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posted by n1 on Wednesday April 09 2014, @10:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the have-things-really-improved dept.

Yesterday Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. While many users and even businesses continue to cling to the venerable OS there will be no further security updates and even with active anti-virus and malware protection, many users will be left unsecure reports the LA Times and various other news outlets.

There are some exceptions for the right customers.

The UK and Dutch governments have paid Microsoft multiple millions to extend support for Windows XP past the 8 April cutoff date.

The UK extension cost £5.5m but is only valid for a year, after which public-sector users will have to be moved to newer software.

Related Stories

UK.gov Still Running XP--but Without Support Agreement 21 comments

El Reg reports UK.gov confirms it's binned extended Windows XP support

The [UK government] signed up for Microsoft's OS [...] support service--aka a Custom Support Agreement--last year, but a recent meeting of government Technology Leaders decided enough is enough. A post on the Government Technology Blog says the Leaders "took a collective decision to not extend the support arrangement for 2015".

A support agreement that ended in April was therefore not renewed.

[...] An [undisclosed] number of agencies are still running XP, at least on some machines, leading the government digital service to suggest "We expect most remaining government devices using Windows XP will be able to mitigate any risks, using the CESG guidance."

[...] As we've reported, agencies including the Metropolitan Police, the [National Health Service], and [Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs] are still to finish XP migration projects.

Related: Microsoft Ends Support for Windows XP


[Editor's Comment: Original Submission]

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by WizardFusion on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:09AM

    by WizardFusion (498) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:09AM (#28702) Journal

    I think it's disgusting that any government had to pay, they had plenty of time to migrate off to any other OS.
    .
    Second, I don't think there is going to be this big "end-of-the-world" type issue for everyone still using Windows XP. This sort of exaggeration reminds me of the Year 2000 issue that never was.
    .
    There are still updates available for Windows Server 2003, which uses the same codebase as XP, and yes hackers can use these hotfixes to find the weaknesses in XP, but I don't think it's going to be as bas as everyone says.
    .
    I still run a few Windows XP virtual machines in my homelab, just because I can run them happily doing specific jobs with 384mb RAM. Try doing that with Windows 7/8.1, or any server versions.
    Yes I could use Linux, but I am a Windows guy. I never got on with Linux other than with tinkering a bit.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @12:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @12:59PM (#28744)

      Yes I could use Linux

      You have said so!

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ngarrang on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:24PM

      by ngarrang (896) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:24PM (#28756) Journal

      You, sir, might be the exception to many XP users. The problem is with the Average Man, Joe User, Grandma, Uncle and anyone else you know that is not a "computer expert" and might call FireFox by the name of "Internet Explorer" or "that E program I use to read FaceBook".

      THESE people are the problem, and they are legion.

      THESE people are not keeping their anti-malware up-to-date, if they are even running one. I have fixed way too many computers for home users that thought they were protected by the Norton Anti-Virus that came on their computer, but they had never actually subscribed to updates. They just assumed it was still working.

      And before you get all elitist and think "well, they just need to..." just slap your mouth and shut the hell up. Don't hold the average user up to your level of expertise. Our job as the Techno-Elite is to hold their hands and guide these people out of the dark and into the light, to protect them from themselves. And why should we do this?

      I am maintaining my prediction that this year, we will see a massive outbreak of zombie computers, an infestation previously unseen, all because Microsoft will not have released patches to fix the remaining security problems with XP and IE8. We are going to see an increase in DDOS attacks. I predict that this year is going to be good for techs willing to do home support. Have your copies of Linux handy. Have every version of XP at the ready to re-install. Be armed with an install of an anti-malware that is free and actively supported. You are going to be a very busy boy or girl.

      If you are a Techno-Elite worth your weight in salt, you will help these people, not stick your nose up at them, because their future zombie PC is going to make us all suffer greatly.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:50PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:50PM (#28777)

        Hopefully the ISPs will wise up and block customers whose machines are hosting malware.

        • (Score: 1) by archshade on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:20PM

          by archshade (3664) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:20PM (#28851)

          Hopefully the ISPs will wise up and block customers whose machines are hosting malware.

          I hope not, the relationship I want with my ISP is I give them money*, and in return they carry packets between me and the person there addressed to. I don't want them to look at the content. I do not want them to work out what is important. I don't want them to mirror a site for me. I just want them to move the data backward and forward. There is no reason to expect them to look at anything but the to address. If they are scanning for bad packets coming from infected hosts, then they must be scanning good traffic (until they do they don't know if the traffic is good or bad).

          *Actually I do not want to give them money but there not going to do there bit if I don't

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:41PM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:41PM (#28864)

            If you're engaged in illegal acts, the ISP has not only the right but the responsibility to block you. Taking part in a DDOS is absolutely a crime.

          • (Score: 2) by hamsterdan on Wednesday April 09 2014, @07:04PM

            by hamsterdan (2829) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @07:04PM (#28998)

            "If they are scanning for bad packets coming from infected hosts, then they must be scanning good traffic (until they do they don't know if the traffic is good or bad). "

            Not how it works. Your ISP will call you when they receive a complaint about your IP address. If they can't reach you, they will cutoff the modem until you call back.

          • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Wednesday April 09 2014, @09:51PM

            by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @09:51PM (#29122) Journal

            *Actually I do not want to give them money but there not going to do there bit if I don't

            I see what you did their.

      • (Score: 2) by WizardFusion on Wednesday April 09 2014, @02:02PM

        by WizardFusion (498) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 09 2014, @02:02PM (#28784) Journal

        Although I am part of the "tech-elite", I hate users. I hate dealing with them so much I specifically told my current employer in my job interview that I will not support them. I am a third-line wintel server tech-elite. I don't get to talk to users at all. My colleagues on the other hand are sometimes just as bad as users.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by oodaloop on Wednesday April 09 2014, @02:21PM

          by oodaloop (1982) <jkaminoffNO@SPAMzoho.com> on Wednesday April 09 2014, @02:21PM (#28790)

          And users hate dealing with stuck up elitist assholes, so I guess this is a win-win.

          --
          Many Bothans died to bring you this comment.
      • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Thursday April 10 2014, @04:23AM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Thursday April 10 2014, @04:23AM (#29249) Journal

        I agree with ONE exception...you CANNOT just "fix" WinXP and IE 8, because there is a fundamental design flaw that simply cannot be fixed. What is that design flaw? Simple, the OS was designed to allow easy migration from win98SE which was a single user 16/32bit hybrid with NO security to speak of. Because of this XP was designed to always be run as administrator and I can tell from from MUCH experience fighting the damned things that most consumer XP programs will NOT let you run as a limited user! They will crash, they will hang, they just won't run worth a shit.

        So I'm sorry but all you are doing is putting bandaids on bullet wounds. ANY computer built in the last 7-8 years should have very little difficulty running Windows 7, hell I have ran it on a 2003 Sempron with 1.2Gb of RAM and while it was slow to start (which I blame on the weak sauce 5400RPM IDE drive) once it was booted? Purred like a kitten. And any of the late P4s or Athlon64s on up should have zero trouble running it like a champ.

        And for the usual "just use Linux" fanboys we usually get...what makes you think those XP boxes belong to programmers? if and ONLY IF they have a member in the family skilled at bash, Googling for fixes, and tweaking bash scripts can they run Linux, otherwise the first upgrade they are gonna end up with broken drivers and be just screwed. look up "The Hairyfeet challenge" if you want to try this for yourself but i can tell you that NOT ONE could pass that test, which simulates what an average home user will experience over just 5 years, less than half the age of XP. Not Ubuntu, Mint, PCLOS, Fedora (don't look at me like that, I had a fanboy insist Fedora could so i tried it to shut him up, result? Wireless gone first upgrade, sound the second) no matter which one of the supposedly "user friendly" distros you try it ALWAYS fails. Remember we are talking about Joe and Jane average, folks that can't fix it if its not "clicky clicky" simple and sometimes not even then.

        Final verdict? MSFT SHOULD be offering win 7 and Win 8.1 Home for $50 to anybody with an XP key just to get them off the thing, but MSFT can't fix the OS without completely gutting it and starting over, hell look at how much hate Vista got for all the XP programs that balked at not having admin everything.

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:20AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:20AM (#29272) Homepage

          So I looked up the Hairyfeet Challenge, and... I see it's made the big time!

          http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/75498.html [linuxinsider.com]

          I'd say the CLI is not dead, but in today's computing world we cannot expect average users to struggle with it.

          I've suggested a solution many times, and got nothing but derision from the fanboys:
          Linux needs a hybrid config tool, where one can use a GUI like Win config tools use, and simultaneously see what is changed in the config textfile.(This can't be too complicated to code; HTML editors have done it for going-on 20 years.) That way the confused have a simple tool, while the interested have a chance to learn what they really just did. But noooo, in linux either you're a total expert who never needs anything but vi and bash, or you're a total ninny who can't be trusted away from the GUI. There's no provision for the user who falls between.

          --
          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
          • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Thursday April 10 2014, @06:15AM

            by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Thursday April 10 2014, @06:15AM (#29296) Journal

            Hell I once wrote an article "What I need to be able to support your product" or something like that where I laid out frankly the most common sense stuff you could think of, like a guarantee of the drivers not changing for 5 years, a "help!" button that would be staffed by volunteers that could help them with newbie problems, a "rollback drivers" button (which has existed in windows since Windows 2000, we're talking 14 fricking years ago) and what did I get for pointing out what should only be common sense? I got told I was a shill, that "it works for me!", that those problems didn't actually exist, and that "they should embrace the power of CLI"...I LOLed damned hard at THAT one, you'd think that a command line interface was the fricking force instead of a GUI from the 70s LOL!

            It was not too long after this I just gave up and left the nutters to their delusions. I mean for fuck's sake you have been giving the product away for TWENTY years and you are STILL lower than the margin for error? Hell the netbook was practically BUILT for Linux and the SECOND that MSFT lowered the price of XP the customers ran away as fast as their legs could carry them, but somehow that is the problem of the USER, not the OS, because they won't do things YOUR way?

