Tomorrow is Tuesday 8 April 2014. The date that Microsoft kills XP support forever. I know there are many people who want to see it die. I don’t because it kills off mature software. Software that has been tried and trusted, where the bugs are known and can be worked around with a well known graphical user interface.
I know, I hear you: Security! Boooo! Hisss. Scare, scare, scare! I know, as a matter of fact that it is totally possible to run XP safely. The rules are rather simple: don’t use any other Microsoft software, use a reasonable anti-virus, don’t install stuff you don’t actually need, and…. apply the Unix principles. You run as standard user, and do administrative tasks as the Administrative user. That works, and illustrates that a XP machine can be safe. Sure, the way XP does it is a bit more cumbersome than more modern systems but that does have its advantages (Oh, I’ll click “Allow”, how bad can it be… Aaargh!). On the other hand, with “Run As” you could get a long way.
The only other reason, I see, is support for more than 4GB RAM. Ok, fine, I’ll grant you that. At the risk of sounding like the 640kB is enough for everyone quote, I can assure you that a normal office desktop for the typical worker bee can live with “just” 4GB RAM. Heck, I write this on an Ultrabook with a mere 4GB RAM. Ubuntu tells me that I only have 1GB in use right now.
Regardless. XP dying is a shame. The normal worker bee gets nothing out of Vista/7/8, neither does the normal home user. At best they hobble along and cope with the unneeded changes, at worst they get very frustrated (at which point I send the people I want to help to Linux, and those I don’t want to help to Mac OS X).
So, I declare the 8th April “Install Windows XP day”. Dust off that old XP machine you have lying around and don’t use. Write down the OEM key, then grab the ISO and install it in a Virtual Machine (For easy to start VM software: VirtualBox). Let it update as fully as it allows you to. Then pink away a tear, in reminiscence of all the hours you wasted reinstalling XP in the first place, but also a tear for the death of mature software.
That’s what I’ll do tomorrow. Of course, discard the VM afterwards, after all, installing an OEM license on non-original-equipment is filthy piracy.