Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Save our XP

Wired reports: [edited]

Microsoft Corp.'s operating systems run most personal computers around the globe and are a cash cow for the world's largest software maker. But you'd never confuse a Windows user with the passionate fans of Mac OS X or even the free Linux operating system. Unless it's someone running Windows XP, a version Microsoft wants to retire.

Fans of the six-year-old operating system set to be pulled off store shelves in June have papered the Internet with blog posts, cartoons and petitions recently. They trumpet its superiority to Windows Vista, Microsoft's latest PC operating system.

Take, for instance, Galen Gruman. A longtime technology journalist, Gruman is more accustomed to writing about trends than starting them. But after talking to Windows users for months, he realized his distaste for Vista and strong attachment to XP were widespread.

"It sort of hit us that, wait a minute, XP will be gone as of June 30. What are we going to do?" he said. "If no one does something, it's going to be gone."

So Gruman started a Save XP Web petition, gathering since January more than 100,000 signatures and thousands of comments, mostly from die-hard XP users who want Microsoft to keep selling it until the next version of Windows is released, currently targeted for 2010.

In fact, most people who get a new computer will end up with Vista. In 2008, 94 percent of new Windows machines for consumers worldwide will run Vista, forecasts industry research group IDC. For businesses, about 75 percent of new PCs will have Vista. Although Microsoft may not budge on selling new copies of XP, it may have to extend support for it.

Al Gillen, an IDC analyst, estimated that at the end of 2008 nearly 60 percent of consumer PCs and almost 70 percent of business PCs worldwide will still run XP. Microsoft plans to end full support - including warranty claims and free help with problems - in April 2009.


Mr Bill said...

Strange isn't it- When XP came in and replaced '98, loads of people put off buying the new XP until many years later. Looks similar this time around.
I think the main reason is that only fast machines can run Vista to its full potential and therefore an upgrade in hardware is really required.
Having said that, it is also true that many programs do not like Vista still, and as the OS has nothing much more to offer than flashy graphics, XP seems like a good choice to stick with.
Funny - if you had produced this blog some years ago when XP had just come out it would have been a similar story.

I Wonder how long it will be until the corporates have to upgrade - their hardware is normally minimal spec and so Vista may not even run ;-)

I just bought another copy of XP to go back on a machine that had come with Vista on it :-(

brett jordan said...

:-), and XP probably cost nearly as much as the PC!

Skep said...

It goes deeper than that, Mr. Bill.

XP, like most Windows OSs was a rough starter. It had problems that made global warming look minor, and the first service pack was nothing to shout about either. The main purpose of the first service pack was to deactivate all hacked/copied/illigitimate installations of Windows XP, having known that The Devil's Own was released a complete 45 days before the official release date of XP. As a side-effect, it fixed a few minor problems, but left open some gaping huge ones, the largest of which being the ActiveX vulnerability that came with Internet Explorer 6 (part and package with XP.)
By this time, however, Firefox was released and protection against the eNasties was once again possible, making the O/S finally seem like a safe choice.

After that, the OS picked up some popularity and pretty much ran away with it. Service Pack 2 issued a few new problems, but they were all fixed by third-party software, and the OS was once again stable, usable, practical, and powerful.

Vista was Microsoft's attempt at OSX; a one-button-does-all, form-over-function, simple OS that looked great and worked even better. Their only problem was that they've never done it in their lives, and with absolutely zero experience in how it works, they completely cocked it up. The system requirements aren't high; they were absurd. If the operating system required that much, how well were games going to perform? How was simple software going to perform? I mean, without wanting to insult the designers, but for the one feature that 'required' that amount of hardware was absolutely pathetic, and could've been done entirely using a 2D rendering engine, saving on a *LOT* of system resources.
Furthermore, in such a headstrong effort to rid the user of all the 'confusing' menu bars and bits of text, they removed half of what regular Windows users need to bypass or diagnose any problems they have. Then there's the issue of permissions... and to be quite frank, I could rant on for hours about what the OS lacks as an attempt, but Vista is entirely incomparable to XP for an early-starting OS simply because the numerous problems that originally swamped XP were fixable. XP had bugs; Vista has problems.

I will never go back to Vista, under any circumstances. I'm even waiting on the third party translation for DirectX 10 to be made XP-compatible so I can get Shader Model 3.0 for my games.

Mr Bill said...

Yep - I was going to go much deeper, and say it was like an iceberg etc, but you put it more technical than I would have.

Ta Muchly.