Consequences of an out-dated OS
I stand by the idea that when security updates for a product -- be it an OS, browser, or otherwise -- then it is time to move on.
Eight out of 10 people with whom I come into contact stay with Windows 98SE (or ME, ugh!) because they were and still are afraid to move to Windows XP for whatever reason. Even when I clearly demonstrate that Windows XP is not much different from 98 than 98 was from 95. Now, many of them would probably cough at moving to Vista, but I think the same ones would benefit from Vista's approach.
One of ten cites compatibility with some piece of software, which can generally be overcome by compatibility settings or, and yes this increases the difficulty level some, an emulator. (Which would seem to contradict my statement on Linux below but, overall, I believe does not.)
The other one person refuses because he or she refuses to spend money on new hardware. Give me a break. In the US, people could have upgraded last year using the stimulus tax rebate check, FFS.
"Teach them Linux instead!" Well, it is not a bad idea, actually, but if they are going to learn something new, I do not see the reason not to just stick with what already works with the software they have without hacks and tweaks and apt-gets and what-not. If they want to learn Linux, then that is up to them and the friend who will teach and support them.
If you support someone who refuses to move from 98SE, ME, or 2000 for whatever reason, then so long as that person is okay knowing that in the event of a virus or malware infection there is the extreme likelihood that a format-and-reinstall will be the only way to clean it out, and the likelihood that a lot modern software and hardware will not work for them and will therefore require a little more homework, then fine. Have at it and be happy. We Amigaoids got used to that a long time ago.
For that matter, I do not mind helping them when I have the time. But none the less, there are consequences for running operating systems and software which is not longer supported by its vendor.
Now, in the case of Firefox dumping anything older than WIndows XP SP3, IMHO it would be best to support back to whatever SP level is still receiving security updates (Windows XP SP2, IIRC.) That way we can mostly ensure a stable and secure platform on which to run the software.
But for those holding out on SP3, most computer hardware introduced since the release of Windows XP has the ability to keep up with the hardware requirements of the OS. At minimum, Windows XP since SP2 should run on at least 512MB RAM. I have it running comfortably with the performance options maxed out (no themes, no animations, etc.) on systems as old as Pentium III 667s. If you have a computer that old, the original hard drive has most likely died already, is close to it, or is probably full, and a newer IDE hard drive, or SATA drive with a PCI card, will greatly increase performance with little expense. I know that MANY techs like myself have sticks of PC-133 laying around to help with your memory woes, and probably a no-longer-used 20GB or 40GB drive which way out performs your current drive.
All considered, Firefox surely is not pushing themselves out of the UMPC or ULCPC or whatever the acronym is for these itty-bitty teeny-weeny computers and laptops, since there are installations of XP SP3 for them as well.
Someone always starts crying foul when something they like and/or use is to be discontinued. I know I have, especially after investing several clams into a product to have it disco'd within a year. But if you have been using the same computer for five, seven, or ten years, you have received your return and you are pretty much in the same position you were back when you originally bought it.
Paris, still in the original position as when she was bought.