back to article Canonical to Windows XP cliff-clingers: Ubuntu safety net's ready... now jump

The 25th of October is an auspicious date on the Microsoft calendar. It's not just the date Redmond intends to release Windows 8; it's also the same date that Microsoft released Windows XP, back in 2001. Here's another big date, only slightly more ominous: 8 April, 2014. That's when, if you're still running Windows XP, you …


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  1. Alan Bourke

    PEEK dammit.

    And how does Canonical think these corporates are going to run all the payroll, ERP and other stuff on Ubuntu? It would be great if they could, but I don't see the Linux alternatives. Unless they run it all through RDP off Windows servers.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: PEEK dammit.

      POKE Dammit

      Er SAP runs on more than windows you know.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: PEEK dammit.

        Just to add :

        " Linux is growing with incredible speed and absolutely meets the quality standards of SAP. And thanks to the platform-independent SAP architecture, the port of the SAP kernel was fairly easy: none of the SAP business applications had to be modified."

        There is a reason that RedHat and Suse provide Linux server OS to LOTS of people

    2. wowfood

      Re: PEEK dammit.

      Only thing I can think of is "build it and they will come"

      If enough customers want to make the move to linux, then for the sake of keeping their profits, some of these companies will want / have to move their software to an open platform.

      This has become easier over the years with things like mono, but it'd still probably take some time.


      Re: PEEK dammit.

      Are you joking?

      Serious business apps already run on Unix.

      It's not the stuff like "payroll" that's a problem.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What Linux needs as a "killer app" is a virtual app environment. Not Wine or a complete virtual OS, but a place where single apps like IE6 can run by themselves and pipe data to-from the Linux OS where needed. If you have three apps, you run three app environments, all sand-boxed to user specs. Then all of those needed apps that need older Windoze can still be used but on a decent supporting OS. Would be a less intrusive (and resource friendly way) of pulling in the heel draggers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How is what you're describing different to Wine?

      1. Connor

        In his example everything works. Nothing ever works in WINE.

        Incidentally 12.10 is not an LTS. That was 12.04 and the next one is 14.04 a year and a half away.

        1. bean520

          Your opinion is outdated

          Wine's compatibility is better than you think; I run MS Office 2010 under it and almost all of the apps (save publisher) work 100%. Also with the state of Win32 at the moment, not even microsoft want to really touch it, so developing Wine or any other Win32 compatibility layer will be far from easy, but they are geting there fast

    2. amp180


      Linux can already do this, I think...

      Wine can already run separate apps in separate environments, wineprefixes.

      And nativeative linux apps can be put in `chroot jails` where they cannot see or change the rest of the system apart from files and objects that you allow them to, and can have their own versions of system libraries and config files.

  3. Graham Wilson

    Nice thought but...

    No matter how you dress up Ubuntu it's still Linux and not Win-32/64. Whilst there's nothing wrong with using Linux (I use it often), its very different architecture will put a spanner in the works of Microsoft/Windows-centric IT departments.

    Everything will conspire against it being adopted, from service contract difficulties to utilities not working, to increased/additional training, to compatibility through to sheer prejudice on the part of IT staff, not to mention the usual difficulties in getting people to change etc.

    Other than a complete rewrite of Linux from its core outwards to make it have Win-32/64 compatible APIs--which hasn't a snowball's chance of happening as it would be a monumental task, if at all possible--so 12/24 months from now it'll still be business as usual the Microsoft way .

    Shame really.

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: make it have Win-32/64 compatible

      And make it susceptible to all of the malware that infects the MS ecosystem?


      If an enterprise is already spending the $$$ to re-write the apps to another version of WindblowZE, then why not make them platform independent, and eliminate the vendor lock-in now and in the future.

      Most likely the decision to use IE6 based apps was inflicted upon IT by brain dead members of damagement, who bought into the MS "lies". No sympathy here.

  4. Bob Asic

    Whatever next

    Apple Mac in the Enterprise?

  5. Keep Refrigerated

    Windows is a mindset...

    ... as much as anything. Even in IT departments amongst heavy Linux server admins they will be hesitant to step out of their comfort zone into a Linux based desktop.

    In my specific role, I am often confined to Windows desktops, even though none of the tools I need are Windows specific (in fact many of the Linux-equivalent tools would be easier to use) - it's a mindset not a functionality problem.

    Then there's contracts with firms like Symantec. "But what will we do if we can't destroy our users productivity by installing SEP on their workstations?"

