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back to article Big biz 'struggling' to dump Windows XP

Windows 7 is running in just 20 per cent of large enterprises with the most difficult migrations yet to come. That’s according to web browser specialist Browsium, which said 80 per cent of big companies - those with 10,000 or more PCs - are still clinging to Windows XP even though support for it is due to end in two years. But …

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IE6

So Microsoft's attempt to lock people into the Windows environment has been too successful and it is keeping them from moving on within that environment?

Shame.

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Re: IE6

Just what I was thinking. Oh the bitter-sweet irony.

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Anonymous Coward

Windows

No dude, we've all been hanging on for Windows 8.

Snigger.............

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows 8

Exactly what I was going to say. Soon Windows 8 will have at minimum 95% of the desktop.

Yours,

Steve B

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Re: Windows 8

...a minimum 95% of the desktop, leaving just 5% for user applications.

There, fixed that for you.

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Coat

@AC 30Jul12; 15:08 GMT Re: Windows 8

Gee, you mean Steve-O is going to allow me to keep the remaining 5% of my desktop?

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Legacy legacy legacy

I have corporate and public sector clients that refuse to upgrade from IE6!

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Re: Legacy legacy legacy

I know. Business critical ActiveX controls. It's enough you make one cry.

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Re: Legacy legacy legacy

Sounds like Neill and BigYin need to speak to Browsium!

I have no connection with Browsium, it just seemed to me that you'd completely missed the point of the article/advertorial. Your clients now have a solution that will slash their application migration costs by 96 percent if the article is to be believed.

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Mushroom

Re: Legacy legacy legacy

Petards enough for all!

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Go

Need a consultant?

[shamelessplug] I have experience making b0rken web apps and such work on IE8 and IE9. [/shamelessplug]

It's pretty simple, actually, Fix DNS, then make sure web apps work with short host names. Barring that, put said hosts in the Local Intranet zone, either by hand or by Group Policy. What this does is loosen security settings for those hosts and make the environment look more like IE7, and you need to do both. Haven't had a bad app fail yet, and it doesn't compromise the regular Internet Zone security settings.

Now Java apps that don't work on Java 7... that's another matter.

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Re: Need a consultant?

"It's pretty simple, actually, Fix DNS, then make sure web apps work with short host names. Barring that, put said hosts in the Local Intranet zone, either by hand or by Group Policy. What this does is loosen security settings for those hosts and make the environment look more like IE7, and you need to do both. Haven't had a bad app fail yet, and it doesn't compromise the regular Internet Zone security settings."

LOL, I have enough trouble explaining to these people why our web apps have nice pretty rounded borders when they look at them in Firefox at home but not on the IE6 machines in the office. So I'd get £250 off Harry Hill videoing their response to the above!

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Have them try it first before scoffing at me

I'd get £250 off Harry Hill videoing their response to the above!

Be sure to link said video response to this forum.

Sheesh, I try to be helpful here and all I get is grief. "But, IE still sucks, yes I know his fix works, but, but, but..."

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FAIL

Re: Need a consultant?

Or configure the web server to send the X-UA-Compatibility header set to IE=EmulateIE7 ?

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2008/06/10/introducing-ie-emulateie7.aspx

The error that Microsoft made was not to include an *IE6* compatibility mode in IE8, IE9 or IE10. Much of the problem comes from applications that weren't even upgraded to IE7 (not surprising, really, as when IE8 came out IE7 hadn't overtaken v6).

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Re-write the programs.

The article says this advice isn't helpful, but it's probably the best approach. Hire some decent programmers and get the job done. It's not going to become cheaper the longer you leave it.

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Re: Re-write the programs.

Sometimes you also have to take into account what your customers are using.... sadly, a large portion of our customers are using Windows XP and IE6 & IE7.... why? Because it works for them and they see no reason to upgrade.

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Re: Re-write the programs.

Let's say I invested £3 million quid procuring and implementing a business critical application back in 2004BF (Before Firefox), I capitalised the cost and wrote it off over three years, and it costs 20% of capital to keep it on its feet.(Costs are reasonable for a middling enterprise, multiply by 10 for a big enterprise).

Suppose it would cost me another £3 million to procure a replacement that works with modern browsers, three year write off and again operating costs are 20% of capital costs.

Option A: Continue to sweat the assets, taking £60,000 off my bottom line (profits) this year.

Option B: Invest in a replacement system in the middle of an ongoing global slump, taking £1,060,000 off my profits this year and the next two years?

Which to you think the CFO would (and regularly does) choose? He's not an idiot by the way, he understands the potential downsides to under-investing (security risks, higher cost to fix in a hurry later, etc,). Right now short-term expediency is the order of the day for many businesses.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re-write the programs.

And ditto that for Government departments - with 'savings' expected to be made within existing budgets few are going to have any chance of taking the equivalent of option B. But if something like this plug-in can be implemented for only a couple of multiples of option A, then it is a viable option.

The [non-UK/US] department I work for runs desktops with XP & IE6. It is looking at this sort of solution to enable it to get past IE6, which several essential applications run in.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Option A or B?