            What is sad is I made the Hairyfeet Challenge to be 1.- Easily reproducible, 2.- To use NO funky hardware,strictly the bog standard off the shelf stuff I see every day, 3.- To only have HALF the support cycle of Windows, which is frankly an unfair test in favor of Linux but that is because too many of the so called "user friendly" distros haven't even existed for 10 years which is the standard Windows lifecycle. I have said time and time again "If you think your distro can do it? follow the steps, put it on YouTube, its not hard to do" and ALL I ever get is insults, not a single taker. of course i know why, its because while they'll give you anecdotes all day when the rubber meets the road they too find one or more drivers DOA after update. Its a shame but that is why I cannot in good conscience offer linux machines, they just don't work for any length of time without showstopper issues.

            --
            ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
        • (Score: 2) by ngarrang on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:10PM

          by ngarrang (896) on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:10PM (#29574) Journal

          I still use the command line in Windows. And now that PowerShell is getting pretty good, there are lot of administrative tasks that are so much easier to do with PowerShell than a bunch of clicking. So, the hairyfoot challenge kinda fails on the premise that Windows users aren't using a CLI, because many do. This does not make a desktop OS a server OS. DOS was never a server OS.

          To compare a tech to the average user, though, is a bit like comparing someone that non-mechanic driver and a mechanic. Both can operate a car, but only one can tune it up effectively.

          • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Friday April 11 2014, @04:31AM

            by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Friday April 11 2014, @04:31AM (#29857) Journal

            Did I say the CLI needed to be banned? No simply that it has NO place being foisted upon Joe and Jane average. Here is the Hairyfeet Challenge in full (since the other poster linked to a shortened version I came up with for LI), see how easy it is to reproduce...

            1.- download the distro of your choice from 5 years ago, for say Ubuntu IIRC the release would be 10.10. the reason for this is to simulate a 5 year lifecycle of a PC. 2.- Install the version from 5 years ago. Since you are the system builder and NOT the customer? Feel free to use any CLI you require. 3.- Once its installed and fully functional? this is THE KEY PART...upgrade/update the system using ONLY the GUI tools that are provided. this is to simulate what would happen to the customer during the lifecycle of the machine.

            Know what I found? ZERO PASSED, not a single one. even if you further skew the test in favor of Linux by using so called "Linux friendly" wireless (which I would argue if you can ONLY buy certain hardware? You are NOT a replacement for Windows but for the Mac) it does NOT matter because sometime during that (frankly grossly underestimated, since I see many 7+ year old dual cores being used in the field) 5 year lifecycle some "genius" dev will decide to change conventions or "tweak" shit and crap all over the drivers. Sound? rarely makes it past the second upgrade, video? if Intel it might last 2, everybody else won't make the first upgrade without black screen o death most of the time.

            This test is simple, requires no special hardware (and in fact for the best most accurate simulation a 5+ year old system should be used, which you can usually get for free from freecycle or craigslist) and since previous versions of distros are sitting there to be had beyond easy to reproduce. the fact that I have been offering this challenge for over FIVE YEARS and not had a single taker frankly should say more than I ever have to, they won't take the challenge because they know what happens.

            --
            ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:04PM

      by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:04PM (#28836) Journal

      1.- You CAN run Windows 7 on 384MB of RAM, in fact you can run it on less, you just need the pirate version as yet again the pirate version is better than that put out by the company. Look up "Windows 7 Tiny", in fact look up the entire "Tiny" family and you'll find an OS stripped down for gamers originally that uses just insanely little amounts of RAM while running over 95% of the Windows software out there. TinyXP? 80Mb of RAM wither everything, lose IE,OE and WMP? 50MB. Tiny 2K3? 60MB-130Mb. TinyVista? 384MB-512MB (hey they are hackers, not miracle workers), Tiny 7? 128MB-256MB. So if you really want a stripped down Windows for a VM? Its the way to go, crazy fast. Its just a shame MSFT won't sell Windows Light (for embedded/legacy PCs) to individuals, I'm sure many would buy it for VMs if the price was right.

      Oh and if anybody wonders "how low can you go" the answer is the now hard to find Tiny 2K Pro, it ran great on just 32Mb of RAM and flies on anything above 64Mb. Use a light browser like Kmeleon and you have a VM that could run well on an Atom netbook.

      --
      ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Reziac on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:05AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:05AM (#29266) Homepage

        Interesting! I'll have to look for those.

        Funny Win2K story: For years my rig for testing hard drives was a 486DX4-100 (because it was completely nonfussy and would work with any HD) with a whopping 8mb RAM (cuz that was the minimum to make it go). One day I accidentally attached the wrong HD to it, and found myself watching Win2K booting up... slowly, but once it got there it was perfectly functional, and not even terribly laggy. I was amazed!!

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
        • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:52AM

          by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:52AM (#29283) Journal

          Well I learned about it because I have a few gamer customers and they are AL about squeezing every last FPS they can get and these practically use zero CPU and so little RAM as to not matter. I have put them through their paces on both real hardware and as VMs and...pretty damned impressive, those little gamer hackers really know their stuff, they not only stripped out all the bloat (in fact all versions can be installed from CD instead of needing a DVD) but pretty much any of your everyday software, browsers, media players, chat, they all work just fine. Hell it even beat WinFLP by a pretty good clip and that was designed by MSFT for older systems!

