test box with Linux and Wine to see if you can use your win9x-only software under Wine. If only to know what your real options are.

One way to go... (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494110)

Deciding on when to drop compatibility can be a tough problem. I think a good policy would be to drop support for an OS when support from that OS has been dropped by the vendor. In Windows' case I believe the majority of home users are on XP while the majority of office users are on XP or 2000. So it would seem reasonable to drop support for the older OSs.

The last version of Firefox to support 98 and earlier should be kept up for easy download.

Re:One way to go... (1)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494310)

I agree. While I surf primarily with Firefox on Ubuntu Linux, I still have a Win98 partition around for some games. I personally wouldn't mind if they dropped support for 9x. They should still keep it up for download though. Some security fixes could always be back-ported for that branch, the same way the Linux kernel 2.4.x still gets some back-ported features from 2.6.x. Or GTK+2 2.8, 2.6, 2.4 or Gnumeric 1.6, 1.4, etc.)

Its true that a sizable number have moved on to Linux but quite a number like me, still keep a Win98 as a secondary OS. (For testing, playing, or maybe just nostalgia.) I'm hard-pressed to find someone who still uses it as a _primary_ OS though.

Re:One way to go... (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494332)

The last version of Firefox to support 98 and earlier should be kept up for easy download.

What is your security vulnerability threshold? Though the vulnerabilities in the OS itself may dwarf anything exposed by the browser, there is still some ethical question about enabling possible stupid behavior.

The increasing availability of free, robust, svelte GNU/Linux distributions might offer a better alternative than metaphorically sticking forks in the electrical outlet with an old Windows version.

Re:One way to go... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494502)

The real key is there needs to be security patches to the old version IMO

Exactly (1)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494514)

You hit the nail on the head. 1.5 should be made available for awhile and security bugs should be fixed. By the time 3.0 comes out, many of those machines are going to be approaching almost 10 years old. Do you really expect a computer you buy today to run new software while keeping the exact same OS? It's one thing to update all the software on 10 year old hardware. But it isn't realistic to think you can have a hybrid of a 10 year old OS with a modern day browser.

Do you want to live forever? (1)

orangeguru (411012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494112)

I would like to see current user numbers? Windows 95/98/Me can't be big anyway. Maybe it's time for these people to upgrade or buy a new machine. There isn't much NEW software that supports these setups anyway. And anyone who is using them simply might be stuck with FF1.5. So what? You can't have all the new technologies on a five or ten year old machine / OS.

Re:Do you want to live forever? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494157)

There's about 10x more Windows 98 users on the Internet than there are Linux desktop users. So the numerical argument doesn't fly.

It's a technical decision -- Win98 doesn't support the transparancy APIs or something like that.

Re:Do you want to live forever? (0, Flamebait)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494327)

So you mean to say that 50% of the users are still on 98 and earlier... the only relevant statistics I could find was 16% in 2004. Those machines have been dropping like flies since then in my experience.

Re:Do you want to live forever? (1)

jferris (908786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494471)

Ummm... Not even close. Based upon browsing statistics, one source shows the usage of Windows 98 is down to less than two percent as of April of this year, and falling like Vonage stock.


W3Schools Browser Statistics [w3schools.com]

You're welcome.

Re:Do you want to live forever? (1)

ostiguy (63618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494721)

Those statistics are for web developers. Do you seriously think 1.9% of the web browsing universe is running tweaked copies of Windows 2003 *server* as a desktop OS?

Re:Do you want to live forever? (1)

Leffe (686621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494396)

FFox 2.0 will support Windows 98.

Re:Do you want to live forever? (2, Informative)

Ambidisastrous (964023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494706)

Current numbers:

W3Schools Browser Stats [w3schools.com]

This says that as of April 2006, the site had the following OS breakdown:

WinXP W2000 Win98 WinNT W2003 Linux Mac
74.0% 11.2% 1.8% 0.3% 1.9% 3.3% 3.6%

Obviously this is not a totally valid study for the Internet as a whole (it also says 25% of the browsers in April were Firefox), but if we say the W3Schools demographic is about the same as the Firefox demographic, and also consider the user base for Win98 is dropping by about .2% per month, then the developers really shouldn't feel too guilty about not adding new features for Win98 users after v2.0.

On a related note, is there another free browser out there that specifically tries to be compatible with as many EOL'd OSes as possible?

I like pie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494115)

It is so warm on my shorn scrotum.

Mmmm... pie.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494362)

Stop, you're making me hungry!

