[lug] Windows XP End-of-Life: April 8, 2014

Robert Racansky robert.racansky at gmail.com
Fri Dec 13 20:49:09 MST 2013

So what does Windows XP EOL have to do with Linux?

At last night's meeting, I mentioned that I was trying to get Windows
XP users to switch to Linux Mint, because Microsoft's support for
Windows XP ends 4 months from now.


A large fraction of the attendees were not aware of this.  Of course,
since only 1/2 dozen people showed up last night, it doesn't take many
to make "a large fraction".

What this means in the short term is that, after April 08 2014, there
will be no more security updates.  How many zero-day exploits will be
used after that is unknown, but it's more than zero.   In the medium
and long term, this also means no more feature updates, bug fixes, and
application updates (including anti-virus updates) for Windows XP.

So for those people I know who don't want to shell out $100+ (or
whatever) for Windows 7 or Windows 8 *, I've been trying to convince
them to switch to Linux Mint Xfce, because

(1)  it's free

(2)  Linux Mint comes with most applications, codecs, plug-ins, etc.,
"out of the box" that most people will need.

(3)  Xfce is "lightweight", so should run on the older hardware that
many people are currently using to run a 12 year old operating system

(4)  Xfce has the most "Windows" like interface, so the learning curve
is low -- possibly less than switching to Windows 8.  As a Mac user &
Windows admin **, I would be hard pressed to answer any questions
about Unity, Mate, Cinnamon, etc., so I'm certainly not going to
suggest it to people who may ask me for support.

*  One of them is running a publicly-accessible web server on Windows
XP!  At least he's using Apache for Windows, having given up on IIS
years ago.

** A job I describe as being a glorified click-monkey, minus the
glory; at least at CU's University Information Systems.

On a related note, OSNews had an article earlier this year by a
support technician who switched his office to Linux Mint Xfce that
worth reading in it's entirety.   Here's an excerpt:


What Users Want -- Selecting a System for Their Needs
posted by Howard Fosdick on Mon 24th Jun 2013 03:00 UTC

I volunteer as tech support for a small organization. For years we
relied on Ubuntu on our desktops, but the users didn't like it when
Ubuntu switched to the Unity interface. This article tells about our
search for a replacement and why we decided on Xfce running atop Linux

The users' desktop computing requirements are straightforward:

1. Low to no-cost hardware and software
2. Easy to use
3. Stable and bug-free
4. Easy to set up
5. Easy to support

Cool visual effects, high-end graphics, the latest features, geeky
apps, and rolling updates aren't important. Easy, simple, stable, and
cheap are what we're after.
We didn't consider Windows or Mac OS, due to their high costs and
licensing restrictions. Also, new Windows versions impose a learning
curve for little apparent benefit. My users who tried Windows 8
complained about it. As one summarized, "Why on earth do they keep
changing Windows?"

Please keep in mind, you who are reading this are expert computer
users; my clients are not. You and I look forward to new Windows
versions and new Linux distros as a chance to play and learn. But what
we consider interesting, my users see as a waste of their time. They
look at computers the way most of us look at driving a rental car. You
should be able to hop in and go. If you have to read instructions or
ask a lot of questions, something's wrong.
My users liked MATE, but then I downloaded Xfce and added it to our
base install. Bingo! Xfce was an instant hit. With its simple,
straightforward desktop, you can see why. How to use Xfce is obvious,
regardless of whether one comes from a Windows, Mac, or Linux
background. Even beginners can use it without help. Xfce buries the
old canard that Windows is easier to use than Linux once and for all.

More information about the LUG mailing list