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Slashdot Asks: Will You Need the Windows XP Black Market? 245

Posted by timothy
from the undead-is-more-like-it dept.
NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) writes "As Whoever57 pointed out, there are some who will still get support for Microsoft Windows XP — the 'haves'. However, most will be the 'have nots.' Anytime you have such market imbalance, there is opportunity. Since Microsoft clearly intends to create a disparity, there will certainly be those who defy it. What will Microsoft do to prevent bootleg patches of XP from being sold to the unwashed masses? How will they stop China from supporting 100 million bootleg XP users? And how easily will it be to crack Microsoft's controls? How big will the Windows XP patch market be?" There are a lot of businesses still on Windows XP; if you work for one of them, will the official end of life spur actually cause you to upgrade? (And if so, to what?)
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Slashdot Asks: Will You Need the Windows XP Black Market?

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  • by horm (2802801) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:16PM (#46678867)
    Seriously? Nobody even bothered to read the first sentence of the submission?
    • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @06:06PM (#46679143) Homepage

      Editing? Anyone?

      There ain't no editors and there never was! Now git!

    • by causality (777677) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @06:09PM (#46679171)

      Seriously? Nobody even bothered to read the first sentence of the submission?

      Apparently lots of people did and are also griping about it. Are Slashdot "editors" capable of feeling embarassment?

      Back to the discussion...

      Since Microsoft clearly intends to create a disparity, there will certainly be those who defy it. What will Microsoft do to prevent bootleg patches of XP from being sold to the unwashed masses? How will they stop China from supporting 100 million bootleg XP users? And how easily will it be to crack Microsoft's controls? How big will the Windows XP patch market be?

      Unless these third-party patch vendors are claiming to be Microsoft then they're not in any way "bootleg". If Microsoft no longer wants to do this but someone else does, what's the problem? How would this be different from (i.e. less legitimate than) publishing a device driver, AV suite, or other system-level software?

      Do the submitter and "editor" not understand what the word "bootleg" means, or is there a real problem here I'm just not seeing?

      • How would [providing third-party updates to Windows XP components] be different from (i.e. less legitimate than) publishing a device driver, AV suite, or other system-level software?

        Device drivers, antivirus suites, and the like don't need to replace Windows system files with fixed versions of the same code to function. Windows updates do. And because they'd be providing versions of the same (Microsoft) code without the permission of the owner of copyright in that code, they would likely infringe* Microsoft's copyright.

        * Slashdot posts aren't Legal Advice(tm).

        • by causality (777677) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @06:30PM (#46679319)

          How would [providing third-party updates to Windows XP components] be different from (i.e. less legitimate than) publishing a device driver, AV suite, or other system-level software?

          Device drivers, antivirus suites, and the like don't need to replace Windows system files with fixed versions of the same code to function. Windows updates do. And because they'd be providing versions of the same (Microsoft) code without the permission of the owner of copyright in that code, they would likely infringe* Microsoft's copyright.

          * Slashdot posts aren't Legal Advice(tm).

          It wouldn't be possible to provide only a binary patch that contains just the modifications to said files? That would also infringe copyright?

          • It wouldn't be possible to provide only a binary patch that contains just the modifications to said files? That would also infringe copyright?

            That depends on how a particular judge decides to apply precedents related to Apple v. Psystar.

            • by causality (777677)

              It wouldn't be possible to provide only a binary patch that contains just the modifications to said files? That would also infringe copyright?

              That depends on how a particular judge decides to apply precedents related to Apple v. Psystar.

              Considering how *ahem* clear and reasonable copyright law has always been, perhaps I can understand why someone might not be eager to do this...

          • I'm sure when you signed the legaly binding contract to get the source code that you'd have to have to modify to compile to get the binary patch, their was a clause prohibiting you from distributing any binaries from the source or derivatives of the source.

            • I'm sure when you signed the legaly binding contract to get the source code that you'd have to have to modify to compile to get the binary patch, their was a clause prohibiting you from distributing any binaries from the source or derivatives of the source.

              You don't need the source code to make a patch for a binary - there are a million cracked computer games out there that were patched by third parties without access to the source.

      • by kesuki (321456)

        "Back to the discussion..."

        the summary is -1 flamebait. it's only link is to another slashdot article, and thus all the 'wtf didn't the editors read the link' stuff.