Typical Microsoft mindset (3, Insightful)

hausmaus (684529) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494130)

It seems to me that the developers of Firefox have fallen down the same pothole-filled path that Microsoft has - forget about your past, focus only on the future. As an guy who does quite a bit of home-based computer repair, I see a lot of people who are NOT using Windows XP and are using older versions of Windows (pre-2000 - I use W2K myself). What's happening to Firefox is that it's getting splintered apart slowly. I wouldn't be suprised to have four or five distinct versions of FF in the next few years (note I'm not saying ports, but distinct versions).

Firefox is already much slower-loading that it used to be a few years ago, loaded with a lot of things that probably aren't really necessary. Not all of us require the latest and greatest thing to do what we need to do and I feel that the developers of FF have lost touch of that, being driven by feature creep and "keeping up with the neighbors" mentality.

Re:Typical Microsoft mindset (1)

entmike (469980) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494172)

I find it absolutely hilarious that you found a way to bash Microsoft in your subject line.

Re:Typical Microsoft mindset (1)

hausmaus (684529) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494633)

I find it absolutely hilarious that you found a way to bash Microsoft in your subject line.

Just because I use MS products doesn't mean I have to necessarily like the company. I don't like having to support major oil companies when I drive, but I do because I have to drive where I'm at.

But if I can make a little statement when I can, it makes me feel better.

Re:Typical Microsoft mindset (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494208)

I see the exact opposite. Windows XP still runs DOS programs. How often do you use that? None is as bad as Microsoft about holding on to the past.
As a programmer I understand why the developers of Firefox are doing this. Win 95, 98, and Me are actually pretty different from NT, 2000, and XP. They use a different code base and have a lot of different APIs.
At the company I work at we have just also ended support for the 95-Me code base. It was getting too hard to support both the new OS and those old and insecure OSs.

Re:Typical Microsoft mindset (1)

tradiuz (926664) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494358)

You, sir, need to turn in your geek badge. Aparantly, you don't play NetHack [nethack.org] or ADOM [www.adom.de]

Re:Typical Microsoft mindset (1)

codemachine (245871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494616)

> It was getting too hard to support both the new OS and those old and insecure OSs.

Yeah, best to stick to supporting those new and insecure OSs instead.

Re:Typical Microsoft mindset (1)

hausmaus (684529) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494701)

Windows XP still runs DOS programs. How often do you use that?

Man, you asked the WRONG person. [bg] I write BBS doors in DOS! I use it all the time. In fact, OMG, I even use OS/2! Isn't that scary? As a programmer I understand why the developers of Firefox are doing this. Win 95, 98, and Me are actually pretty different from NT, 2000, and XP. They use a different code base and have a lot of different APIs.

Yes, I do understand this. I do some Windows programming also and I understand the difference in APIs, et al. At the company I work at we have just also ended support for the 95-Me code base. It was getting too hard to support both the new OS and those old and insecure OSs.

ME was terrible - I'll grant you that - but there's still a lot of people using 95/98 that I know (my BBSing hobby nonwithstanding).

My point is this: FF is getting a bit bloated for me. Too many goodies, too much cruft. No one really needs all of the goodies...or maybe I'm just one who likes my programs to load in under 20 seconds.

Re:Typical Microsoft mindset (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494230)

I see a lot of people who are NOT using Windows XP and are using older versions of Windows (pre-2000 - I use W2K myself).

Since you're the one doing their repair, have you considered installing Linux/BSD OS for them? that's what i do when people with old machines demand good software. They don't even need to worry about games since those machines don't have the necessary horsepower to play them.

It basicly all goes like this:
- Can you repair my PC?
- Sure bring it over... ouch, that's quite an old piece.
- Yes, but it does everything i need. At least it used to before windows got corrupted (somehow).
- Look, i don't have the old software to get it running again, but there is some new software that will allow you to do everything you used to do, it just looks a bit different.
- Different?(starts sweating) i just want to use Word and play Solitair... i don't need anything new, can't you just give me my old windows?
- if you have the CD sure... oh let me guess you pirated it?(looks dumbly and doesn't know what pirating is.) Look i'll show you the thing i wanna install and you tell me if you like it.
- (Agrees) /me inserts DSL or some XFC live cd into his own computer and shows the guy around
(20 minutes later everything is installed and he can happily play solitair again)

Way better alternative than using the old Windows98/95/Me/3.11 isn't it? and they don't even need to repair their pc every few weeks anymore. no viruses, no spam....

consider this for your customers/friends who run old machines.

