back to article Mozilla extends, and ends, Firefox support for Windows XP and Vista

Mozilla has announced it will end support for its Firefox browser on Windows XP and Windows Vista. The organisation offers Firefox Extended Support Releases (ESRs) that keep getting bug fixes for 54 weeks, even though nine new versions of Firefox should come along during that time. Mozilla offers ESR releases so that …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Same applies to all Windows versions.

    1. Graybyrd
      Windows

      Agreed. Which is the safe version?

      1. davidp231

        Safe version

        The one still in its shrinkwrap, natch.

  2. Tim99 Silver badge
    Windows

    Shrinkwrap

    Are you sure it can't spread contagion by proximity? >>=========>

  3. Lysenko

    For the second time in 24 hours...

    But not too dangerous for ... [snip] ... POS machines galore

    WinXP Embedded and POSReady are not end of life and won't be until mid-2019.

    1. getHandle

      Re: For the second time in 24 hours...

      Doesn't mean they shouldn't be nuked from orbit!

    2. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: For the second time in 24 hours...

      mid 2019 is only about 18 months away and I bet most a lot of these devices using XP embedded will end up being used well after they have stopped getting updates.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For the second time in 24 hours...

      Nor are they systems that should be providing users internet browsing with any browser.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Here lies Firefox ESR 52.x.x: Sep 2002-Jun 2018

    The last true Firefox, the one with NPAPI, XUL extensions, and CTR.

    We shall remember it always and never see its like again.

    Oh for a gravestone icon.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Here lies Firefox ESR 52.x.x: Sep 2002-Jun 2018

      I want to see what a number of the major banks and card services companies are going to do when ESR doesn't work on a machine any more.

      Because they all like to use NSAPI, etc. and can't hide behind "just run Internet Explorer" any more.

      I'm not sure there are even drivers for most things I use that work with any APIs in place to use things like smartcard readers on modern browsers, which points to major hardware replacements to compatible models or an awful lot of new software to cope.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Dead Vulture

      Re: Here lies Firefox ESR 52.x.x: Sep 2002-Jun 2018

      You mean like this one...? Oh, and FF52 ESR - some of us might even keep using it indefinitely.

  5. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Let's be fair

    There's no reason why people shouldn't continue to use XP - so long as they don't connect to the Internet, or in fact any network. In which case the number of potential uses for a web browser are a bit limited. Fine for doing word-processing with a local printer.

    And no-one should ever have used Vista.

    1. BobChip
      Happy

      Re: Let's be fair - XP has it's uses

      I still use XP to run some old Win games, and I love it. It is fast, stable and easy to manage. However, it runs in VirtualBox on a Linux host and it NEVER, never, ever connects to the big bad world outside. I set it up as XP SP1 and then leave it alone, so no need for "security updates" etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's be fair - XP has it's uses

        And the fact that XP no longer receives updates means it's even more stable!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's be fair

      I've been running XP for well over a decade, the same installation on various new builds, on the net with zero problems. It's my main development machine. I have a clone in case it all goes T*ts up.

      XP can be relatively safe on the internet:

      1. Use a good firewall: Comodo, define decent rules for general use, also use latest exploit info

      2. Use NAT

      3. Replace Adobe Reader with Sumatra as the default program

      4. Sandbox all PDFs and .Docs, Docx etc using Sandboxie

      5. Disable flash - use flashblock for all but trusted sites, update regularly

      6. Use Firefox, f&ck! Not for long...

      7. Use Thinderbird in plain text mode, people who view html emails get f*cked

      8. Use Ableword for .Docs, .docx by default

      9. Disable Microsoft Networking and everything but TCP/IP

      10. Quite a few other fiddles based on exploits found in the wild

      11. Ublock addon

      12. decent antivirus, regular scans

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's be fair

        So what do you do extra for XP?

    3. Jakester

      Re: Let's be fair

      Unfortunately, I have to keep an XP computer on the ready to download audio tracks from a 24-track digital recorder. XP is the only supported operating system for the software.

  6. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Update?

    I have an ancient lappy running Vista -- it can't get FF updated as it never gets connected to the net.

    (Not chancing it, no way)

  7. GrapeBunch Bronze badge
    Angel

    Dead as a doorhinge

    A handful of snarky comments about Windows with 14 upvotes and no downvotes. Whenever I write something snarky about Windows in these parts, I collect a goodly number of downvotes. I wonder if there's something related to time zones at play ...