          And as for your story I have done something similar, only it was a 300Mhz PII with 64Mb of RAM and WinXP SP2...it ran, slow as Xmas but it did run. I could do basic tasks on it just fine but boy you should have seen how much swapping was going on LOL!

          --
          ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:59AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:59AM (#29290) Homepage

            Want to speed up that low-RAM system? turn the swapfile off entirely. That's probably why my mistakenly-grabbed Win2K wasn't unusably laggy when it found itself in such a minimal situation ... it was already used to doing without. :) (It was a test install I never really used, but didn't wipe either as it wasn't fussy about the hardware it was affixed to.)

            Okay, I will definitely have to try those pared-down Windows!! -- Remember BlackViper's "kill needless services" site? Same principle, but after the fact.

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
        • (Score: 1) by meisterister on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:28PM

          by meisterister (949) on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:28PM (#29768) Journal

          Anyone mind if I say that Windows 2000 was a pretty good OS?

          Too bad microsoft hasn't made a better OS since.

          --
          (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:42PM

            by Reziac (2489) on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:42PM (#29772) Homepage

            I won't disagree with that. I like XP, but I think they hit a sweet spot with W2K's overall quality and lack of needless junk. It just did its job without being a PITA or a hardware hog.

            Today I spent some time working on a Win7 box... some sort of multicore AMD 2GHz with 2GB RAM... it was downright *piggy* compared to this sorry old single-core P4-1.8GHz/1.2GB RAM running XP. I'm reminded why I didn't jump right up and switch. Not to mention I developed an urge to do bodily harm to whoever rearranged W7's system tools. Stuff was much the same once I found it, but *finding* it was an adventure.

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday April 17 2014, @01:44AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Thursday April 17 2014, @01:44AM (#32485) Homepage

        Found it, and TinyXP (gotta try these as soon as I have room to mess with extra PCs again) ... TPB to the rescue of old machines!

        And thereby discovered there was once Godly XP -- which would run on just 20mb RAM (designed for gaming, but imagine it on an old laptop) -- mentioned on

        http://aspireonesoftware.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/ godly-xp-sp3/ [wordpress.com]

        but the links are dead and I could not find a copy. :(

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by MrGuy on Wednesday April 09 2014, @06:16PM

      by MrGuy (1007) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @06:16PM (#28965)

      So, first of all, a decade isn't always "plenty of time" for a government to do anything.

      But let's say it was, and examine why there might be reasons we're where we are that AREN'T necessarily due to incompetence. This is not a "real" example, but it's the kind of thing that happens.

      Let's say in 2004, a government agency that has chronic budget issues (let's say the Department of Child and Family Services for a middle-size state) finally got approval to build a new case management system. They brought in a vendor to build it, and it included a desktop thick client (because they needed offline capabilities). It was built on WinForms and runs great on the version of .Net that existed at the time. This is the largest capital investment they'd gotten approved through the legislature in awhile, but it worked great. They have budget for a tiny outsourced IT staff to keep it running, but beyond that they're on their own.

      However, as time went on, Microsoft moved a bit away from WinForms, in favor of WPF and/or Silverlight, so now the former "state of the art" app is using deprecated technology. It was using some slightly non-standard conventions that don't work with later versions of .Net (or run properly on Windows 7 or 8). The department's budget is already stretched to the max, and their staff is chronically overloaded, so they can't find the money in the existing budget to pay the contractor (or someone else) to come back and modernize the app. And they can't roll out computers that can't run this app, so they're actually buying PC's pre-installed with Win 7 and back-installing them with XP.

      The enlightened CIO of the state realized that they need at least SOME budget to tweak the case management system to work on modern OS's. It's been cut from the budget 3 years in a row for political reasons - there's a freeze on new capital investments and there's a large faction that wants to take an axe to the department's budget as it is, so no way you're getting an increase through.

      This is the kind of "rock and a hard place" modernization issues that come up in government ALL THE TIME. It's not helpful to cry "negligence," that they "should have seen it coming." They often DO see it coming. It's not like government employees don't realize new OS'es have been released in the last X years. Is the contractor negligent for failing to be forward compatible with OS'es that weren't even conceived of when the app was written, or anticipating that Microsoft's future direction in supporting certain programming conventions? Maybe it was that they shouldn't have rolled their own here - they should have bought the system off the shelf from a vendor, so it would be the vendor's problem to keep it up to date. That works sometimes, when there's an existing vendor product, but not always. Maybe it's the state legislature's fault for not investing more in keeping their technology up to date? Maybe, but sometimes hard choices get made, and if it's this or cut SNAP funding 10%, or stop filling potholes on state highways, it's not always tech that wins. And sure, every legislature has waste you can point at and say "well, just use those funds!" but if it were that easy to eliminate waste, you wouldn't have any (and also, every dollar saved would have been spent 10 times over by someone who was funding their pet project by cutting that waste).

