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Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP? 650

Posted by timothy
from the here-you-hold-the-thumbscrews dept.
An anonymous reader writes "If Windows XP were a photocopier, Microsoft would have a duty to deal with competitors who sought to provide aftermarket support. A new article in the Michigan Law Review argues that Microsoft should be held to the same duty, and should be legally obligated to help competitors who wish to continue to provide security updates for the aging operating system, even if that means allowing them to access and use Windows XP's sourcecode."
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Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

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  • by glasshole (3569269) on Monday April 07, 2014 @01:31AM (#46681173)
    Photocopier vendors do not open the controller software up to competitors / vendors who provide support. They just give them specs for replacement parts. Do you force Apple to let 'competitors' support OS X 10.5 on G5 Macs? Do you force Google to let competitors still support Google Wave?
  • no. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal@@@gmail...com> on Monday April 07, 2014 @01:37AM (#46681187) Homepage Journal

    I am a critic of M$ but I do not think they should be required by law.

    Only in the case of some sort of long-term contract that is still in effect, that mentions specifically updating software until a time in the future...unless that is the case.

    These laws are complex and the photocopier example is interesting.

    I am against artificial scarcity for sure...that's one reason I hate M$...but I think this may cross the line. If M$ wants to let XP die then they have the right to refuse to make vital trade secret info available to people who want to keep it alive.

    I have a feeling the photocopier example is more about purposefully creating artificial scarcity. It's not quite analogous b/c it's an actual machine not software.

    I'm not giving M$ a pass. Its about property rights. If people love XP so much (i remember it was the only windows version i could really get work done using...would still choose it today) then the community will come up with a solution...which should be legal to give away for free.

  • Depends (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fredprado (2569351) on Monday April 07, 2014 @01:38AM (#46681191)
    Microsoft or any software company should be forced to provide full support for their commercial products for as long as they hold copyright over them.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:12AM (#46681339)

    No, but if there was a market for T1 spare parts, someone would come and open a business that deals with just that. That is the whole point of the whole thread!

    Who decides when the "end of life" of a product is reached? Its maker, or its user? Who decides when an item has outlived its usefulness, its maker or its user? Who the fuck is MS to tell me what I think is still usable and what is not?

    The point here is that if XP was a car, you could rest assured that even if MS decided to discontinue offering spare parts, the market of people who still want to use it is SO big that businesses would be popping up left and right pumping out spare parts for it.

  • by Camael (1048726) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:52AM (#46681499)

    Right now, you can invent something and if it turns out to be "gold", you can milk it forever. ...That's supposed to spur innovation? Could someone show me how?

    I agree with you, and its not. Copyright extension was a blatant cash grab engineered by a corrupt legislature to rob the public through the Mickey Mouse Act [wikipedia.org] .

    I suppose we should be thankful there is a limit of any kind. Actual quote :-

    Actually, Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:56AM (#46681507) Journal
    Apple would have continued to ship Rosetta, but IBM bought Transitive (from whom it was licensed) and was still annoyed at the publicity that Apple had given them in the switch from PowerPC to Intel, so decided to return the favour and refused to license Rosetta for a new version of OS X. Apple tried to spin this in a positive way ('look how hip we are, stopping supporting that old crap!') but it didn't really work.
  • by cmdr_tofu (826352) on Monday April 07, 2014 @05:10AM (#46681957) Homepage

    Honestly if there were barriers to creating a semi-monopolistic software monoculture, I don't think that would necessarily be a bad thing.

    But two swing out of the realm of opinion, you compare Windows XP to "OpenSource darlings like firefox" whose long-term support is measured in "months, not years". This is a bad comparison. A better comparison would be Ubuntu LTS which includes firefox and whose support is measured in years not months. However Canonical having only a fraction of a percent of the marketshare that Windows XP does, is not making a business model in supporting releases for over 14 years.

    The key difference is any independent software vendor can with a very low barrier to entry. At my previous employer we had production software stack (purchased from a company) which dependent on Redhat 7.3 (not RHEL 7), but you know the one with 2.4 kernel from the 90s. Of course it was impossible to get updates from Redhat, but I made the vendor provide tested procedures for upgrading zlib and openssh and it was possible for them to do this.

    I think it would be a great idea to require Microsoft to "open up" even if it was outside of their interests. Hell if Windows 8 could not compete with community supported open source XP, it still means that people get better software :)

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday April 07, 2014 @06:39AM (#46682257)

    But two swing out of the realm of opinion, you compare Windows XP to "OpenSource darlings like firefox" whose long-term support is measured in "months, not years". This is a bad comparison.

    Fair enough, though it wasn't really meant as a direct comparison, more an illustration of how much effort is required to support old software for extended periods.

    A better comparison would be Ubuntu LTS which includes firefox and whose support is measured in years not months.

    It is. In fact, the period is now five years for both desktop and server versions.

    Again, just to put that in perspective, Windows 7 (two generations after Windows XP) was released around 4.5 years ago.