One word: BOFH

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Re: Re-write the programs.

In many business cases there is no reason to upgrade. Business says that if it works then it works, why spend the money? Just to make something that is working continue to work?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re-write the programs.

20% of £3 million is £600,000, not £60,000.

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Re: Re-write the programs.

"20% of £3 million is £600,000, not £60,000."

My bad, thanks for picking it up. Argument still stands though, £0.6M vs £1.6M. FD says no.

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Re: Re-write the programs.

FD will then have a coronary a couple of years later when the whole thing goes tits-up, costing how many times more to fix.

Short-termism - the bane of the modern (business) world

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Delaying the Inevitable

The longer a company delays migration, the harder it will become to perform that migration and the technology will move even further ahead (with Windows 8 and IE10 currently on the horizon). Given the amount of time that has passed, these companies could have had a small team looking at migration plans and creating something that would work on the newer platforms. This would help them when the actual migration occurs.

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ql
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Stop

Re: Delaying the Inevitable

> technology will move even further ahead

Big assumption - the technology is changing, but whether that's necessarily progressive is a moot point. If the report is true, then there's even more reason to question the assumption.

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Re: Delaying the Inevitable

It may not be the inevitable that they are delaying.

If current applications continue to meet requirements, it would be bad business sense to rewrite them simply to allow an operating system upgrade. It will incur cost and risk for no other reason than to move to a Windows version that is to be imminently superseded (aka "dated and cheesy").

If business requirements have changed to the extent that applications need to be rewritten, then the cost of moving to the dated and cheesy system should be factored in as part of the cost/benefit analysis.

Good luck to Browsium. The sad thing is that Microsoft still seem to base their upward-compatibility strategy around home users who buy a new version of Windows when they buy a new box.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Delaying the Inevitable

If I recall, Google set a small team aside, 3 or 4 years ago to design and implement IPv6. Took them 18 months start2finish. Probably no more than 10 people.

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kb
WTF?

Re: Delaying the Inevitable

Win 7 is supported until 2020 minimum, and everyone knows "never touch Windows before at least the first SP". So anybody that tried to go straight from XP to Win 8 RTM would frankly have to be off their nut.

I personally got lucky and all my small business owners didn't use IE so I was able to get the switched over to win 7 (skipped Vista) and will set on behind while Ballmer and Sinofsky flail around with their "Oh Hai! I'm a cell phone LOL!" Win 8.

Smart business that have to have Windows programs would be wise to switch to Win 7 and then stay there until Ballmer gets his act together and puts out another business desktop or the board revolts and fires him, whichever comes first. heck by the time Win 7 goes EOL we may have all moved into the cloud or onto Android or something else, no point being a beta tester for Redmond when win 7 is stable and if they are on software assurance its not like they can't just run a WinXP VM for those few apps that need it, win 7 pro does come with "XP Mode" ya know..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Delaying the Inevitable

"technology will move even further ahead"

Ahead of what? Ahead of the actual *purpose* of an operating system? Which is to facilitate the things you need and want to do. If technology *really* moved ahead, it would make migration effortless, not more difficult.

Come to that, if Microsoft were more interested in what people want to buy and less in what *they* want to sell, they could have made their later operating systems functionally equivalent to XP and sold several updated versions to all those people who are still using XP now.

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FAIL

Standards

Let this be an object lesson to all, especially Microsoft, as to why standards, and sticking to them, are important. IE6 was an evolutionary blind alley, taken by MS when it was fighting for browser market share and now it's paying the price (along with all its customers who've got the IE6 apps).

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Unhappy

Re: Standards

"IE6 was an evolutionary blind alley, taken by MS when it was fighting for browser market share and now it's paying the price (along with all its customers who've got the IE6 apps)."

Unfortunately, it'll probably be the public and the firm's customers , i.e. you and me, who will finally pick up the tab for this fiasco. In the meantime MS just keep piling the money up in the bank.

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MJI
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We have customers

Who are still using dos applications.

They do not want to upgrade as they are happy with it and do not want to move - or pay to move.

Luckily we use the same database for both

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Re: We have customers

Dos apps are pretty easy, especially if they're not networked using VirtualBox or something along those lines. A lot of the DOS programs still work because the job behind them is the same as it was 20 years ago. Now if it ever does change something totally new will need to be used since who ever wrote it is long gone.

IE6 is a pig because it 'infected' your entire damn operating system.

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MJI
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Re: We have customers

However the users have to stop at XP

Vista - no full screen DOS mode, ours uses 30 line VESA mode

7 - no Netbios, ours uses a client server database, this means no communications.

They are happy - don't want to spend a lot on the Windows application

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Re: We have customers

"Dos apps are pretty easy, "

Agreed. There are many emulators to choose from, on a wide variety of platforms, so MS-DOS applications are paradoxically quite portable! (I have recently been involved in making some legacy command line programs run on RHEL Linux for serious production use).

Forget Java, MS-DOS is the real "write once, run anywhere" technology :-)

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MJI
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Pint

Re: Run any where as long as....

As before we need to use a VGA graphic mode - we use it to increase the amount data on the screen, also to provide some graphics such as shape drawing.