      • I think this is more about Microsoft selling patches to companies who pay for extended support and then someone releasing the official-but-private patches to the public tubes, not about a third party making their own patches and releasing them.
  • by CaptainOfSpray (1229754) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:20PM (#46678899)
    Looks like XP, mostly works like XP, closer to XP than Win 8, easier upgrade path than Win 8, lower rate of support calls from friends and family ...and in my experience, it's lighter and faster and more responsive than XP. So, no, I won't be laying out hundreds of pounds/dollars on a new machine or even more hundreds on replacing all the software that will not work on Win 8.
    • Linux Mint Cinnamon [is] closer to XP than Win 8

      But how well does Wine run apps that run on Windows XP? Last time I checked, the iTunes Store client ran on Windows XP but not on Wine. And how well does Wine run applications that control expensive-to-replace peripherals with Windows XP drivers? I imagine one would need ReactOS to run those, as among free operating systems, only ReactOS implements enough NT infrastructure to have any chance of running Windows XP drivers.

      • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:48PM (#46679055)

        iTunes 11.1.3.8 is listed/rated "Gold" so, yes, iTunes works.

      • The question that should be asked, does WINE support the custom driver for a CNC machine that is still in operation? The one off device in some back government office? The answer is no.
        • by tepples (727027)

          And how well does Wine run applications that control expensive-to-replace peripherals

          does WINE support the custom driver for a CNC machine that is still in operation? The one off device in some back government office?

          That's sort of what I was getting at. Wine can't, seeing as it doesn't aim for driver compatibility. ReactOS has more potential in this department.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Why do you need to "update" the CNC machine's OS? what moron has it on the network with internet access? I know of CNC machines that are running windows 95. and SHOCKER.... they work just fine without any support from microsoft.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Linux has a Dramatically better hardware support than XP,Vista,7 or 8 has combined. Only a fool that knows nothing of linux would ask the "expensive to replace peripherals" raging bullshit line not knowing that linux has such better hardware support than Windows, that many times a device actually works BETTER under linux.

        But don't let facts like that slow down your bullshit tirade.... please continue... I so would love to hear more of your "superior race" Mein Furor... We all know that you are too stupid

        • Linux has a Dramatically better hardware support than XP,Vista,7 or 8 has combined.

          Dramatically better on the whole? Perhaps. Better for every particular device? Not necessarily. There are probably plenty of edge cases that have an XP driver and no Linux driver at all. Does SANE support the Microtek ScanMaker 4850 flatbed scanner yet? It appears not [sane-project.org].

        • by caseih (160668) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @08:38PM (#46679919)

          Do you actually have experience or are you just making things up? Are are you willing to both write a driver and port the software for me that controls a chemistry instrument that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, uses some proprietary PCI card (or worse yet, ISA)? The instrument runs absolutely fine now, and will for years (I managed one instrument controlled by a Mac from the mid 80s), but would either cost a lot to upgrade to Windows 7, or require a new instrument. Instrumentation companies are like this. They do operate stupidly, are stuck in the 80s, and I'd love to smack them, but like it or not, in vertical industries, the choices are few and far between, and *very* expensive.

          So what do you do? The hard part is some of these instruments generate a lot of data and require access to network servers. Dedicated, firewalled LANs will suffice here. Windows XP is going to be running for another ten years or more.

          The whole problem revolves around the fact that in many industries computers are treated as "hardware" not "software." I mean you only replace a pump's pressure switch when it fails. We in the computer industry have been successful in pushing our technology into all kinds of places where it's invisible and just seen as a "controller" or a "switch" and treated as such. And it's not entirely the fault of the users of these devices either. The thought of securing and updating the firmware on these devices has really only been something anyone worried about recently. When was the last time you did a firmware update to your lawn sprinkler controller? Add internet capabilities to it, and suddenly it's a security hole requiring weekly software updates. How does this relate to XP? Well for a lot of people and industries, their instruments and devices are in their mind much like the sprinkler controller in your garage. They are just tools and they don't think about the software security, updates, EOL, etc. They've never had to before. It's a brave new world we've started, and this Windows XP EOL issue is just the beginning of our problems with this new "internet of things" idea. Which is brilliant, but fraught with all kinds of danger.