    I think it would be a great idea to require Microsoft to "open up" even if it was outside of their interests. Hell if Windows 8 could not compete with community supported open source XP, it still means that people get better software :)

    Well, it would be great, in the short term, for everyone except Microsoft. But who is going to build the next software product that is so successful that almost everyone uses it for nearly a decade in that world?

  • by sjbe (173966) on Monday April 07, 2014 @06:47AM (#46682301)

    Supporting consumer grade software that is sold for ~$100 a time indefinitely, including providing full internal technical details to arbitrary additional parties, is a "pretty easy barrier"? I'm sorry, but that is absurd.

    Microsoft does NOT have to support it indefinitely for free. However there is precisely zero obstacle to them supporting XP on an ongoing basis for a reasonable sum for those interested in paying for such support. Something like $50/year (times a few million users) should more than adequately cover the cost and provide Microsoft a reasonable profit. Microsoft could provide paid support AND make the upgrade path easier by doing so. However Microsoft has chosen to burn that bridge instead in an effort to force people to "upgrade" to software that they clearly are not interested in buying. Since they have elected to go down that route instead of providing paid support, it is reasonable that people are calling for alternatives including open sourcing it. I think a more pragmatic approach would be to sell the supporting XP business to a third party. But if all Microsoft is going to do is take their ball and go home then they can kiss my shiny metal ass.

    Bear in mind that aside from security patches, Microsoft essentially provides ZERO support to most users of XP anyway. Not like I can call them up and get questions answered. Claims that continuing to support XP would be some enormous financial burden on the company are pretty absurd.

    Moreover, the auto manufacturers still aren't required to disclose the keys to the kingdom to the degree that is suggested here.

    Not really true. Almost everything worth protecting product-wise in the auto industry is patented so it is inaccurate to say they haven't disclosed the details. A company like GM could easily make a soup-to-nuts replica of a Toyota if they wanted to. There isn't much technology that is a big secret or that cannot be reverse engineered and the companies that supply it usually supply multiple firms. Software is VERY different than auto manufacturing though software is becoming a bigger piece of the industry as time goes on. (and yes I'm an engineer who has worked in the auto industry for years) The differences between auto companies are mostly in how they are structured and managed. The differences between the products themselves are fairly minor. Most auto companies (like GM and Ford) have supply chains that heavily overlap. An axle for Ford is very likely made in the same plant as an axle for GM and surprisingly often is engineered by many of the same people. My company assembles parts that go into a GM SUV and every component in that assembly we make can be purchased directly by you if you wanted to. (you'd just pay a LOT more than we do)

  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday April 07, 2014 @07:24AM (#46682459) Journal

    Respect won't help me pay my bills. Why should I invest money and innovate when I will get absolutely nothing tangible in return?

    Don't, then. Let other people live, you just sit there on a lump and grow moss.

    My labor gave them something better than the status quo thus I should be allowed to be compensated a bit more that the status quo for in return for my technological advancement.

    I don't see anyone asking you to invent better candles. I just see you asking the world at large to be your goon squad and enforce your right to be "The Candle Guy". Where is our reward? Don't say "my innovation", there is abundant evidence that need causes parallel development, that the answer to the question is right there in the problem for anyone to see, and that you are not a special sort of genius who needs to be won over at all cost.

    If there is no reward than it is not worth it to innovate, or do better. Rational human beings know this. It's a basic part of psychology.

    No, rational beings pursue excellence in everything they do, because excellence is habit forming, and recognition is emotionally gratifying. You never know what threats tomorrow will bring, the rational thing is to pursue excellence in everything you do regardless of compensation and try to be respected so you have allies against future misfortune.

    Only communists such as yourself completely ignore it as it is a very inconvenient fact that goes against the very foundation of the viability of your ideology.

    My ideology has brought me to achieve great things, be elected to positions of authority in projects that enriched my life, that of my loved ones, and that of my community. Aside from my terrible taste in women, I'm the living embodiment of both my childhood dreams and my values.

    Its the reason why under communism technological and economic stagnation is prevalent.

    That's a ridiculous statement. Russia were the first ones to space. Their contributions to science and engineering, literature and philosophy are among the finest of any nation on Earth. Americans can't even get to the ISS without their help.

    And Cuba have been thumbing their nose at you and producing a proud culture that is largely self sufficient, has some of the finest medical and dental professionals on the planet and have multiple cultural exports such as cuisine, dance and music. You contribute Big Mac's, Twerking and Lady Gaga.

    Frankly, the only reason the US has any success to speak of is the fact that they corrupted foreign officials into accepting their monopoly on printing worthless fiat currency. You're bandits and thieves. Your manufacturing base is not at all respectable. You don't compete to elevate the best man, you compete to subjugate anyone and everyone you can. You are the Prison Culture, locking up more people than China despite their population dwarfing yours. More wasted resources, caused by a system that is unsuited to humanity. You are not efficient, you are wasteful. Despite all that you steal, your population still has poverty. Despite all the communications technology that floods from the four corners of the earth to your shitty country, you still have people kept uninformed as to what the hell is going on.

    You couldn't wish for a worse neighbour. So, I say to you, fuck the candles. Sit down and grow moss.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

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