    Since XP Pro is now dead to MS, I wonder if that's a chance for somebody who is not MS to release a security package for it that will close down (or at least make not the default option) every ~ last ~ leaky ~ or ~ vulnerable ~ feature. A kind of Extreme Unction. Every executable file association, every talking paperclip. Or is it a dog? Since XP is no longer a moving target. Make a virtue out of its corpse. Why bother? Because lots of perfectly capable computers lack the processor or RAM capacity to run Win10. It's to keep them out of the landfills a bit longer.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Dead as a doorhinge

      Why not run Linux which is updated?

      But if it's going to XP, you can google "xp lockdown" just as well as I can.

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Dead as a doorhinge

        Why not run Linux which is updated?

        Bottom line is because people don't want to. They prefer XP, warts and all. Not everyone will agree with XP users' arguments but that's not going to change their view. That's why XP still has around 5% market share which appears to be comparable to desktop Linux and Mac combined.

        We claim "choice" is a good thing so XP users throw that right back at us; it's their choice, not anyone else's. And that ultimately is what it comes down to.

        I have old laptops which won't run anything later than XP. If the choice is throw them away, use Linux, or stick with XP; I'll stick with XP. Because, for me, that's what I consider the best informed decision.

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Dead as a doorhinge

          That's why XP still has around 5% market share which appears to be comparable to desktop Linux and Mac combined.

          Err... no. XP may/may not have 5% of the market, but Macs have somewhere from 8 to 12% depending on who's doing the counting and how. (for extra snark, there be those who would go as low as 3%, for 'desktop games' and as high as 26%, for 'application development, so there's a lot of fudge-factor in 'marketshare' numbers.) Linux, all distros, has on the order of 1-2%, or, if you want to be equally snarky, close to 0% for desktop games and at least 24% for development. (XP has 0.4% for development, and 'too small to be statistically significant' for games.) No matter how you slice it XP doesn't have as much market share as Macs and Linux combined. Sorry, Jason, but them's the numbers.

          1. davidp231

            Re: Dead as a doorhinge

            And a good portion of that XP marketshare is probably the XP mode found in Win 7 Pro, Ultimate and Enterprise.

  8. Wayland Bronze badge

    Cobalt Raq

    I remember re-installing an old Cobalt Raq server and hooking it to the Internet. It had been hacked and powned within about 20 minutes. So even a Linux OS needs updates or it will be compromised.

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      That depends on the services enabled

      I mean for Windows 2000 there used to be a tool which just disabled all network facing services. That tool made even a Windows 2000 machine fairly secure.

      The big problem with Windows is that the services are even less transparent than systemd. You have no direct way to list all open sockets, and many services share the same TCP ports.

      Add to that that many applications need now-obscure network features (like DCOM) and you have a recepie for desaster.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not updating anyway.

    Oh well. I cancelled the update checking because they decided to break the extensions I like, so I'll just carry on for now until I find a suitable replacement. So long and thanks for the free software!

  10. MJI Silver badge

    Will 52 ESR continue working?

    My home PC (which hit 10 years old this year) runs XP.

    AS to nuking from orbit, anything post 7 needs it, XP, 2000, and 7 were MSs high points.

    Anyway if an executable is WIN32 it should run on any 64 bit or 32 bit version of Windows.

    BTW my home PC has an alternate boot of Linux Mint come that day when XP is unusable.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Will 52 ESR continue working?

      it's still open source, last I checked, so an enterprising software dev COULD make any necessary patches/changes to appropriate files and then compile for the older OSs. That assumes "they" have the gall to actually mark the manifest as "7 or later" or use an unsupported API function that's only available in 7 or later... [and at some point, 10 or later, if they keep THIS up]

      (but I think if you mark the manifest '7 or later' it may still run on XP, but maybe not Vista - I'd have to check)

      But if they do it right, they're just covering their asses with respect to "having to support" XP or Vista. And the EXE will still run.

      /me points out: Vista is MUCH better than 10. PCs that came with Vista on them STILL RUN. People who have such Vista PCs CANNOT BUY 7 FOR THEM [easily]. And MANY PEOPLE do NOT WANT Win-10-nic. So they stick with what they have.

      1. toejam13

        Re: Will 52 ESR continue working?

        The problem with forking a newer version of Firefox to work with XP is that programmers would have to tweak their patches with every new release. That might be more effort than it is worth.

        Maybe a better solution would be to create a set of patches for XP that implement the new Windows 7 functions with XP's kernel32, user32, shell32, and related libraries, similar to how KernelEx extends 98/ME.

      2. Steve 114

        Re: Will 52 ESR continue working?