    What Canonical, Red Hat and others need to be doing is fighting the mindset. Yes, offer enterprise desktop systems with all the security and productivity set - but it needs to be sold as an alternative to cost center managers. For example, companies could offer their users a choice of a Windows Desktop, or Linux one (the bonus with the Linux desktop being a cheaper asset).

    Overnight, the majority of Windows users won't just accept a switch to a Linux desktop. But if users like myself were offered a choice, and slowly something like Ubuntu began to appear on random desktops dotted around the offices - pure Windows users would benefit from the 'peek over shoulders' factor. After seeing how much easier it is for their neighbour to use, they may decide to switch for themselves.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Windows is a mindset...

      Windows is a network of systems. Trying to untangle them is very difficult - don't expect any license savings until the last windows requirement is gone. Staged migrations from windows do not provide a quick ROI.

  6. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    2014 is the new Y2K

    Doubtless Mr Gartner will be along in a while to tell us how fixing this problem will cost 123% of global GDP over the next 18 months, but...

    Any corporate user still running XP because they've got IE6 or IE7 apps on their intranet SURELY has their intranet firewalled behind either a black hole or a TARDIS (or both). They aren't even going to pause for breath in 2014. Meanwhile, any domestic user still running XP will be pleased that it has stopped pestering them to install updates every month.

    But back on the first hand...

    April 2014 is also the date when Office 2003 loses support. Does anyone have up-to-date figures for Office market share by version? My guess is that the ribbon-haters are no rarer than Aero-phobes.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    The year of Linux on the desktop, sorry but I had to get it in before the Umbongo Evangelistas start crowing.

    But seriously, how do Canonical believe they can succeed in this with a desktop like Unity?

    Good luck to them, but Unity is just as 'different' as Windows 8 to someone used to XP or Win 7. Plus, you can get to a traditional Windows desktop in Win 8 at the click of a mouse button or keyboard shortcut.

    It's a shame but experience shows that mass take up of Linux on the desktop, personal or business, is not going to happen.

    I will now prepare for freetard incoming.

  8. SGreen

    I love linux and ubuntu is great however I use my pc for gaming, and yes there are games that are native, yes there are games that can work thanks to wine, however very few work with any real ease for example diablo 3 blizzard has been know to detect wine as an overlay and has banned accounts for cheating, and lets not even go down the route of trying to get sli working. Linux unfortunately will never become desktop bound until it appeals to gamers simple as. Once gamers can use it they will recommend it to their friends and family when the cry of "do you know anything about these puter thingies"

    Unfortunately I cant see it ever happening

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: succeed in this with a desktop like Unity?

      You have to remember, Unity is a desktop oriented at consumers (i.e. idiots who 'play' with computers) because it so resembles a smartphone.

      And, quite honestly, for smartphone or a tablet, consuming content it seems to be quite nice.

      But, when you have work to do, as such in an office Unity, IMHO, is a clusterfuck; and is the first thing I remove from a new Ubuntu install, after installing gnome-session-fallback.

      1. bean520

        Re: succeed in this with a desktop like Unity?

        this is the beauty of Ubuntu (and linux in general), you can pull things out and put new things in, or download derivative distros. Myself, I use Elementary Luna; both Gnome Shell and Unity look far too cartoony for me, and Gnome's idiotic designs means I often cannot click OK buttons on my netbook because they are forced off the screen. Luna is quick, lightweight, and has the attention to detail that the other 'new DEs' sorely lack

    2. Fatman Silver badge



      Who gives a fuck about 'gamers'?

      The gist of this article and many of the posts was enterprise users.

      You can't use Ubuntu to play your games, then stick with WindblowZE.

  9. beemergeek


    You've obviously never heard of WINE. WINE translates Windows API calls into Linux API calls.

    Many applications (games included) run unmodified under WINE better than they do under native Windows.

    1. Graham Wilson

      @beemergeek - Re: WINE

      Wine is OK for many apps but unfortunately too much overhead for games. Also, there's often compatibility issues and the game simply won't run.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still trying.

    Linux Lexicon (Hardware Hello)

    Linux DAW (not there yet)

    Linux video edit workstation (not up to snuff)

    Linux sony vegas (close but what about plugins?)

    The problem is a reality based problem. I ain't scared to point it out.

    I use what works for the task, If it's windows, fine, if it's linux fine.

