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Old 11-07-2019, 10:53 PM   #1
Topcat
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Default What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

I was having this debate with a fellow tech who's in panic mode "upgrading" systems to W10 with EoS/EoL approaching for Win7. I asked why the hurry? Are these systems part of a corporate network, or was this an order from the bosses? He says no....they're friends & family whom he convinced that their systems will explode and cease to function once M$ pulls the plug on Win7.

I just had to shake my head and LOL...as that's the #1 fearmonger tactic forcing people to change OS's....the scare psychology of insecurity...... Short of some serious malware from downloading from the wrong porn site (nothing an OS update would help) or a huge gaping hole in windows is discovered (happens rarely, something like 'wannacry'), their systems will be fine.

IMHO, this day & age, what truly makes an OS obsolete is lack of web browser support....when you can no longer run a modern browser on an OS, it is then obsolete.... Someone tell me I'm wrong!

This moron couldn't understand this....I ditched XP mainstream when Mozilla dropped all XP support, which was after it was EoL. Browser support for Win7 will hang in a while after M$ EoL's it....and will remain widely used by many until the day comes when you can't run a modern browser on it.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:06 PM   #2
Curious.George
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Default Re: What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

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Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
IMHO, this day & age, what truly makes an OS obsolete is lack of web browser support....when you can no longer run a modern browser on an OS, it is then obsolete.... Someone tell me I'm wrong!
I think that depends on what your plan/need of using the OS.

I rarely use a Web browser on any of my "non routed" (i.e., airgapped) machines -- despite the fact that many of the appliances that are on that network have WWW interfaces. It's easier for me to TELNET/ssh into a device (and, I can script that sort of access!) than to bother with the browser interface.

E.g., I could HTTP to each of my UPSs and see what they've been doing since I last checked. Or, I can let them send their error messages to my syslogd so they are "pushed" to wherever I happen to be logged in. I can let them transfer their usage stats to one of my servers periodically (so I don't have to remember to check them) and have a script parse through the data looking for anything of interest (that the UPSs wouldn't signal directly via syslog).

I primarily use the browsers on my workstations to "test" documents that I will be distributing to web-based publishers (i.e., what will this look like to some WWW user).

As another datapoint, I don't even think there is a web browser installed on any of my Slowaris hosts!

I'm more curious as to how many folks are dumping their PC's in favor of smartphones to browse the web, etc. And, how much "web browsing" is being replaced by "specialty apps" (e.g., instead of viewing "Weather" on a WWW interface, just run a "weather app")

How many people really use the legacy apps that were king when PCs came along (e.g., "Productivity Suites")? When was the last time you used MSWord/WordPerfect/etc. to write a letter/report? When was the last time you built a spreadsheet?

Have PCs just become game machines??
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

For me personally, the OS is obsolete when it stops getting security patches and security updates. I could care less about new features since I run "hand me" down or discarded hardware from others. I just recently in the last 3 months upgraded to 802.11n!

While it's unlikely that I will get a virus/malware from my current setup, the probability is NOT ZERO. So I set up layers of security starting with hosts file on router, up to date patched OS and apps. Ublock origin on my browsers.

I also have multiple computers. One ONLY does email, banking and very little web browsing. It's completely stripped of bloatware, unnecessary services and apps.

Another is a test computer running the alpha version of the next OS where I can freely go to any website. Every 6 months, I wipe the OS and start fresh again.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

It's always the case it's obsolete when you cannot run the application *you* want to run on it.

Unfortunately people feel it's okay to always run old software until it stops working. It's a problem when people can't pick and choose which features to retain and which to drop. But for those who really don't understand what's going on under the hood, the paranoia in upgrading is justified. It's better they be paranoid and upgrade at every chance they have to than them becoming complacent and never upgrading. It requires time and effort to watch for bug releases, they may never know when something got updated due to an exploit because they simply don't have the time to look out for these things. Plus understanding these reports and knowing what's fluff or not can be difficult.

After all these years, I'd rather the unwashed to just go ahead an upgrade prematurely instead of never upgrading and letting their machines fall victim to exploits down the line. Even if the new software also succumb to bugs and exploits, at least they're conditioned to upgrade these new bugs when they become available instead of just letting another botnet machine go rampant.