      • (Score: 1) by meisterister on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:33PM

        by meisterister (949) on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:33PM (#29770) Journal

        You, sir, have just provided what is likely the best explanation of this problem that I have seen to date.

        Perhaps due to these fundamental problems, we'll be complaining about the EOL date for Windows 7.

        See you in 13 years.

        --
        (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @06:22PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @06:22PM (#28970)

      I agree it is just plain stupid.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Lagg on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:10AM

    by Lagg (105) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:10AM (#28703) Homepage Journal
    But your governments are making themselves out to be real tools right about now. For all the arrogance from the UK especially and the "Your country X did something worse than ours!" stuff you'd think that they'd at least have the balls to not bow to a US company and bribe them to extend support for their crappy piece of software. Is all that tax money really worth using for that purpose instead of trying to deploy a linux based system? These days I really have trouble buying the "but we has old proprietary software that does what we need and there is no non-windows program that does it :(" argument. I don't mean this to look like flamebait or anything, I'm genuinely disappointed. These governments are showing US companies that they can really put them into a stranglehold and no one will bat an eye at it even in the year 2014 where no one has any excuse for not knowing the consequences of lockin. Yes I am a US citizen before you say it but this isn't exactly something I'm happy about. You think such a thing benefits me? Nope.
    --
    http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:25AM

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:25AM (#28710) Journal

      For all the arrogance from the UK especially and the "Your country X did something worse than ours!" stuff you'd think that they'd at least have the balls to not bow to a US company and bribe them to extend support for their crappy piece of software.

      You reckon this is bad?
      Then what about: Anno Domini 2008... UK nuclear uboats just finished the upgrade to WinXP and W2k. [tomshardware.com]

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @12:27PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @12:27PM (#28725)

        WHY! Oh god, why!

        They're the military, they have a budget big enough to invent computers, and they can't hire enough sysadmins to keep nix running on their boats?

        They save some pennies on IT staff by using the #1 target for virii on their nuclear apocalypse boats?

        The Royal Navy: As Clever as the Iranian Nuclear Program.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:37PM

          by c0lo (156) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:37PM (#28766) Journal
          Because... an army person need not to be right as long it is damned sure and determined (pretty much like the majority of geeks which feel the urge to be precise, relevancy being secondary).
          On a closer view, I don't think the chances for a nuclear incident caused by the use of windows are high: I suspect those instances are working mainly as embedded systems, never connected to the outside not even for a system upgrade (say... "water gapped" or something on this line)... but I might be wrong.
          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @10:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @10:39PM (#29130)

        USS Yorktown (CG-48): "Smart" Ship testbed [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [wikipedia.org]

        -- gewg_

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @12:22PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @12:22PM (#28722)

      The UK government isn't bribing Microsoft, they're paying for a service from them. As are many others who are also still using XP for various reasons.

      You're mixing up two arguments: that they should have planned further ahead, and that they should take this opportunity to switch to linux.

      It isn't as if they can just switch out all the XP installs for something else - they have proprietary programs that interface with various databases they have to run in their various departments, and unless and until that software gets ported to another OS they're stuck with XP. Yes, of course it is possible to adapt or write other software to do the job, but that takes time and money.

      Porting to linux would presumably take more time than porting to some new version of Windows.

      Read this [theregister.co.uk] for details on what's happening with the UK ministries that are still using XP.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Lagg on Wednesday April 09 2014, @12:43PM

        by Lagg (105) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @12:43PM (#28735) Homepage Journal
        You can hair split all you want but begging a company to continue supporting something it clearly stated was at end of life and then offering an unreasonable sum to get them to do it or face horrible security holes is bribery at best and the connotation that the word bribery carries is quite appropriate here since I'd be mighty pissed off if I were a UK citizen right now. The counter-argument that you're using here is the same one that they are. That it's more expensive to pay people to write proper stuff and manage it than to just pay Microsoft to do it for them. That may be true in the short term but what happens when MS decides that they need more funds to continue support in 5 years? What about the 5 years after that? It's just the standard short term bureaucratic thinking that is plaguing so many places right now.
        --
        http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:03PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:03PM (#28746)

          Bribary on the part of whom? Microsoft or the government?

          Who is bribing whom? Who is the bad guy here?

          • (Score: 1) by crutchy on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:07PM

            by crutchy (179) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:07PM (#28747) Homepage Journal

            i think the op is confusing "bribery" with "extortion"

            • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:26PM

              by Lagg (105) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:26PM (#28758) Homepage Journal
              No, that's why I said bribery at best. Calling it extortion outright would probably be considered inflammatory and ruin the point of my post.
              --
              http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:55PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:55PM (#28781)

          It's not "bribery" (or "extortion") at all, in any way shape or form. The company doesn't want to support this product any more. They shouldn't have to. Does Ford still support Edsels or Model Ts? The UK government is too stupid to migrate to something newer, so they're paying what it costs for MS to continue to support them. Since the UK government willingly locked themselves in like this, they have to pay whatever MS asks. I think MS should ask more, perhaps an amount equivalent to 25% of the UK GDP. Obviously, the UK government is addicted to XP like a heroin addict, and they deserve to pay for their stupidity AFAIC. They've had every opportunity to do things differently.