    1. bean520
      Thumb Up

      Not a problem

      Linux DAW - Im assuming you mean LMMS (which is true, it really isnt there yet), but have you tried Ardour? It really smokes the competition

      Linux Video Editor - Lightworks (Hollywood-grade video editor) is coming to Linux on October 30th

      Linux Sony Vegas - See above: You wont need Vegas when Lightworks hits.

      Anything else i missed? :)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I fucked up and was not fair on this completely

    For office and net machines which browse only, yeah debian.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ok, I'm a Win/Linux/UNIX and Mac user both at home and work. So, a few comments:

    Windows XP lasted 11 years, Ubuntu LTS releases are supported for 3, in my experience a pretty major chunk of an OS' cost to a company is its rollout, that would be three to four Ubuntu rollouts for each Windows rollout.

    Ubuntu completely knackered several elements of one of my machines when I upgraded from 11.whatever to 12.10. This included wireless and Screen resolutions disappearing as well as the new version of Grub preventing the system from booting at all - I've still not fixed this I have to run a previous version of the kernel to make it work.

    If Ubuntu is to be taken seriously by companies they have to make the upgrade/rollout process way smoother and they have to make the LTS way longer. They also need to stop saying things like "just use the latest FOSS implementation of RDP" and start offering real alternatives to the entrenched MS products, as well as realistic migration services and software.

    1. Yeik

      Re: Hmm...

      The biggest problem when upgrading someone to another operating system is keeping all of their files and settings. The next issue is software (sometimes these can be reversed). With linux, both of these are fairly simple unless you are transitioning from gnome, to kde, to xfce, unity, etc. with a migration. Staying with the same desktop saves hassle, the files will be easy but settings not if you change. Software installation should be the easiest inside linux if you use repositories to install software, or don't have to compile from source for them. Even if you do, it should be one off applications and that happens with windows anyway (try finding the installation file for something that is outdated, unsupported and they downloaded from a website that is belly up).

      The biggest issue for linux is almost all of the software created for businesses is windows based. All the tools people use to support them are windows based, and domains are all windows based in most companies. Even games that are created now come out for windows but don't come out for linux. This is slowly starting to change.

      Windows 7 was a big change, but not big enough to warrant a complete re-write for software. Some of it had to be tweaked, some of it worked just fine without any modifications. If software works with windows 8, we will see the same thing, maybe a little less compatibility but it works so nobody wants to do the work to convert it properly, they will live with it in the state it is in. The programs that need to be changed, the program is already written for mostly windows so if they can change a few lines of code, or even a whole file it is better than rewriting the whole thing.

      It would be nice if everybody wrote software that was os independent and could run on multiple platforms with very little effort, but I do not see that happening. There are a lot of tools that people use that aren't needed in linux, but people grow attached to and know how to use.

      I don't think RDP is a good suggestion for legacy applications because the new windows OS is still needed. If you are going that direction and need RDP for it, you can either use the new OS natively or you will have to use RDP from windows to a legacy box anyway.

      I like linux, its easy to use, runs well, and I have to fix it less than windows. I don't think we will get rid of windows. It keeps to many people working when you have problems and updates.

      P.S. Your comment about Windows having 11 years between roll out... Most computers didn't last 11 years, we recycle ours every 3 years, and Microsoft is trying to get a new operating system released every 2-3 years now.

      Grabbing my coat, heard another windows box is having issues.

  13. Mage Silver badge

    Linux may be fine

    But Ubuntu has swallowed a whole bottle of LSD.

    Seizing defeat from the Jaws of Victory.

    1. Charles Manning

      Re: Linux may be fine

      Can't agree more.

      I use Ubuntu almost exclusively and have been for many years now. Ubuntu was on a really good track to provide a useful work system.... then Unity. What a POS. That's really hard to put in front of any corporates.

      KDE had a similar tragenctory... KDE 3.x was great then they kicked themselves in the balls with KDE4. Cool swirly effects, but the functionality went away. KDE4.x now looks like it might be coming right.

      I now either use 10.04 with Gnome or Xubuntu. Something with a straight forward desktop that is more about function than pixel masturbation.

  14. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Upon re-reading the article, I was struck by this...

    "BDNA's financial customer, which is migrating to Windows 7, must [sic] replace or re-write 1,500 of 2,200 apps that have been written for Windows XP."

    Bollocks! An app that is even remotely well-written for XP will, in nearly every instance, run on Win7. A 2/3 failure rate means that someone is telling fibs.