If you want to teach someone to know how to tell whether a problem is worthy of upgrade, be my guest. At some point you'll get tired of teaching people who don't/won't understand/care and it's probably best they're doing the default action to just do all the upgrades when they become available which usually have bugs fixed (and new ones introduced... but there will be a patch for that too eventually).
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious.George View Post
I'm more curious as to how many folks are dumping their PC's in favor of smartphones to browse the web, etc.
Unless its Apple IOS, people who browse the web on their Android phone are most likely to get a virus/malware/spyware.

The security patches and updates for Android is so fragmented that many people even with "flagship" phones are running outdated OS.

Android Q is supposed to fix some of this, but many old phones will never run Q.

Apple is in a better, but not perfect situation when it comes to OS security patches and updates.

I have Android tablets that run some lineageos OS, but even then updates and patches can be discontinued at anytime. Thus, I NEVER run any banking, email, etc on tablets. Only mobile games and a browser where I NEVER use any personal information. If someone hacks it, they get a fake username and throwaway/dummy accounts.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

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Originally Posted by Curious.George View Post
How many people really use the legacy apps that were king when PCs came along (e.g., "Productivity Suites")? When was the last time you used MSWord/WordPerfect/etc. to write a letter/report? When was the last time you built a spreadsheet?
I use basic lightweight apps to write documents and basic spreadsheets. I use very little formatting and try to keep my data simple so I have multiple options for applications.

I refuse to use any cloud app or software as a service. It's my data so it stays on my machine.

Every now and then, I do have to use libreoffice to open a document that someone sent me.

Again for me, I don't need any new features. I just want security updates for these small lightweight apps. If one app doesn't get updated, I can easily choose another app since my data is in very simple, common, universal format.

My choice of apps, when possible, is open source.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

the function of an o.s. is to boot the machine into a human interface and then act as a bridge between the software and the hardware,
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:25 AM   #8
Curious.George
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Default Re: What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

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For me personally, the OS is obsolete when it stops getting security patches and security updates.
But, those are only important if the machine operates in an environment where it can be exposed to threats. Remove that exposure and the need for "security updates" goes away -- the emphasis then is on updates that fix deficiencies in the product (bugs).

Quote:
I could care less about new features since I run "hand me" down or discarded hardware from others. I just recently in the last 3 months upgraded to 802.11n!
The problem with MS OSs is that they have way too many "capabilities" baked into the "basic" OS (neglecting userland). If none of your applications rely on those capabilities, you're still stuck with the vulnerabilities that they present! (e.g., on XP, I never installed .NET cuz there were so many patches issued to it -- if an app needed it, I decided that I didn't need the app!)

Quote:
While it's unlikely that I will get a virus/malware from my current setup, the probability is NOT ZERO. So I set up layers of security starting with hosts file on router, up to date patched OS and apps. Ublock origin on my browsers.
We simply refrain from "risky behavior". We use ASCII email so there are no links to accidentally click, only visit "mainstream" web sites, have no social media accounts, keep script turned off unless we KNOW how it is going to be used on a site, etc.

And, we don't run apps that don't NEED access to The Internet on routed machines!

Note that many apps now have hooks to access internets from within the app -- sometimes for convenience, sometimes for added functionality. E.g., I want my CAD tools to be able to access (my!) content elsewhere on my internet. But, they don't need to access content on The Internet! I end up with the extended convenience/functionality but without the "exposure".

Quote:
I also have multiple computers. One ONLY does email, banking and very little web browsing. It's completely stripped of bloatware, unnecessary services and apps.
We have this one, shared machine for email/WWW. We're disciplined about how we handle email and which sites we visit, etc.. A laptop is configured for just banking and reinitializes itself on each boot (so, nothing persistent can infect the machine). I have another box that I bring online when I need to pulldown lots of files from Internet-based servers (I can script it easier than messing with Windows Powershell). And, if I need to tinker with something online, I have "disposable" laptops that I can "use once" and then reinitialize.

