XP takes baby step into the abyss

Microsoft bans XP from new installs on netbooks; XP still runs on majority of PCs

If you're a big fan of XP - or more likely an enthusiastic preferrer of it over Vista who has yet to move every application, desktop, laptop, tablet and tucked-off-in-a-corner obsolete PC acting as a firewall or spam filter -- to Windows 7, today is a significant step toward permanent change.

As of today, Microsoft won't allow manufacturers to install XP on new netbooks. That doesn't mean corporate customers who special-order hardware with XP won't be able to get it, or even that its market share ( 60 percent!) will drop any time soon.

Microsoft will continue to support XP and release security patches and other ways of admitting to its paternity and living up to its responsibilities.

It just means XP has taken the first babystep toward obsolesence and the long (really long, considering its market share) slide down toward the pit of minor operating systems like the MacOS X (4.39 percent) , Java ME (.95 percent) and "Other" (which I think is an alternative spelling for "Linux" (.85 percent).

It does mean we've passed the sad, more-disappointed-than-angry estrangement between Microsoft and its customers caused by the attractive but annoying Vista , which was largely repaired by the less annoying, more effective, but somehow more pushy Windows 7.

Even for those who have already migrated to Windows 7 (I installed the beta almost as soon as it came out and have been running on it happily every since), still have almost daily contact with XP and will continue to get reminders of how solid the little-respected (by Microsoft) but hardy, loyal little OS really was.

I still have half a dozen apps on my laptop that run in (licensed) XP VMs because they won't run in Win7 and I won't buy Vista for them.

Even on Win7, almost every time I install a new application, no matter how new or "Windows 7 compatible," when I Troubleshoot Compatibility, it turns out the app would rather emulate XP SP2 than run as a native Windows 7 app

XP, Microsoft couldn't wait to get rid of you and replace you with that pretty, vapid, Vista, but you saved me from disaster more often than I can remember. I can still feel your calming, stable presence in the background and am comforted to know there's somewhere I can turn if your replacement turns out to be more trouble than it's worth.

R(eboot)IP.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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