A glance behind whilst running forward…

Microsoft’s announcement that they are going to discontinue support for the aged Windows 98 operating system came as no surprise. Indeed most people, including me, would think it reasonable to phase out support after a reasonable time. No problem at all so far..

BUT the computer’s that run it are now at some risk. Unsupported software will not be patched (and W98 was pretty bad to begin with) against any new security vulnerabilities. And there are a lot of them too. Mainly owned by people who are not ‘power users’ and who have little need for anything super fast or super powerful.

From a waste and pollution point of view I beleive that we need to consider not whether these ‘old’ machines should be replaced so that new, supported, software will run on, but turn the problem on its head and ask how can we keep these older, less powerful machines running as long as possible.

Two elements of a solution spring to mind.

First, lightweight Linux versions (not being a Linux user I cannot say for sure that such things exist, but I think they may do) or, and it would be a Good Thing, Microsoft could develop a new OS for legacy machines. Stripped down XP.

Second, make use of high speed broadband connection to use online applications.

There is a third element and again this needs the efforts of serious programmers from the Open Source community or people like Microsoft, we need to have a dead simple install and setup and a GUI that is so intuitive that the newest newcomer can get up and running in moments. And those newcomers should be thought of as senior citizens rather than tech-savvy 5 year olds!


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