Tuesday, July 30, 2013

RIP! MS Win XP SP3 and OFFICE 2003 dead!

The Microsoft has finally announced the end of life support for Windows XP Operating System Service Pack 3 as well as their Office 2003 all versions by April, 8, 2014. The advisory is available at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/endofsupport.aspx. Based on this advisory, the Govt. of India, CERT-IN  has issued its advisory CERT-In Advisory CIAD-2013-0048 Dt. 25th June, 2013. Further, the  CERT-IN  has written to all the States with the following advisory:-
All the Departments and organizations in the Ministry/Departments using Windows XP have been advised to "immediately plan for upgradation to the latest available Operating System and test their software applications well before April, 2014". 

Now the question is that the CERT-In has given the advise unidirectional, where it an option to say that the Ministry/Departments are also advised to evaluate alternate Operating Systems such as GNU/Linux and test their applications well before, 2014.

With this advisory, the issues that actually arise are:-
  1. Who would bear the cost of upgradation to the latest available Operating System, indirectly meaning Windows & and Windows *. (I am sure you can guess that bit of encryption for security reasons, and bear with me)?
  2. Would the existing hardware available with large number of departments in the Govt actually support the latest Windows & and Windows *? Does it not mean that its not going to be a simple OS upgradation, and yet this specific advisory to the departments and ministries should also have warned them of additional expenditure that tehy would incur in either buying new hardware or upgrading their existing hardware.
  3. The advisory of the CERT-IN to the States is also incomplete. If you look at the link provided by Microsoft, it talks also of Office 2003. But, the Govt. advisory is totally silent on that.
  4. As a result, no one is even aware about it. Most of all, Imagine all those people in the Govt. using MS Office 2003(@))#) who would also have to switch to a higher version. Again what about the additional cost in terms of procurement of licenses and also extra cost of training and hand holding on the new software? These hidden costs have not been even referred to. 
  5. What is totally hidden is as to what would happen to the large number of third party proprietary application softwares that people would have been using on XP. What about people running AutoCAD 9, PhotoShop CS3. Who is going to pay for the upgrade costs of the third party packages?
  6. Imagine that you took the decision to upgrade to Windows 8 Operating System. And suddenly you discovered that some of your third party applications such as in the realm of GIS, imaging etc. are not even available. What does one do in such situations. 
  7. Then, is not the best option to forget the advisory and continue using XP?
However, before deciding on falling back on the option 7 mentioned above, please remember, there are still users of Windows 98 in our country. Some of these systems are even being taught in many schools in the country. The question is why should Windows be so indispensable that  you are bound to an archaic operating system.

Please think again. This is indeed a very good opportunity for you to bury Microsoft for good. Let it RIP. Switch over to GNU/Linux and enjoy Free Software.