Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Microsoft retires Windows 2000, Windows XP SP2

Microsoft has retired Windows 2000 and Windows XP SP2. Rob Pegoraro has a nice write-up in the Washington Post covering this. My concern isn't with Microsoft retiring these programs, but with an implication that seldom gets attention.

No product, especially software lives forever. Someday it becomes obsolete, so when a company discontinues support for a product those who want to continue using the product should be entitled to receive a FINAL CD. Also nothing wrong with the company charging a nominal fee for that final CD.

In discontinuing a product, the company has abandoned the product. With that abandonment in mind, the product should fall immediately into the public domain so that the user community, it it wishes to, can maintain the software. The users payed to acquire the software and hardware so they have a legitimate property right to continue to use it. There simply is no reason why software and hardware has to be figuratively tossed into the trash because a company declares it "obsolete" while it can still perform useful work. That constitutes an economic "waste" to both society and the individual. With the free-market, let the user community decide when a product no longer meets their needs and should be migrated to the dump.

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