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Lagg on Wednesday April 09 2014, @02:35PM

            by Lagg (105) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @02:35PM (#28807) Homepage Journal

            Uh huh. If they didn't want to support it anymore they could have said no. But they're happy to continue milking people's money because of a shortsighted government. And if you want to bring the term extortion into it, it can easily be considered that. You basically even said that with the addict analogy. As I said in another comment Microsoft can easily keep milking them indefinitely and charging more and more. I bet that's what they'll do too if government software history is anything to go by. Eventually the cost will exceed what it would have to move to a better system (linux or otherwise) by several magnitudes. Let me give a few representative lines here:

            "That's a nice XP setup you got there. Would be a shame if we couldn't patch it anymore" - Microsoft

            "This product has reached end of life. Please upgrade or find something else." - Non-jackass company

            Do you see the difference here? The second line is what the response would be if the company didn't want to support it anymore. But that isn't Microsoft. Maybe I should have just called it extortion in the first place. Seems inflammatory but it does fit much better and is pretty much what it is and posts like yours are further reinforcing that in my mind.

            --
            http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
            • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:36PM

              by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:36PM (#28860)

              If they didn't want to support it anymore they could have said no.

              They don't, but apparently for enough money, they'll make an exception. There's a lot of things I'd rather not do, but if someone offered me $1M to do them, I might change my mind, at least temporarily.

              But they're happy to continue milking people's money

              What's wrong with this? No one's forcing these governments to pay for this service. I don't care much for doing programming in a Windows environment, but if someone wants me to, I'll do it for enough cash. Is that "milking people's money"? I don't think so.

              And if you want to bring the term extortion into it, it can easily be considered that.

              No, it's not. That's completely idiotic. No one is forcing these governments to pay this, or to use XP. They're doing it of their own choice. They're free to migrate to something else, they're just too stupid and lazy to do so.

              As I said in another comment Microsoft can easily keep milking them indefinitely and charging more and more.

              Yes, and they have every right to do so. Don't like it? Stop using XP. It's that simple. No one's forcing them to use XP. They're paying for their own stupidity, and there's nothing wrong with separating fools from their money. This is a good case study in why you should avoid vendor lock-in at all costs.

              Eventually the cost will exceed what it would have to move to a better system (linux or otherwise) by several magnitudes.

              Yes, of course. If they're too stupid to realize this or to avoid it, they deserve to pay up.

              "That's a nice XP setup you got there. Would be a shame if we couldn't patch it anymore" - Microsoft

              No one's forcing them to use XP. It's almost 15 years old. Do you expect Ford to continue supporting Model Ts?

              "This product has reached end of life. Please upgrade or find something else." - Non-jackass company

              So MS would be non-jackass by simply refusing to support it at all? That makes no sense. They've offered a service for an ancient product that is EOL. If the customer doesn't like the terms or pricing, they're free to refuse, and upgrade or find something else. Obviously these governments are too dumb to do that.

              • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Wednesday April 09 2014, @04:49PM

                by Lagg (105) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @04:49PM (#28910) Homepage Journal

                When considering your argument, please take care to remember that this money being used is not the government's but the people who pay the taxes. This is what I'm keeping in mind when writing my own responses. I would imagine that the people whose money is going into this would have an objection to it if they knew where it was going and understood the situation. You're also ignoring the fact that I'm saying that they shouldn't be supporting old stuff past its end of life. A responsible company doesn't just EOL something and then give some people special treatment to capitalize on their lockin. Yet you persist with the Ford nonsense (and the fact that it relates to cars does not give you meme points). So you're not really in any position to be calling my terminology idiotic.

                I do agree that they deserve to be milked if they're going to make such shortsighted decisions in the first place. But this isn't just "the government's" money being extorted. It's the money of people paying into it. And given Microsoft and friends' expertise in taxes (won't even get into that can of worms) I'm sure they know this. You have to understand that this doesn't just come down to a matter of profits, it's Microsoft willingly taking advantage of their stranglehold to milk the government and by extension the people paying into them. With the implicit threat that they'll cease support and leave them naked in the rain if they stop paying in. What else is that but extortion?

                --
                http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
                • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 09 2014, @05:03PM

                  by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @05:03PM (#28919)

                  The taxpayers should be doing a better job managing their government, especially when their government is happily sending all their money to some convicted monopolist in a foreign country. In some countries, mismanaged governments result in people demonstrating in the streets and calling for new elections.

                  With the implicit threat that they'll cease support and leave them naked in the rain if they stop paying in. What else is that but extortion?

                  So it's better to just leave them naked in the rain, to avoid being called an "extortionist"? That's some odd logic you have there.

                  This whole "extortion" thing is ridiculous. If your car goes out of warranty, but you're allowed to buy an "extended warranty" afterwards, is that extortion? Or is it only extortion if you think the price is too high? No one is obligated to fix your car after the warranty period has expired (some safety defects excluded, but even here there's a time limit; the government isn't going to help you with your 60s car and its numerous safety defects, or probably even a 90s car). It's not "extortion" if some company (even the original mfgr) offers an extended warranty for your older used car.