    Either BDNA are pumping their financial customer for unnecessary consultancy fees, or these apps were actually written for Windows 3.0 and managers have been postponing this re-write for about 20 years. Either way, I'd say this financial customer is getting what they deserve for being utterly clueless about a platform on which they run 2,200 apps.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Upon re-reading the article, I was struck by this...

      Indeed, if Windows XP → Windows 7 requires a re-write, you're doing it wrong.

      If you have to re-write that many applications, why not re-write the remaining ⅓ and just jump ship to another platform whilst they're at it? At the very least, they should assess what would be needed and make the necessary preparations so that they can jump ship if they decide to in the future.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: why not re-write the remaining ⅓ and just jump ship to another platform

        Which is what any smart IT manager would do. Once and for all get rid of a WindblowZE lock-in.

        Then again, some stupid beancounter can not see the bigger picture, and only sees the initial costs, and comes up with the preferred solution - stay tied to WindblowZE. Such bone heads should be taken out and shot.

  15. Goat Jam

    "We are spending a lot of time talking to enterprise and corporate customers about their next platform."


    Are these corporate enterprisey types telling you that what they want is more social networking integration and Amazon product placement in their document search results?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XP to Ubuntu was 10.04. The chance has been missed

    10.04 was the absolutely ideal point to get XP users over to Ubuntu Linux. The desktop worked in such familiar ways that many users would hardly have noticed the change. A decade of intuitive desktop development was only made better in 10.04. I know this because it worked for me. The same, but much, much better.

    Then Shuttleworth decided: screw you people and your familiarity, suck on this!

    Well, the guy can do what he wants with his own expensive toy, the problem is in expecting that it will work in putting Ubuntu on the desktop for all those XP people who just want to get something done.

    But then Balmer said: screw you people and your familiarity, suck on this! too.

    So what's worse: Unity or W8? Given MS's expertise in marketing and market manipulation, I'm afraid I don't have much doubt who will win that round.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu is not for sclerotic chickenshits still stuck on XP

    They would be better off pitching at organisations with no money for licenses and a high appetite for risk. Medicins sans Frontieres?

  18. Pat 4

    Linux has been my main desktop for 9 years.

    And I think Ubuntu has as much chance of replacing Windows for a statistically significant number of people as the Toronto Maple-leafs have of winning the cup... While the NHL is on Strike.

    And "The Reg has spoken have told us that only now, three-plus years after the release of Windows 7, are they getting the massive demand for Windows 7 they had so long been anticipating."

    You can count of Microsoft for creating an OS so crappy that it's impending release scares people into upgrading to the previous version. I remember when Vista came out, I would pay more so I could get XP.

    1. Rukario

      Upvoted from a Torontonian in Vancouver!

  19. Zmodem

    get windows 7 and do the following as windows vista and 8 sucks //after installing, right click on a file or folder and goto dmex configuration and disable showing the strawberry in menu

    download this if you want to do some work

    tweak all the core system stuff using x-setup, most of the plugins still work, you can just fix or make new plugs in notepad

    then goto

    control panel -> programs -> programs and features ->.. turn windows features on or off

    disable internet explorer 9

    disable mediafeatures/windows media center

    click on the start menu and type services.msc and disable the following services

    security center


    windows defender

    windows firewall

    windows mediaplayer network sharing

    windows update

    after the common startmenu/toolbar/folder/theme customization options, windows 7 is good for 10 years

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "click on the start menu and type services.msc and disable the following services

      security center


      windows defender

      windows firewall

      windows mediaplayer network sharing

      windows update"

      You are an idiot, or not in an enterprise environment, absolutely do not do any of this.

      Also be very careful about downloading random binaries from the Internet.

      Especially when part of the instructions tell you to disable security features.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait, what?

    So going from XP to Win7 (or Win8) is too much pain, but Ubuntu is going to be a fantastic replacement?

    LOL! Mint, maybe but Unity looks nothing like Win XP, so retraining costs there, it can't run MS Office, to re-tooling costs there, it can't run IE6, so re-tooling costs there.

    Really, the costs of new licenses, a small amount of re-training and even some new kit are miniscule compared to trying to migrate to the likes of Ubuntu. And if you did, you then have to deal with the information leakage caused by the Amazon searches. And if you do that, you then have the legal worries cause by running Linux in a commercial environment and infringing goodness know how many patents.

    There is a very good reason why people don't use Linux. The above are just some of them.

    The companies will probably get a very good deal on upgrading - that is clearly the best choice for them and keeps them on professional-grade systems, not the product of amateurs and hobbyists.

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