Monday, April 07, 2014

Windows XP is dead

I wrote an article for Yahoo Canada Finance today that really made me think. Here's the link:
As Windows XP dies, the risks rise
You'd think that an operating system almost old enough to have a Bar Mitzvah wouldn't merit much attention. But with the latest figures showing 27 per cent of Internet-connected PCs still running XP - despite a Microsoft campaign to get everyone to switch - the company's decision to stop releasing security updates and discontinue support - tomorrow, April 8 - is the big day - will impact a lot of consumers and businesses. Even if you're not running XP directly, it touches you: 95 per cent of bank ATMs still run it (I wrote about it here.)

Part of me feels somewhat nostalgic, too. Maybe it's the nerd in me, but if you spend enough time using a certain technology in both personal and professional contexts, it eventually becomes second nature, something you don't see as much as feel. XP was a mainline tool for me for so long that it's hard to imagine it disappearing completely.

Even though I now spend most of my time on a Mac and an iPad, it's hard to erase years of exposure to the OS that was likely the most deeply entrenched piece of code of all time. I'll miss that familiar blue status bar and the Teletubby-like desktop photo. Tech generally does a poor job holding onto its own history, and I'm guessing losing XP to the past will be no different.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, whose dominance of the PC-based operating system market stretched from the very first days of the PC to the very recent past, the company now has the most to lose as mobile devices chip away at its once-impregnable market. The age of the monolithic operating system is over, and years from now I doubt we'll be generating headlines when Windows 8 slips into the past.

If you're still one of the legions of users still using XP after the April 8th end-of-support deadline passes, I hope you'll take a moment - after you update your third party security software, of course - to wonder about the millions of lines of code that somehow shaped the past decade-plus of our online lives. It may be just a piece of software, but what a piece of software it was. Definitely the very last of its kind.

Your turn: What operating system(s) is (are) you currently using? Like? Dislike? Why? Why not?

Related link: Forget the do-it-all OS (article I wrote for

1 comment:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I've got XP on my laptop and a Dell pc I got cheap from the Dell refurbished store.

I've no plans to upgrade. It took MSFT a long time to make something that worked. I remember (bitterly) the "Windows M.E.) I had on a previous Dell (that I bought NEW!!!). Man, that stuff stank on ice. And the only reason MSFT was selling it was to justify putting a higher price on XP, which they were marketing to corporations.

Fool me once, shame on you....can't get fooled again.