Re:Typical Microsoft mindset (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494345)

Seriously, this isn't a bad idea.

Anyone still on 95/98/ME probably isn't much of a gamer anyway, if they are playing any games then there's a very good chance that it's been the same one or two for years and you can likely get those working in Wine/Dosbox/Cedega.

And most major Linux distros are better at pretty much everything else than pre-Win2k Windows is...

Put Ubuntu on there, spend the 30 minutes it takes to make sure that all their hardware is working and that multimedia will work properly (install mp3 support, set up their printer, that kind of thing), and you're done. Put a couple of their games on there if they want them. Might never hear from them again, barring a busted hard drive some time down the road.

Re:Typical Microsoft mindset (1)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494573)

I third this.

Hell, if they have DSL/Cable/Whatever, I tend to install NX, and SSH; enable remote access for a particular account (with my password). Open a port in their firewall, and have the machine phone home to setup a DDNS name for me (so_and_so.remoteaccess.mydyndns.com) .

If I really like 'em I'll even throw in a new-ish motherboard (currently running around the cheapest "good" stuff I can get in my area, which is Athlon XP 2000+ to 3000+ type stuff).

As I've said in other discussions, I don't do Windows support anymore. If you're grandfathered in, I'll give it a good one-two (but I won't reformat), but if I tell you my "view", and you go ahead and purchase a new system with XP, I won't support it.

On the other hand, with either Linux or OS X I'll do remote support, and I'll work my ass off to get it working properly and to your satistfaction. MS has marketing dollars, but Linux and OS X have my grass-roots marketing support.

Ethical Capitalism and Libertarianism is not about $$ at all costs; it's about voting with your dollar, helping out those around you, and expressing your social and economic preferences in your microeconomic decision making.

I've probably done 10 of these Linux conversions so far, and in only one case has the person reverted to Windows. (Apparently the college IT people told her Linux was a joke operating system) Subsequently, that person gave up, reversed, and asked someone else to put a pirated XP on their system.

After 3 months, she asked me for help, got the, "You're on your own, sorry", and purchased a Mac. Hasn't ever been happier.

Re:Typical Microsoft mindset (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494619)

I fourth this. (I just want to see how long we can make this chain)

Misleading title (1, Informative)

popeyethesailor (325796) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494136)

Pre-Windows 2000 will also include Windows NT, which is still supported. Only W98 support is dropped.

Re:Misleading title (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494159)

A better title would then be "Windows 9x Support Dropped", as presimably versions prior to Windows 95 were never supported in the first place.

Sorry, wrong. (4, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494197)

9x/ME/NT support is dropped. Check the Bugzilla bug linked to in the article, it states it right in the title.

Re:Sorry, wrong. (1)

popeyethesailor (325796) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494377)

I guess you're right, Mea culpa. It seems some of the gfx work depends on win2k APIs, so NT4 is out.

News: Microsoft no longer supports Windows 98 (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494149)

Excuse me? people are still using Windows 98?
Melenium is a joke anyway, so i suppose they are talking about 98/95... 3.11 maybe?

last time i checked everybody was happy with me installing Debian on their legacy hardware since it works way better than(arguably) any version of windows.
Software support is also there. There aren't any games needed for so old computers anyway.

Way to go Mozilla, focus on the stuff that matters(and one thing that doesn't matter is software that microsoft itself no longer supports)

Excuse Me? (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494366)

I have several computers at home. One "Windows box". It runs Windows 98se. Its a Compaq PII 400 with 128MB. It runs Microsoft Office, Web browsing, email. Just fine (except for inserting TIFF pictures from the scanner).

You want me to dumpster this, invest in a new box -- and why? Because it doesn't matter. I guess you don't have much of a "green streak". After all, this computer MAY run Windows XP, but I am pretty sure it won't do it well. Besides, I have no need for that upgrade.

In fact, the ONLY software I need "upgraded" on a regular basis on this box is the web browser. As long as this is done, the machine is viable.

Ratboy

Re:Excuse Me? (2, Informative)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494570)

You want me to dumpster this, invest in a new box -- and why?

I believe the gp actually said you should install Linux on it, not dumpster it.

He recommends Debian, but if you don't know a Linux guru, I recommend Xubuntu. You can try out the live cd and see if you like it without hurting Windows.

Re:Excuse Me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494576)

Similarly, my girlfriend's parents' machine which I am unfortunate enough to have to support also runs Windows 98 (it's a similar spec Compaq to yours). Indeed, the only things that regularly need updating are Firefox/Thunderbird and the virus definitions.

