The Late ’98

Readers of my blog may already be bored of the subject, but my latest Times article, “the late ’98” is about Microsoft’s imminent withdrawal of support for the Windows 9x line of OSes.

As always, gentle taps with a cluestick are welcomed.

21 thoughts on “The Late ’98

  1. My understanding is that Windows98 is also used a lot more in developing countries.

  2. > So what can Windows 98 users do? […] I’d recommend the newly-released Ubuntu Linux 6.06
    Isn’t the issue with both WinXP and any current Linux distro that they won’t run reasonably on Win98 hardware? So the advice would rather be: get a new PC (which will of course include WinXP)?

    > If you must stick with Windows 98, at least install a firewall and get Firefox.
    Funny for you to say that in a time where Firefox’ EOL for Win98 is discussed. Why not rather recommend Opera? ;-)

  3. galloglass: I emailed them about that :-)

    Simon: I suspect Xubuntu will run very well on the hardware people are using to run Win98, and Ubuntu would probably run reasonably well.

    Regarding the EOL, the results of the discussion seem to be that the plan is unchanged – Firefox 2 will support Windows 9x. And it’s undoubtedly true that a supported Firefox 2 is safer than an unsupported IE. So it’s entirely reasonable to recommend Firefox. If and when the Firefox 2 line of browsers becomes unsupported (at some point after the release of Firefox 3, in mid-2007) then the advice would change.

  4. Gerv:… seem to be that the plan is unchanged – Firefox 2 will support Windows 9x.

    I’ll believe it when gets switched to “fixed”, or the requirements page (URL above) is updated. As long as the bug is resolved as “won’t fix, by design”, then Win98 will not be in FF2. It may be “unsupported”, but isn’t that the crux of Gerv’s article about Win98? Should we expect any bugfixes on FF2 if it DOESN’T work on Win98?

  5. Cornelius: Bug 331723 refers to the trunk, where Firefox 3 is being developed. Firefox 2 is being developed in the 1.5 branch.

  6. > post-7/11
    Being a bit over dramatic there, don’t you think (I’m assuming its a referrence to 9/11, rather than a typo)

    I like the plug for firefox though.

  7. Its amazing what a (hardware) firewall can do. The computer Im wrighting this on is running windows ME, ans hasn’t had many problems, other than running out of disk space, so this machine may stay in use for a bit longer. Then again it crashes way too often (eg google video does, out of memory), but at least a firewall can stop the viruses… Can’t wait to upgrade to Vista ;-), or even a linux box, can’t deside.

  8. From the original article:

    “They’d recommend Windows XP; I’d recommend the newly-released Ubuntu Linux 6.06, which is easier to install, easier to use, more secure, and comes with thousands of pounds worth of free software.”

    “Thousands of pounds worth of free software” — isn’t that an oxymoron? ;)

  9. I thought people in Britain wrote the date as 11/7/06 for July 11th 2006. So aren’t they confused by references to “7/11” or “9/11”?

    Yet another reason for EVERYONE to always use the ISO8601 standard 2006-07-11. Anything else is ambiguous, and trying to localize to mm/dd/yy or dd/mm/yy just makes it more confusing. More on ISO8601 at my blog.

  10. skierpage: We do write dates in the correct order, yes. But a lot of people still talk about “9/11” – it’s sort of become a word in its own right, because of continuous American usage. So people will probably get the reference when I say 7/11, meaning 11/7/06.

  11. Great article – glad I checked it out! I knew about the EOL, but hadn’t thought through the implications.

    My Father and Mother-in-law are still running 98. I already tried to upgrade them once to Win 2000, but they’ve got an old HP and we had all kinds of driver issues. I’ve been trying to convince them to just spend the money for a new computer (preferably a Mac Mini), but they only get online some for bills and play Spider (solitaire).

    I hadn’t thought of Ubuntu Linux – I might try that for them. I’m sure there’s a version of Spider for Linux. (I’m not kidding, that’s a real requirement for them!)

  12. I second Skierpage’s recommendation of yyyy-mm-dd, but partially for a different reason. Not only is it less ambiguous in a global conversation, but for file names and any sortable data, the dates will be sorted most correctly in that format. We store all our digital photos using that date format.

  13. Step: Ubuntu comes with AisleRiot Solitaire, which allows you to play any one of around 80 forms of solitaire, including four forms of Spider. :-)

  14. The proprietor should make the OS free software so that users can support it
    themselves, or hire people to support it for them.

    I don’t actually agree with this, even though I support free software in general. Leaving aside any legal issues, what would happen in Microsoft were to make Windows 98 free software on the 11th of July?

    Would anyone actually take up the job of maintaining it? What’s the motivation? There are other, much better and newer, free operating systems like Linux or the BSD family. Are you offering?

    But what would definitely happen is that black hats would scour the source for security holes, and try them both against 98 and also against newer versions of Windows.

    If a piece of software as big and as widely deployed as a Windows OS doesn’t start open source, then making it open source is very dangerous for its existing users.

  15. Perhaps a new OS should be released with a stating how long it will be supported for as exemplified by Ubuntu 6.06 LTS.

  16. Dubai: Microsoft has at least one web page on their lifecycle for products and such. However, when they release a product they don’t know how long they will support it until they know when the next version of the product will come out. For example, Windows 2000 went into extended support a lot quicker than XP will because Vista is so late.

    From my experience Ubuntu runs fine on a 300Mhz computer with 128MB of RAM. You could probably lower those a bit too without too many problems. IIRC, there’s also a version that comes with XFCE and that would probably be even better.

  17. In your article, you wrote: “If you must stick with Windows 98, at least install a firewall and get Firefox. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

    A little late to post this perhaps, but I just found out (since I don’t use Windows anymore ;) that Zone Alarm (probably the most used free software firewall for Windows) since version 6.5 which was released earlier this month, no longer supports Windows 98/SE/ME and its directly as a result of Microsoft’s imminent end of support. Users can still pick up a 6.1 version though again they will be on their own…

    (note: apologies if I’m double posting; this version has the URLs removed so that it will show up immediately)

  18. Windows 98 Users: See The Train Coming

    A while back, I wrote for the Times about the possible effects of the ending of support for Windows 98, and suggested that sooner rather than later a big vulnerability would come along for which there would be no fix forthcoming. Well, MS06-051 may wel…