                  • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Wednesday April 09 2014, @05:41PM

                    by Lagg (105) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @05:41PM (#28948) Homepage Journal

                    Yes they definitely should be doing a better job. Which goes back to my original post in that it's disappointing that through all the arrogance and "mine is not as bad as yours" mentality this has happened. It makes them look like tools as I said earlier. But I can't simply put all the blame on them for this because Microsoft knows pretty damn well what they're doing because it was part of their own strategy. And you're trying way too hard to shove car analogies into this thread. It makes your argument nonsensical and makes it seem as if you misunderstood mine. Do you really think this is benevolence on Microsoft's part? If you do I'm going to have to say that you're mighty naive. This isn't like an extended warranty at all and if you insist it is you need to look at some of the history of Microsoft. No, it's extortion and the more of these posts I see the more that is becoming clear to me. The UK and Dutch government has plenty of well deserved blame placed on them but it's rather unreasonable to say that it's all because of their stupidity.

                    Now can you stop knocking down strawmen and look at the spirit of my original post please? You'll note that it was more about the respective governments being tools and how it doesn't bode well for anyone and you pretty much devolved it into some other thread of discussion that I was probably stupid to take the bait of. I will say one thing though. I wish this was like an extended warranty. Because then people would rarely buy them and then once they realize how strict the criteria is to actually use that warranty would stop buying into it and the company giving it altogether, and that would be awesome.

                    --
                    http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by archshade on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:05PM

            by archshade (3664) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:05PM (#28837)

            I don't get why so many people have a downer on MS for this. What they are doing is opportunistic and money grabbing. Which sound bad but Microsoft have a duty to make money. It is not even like this is a shock. MS have not suddenly turned around and said we are not supporting this any more.

            If MS had suddenly announced that they would end support, or had officially said they were ending support but made noises about continuing support at a much lower cost (I have not heard of MS doing anything like this). Then if people had believed them and MS had landed this huge fee on them then MS would have done something wrong. As it is MS have repeatedly said this is going to happen, and released an alternative product. This is also an opportunity for people to move away from MS. Most people would be OK on a Linux desktop (the UK govement has said they want to move over to ODF and rendering of OOXML documents seems to be the biggest problem wrt migrating away from Windows). For anybody who needs some legacy stuff that will only run on XP, put it in a VM using there XP licences.

            I have no love for MS, and will jump on any legitimate reason to criticize them, but here all the blame has to be laid firmly at the feet of the incompetent civil servants. They have probably justified this by saying that the £5.5M is [a lot] less than the [one off] upgrade cost*. They will still have to pay the upgrade cost though, just delayed by a year.

            *I understand that upgrading to Win 7 will be an expensive affair, Software needs to be confirmed to work, security audits performed, and for some reason the people we trust to do day to day running of the country will need training. Still on paper the one time cost will be lower than the alternatives. I am a British citizen living in the Netherlands, and this really annoys me.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:39PM

              by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @03:39PM (#28862)

              I have no love for MS, and will jump on any legitimate reason to criticize them, but here all the blame has to be laid firmly at the feet of the incompetent civil servants.

              Exactly. I really despise MS, but even here I have to cheer them on and only criticize them for not charging even more. These governments are utterly idiotic not only for being so entangled with XP, but not finding a better solution years ago, and I have zero sympathy for them now.

              And WTF is all this crap about "training" anyway? I've never received any training at all for using Windows or Office at any job, either when starting the job or when the company moved to a new software version. Everyone is just assumed to know how to use it, or to figure it out on their own.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by BradTheGeek on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:11AM

    by BradTheGeek (450) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:11AM (#28704)

    I work for a repair shop/ it consulting firm. On the shop side, we have lots of residential customers with XP who do not have the funds to move to something new.

    MS could release these paid for patches for all.. but will they?

    Yes, I know linux is a suitable replacement for XP, especially in budget cases, but there is a learning curve, the question of how much support can we afford to provide for a customer in that boat, and apps that customers need that just do not have a direct replacement.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by deimios on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:51AM

      by deimios (201) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:51AM (#28717) Journal

      Linux desktops (ubuntu, kubuntu) will not run acceptably on 384 RAM so I'd say that linux is not yet a viable replacement.

      On the other hand, FFS people, most PHONES have more RAM than that...

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Marand on Wednesday April 09 2014, @04:33PM

        by Marand (1081) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @04:33PM (#28892) Journal

        Linux desktops (ubuntu, kubuntu) will not run acceptably on 384 RAM so I'd say that linux is not yet a viable replacement.

        They will with a bit of tweaking and removing some less useful services. That's the pro/con of just grabbing a *buntu disc and installing it, though: you get a generic experience that should work for all but a few edge cases, which means you get extra crap you don't need in order to make it work for a larger group of people.

        A better solution for an edge-case system like that is to take a Debian netinst, install just enough to get a system that boots to console, and then install what you need from there. You can even get KDE running acceptably on sub-512mb systems if you do that, and KDE's considered the heavyweight desktop environment. (Though you do have to disable a few KDE-specific autostarts you're unlikely to use. Nepomuk being an obvious choice, for example.)

