The end of an era ? Or a dawn of one

Imran William Smith has posted an interesting bit of news on AsiaOSC.
Pointing to a status update in Microsoft’s support for its legacy flagship Windows98 OS, he goes on to quote -
But the major event is probably when ‘extended support’ becomes ‘unsupported’. For Windows 98, this is on 16 January 2004.

For a majority of users in the developing countries used to the familiar boot screen either in original and mostly in pirated copies, this should come as a bit of a shocker. Over the years the marketing strategem of Microsoft has been a gradual but constant pushing of the users towards upgradation of systems. So long as Win98 and/or Win98SE was available locally medium to average grade machines were chugging along on the old warhorse. Yet 2004, could actually herald a paradigm shift albeit unintended.

IS managers and IS departments are facing intense scrutiny of their budgetary outlay. In the face of the slow growth of the global economy and the weak movement of the US$ against the Indian Rupee, this assumes greater importance. Newer and better ‘advertised’ Microsoft products cry out for more horsepower. Yet paradoxically, these are the best of times and as well as the worst of times. The former, as high end processor speeds are available at a fraction of what they cost even 18 months ago. The latter because Comptrollers and Auditors will look in detail at each proposal for systems upgrade.

And thus the intended phasing out of the flagship product, so much ridiculed and riled might just have an unintended effect. TCO studies are available promoting the case for GNU/Linux. The fact that the adaptability of the GNU/Linux system has been comprehensively proved is beyond any reasonable doubt. Perhaps the time has come to actually go ahead with the OS migration and be ‘free’ after all. For a note/document on Microsoft’s product lifecycle policy, it is available here.

Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay is a Free Software enthusiast and a member of Indian Linux Users Group-Kolkata. His personal weblog is ‘Random Thoughts‘ and he can be reached here.

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