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OK, OK, I get it! It’s not a ’57 Chevy. More likely a ’54. Five year old Leo remembered it wrong. :-) It was a long time ago. (And that it might be wrong has nothing to do with the point of this post.)
Back in 1957, the year I was born, my parents had a 1957 Chevy1. Apparently, it was a relatively new car at the time. Here’s a picture of it, by the way. This is actually on the day, in 1960, that my parents and I immigrated to the United States. Actually, I think we were waiting for the ferry to take us into Anacortes, Washington.
We had that car for a long time, at least certainly in the mind of the then small, “Little Leo” as I was known. The car held many memories for me. In fact, it’s one of the earliest things that I can remember. I can remember doing things like riding down the highway while laying on the back shelf behind the back seat.
Things that you would never, ever see or hear of today. In, I think 1962 or thereabouts, we traded that car in, and to be honest, I cried. Again, I was only maybe 4 or 5 years old, but that car was the only thing that I had known, the only vehicle that I had known since I was born. It’s the car that my parents brought me home in, and it’s interesting because looking back, if we were to take a look at that car today, there’s a very good chance it would be considered “unsafe”.
Among other things, it had a wonderfully, hard, metal dashboard. It had a steering wheel that if you were in an accident, it would probably impale you, and it just, it didn’t have any seat belts, and on top of that, it needed, like most cars of that era, leaded gas, something that you simply won’t find today.
Anybody that still has a car of that era is having to do something, either modifications to the engine or additives to the fuel, I suppose, so that it can run with today’s readily available unleaded gas. So, why am I telling you all about this old car? Well, some of you aren’t going to like this, but we need to talk.
We need to talk about Windows XP. It’s time to trade it in. Much like that car, its lifespan has come to an end. The last nail in the coffin, and the reason that I’m recording this today is that just recently, Google announced that it is dropping support, pulling support from Chrome, the Chrome web browser, for Windows XP. This isn’t a surprise; they actually announced it several months ago, but the next version, as of today, the next version of Google Chrome won’t support Windows XP.
It may or may not continue to work, but they aren’t going to update it for anything on Windows XP or anything that is XP specific. Like XP itself, what that means is that the browser is no longer going to get security updates, and if there are new features, they somehow aren’t going to work on Windows XP, well, they’re not going to work on Windows XP.
That’s one more browser you don’t have available to you on Windows XP. Internet Explorer stopped at version 8 on Windows XP, for example. Firefox is still working and will work for a while, but you know that the end is coming for that as well.
I think it’s important for those still running Windows XP to realize that you’ve used it well beyond any expected lifespan, and to my opinion, any reasonably expected lifespan. Be it a decade or 14 years or whatever it’s been now, that’s a really long time when it comes to operating systems.
It’s time to switch to something else and to be honest, I’m not even promoting it as a Microsoft thing. If you want to switch to Windows 10, go for it, but if you want to switch a Mac, if you want to switch to Linux, that’s fine. What I care about is that it is now time to switch to something more modern, something that will continue to be supported, something that will continue to be maintained, secure and safe; that’s what’s important here.
Even if you feel like you’re not really doing things that are, I’ll say, inviting a threat on Windows XP, what you’re going to find is that this scenario of Google Chrome going away is going to happen more and more. You’re going to run into more applications that either are going to stop supporting Windows XP; they’re going to start failing on Windows XP, and they will just tell you that’s too bad, or there are actually going to be sites and services that explicitly over time are just not going to support an operating system that is that old, and realistically, simply unsupported.
So, it’s time to move on and like I said, I don’t care what you move on to as long it’s something more modern, more supported and more secure. Yes, I get it’s change; it is change and there are definitely going to be some things about the replacements, whatever replacement you choose that you’re probably not going to like, or that you’re at least going to take some getting used to.
That’s the nature of the beast; that’s the nature of technology; that’s the nature of operating systems. And to be fair, and to be blunt, I think one of the things we all need to come to grips with is that ten years is beyond all expectations. That kind of a lifespan for an operating system is simply unrealistic. I won’t say that it’s unreasonable, but the practical matter is that it is unrealistic. Operating systems simply aren’t going to be supported for that long.
Windows XP was an exception. A normal lifespan for an operating system is on the order of about five years and in fact you’ll find that most Linux operating systems in what are called a long-term support path end up getting supported for about five years at which point updates stop. Some Linux releases actually are only supported for two years at which updates stop, and you must upgrade to a more recent version of either that distribution or something else if that’s what you’re liking.
So I think that one of the things that probably should change here is this expectation that an operating system on the computer can last for a decade. I don’t think that’s practical. I wish that it were true. I wish that you could; I honestly do because I think it would serve a lot of people a lot better, and I know that’s where a lot of the frustration comes from.
People feel that they’re being forced to upgrade from something that’s been serving them well, but in terms of being pragmatic about it, in terms of setting expectations, I think that it’s important that you set your expectations to something a little bit more reasonable, something, again, I don’t even really want to say that’s unreasonable to expect more than five years but pragmatically, it’s going to be about 5 years and if you prepare yourself for that now, you’ll be better off five years from now when we find ourselves in this situation again.
And, yeah, the worst-case scenario, of course is that it might even mean you’ll need a new machine. I’m sorry about that. One of things you can do if you find yourself in that situation is that you might find yourself needing to look into a Linux distribution which has lower system requirements than current versions of either the Windows operating system or getting a completely new machine as would be required to switch to a Mac.
There are definitely Linux distributions specifically tailored for lower capacity, lower powered machines that would be potentially ideal to at least recover the horsepower that you have in whatever machine that you’re currently running Windows XP.
It does mean change; it does mean that things are going to be different, and it does mean some things aren’t going to work but you’ll be in a situation where you’ve got a supported operating system and the things that do run on it will continue to be supported.
You know, back then, again 1962; we traded that Chevy for actually a Dodge Dart, which also ended up serving us for many good years at which point it too was traded in for something else. The point is that this happens. We accept it readily in other parts of our lives. And I think that it’s important that we need to come to grips with the fact that sometimes it’s just time to change, and with respect to Windows XP, that time is probably now.
As always, I know that not everybody is going to agree with me on this, but as always, I’d love to hear what you think. Here’s the link for this video on askleo.com if you are watching me anywhere but on askleo.com come visit me there. That’s where I’ll have the moderated comments, as always. I read them all. I’d love to hear what you think.
Until next, week, I’m Leo Notenboom for askleo.com. Remember have fun, stay safe, and don’t forget to back up. Take care.