          • by bigtrike (904535)

            What was the plan for fixing the Mac from the 80s if it broke? I wouldn't want to risk a multi-million dollar operation on being able to find an old mac for sale on ebay. You'd have to really hope that the installer floppies were sufficiently backed up and that you could find a floppy drive from that era that didn't have too much dust in it to function.

        • by vux984 (928602)

          Linux has a Dramatically better hardware support than XP,Vista,7 or 8 has combined. Only a fool that knows nothing of linux would ask the "expensive to replace peripherals" raging bullshit line not knowing that linux has such better hardware support than Windows, that many times a device actually works BETTER under linux.

          Yeah, like the $140,000 3-axis contact lens lathe at the lab at work that uses a pair of ISA interface cards to control it, running XP. I just know some linux hobbyiest teenager in his bas

    • by MrBigInThePants (624986) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:35PM (#46679001)
      Same experience here.

      Set up a "multimedia desktop" for my parents in their lounge. The desktop startup/response time of the OS is orders of magnitude faster than any other computer in our family and yet it is on the oldest and slowest hardware. Anything higher than windows XP ran like an absolute dog on this machine - in fact not really usable at all due to lack of memory etc.

      Since it is only used for browsing and multimedia they don't even notice the subtle differences.

      The fact that they are complete computer novices who would never try to tinker with any admin options actually works in their favour. Most of the apps use are essentially"platforms" in that the software works the same on both OS's.

      Installation was also stupidly easy. The apps were free.

      Pretty much the only "negative" was that I had to google some alternative apps for the ones I would use on windows as there was not a linux version - and that's just being picky.

      This wont be the solution for everyone (due to app support etc) but I seriously suggest it to anyone with an XP machine that does not want to hope on the M$ upgrade train just for the sake of it.

      I think this option will be overlooked by many due to historical difficulties - that PR baggage is hard to shake it seems.
      • by jader3rd (2222716)

        Set up a "multimedia desktop" for my parents in their lounge. The desktop startup/response time of the OS is orders of magnitude faster than any other computer in our family and yet it is on the oldest and slowest hardware.

        I think that's one of the problems that Windows has. You were able to setup a specific device for a specific purpose. If there's anything not related to "multimedia desktop" you made sure it wasn't part of the device. If your parents try to do anything on that computer and they can't they'll just say "Well, this device wasn't made to do this". But with a Windows computer, everyone expects it to do something different. Windows has to deal with a really large baseline of functionality because it's expected to

    • Ditto on this, and I was a Linux skeptic for a while after my first painful experiences trying to work with SUSELinux and Debian several years ago.

      There is hardly any learning curve required to go from XP to Mint. Everything works pretty much right out of the box. Getting wireless up was easy and I had my printer and scanner up and running in 15 minutes after a brief search for drivers. I was pretty much back to business as usual on my netbook about 30 minutes after overwriting XP with Mint. LibreOffice wor
      • I had my printer and scanner up and running in 15 minutes after a brief search for drivers.

        I got printing and scanning working on Linux, but I needed to replace my existing printer and scanner with an HP Officejet 4500 because the page for my old scanner on the SANE project's web site had said "unsupported" for years. It must be even worse for companies that will need to replace a multi-thousand-dollar CNC mill. They'll probably just need to air gap the machine that controls it and continue to run unsupported XP.

    • by MAXOMENOS (9802)

      With all due respect, "looks and feels like XP" only gets you so far. If you're a home user, that's fine as long as you don't want to play PC games, or use most Windows software like Quickbooks. If you're an office user, that's fine as long as you don't need to continue to run Visual Basic 6 (yes, really) for critical business applications.

      Where I work, we need to run legacy apps for the foreseeable future. So we're migrating, somewhat painfully, to Windows 7. Sure, there's plenty of Linux that can do 90% o

      • by gtall (79522)

        What percentage of what you need to do does Windows 7 allow? Is it easier getting that last 10 % working on Windows 7 or would it be easier to re-write for Linux. I'm guessing the former, but it depends on the complexity of your apps. Starting any one from scratch would be a bitch, unless Windows 7 is forcing this as well.

    • by ron_ivi (607351)
      Wine on Mint probably is compatible with more XP software than WIn8 is anyway.
    • Yes I did the same for my parents, who were stressed about doing stuff like online banking on an XP machine after support ended. Installation was a breeze, everything looked perfect, amazing OS. It put itself nicely next to the existing XP installation, just in case they really didn't like it. Good to go, but...

