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jerv's avatar

Has Microsoft created a zombie?

Asked by jerv (29154 points ) July 19th, 2010

Microsoft has just extended support for Windows XP SP3 until 2020. source

While I applaud this move in light of the high cost and relatively steep requirements of Windows 7 (not every PC user on Earth has a modern system, especially outside of the US) and the fiasco known as Vista, I cannot help but chuckle at the fact that there will be an actively supported Microsoft OS that will be old enough to vote before becoming officially dead.

What are your thoughts? Am I the only one to find humour here?

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14 Answers

judochop's avatar

Well I am not a fan of Apple and I probably never will be so this both excites me and makes me facepalm just a little.

gorillapaws's avatar

Unlike @judochop, I am a big fan of Apple. This is the type of thing that Apple would never do. They are much more likely to cut backwards compatibility and start fresh. It can be a major inconvenience at times, especially for businesses and IT people and probably goes a long way in explaining why Apple has such a small corporate market share relative to Microsoft.

That said, I think keeping legacy systems around as long as they do, probably slows down their ability to innovate and move forward which hurts them in other areas. GQ.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws I think it safe to say that Apple people have deeper pockets, or at least are more willing to spend vast amounts of money upgrading. Of course, upgrading hundreds or thousands of systems can get expensive real quick, so Apple’s price premium hurts them severely in that arena.

As for cutting backwards compatibility, I think that doing so in the computer world is an easy way to send people to the competition, especially those in less affluent areas of the world. That might explain the popularity of Linux, especially abroad; you can still use 30-year-old UNIX software under newer versions of Linux (at worse, you recompile the original source to get a new binary) and yet Linux is still innovating and moving forward, so I have a hard time buying that.

I will say that Apple, Microsoft, and the Linux community have very different ways of doing things though, and I can’t honestly say any of those three ways are wrong. Disagreeable maybe, but not outright wrong.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv You make good points. I would just like to offer up the example of LLVM/Clang as an example of how cutting the ties to the legacy code and starting fresh can be a helpful technique. It’s perhaps a bit too technical for this question, but by migrating away from GCC, and re-writing the C, C++, Objective-C parser/compiler/debugger from scratch they are able to do some really awesome things (some of which can’t yet be discussed publicly).

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Jerv

You are indubidably the quintessential geek! LMAO!

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws That is why I like open source; if they rewrite the compiler to take advantage of technological evolution, you can just make a new binary that takes advantage of new ways of doing things yet do so in a way that doesn’t leave people stranded.

@CaptainHarley My roommate is worse. He prefers running Linux in a terminal and often finds the whole mouse/menu/icon thing to be a crutch for the weak and/or lazy.

Zaku's avatar

I think it’s great that they will support XP that long. I wish they had supported Win98se longer. They are pretty different operating systems with different capabilities and styles, and I think it’s important to support the older thing. Seems like a big shift in the right direction compared to past policies, in my opinion.

I also think it’s too bad that any worthwhile software gets considered “dead” etc., though XP isn’t my favorite thing.

jerv's avatar

@Zaku Compared to past policies, it is a vast improvement, though not as cool a policy as Apple’s decision to give free cases to those who bought an iPhone 4 and refunds to those who bought cases. I know Microsoft offered free Vista->Win7 upgrades for a short time with conditions, but when it comes to issuing a Mea Culpa, Apple has Microsoft beat by a wide margin.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv they’re not even really cases. They’re $30 rubber-bands lol. I agree that giving free cases away is the right decision, but if they would’ve done it earlier, there wouldn’t be so much craziness about the whole thing. I mean christ, it even got its own “gate”—antennagate, lmao.

sorry, this was pretty off-topic

rawrgrr's avatar

@gorillapaws Haha but I believe that they said in their press conference that since they can’t make enough bumpers they’ll give you choices of other cases too.

HungryGuy's avatar

My old PC ran XP. I killed it and replaced it with Ubuntu Linux. I didn’t even bother creating a dual boot partition. I blew it away and never looked back. Linux runs like a charm on that old PC!

Now, my new PC runs Win 7. When I bought it, I had in the back of my mind that I’d replace Win 7 with Linux as well. But after using it, I really like Win 7. Unlike XP (which took a half hour from turn on until I got to the desktop, and another 15 minutes before it would even react “in a delayed action sort of way” to any mouse movement), I’m at the Win 7 desktop within seconds of turning on my PC AND ready to run!

jerv's avatar

I admit that Windows 7 is rather nice in a lot of ways, and it kept me from going 100% Penguin Power when I upgraded my hardware, but I never would’ve upgraded to Windows 7 if it wasn’t pre-installed on the machine I bought to replace my trusty old 3.4GHz Northwood P4.
However, when it came time to re-home that PC (I don’t believe in tossing them in the garbage; someone can use it after I am done) I became painfully aware of how many people had a system that was slower and less powerful than my 6-year-old rig. Of them, most see no problem with their current rig and thus no reason to upgrade, and the rest are not in a financial position to do so; those who are able and willing to upgrade have already done so.

That means that there are millions out there that would’ve otherwise been totally SOL next year that can now wallow in their obsolescence for another decade with full factory support :D Seriosly though, if that many computers were left unsecured, unmaintained, and unpatched, what would that do to the Internet as a whole?

HungryGuy's avatar

@jerv – Well, Microsoft or somebody finally got smart. Everyone knows that as Windows ages, the registry gets clogged up, and no matter how good your virus protection, spyware gradually sneaks in and gets a foothold and steals precious CPU cycles. Over the years, Windoze slowly earns it’s nickname.

But most machines these days have a special boot function that totally wipes the hard drive and re-installs Windows from scratch. Viruses gone! Registry back to default values. Good as new and back up to speed! It’s a chore to save your preferences, email, files, and apps, and then reinstall them all again after the refresh, but it’s the answer to Window’s Achilles heel.

bomyne's avatar

I think they are trying to stave off the take over attempts of Linux. Windows XP is widely regarded as a very decent operating system despite it’s age, better than Microsoft’s most recent OS…

In all seriousness though, i think it’s because XP is still overused today. Many businesses, government departments, and schools, not to mention end users, have not upgraded to Windows 7+ or it’s competitors. They are still using XP, because it just works… and governments especially are too lazy to upgrade to recent technology.

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