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Windows XP and the Changing Calculus of Technology Choice

hp-rip useOne reason technology choices are so difficult is technology is always a work in progress; your one choice has lasting consequences since the technology rarely ever lives on its own, and most good technology is never done -- that is unless you’re Windows XP. As most of us know, Microsoft today is turning off support for Windows XP. That means that roughly 30 percent of all Windows users will cease to get security updates and other ongoing maintenance. Since hackers disproportionately target Windows products, this is a big deal.

So, if you’re a banking technology manager who made the decision to deploy Windows XP to your fleet of ATMs back in 2002 (which at the time seemed like a very safe choice), you and your employer are now in serious trouble. Just upgrade to Windows 8, right? What’s the big deal? Well, most older hardware will not run Windows 8. It’s widely seen as a resource hog. Many perfectly fine computers became “Vista orphans” and now will be junked or forced to migrate to another non-Microsoft OS.

This is where Linux comes in. Linux on the desktop historically has been a small percentage of the total market; it’s struggled to meet the needs of most everyday users, either through market perceptions or interoperability reality. Only with the rise of mobile and cloud computing has the calculus of desktop choice started changing. First Google based its wildly popular Android and Chrome OSes on Linux. At the same time, users have gotten used to relying on the cloud rather than native apps for most of what they do with a computer. Internet access and cloud computing power (and the application frameworks that deploy apps within a browser) have become so good so fast that people aren’t as locked into the same Windows dominance.

The XP end-of-life will likely push even more people into other platforms, especially if they want to continue using their old equipment. A Linux distribution like Mint or Ubuntu is perfectly well suited for older equipment and has the tools needed for migration. Will all your Windows apps run on Linux? Not really (at least not without more advanced technical tricks), but really just how many native apps do people run anymore? As we said earlier, not many. Chromebooks would not be seeing the sales numbers it is achieving if native apps were an issue.

This doesn’t mean that every XP user will go to Linux; far from it. Yet the end-of-life of XP will force many users to evaluate their options with a fresh set of decision criteria. With Chromeboks, Mint, Ubuntu anthe thriving and growing community of Linux developers, it doesn’t seem so crazy to go to Linux. Technology is never complete, so why not trust the community of thousands of developers vs. only one company who has the power to decide when you’re ready for an upgrade?



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  • ibrahim Beytekin Said:

    Linux is in pole position when both windows and linux are mentioned ... Please do not compare linux with windows, people are going to understand what is why .. That time will come and we'll all see that there will be no OS ...

  • Calin Rusu Said:

    True, a big percentage of former XP users still attached to their older PC will be tempted to try Linux. I have a recent example with a home user, friend of mine who used to run scared when hearing about LInux. Month ago comes to me with his PC running XP unbootable. Told him I don't have any XP installation disc left and he begs me to put Win7. Win7 was way to slow for his hardware so after a week comes back with unbootable Win7 PC. I convinced him to let me install Ubuntu 12.04 and he promised to give it a try and give me a call after 1 or 2 days. After nearly a month (he didn't call) we met accidentally and he starts telling me how smooth his older PC runs on Ubuntu how the Canon printer driver "magically" auto-installed without asking for a CD driver and so on. One home user 100% converted to Ubuntu. +1 Linux RIP XP, -$ Bill Gates. Happy end.

  • Tommy Shields Said:

    Chrome OS (The Chromebook Operating System) gives Linux a bad name. It may be based on Linux, but all it is is Google Chrome with a bootloader.

  • pepxxv Said:

    Pardon? As far as i know chrome OS runs a Linux kernel...

  • Adam Said:

    I love Win7 and Linux for different reasons. Linux is a fantastic work environment, and one I wholly recommend, but for applications like games, Linux is still far behind. Most of my day to day browsing is done on Windows 7, and some work gets done on Linux. Enterprise consumers are certainly going to have trouble with this though!

  • rodrigo Said:

    from the low end point of view, microsoft is loosing a potentially huge market, that is africa and parts of asia who are starting to get into computers, sadly chromebooks don't reach those places and what they get are the leftovers form the more advanced countries (nigeria is the perfect example of this) so, what's the OS needed for this markets? XP was a great choice as it was reliable and could work on low end machines, but without the updates it becomes unsafe and unstable for them, leaving only linux as a solution. now i may speak in terms of markets, but its also a social issue, as those regions deserve to be heard and have the tools for development and that means operating systems that can solve their day to day needs

  • Biren Majumdar Said:

    Now when WindowsXP has been laid to rest by microsoft, people like I were searching for linux distribution to fit their desktop and computing experience. Most of us were not tech-savy. It was sad to learn that some most popular Linux disto namely ubuntu were propagating controversies about security vulnerabilty od another Linux distro named Linux Mint. Now we, the non tecnical end user are in a fix. Although there are so many distributions in Linux world, what we primarily look for Satble, Secure with Long term Support, Easy to operate and easy to upgrade operating syatems. Big question is, shall the Linux Experts allow us(unskilled end users) enter the linux (user)community or push us back to the mercy of microsoft?

  • Eino Said:

    Most full versions of Linux comes with the apps most people need, and want. Unlike Windows where it dose not come with Office apps. I think people should wise up to Microsoft's planned obsolescence. Just to pull more money from the world. Most Linux Experts are more than proud to help the new end users.

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