      Then the little annoyances started: Caps lock doesn't behave like it should (not a US qwerty keyboard), everything is a mix between English and our local language, the included firefox doesn't play n

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:21PM (#46678911)

    If UK govt paid $9M for 12 months, how much does it cost to upgrade 680,000 PC's? A lot of them will probably need new hardware.
    At a pure guess of $500 per PC, including new Office licenses, some new hardware, labour, etc. over 12 months, $9M is only 3% of the total cost. They could invest the upgrade money and make a profit from buying extended support.

    • by jonnythan (79727) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:27PM (#46678941) Homepage

      It costs a lot more than a new PC to upgrade thousands of PCs. Imaging, deployment, backup/restore processes for the end users is just the beginning. Upgrading dozens, hundreds, or thousands of individual customized applications to be compatible with Windows 7 is an absolute nightmare. I know all about this just from upgrading my relatively small workplace from XP to 7. It was a fight just to get core, mission critical apps to work with IE 9; 10 and 11 are out of the question. Lots of cash to vendors and app support folks, lots of cash to deployment specialists, lots of overtime. Adds up to a LOT of money.

      By the way: $9 million over 680,000 PCs is $13 per PC. That's less than we paid per PC to have a contractor come in and physically install new machines at desks, and completely ignores the cost of OS licensing, hardware, support, and the thousands and thousands of man hours the IT department spent with associated tasks.

      • by mpe (36238)
        It costs a lot more than a new PC to upgrade thousands of PCs. Imaging, deployment, backup/restore processes for the end users is just the beginning. Upgrading dozens, hundreds, or thousands of individual customized applications to be compatible with Windows 7 is an absolute nightmare. I know all about this just from upgrading my relatively small workplace from XP to 7. It was a fight just to get core, mission critical apps to work with IE 9; 10 and 11 are out of the question. Lots of cash to vendors and ap
      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        It was a fight just to get core, mission critical apps to work with IE 9; 10 and 11 are out of the question.

        Sounds like time to bite the bullet and write them to use web standards for the user interface (this is obviously a web-app as you use a browser for access - so if you're doing anything more than displaying a user interface and maybe some basic input sanity checking and you're doing something wrong to begin with). As an added bonus this will relieve you of your dependency on IE and Windows, and it would even work on non-Windows systems such as most tablets.

      • How often did they migrate before XP came out? Many offices jumped from NT4 to 2000 to XP in a fairly short period of time. Many places also upgraded from 3.1 to 95 to 98 in a short period of time. In both of those cases, it likely involved hardware replacement too.
      • I can count by the way. The $500 per pc at 680,000 pc's equals $340M. $9M is 2.65% of that.
        If you had $340M for an upgrade, you could instead invest $331M of that over 12 months and make more than $9M profit (lets say you made 5%...), hence my assertion that paying for support can make you money (which at 5% would be over $16M profit)

      • It costs a lot more than a new PC to upgrade thousands of PCs

        Exactly. This is something I've seen small business struggle with, often taking the form of "But I could have bought a new PC for that much!" complaint after their vital not-backed-up business data has been recovered from a dead hard drive.

        (there are many solutions to the above example, I'm using it illustratively)

    • The joke is likely on them for paying. Microsoft was going to patch XP until 2019 anyway via extended support for Windows Embedded 2009.
      • That $9M also gets them support for Microsoft Office and Exchange 2003, which I doubt would be covered by Windows Embedded.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      And some software may not even run on newer versions.. if they are custom apps they could run in the millions themselves to 'fix'...

  • Can an unused retail copy of XP be activated? Will MS support THAT?
  • by hessian (467078) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:31PM (#46678967) Homepage Journal

    What will I do? Probably keep working from a known image and patch it up as best I can.

    In other words, the same thing I've done with legacy DOS, 95, Novell, 98 and 2k systems.

    My hope is that at some point I can find a low-overhead Linux or BSD system to use as a VM host, and then have access to every operating system since the dawn of the 4004.

  • by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:40PM (#46679017)
    It's DAZzling :)
  • by msobkow (48369) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @06:08PM (#46679159) Homepage Journal

    Nobody in their right mind is going to resort to the black market for XP support for a business -- it'd be like *inviting* the crackers into your network.

    Home users either won't know how or won't care to bother. Most people I know who are still running XP have been virus-infected for months or even years. As long as it lets them play YouTubes, check their gMail, and surf Crackbook they just flat out don't *care* that the machine is infected.

