Inspired by something Asa said, I think we really need a website which clearly explains to people why using unsupported browsers or OSes on the Internet is a bad idea, and why they should fix it (even if it costs money). If we can find the best and most convincing words to do this, everyone else can point people with old software at the site.
Does anyone know of anything like this which exists already? I know we did “Internet Health Check“, but that was only about browsers, and seems to be dormant now. Still, we could reuse the name.
Here’s some wordsmith brainstorming; further contributions welcomed:
Using old software is normally fine – if it works for you, that’s great. No-one should be able to tell you what to do in the privacy of your home. But when you take that software onto the Internet, your choices start to affect other people. If you use insecure software, your computer is at much greater risk from Internet attackers who are trying to recruit it as a “zombie” or “bot” and use it to send spam or attack other sites. These attackers know about security problems with old software that they can use to take control of your computer, if you accidentally visit a malicious website, or even visit a website you trust that itself has had a security problem.
Upgrading can be expensive – we know that. Consider it a cost of being a good net citizen. Just as maintaining a car or house costs money, maintaining a computer can do as well. Having said that, there are some ways to make it less expensive. …
The site would read your User Agent and then provide appropriate custom text for your out-of-date OS, or browser, or both. (It would need a database of which versions were out of date and which were not.) For old OSes it would suggest:
- Buy a new computer (the easiest option, but the most expensive)
- Upgrade your OS (get upgrade disks on eBay?)
- Install Linux (links to useful resources)
For old browsers, it would suggest upgrading to the most recent version of your existing browser – except that the IE section would have a note about the importance of web standards, and a suggestion to switch. If the OS was so old that no supported browsers run on it, it would say that.
If their browser and OS were fine, we could move on to plugins, using the great work done by the Plugin Check people. (Although after several months, their database still doesn’t seem to handle Totem…)