        I 'upgraded' a friend's Vista 32 to 7 yesterday, easy, cost me £15, all licenses preserved. Then that upgraded free (this year, anyway) to Win10, because she wanted it. Then an hour to tweak and de-louse Win10 so it looks/acts like XP. Then, oh joy, her Firefox wanted to be different.

    2. davidp231

      Re: Will 52 ESR continue working?

      "Anyway if an executable is WIN32 it should run on any 64 bit or 32 bit version of Windows."

      Well, yes, but if it accesses kernel hooks not present in older versions then it won't work. Some things would also just refuse to install (because of a specific key in the setup MSI file), which can be worked around using the Orca tool - but that's no guarantee said application would run afterwards.

    3. Dave Bell

      Re: Will 52 ESR continue working?

      This looks pretty sensible. I've been having fun with Mint, getting a Windows program working through Wine, and when I looked at the (fixed) colour scheme the program had, I began to wonder if I really needed it.

      But it worked, on pretty old hardware. The two big takeaway lessons? Use Wine and an add-on called PlayOnLinux. And, it sometime needs too much trial and error, this tool combo allows the use of multiple Wine versions on virtual disks, and the latest Wine version in often not the one to use. PlayOnLinux also can cope with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.

      This isn't the answer for embedded systems, and I can quite understand a preference for long-term-support versions, because all the browsers suffer from mysterious changes that break stuff. These every month moving targets are a damned nuisance.

  11. Mike 137

    Nice to see...

    Nice to see from the above comments that not everyone still subscribes to the "must be supported" - i.e. "we must be allowed to continuously tamper with your computer to apply often broken fixes to our crap code" bullshit.

    How about us insisting the vendors get it right before release?

    And BTW, how about vendors (including Mozilla) recognising that business users need long term stable systems?

  12. Glenturret Single Malt

    Support

    Am I the only person in the world who thinks that the phrase with "support" is the wrong way round. Should it not be the operating system that supports the app?

  13. Aussie

    I have vista and being a 70 year old aged pensioner I can not afford to update my computer and I am sure there are a lot of other people with the same problem so I suppose we are to be left out in the cold, as they say "they are old and like their computers are past their use by date so to heck with them" so sad too bad, who cares? NO ONE.

  14. Nick Galloway

    XP still working well

    Like so many others, having invested extensively in software and hardware compatible with Windows XP, I still run a desktop and laptop with the system in place. Neither machine connects to the internet. It works well with the last useful incarnation of Office (2003) before the ribbon made selections harder to find, along with various TV tuner cards and software. My desktop had the network card on the motherboard nobbled during a lightning storm but the rest of the rig runs smoothly. I even went to the extreme of swapping out the original E6750 CPU for a hacked Xeon L5430.

    I saw the writing on the wall in terms of internet safety and have gone down the Linux path.

    XP was the pinnacle, as far as I am concerned. Windows is trying to be just a little bit too clever and providing functionality no one asked for, wanted or actually benefits from. Linux has my vote from now on and I hope it grows in popularity.

  15. cerdic

    XP has a higher share than you may think.

    The statistics used for 'market share' can be highly misleading as they only show what OS is being used to access the internet. I use an Android tablet for browsing, and a mobile 'phone and Windows7 desktop but these are only for browsing.

    I have one box which came with Windows 7. It is a good second best OS I and now that XP probably is getting rather risky on the net I use the WIn7 box for internet browsing and a few light tasks, HOWEVER when I need to do some work I turn the switch and start using XP. This XP usage is invisible to those gathering statistics as it is offline but it is, and will remain, my main computer.

    Why would anyone want to stop using M$s best OS. It works with almost every programme since the stone age, is very reliable / stable and leaves you in control of a lot more than later M$ OSs. Lastly After spending a very great deal on software why would you want to spend it all over again, (and again, and again,) just so they will run on the latest OS for another year or two. It takes a long time to learn how to get the most out of complex software packages such as CorelDraw, (or whatever,) once you've learnt how to use it well stick with it, don't replace your programmes just because someone wants to sell you a new animated paperclip.

  16. martinusher Silver badge

    You cannot keep updating production systems every 5 minutes.

    Windows is designed for a very specific type of user, one that typically runs Office. As soon as you get away from that environment to one that runs specific application code or uses custom interfaces then you cannot update the systems without a fair amount of testing because you risk something not working. Since that 'something' could be your business, production line or police service the risks associated with untested upgrades make it impossible to just push those upgrades out. Stuff just has to work.

    The only safe way to put systems on the network is to either use a private network or to use a high quality firewall with known properties. An attacker can only hack a machine they can get access to so if unused ports are blocked (and only allowed access from known systems) and the production system isn't used to originate website queries or receive mail traffic then it should be safe.

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