        I did this with some spare PC parts and was able to cobble together a working sub-512MB KDE system that ran well enough that I was able to give it to my grandmother so she could have her own system. No issues at all until the hardware eventually died.

        On the other hand, FFS people, most PHONES have more RAM than that...

        True, but if the hardware still works well, there isn't much reason to throw it away and create unnecessary waste. Better to use it for something or give it to someone that couldn't get better, preferably with a system that can still get OS updates.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:24PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:24PM (#29145)

          ubuntu, kubuntu
          The City of Munich has been handing out Ubuntu disks to XP users.
          I thought Xubuntu or Lubuntu would have been more apt.
          There was a time that Ubuntu and Mint had spins built around Fluxbox.

          a Debian netinst
          Arch is another build-it-up option.

          Another idea that starts with a 10MB download:
          Smallest Full Linux Distro in the World, Tiny Core, Gets a New Version [softpedia.com]

          If you want something that Just Works(tm) out of the box, Bodhi Linux is built around Enlightenment.

          There's also antiX (pronounced "Antiques") which runs on pretty much any hardware that's still alive. [google.com]

          There is absolutely no shortage of ways to achieve a viable solution with sparse resources.

          -- gewg_

          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:30AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Thursday April 10 2014, @05:30AM (#29276) Homepage

            Thanks, hadn't heard of these. I have Puppy on the ancient laptop, it's very fast but let's just say the experience recreates Windows 3.1. (Which is more funny than annoying, actually.)

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10 2014, @06:28PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10 2014, @06:28PM (#29625)

              Thanks
              No sweat.

              hadn't heard of these
              Brad Rodriquez has several more options on his chart. [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [goodbyemicrosoft.net]
              He has a short explanation. [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [goodbyemicrosoft.net]

              Note that Damn Small Linux hasn't been updated since 2008.
              The fact that it doesn't execute a swapon when it starts makes that a good utility distro to access Gparted and create/tweak a swap partition.
              DSL's ISO is even smaller than Puppy's.

              NB He doesn't mention it, but Deli(cate) is -not- a boot-to-a-desktop ISO; unlike most modern distros, you have to install it to try it.

              Puppy
              When you consider that Puppy's ISO only consumes ~20 percent of a CD, it's pretty impressive.

              the experience recreates Windows 3.1
              Yeah. JWM (Joe's Window Manager) is pretty basic.
              ROX Filer (a single-pane file manager) is also kinda aggravating; the default of Icon View is pretty point-and-drool.
              (My first menuing system was DOSSHELL, so I find icons without data to be pretty Playskool.)
              Puppy's default desktop background image is also the most garish thing I've ever seen.

              --gewg_

  • (Score: 2) by geb on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:25AM

    by geb (529) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:25AM (#28711)

    My family were still using an ancient desktop running XP, so I've been trying to get them away from it. Last Christmas I bought my mother a new laptop, and slowly she has been migrating to doing more and more things on that instead of the XP machine.

    I confiscated the network cable on the XP machine yesterday.

    It's still going to be in service, because the copy of MS Office on there still works (without requiring a subscription!) and it's still capable of driving the printer, but it's never again going to connect to the internet.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by crutchy on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:13PM

      by crutchy (179) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @01:13PM (#28749) Homepage Journal

      it's never again going to connect to the internet

      could have just deleted the icon for Ineternet Exploiter off the desktop

      "oh the 'e' icon has disappeared... someone must have shut down the internet"

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:40PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09 2014, @11:40PM (#29150)

        it's never again going to connect to the internet
        From this day forward, air-gapped is the only logical way to run XP.
        Smarter still: Not on bare metal.
        A VM snapshot is the easiest way to re-image a borked Windoze install.
        All of this assumes that there's actually a Windoze-only app required.

        could have just deleted the icon for Ineternet Exploiter
        Click a Favorite?
        Click a link in an email?
        Doesn't the Windoze Help system still use Internet Exploder?
        I hope you were trying for humor.

        -- gewg_

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by KritonK on Wednesday April 09 2014, @02:22PM

      by KritonK (465) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @02:22PM (#28792)

      but it's never again going to connect to the internet.

      Isn't that a bit premature? Had support for XP continued, you would have had no problem connecting that computer to the internet for the next month, until the next batch of updates came out. Thus, I would think that XP machines are still safe to use for the next month.

      On the other hand, the threat of loss of internet connectivity is a major incentive to upgrade. I had been pestering for months the last XP user in our company to give me the all clear to upgrade her computer, to no avail. Today, I told her that Windows XP have expired (hmmm... is that what "XP" stood for?) and that she should stop connecting to the internet until I upgrade her computer. Now, she can't wait for the upgrade!

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by tangomargarine on Wednesday April 09 2014, @02:30PM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday April 09 2014, @02:30PM (#28801)

    When asked about the last 9 times Microsoft discontinued support for Windows XP, a representative stated, "This time we're really serious."

    Then somebody pointed out that they're still supporting it for certain client organizations and the rep coughed and ran away.

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"