And then there is the IP interlayer, uses a 32bit Windows conversion layer as there was no DOS IP stack, IPX was native (and faster).

The client server database we used originated as a Netware reindexing routine then became the DOS languages best database, now available on all 3 PC server platforms, and for most Windows languages and ONE DOS language.

I expect you can guess this is a set of Clipper applications, I think there will be working Clipper applications in 20 years still working.

Database - the only successfull DBF based one Advantage Xbase Database Server.

Beer because Nantucket was named after a bar they used to frequent.

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Anonymous Coward

Here's some more advice...

And the lesson is.... code to avoid vendor lock-in. You either pay the cost up-front in development time or you pay dearly later when you have to reinvent all of your wheels.

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Re: Here's some more advice...

Lock-in is one thing. Not being backward compatible with yourself is quite different. That is just about the biggest FU from a company towards their customers, and almost the opposite of lock-in - perhaps you could call it lock-out?

With IE6, there is some security justification for Microsoft abandoning the old interfaces - they had painted themselves into a corner and only had bad options.

But there was absolutely no reason to orphan Visual Basic 6, except for language snobbery! I still see plenty of well-working, business critical VB 6 applications, often written by bright people who were only semi-pro programmers. The apps are often quite nicely structured from the point of view of extending the application, but would be a nightmare to convert to .NET or whatever.

Metro apps with Windows 8, as well as each new, improved version of Windows Phone, are just this philosophy taken to its logical conclusion: with each new version, you have to leave the old apps behind and start from scratch.

This is the kind of philosophy change that is preventing the old, well-oiled, ruthless, lock-in leveraging, world dominating Microsoft money machine from effectively competing with Apple and Google. You can't build momentum if you have to start over every two years. And if you keep screwing the developers, they will stay away from your world until and unless you actually have a market position too big to ignore.

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PT

Re: Here's some more advice...

I have a number of 3rd party applications that work just fine in XP but have problems in W7. I need hardly point out that my chosen solution does not involve upgrading the applications. It may come to that in the long run, but then again, in the long run we are all dead.

I have, in fact, just last week completed a new application in VB6. I tried to do it in .NET first, but couldn't make it work reliably with serial ports. The VB6 version is equally happy in XP, Vista and W7.

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Happy

It could be worse...

It's not IE5

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Virtualisation ?

one company I worked for in 2007 had virtualised all their desktops into a citrix farm. Result was everyone (apart from the IT guys and developers) just had a thin-client terminal. Great for homeworking - just plug into your router, and it would connect to your desktop.

Thing is by doing this, the IT guys felt they were pretty insulated from needing to upgrade in a hurry ... any problems - security or otherwise, they could just magic up another box.

Last I chatted with them, there was still no date for upgrading from XP. The only other desktops were available to the developers, for testing websites the public used.

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They need to move to Windows 7 before Windows 8 becomes the ONLY option.

Otherwise they will be VERY unhappy

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Have your tried some wine with that?

Quick searches for "IE6 wine" and "IE7 wine" show that some people had it working (to some extent) years ago (and others had difficulty). If Window7 is going to cause you hassle, see if Linux+Wine+IEwhatever is a more convenient solution.

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Re: Have your tried some wine with that?

Problem is that IE is usually one of a large number of applications installed but happens to be the one that prevents moving off WinXP. Moving to Linux doesn't solve it as all other apps then become a (potential) problem. It looks like Browsium already cracked that nut by in effect doing for Windows 7/8 what WINE does for Linux in terms of running old versions of IE.

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Dinosaurs companies

That relies on code and software older then 5 years... should be FINED, Exposed to the public and boycotted.

It's called been cheap

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Mushroom

I'm sorry, but WALOB

The key test for *anything* is (1) does it work ?, and (2) is there any reason not to continue using it ?

With hardware, then (2) tends to rear it's head with age, until you get the answer "we might not be able to fix it again" - at which point a replacement is mandated.

However, software can't "wear out", so judging (2) tends to be harder.

Your comment was immature in the extreme, and marks you out as someone who has never worked in the real world (I guess it's Uni holidays now). Any change is a risk. So unless you are changing to mitigate a bigger risk, then you shouldn't be changing at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dinosaurs companies

Glad you don't pay the bills otherwise the company would be bankrupt within a week. Have you any idea of the cost ?

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Meanwhile in the real world

Anyone not heavily dependent on code more than five years old is headed for disaster. By definition you are advocating complete reliance on immature code. Any version of Windows, Linux, Solaris, whatever, IE, Firefox, even Chrome... they all have huge chunks of well tested, problem-free code far older than any five years. Many of our in-house apps have code going back to the nineties. A couple of months ago someone asked for code for a particular task and I was surprised when I noticed the time stamp on the file in question - 1986. You know what? It works as well today as it did back then even before ANSI C.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dinosaurs companies

"It's called been cheap"

It's called being ILLITERATE - fixed that for you

As for your comment - are you clinically insane ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dinosaurs companies

its pretty easy to tell the script kiddies/public sector workers around here vs the private sector companies.....

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