    Hell, most of them don't even realize the adware popups they keep seeing are due to an *infection*, not "bad behaviour" on the part of the aforementioned websites. One fellow I knew used to complain about the "popups from YouTube" all the time, 'cause all he ever did was YouTube and Crackbook. As far as he was concerned, it was YouTube that was putting up all the porn ads.

  • I'm a Windows XP user. I see no need to upgrade. The only circumstances in which I would upgrade is either I can't find hardware to run XP on or the data I process (documents, music, video) have no applications I can use on XP. These circumstances forced me from 98 to 2000 and now XP.

    Yes, I'm going to have to take care to stop being infected by malware. Good anti-virus, good firewall, Chrome browser, safe surfing habits, care with email.

    If you would like a similar analogy people drive old cars with
    • The only circumstances in which I would upgrade is [...] the data I process (documents, music, video) have no applications I can use on XP. [...] Yes, I'm going to have to take care to stop being infected by malware. Good anti-virus [...] Chrome browser

      So long as Google and the publishers of "good anti-virus" continue to support Windows XP. Otherwise, "the data [you] process" (virus definitions and HTML documents) would "have no applications [you] can use on XP". Support for Chrome on Windows XP will continue longer, possibly as a side effect of support on Windows Server 2003, but even that's going away in a year [blogspot.com].

      good firewall

      If security researchers (wearing any color hat) exploit a defect in the TCP/IP stack of Windows XP, a firewall running on Windows XP is unlikely

    • you need to upgrade. Sooner or later one of the poorly policed ad networks will serve you up a virus. I run some ads off my home page to pay for hosting/etc and I stick to google's ads because so far every site I browse has been shut down at least once when their ad networks served up a virus. Angry Nintendo Nerd, Spoony Experiment, Something Positive. All of them. Heck, I think even Penny Arcade's been nailed.

      It's not a matter if if, it's when. Which is why I'm posting from Win 7 today :(...
  • by nickberry (1226494) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @06:21PM (#46679255)
    My business uses software that was written for serial communication that simply doesn't work on windows 7, nor 8. The cost of replacing the software is more than having a couple dozen thinkpads with windows xp installed handy in case one goes down and we can't get support. At that we've even tried to have new software written and the vendors who took on the task simply couldn't get it to work. Then we run into the damn hardware problem I still can't find a serial to usb adapter that runs across at 1200 baud.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @06:26PM (#46679289)

    Given that somebody clearly took the trouble to make Unofficial patch sets for Windows 98, we can fully expect unofficial patch sets for Windows XP

    http://www.mdgx.com/upd98me.ph... [mdgx.com]

  • Most of them can solate the XP machines in a private network, very much like i isolated the Windows98 machines (Thanks, Tektronix) a few years back.

  • What market? All you need is one person to give it out for free and the market collapses. Nobody will make a penny on XP bootleg patches.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredprado (2569351) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @07:01PM (#46679491)
    The objective of applying security updates from Microsoft is to make your OS safer by applying fixes delivered by a trusted party. MS may not be perfectly "trusted" but at least it has to worry about the liability of any fishy piece of software they install in your computer. On the other hand any source from the "black market" can simply deliver rootkits and any kind of malware disguised as security updates which certainly defies the purpose of applying updates.
    • by jkrise (535370)

      By that definition Windows XP is itself a huge piece of malware that needs to be constantly rid of the numerous bugs and defects. It has been for the past 10 years thus, and still not fully fixed.

      That makes MS an untrustworthy source of poor quality software, or intentionally buggy software aka malware.

  • Its not a black market if 3rd party companies decide to continue support XP.

  • I'm all for extending the life of old machines. I know a lot of people are very happy with XP and don't need a new OS or computer, but there are times when it's just easier to move on and other times when it's better to stick with it.

    Any competent admin would have started a migration to win7 a long time ago. Short of industrial use (e.g. a computer that controls machinery) there's little incentive to stick with xp. Patches to the OS are going to be of limited value for industrial applications anyway, as
  • Patches exist. A big country could pass a law to force MS to publish them in the sake of national interest, or pay a huge daily a fine (or give up the market in that big country).
  • by Dekonega (1606763) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @10:56PM (#46680437)

    The year of the Linux desktop is finally here!

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw

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