Monday, April 7, 2014

Microsoft, Please Open Source Windows XP

The day is now upon us. After a nearly 13 year affair, marked by manic periods of love and hate, we now face the inevitable conclusion of our relationship with Windows XP. We knew that our time together was only temporary, and many are applauding the end of an era that was probably several years past its prime. As much as I appreciated the time that Microsoft granted us, I recognize that it’s time to move on.

My acceptance aside, I believe that many others are forced to remain in denial. Consider that some reports continue to pin XP usage at anywhere from 10% to nearly 30% of all desktop systems. Combine these statistics with reports that 95% of all ATMs, many medical devices and cash registers run Windows XP. I’m not one to succumb to FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), but the numbers imply that we face a potentially catastrophic security condition once Microsoft ceases its support for the operating system. How many vulnerabilities are hiding out there, their hacker benefactors giddy as they wait for Microsoft to cease providing security patches for XP computers? I suspect that we’ll find out soon.

Microsoft can help by making the XP operating system core available as open source software. I think that it should.