Why on earth should they be expected to buy a new machine? It works fine for what they use it for (web, mail, Office) and causes a fraction of the number of problems that her brother's machine (which runs XP does).

I guess I'll be switching them to Opera.

Yes (1)

billybob (18401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494596)

There comes a time when legacy support just isn't viable anymore. It's really hard to move forward when you constantly have to support old outdated junk like Win98. Microsoft doesn't even support Win98 anymore. It reminds me of when Apple dropped the floppy drive with the introduction of the iMac. People shit bricks but it needed to be done, and now look where we are. I haven't had a floppy drive in any of my computers for probably 6 years now, and I don't miss the sumbitches at all.

Pre-2K ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494160)

Windows Millenium cannot be considered as a pre-2K Operating System since it was relased *after* Windows 2000.

Re:Pre-2K ? (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494400)

Windows Millenium can barely be considered as an Operating System.

Then the 98 people will all move to Linux! (3, Interesting)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494169)

I dunno, it's what people said when they found out IE7 wouldn't support 98.

I guess it's a little mean to the 98 people, but I think it's reasonable. It's hard to support a lot of platforms, and with Vista coming out that would have been 4+ Windows platforms to support without dropping 9x. Also, since it's open-source, there's plenty of opportunity for people to make a fork designed just for Win9x if there's enough interest. 9x people should really upgrade though. Win2k, FYI, is one of the easiest Windows to pirate. There's a hack that someone found to make the CD not even ask you for a key to install. I'm sure most of the ISOs at http://www.isohunt.com/ [isohunt.com] have it, if anyone needs it. Or here's [ubuntu.com] another place to get your upgrade.

Re:Then the 98 people will all move to Linux! (4, Funny)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494320)

I guess it's a little mean to the 98 people
I'm not sure if this means "people who use Windows 98" or "the 98 people who uses Windows 98," but I think I'm going to go with the latter.

Re:Then the 98 people will all move to Linux! (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494451)

You'd be surprised how many people are still using Windows 98.

i don't understand (2, Insightful)

Xamedes (843781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494236)

why there is no abstraction layer for previous version of windows. so for examples if something uses new features of windows xp/2000/2003 there would be a sandbox application in windows 9x which simulates the possibilities of the higher system

Re:i don't understand (2, Funny)

Jaruzel (804522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494351)

Because then, no-one would upgrade. Upgrading = More Money for MS/Intel/Dell

Hell I'd love to try out Windows 3.1 with the abstraction layer that emulates Aero Glass! Watch my i386 become l33t before your very eyes!

-Jar.

Necessary bummer (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494279)

This hurts, especially for people like me who like keeping a few older machines running, but I can see why they would do it. As much as I love running old hardware with the best software possible, these days anyone keeping a W95 or 98 box running for nerd purposes could just as easily throw a lite Linux install together for it.

It is a bit sad for our grandparents who've been running the same old machine for AOL purposes since the stone age, but it's high time we built them some new Athlon boxes anyhow. Plus, once updated we could get them into some new technological wonders. [publicdomaintorrents.com]

Re:Necessary bummer (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494347)

Just install Linux on it, geez. Do you really have that many legacy apps that can't be run with the current version of wine?

Re:Necessary bummer (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494646)

Just install Linux on it, geez. Do you really have that many legacy apps that can't be run with the current version of wine?

That's all well and good functionality-wise, but try telling a classic car enthusiast who keeps an antique Ford roadster running perfectly that it'd be much easier and cheaper to just get a new Toyota.

W3Schools says pre-2k only 2.1% (1)

Mini-Geek (915324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494303)

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.a sp [w3schools.com]
Read the stats for yourself...or just read it right here.
2006 WinXP W2000 Win98 WinNT W2003 Linux Mac
April 74.0% 11.2% 1.8% 0.3% 1.9% 3.3% 3.6%

It shows that only 2.1% of people are Win98 or WinNT. That means that the other 97.9% will be unaffected by this.

Re:W3Schools says pre-2k only 2.1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494340)

mod parent informative

Um...no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494522)

No, if there was such a thing, mod grandparent uninformative.

w3schools is a web developer site. Now tell me, would you expect the stats from a site for web developers to have an accurate reading of the OS/browser usage of the general public?

Re:W3Schools says pre-2k only 2.1% (2, Insightful)

werelord (562191) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494515)

How skewed can you get?? W3Schools is not a good representation of the people out on the web. The only people that will go to this site are those that are savy (like /.ers); your average everyday person (many of which still run 98) will not visit this site, and their numbers will not be reflective in the total.

My company's statistics list 98 and below ranging from 12%-20%. On a daily basis. Again, ours is skewed to the non-technical user. But its not 2.1%.

Your best bet is to use statistics from major portals, Yahoo, MSN, Google, etc, ones that will give a good random sampling rather than a random sampling of a specific demographic.

Re:W3Schools says pre-2k only 2.1% (1)

codemachine (245871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494587)

Others have pointed out the flaws in using w3schools for stats.

I'll point out one other problem with the logic, which is the fact that using your arguments, they should just drop Linux instead, which is probably a lot more work to code for than another Windows variant, and would mean that 96.7% of users are unaffected.

Heck, why should anyone port anything beyond the Windows world, when 93.1% of users in your sample size use an OS based on Win32?

Then again, the flaw in my own logic is that the percentages for win98 are bound to be falling, whereas Linux and Mac appear to be on the rise.

Re:W3Schools says pre-2k only 2.1% (3, Interesting)

Sancho (17056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494650)

You can't play the statistics card to win this one, unfortunately.

Only 3.3% of people are using Linux. Might as well drop support for them, too.
And who's maintaining a Mac build for only 3.6% of the population? WTF?

Re:W3Schools says pre-2k only 2.1% (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494703)

And Windows 98, NT users won't be affected either. Firefox version 1.whatever that they have installed is not going to disappear in a puff of smoke. But moving to W2K and above has a positive effect on such things as localization & Unicode, since Win98 & ME never supported it. In theory you could build Firefox in pure Unicode mode now and not only would it be marginally faster but it would also be far better internationalization.

At the same time, I wonder if Firefox shouldn't dump W2K as well or at least plan for it. Versions of Windows prior to XP don't have a theme engine to exploit. That means Firefox when draws a button in XUL, it has to emulate the "classic" Windows theme using stylesheets and graphics. If they could dump this it would make it considerably easier to maintain the skin and decrease the download size as well.

Sounds reasonable. (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494334)

If there is demand for it, I suppose log term support of 1.5 specifically tailored to the pre-Win2K versions of windows can be done. And if there is really good support (corporate-level, maybe), a separate build taking out all Win2K+ cruft from the 1.5 branch can be done for smaller download sizes.

Truthfully, I don't see that much support. :-)

Re:Sounds reasonable. (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494401)

If there is demand for it...

If there is demand for it, then it would be a nice little cash-earner for some university student. 3.0 comes out, has 9x-related bugs, the student fixes them, says "when I receive [x] amount in donations, I'll release the fixes".

Remember this is open-source software, you don't have to put up with whatever the copyright holder decides.

pfeh (1)

Peartree (199737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494468)

no one should be using pre-2000 anyway

Nothing to worry about. (2, Insightful)

jZnat (793348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494548)

Firefox 3.0 is a long way away, and there's still Firefox 2.0 along with its security releases through Firefox 3.0's early lifetime as well. By the time 3.0 is absolutely necessary, the pre-2K computers could have already upgraded to Ubuntu [ubuntu.com] .

Battling legacy browsers winner: Firefox (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494572)

Even if pre-NT OSs are not supported in the future, legacy versions of Firefox will be still be useful to people using old OSs.

Imagine the scenario.. for work, you are stuck on a Win98 PC, PII 333 Mhz. Yes, there is quite a few workplaces that still use kit like this. For the sake of argument, and website limitations aside, let's say you have the choice of Firefox 1.0.x or MSIE 5.5.

I'd take Firefox. Every time.

Re:Battling legacy browsers winner: Firefox (1)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494681)

"I'd take Firefox. Every time." ...Running on Xubuntu. I just install Xu a few days ago for the first time - it's got an amazingly small footprint and works awesome on an old PII 500 we have here. Seriously, if you haven't tried this on older hardware, get the 6.06 version. Simply great!

Oh, and of course it runs the newest versions of Firefox.

Good! (3, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494591)

What's wrong with this? Does anyone care if Firefox runs on 7 year old Linux distributions? No. Do Mac users care if an application still runs on OS 9? No. There is no reason why anyone should be running anything less than Win 2k. If they are, they certainly shouldn't expect to be able to run the latest and greatest of software. If they are OK with an OS older than 2000, they should be OK running a browser version stuck in 2006. I say clean up the code and drop legacy support. Don't make Microsoft's mistake.

-matthew
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