What I trade for my security is a fair bit of convenience. E.g., if I want to email a document that I've authored to a colleague, it's got to be SneakerNeted over to this machine before it can find its way out. <shrug>

Quote:
Another is a test computer running the alpha version of the next OS where I can freely go to any website. Every 6 months, I wipe the OS and start fresh again.
I remove the disk in this computer periodically and replace it with a clean one that has been reinitialized. At the same time, I download the latest version of an AV product and scan the disk that I pulled previously. This gives the AV folks time to discover any exploits that MAY have afflicted the machine while that disk was installed (e.g., before being pulled, earlier). This gives me a bit of BELATED reassurance that our practices SEEM to be working without having to install an AV product and keep IT updated.
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Old 11-08-2019, 06:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

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Unless its Apple IOS, people who browse the web on their Android phone are most likely to get a virus/malware/spyware.

The security patches and updates for Android is so fragmented that many people even with "flagship" phones are running outdated OS.
Android is a bigger f*ckup than Windows! Jeez, you've got a change to "start over" and you make many of the same screwups??

Why is there a single, unified "asset space" instead of one that is partitioned "per application"? E.g., run each app in a sandbox and don't let it see anything that it doesn't absolutely need. Why "trust" developers to actually tell you what they need to see? And, expect them to live within those constraints?

You want to see my address book? Here's AN address book. Does that make you feel better? Despite the fact that it is EMPTY (or full of fictitious names, emails and addresses)?? You want to see the REAL address book? Why? If you need to see the email addresses of my contacts (because you're an email application), there's no need for you to also see the birthdates, street addresses, telephone numbers, etc. so you won't mind if the address book that I let you see has all of that data expunged, right?

Want to know my location? Yup, I'm sitting here at the North Pole... have been for the past 3 years!

My name? Sure! It's "User". And I live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane...

Quote:
I have Android tablets that run some lineageos OS, but even then updates and patches can be discontinued at anytime. Thus, I NEVER run any banking, email, etc on tablets.
I use a nook to read books. It's web browser is sorely out of date so there is never a need to enable WiFi -- other than to get the time updated.

My other half uses a 10" tablet as a "digital photoframe" (she is a painter so views photos for her paintings on the tablet). It does double duty as a media player (music stored on uSD card).

When I'm doing my pro bono work, I carry an (ancient!) Android smartphone that serves as a timepiece (I got tired of asking other folks "What time is it?" -- only to watch THEM take out their phones... heck, I can use a phone for that, too!). It lets me set an alarm so I know when I have to leave (in case I get caaught up in something and forget about the time).

It lets me carry a portion of my music selections with me to listen to while driving (BT paired with the car's stereo) -- I don't wear earbuds, otherwise.

The camera lets me capture images of things to share with others. And, acts as a handy magnifying glass for all that "microprint" that seems common, now (snap photo; zoom). If I need to show someone a photo of something, I'll install it on the phone for our next encounter.

If I'm engaged in a particular ebook, I'll put a copy on the phone so I can keep reading that selection when I have idle time (e.g., waiting at the DMV).

If I am injured, I hope the phone will allow me to dial 911.

It's pretty handy -- except as a regular telephone!

Someday, I'll go looking for an app that lets me leave notes for myself...

Quote:
Only mobile games and a browser where I NEVER use any personal information. If someone hacks it, they get a fake username and throwaway/dummy accounts.
We use names like "User", "Banking", "Email", "One", "Two", etc. Why would we need anything OTHER than those? WE know who we are...
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Old 11-08-2019, 07:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

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the function of an o.s. is to boot the machine into a human interface and then act as a bridge between the software and the hardware,
No, the function of an OS is to provide services to applications.

Note that some OSs aren't used with "human" users.

And, most provide only partial isolation of hardware from application (e.g., executables tend to be compiled and, thus, tied to the underlying hardware in that way).

Consumers have come to assume the OS includes things like file systems, network stack, "games", web browsers, etc. In reality, none of those are required (nor, strictly speaking, part of the OS) -- any more than the radio in your car is really integral to the car.

The OS that I use for my products concentrates on providing very few mechanisms:
  • protection (so programs can't interfere with each other or see data not needed for their own operation)
  • communication (so programs can talk to each other to share information that they actually do need to share)
  • timeliness (so programs can meet deadlines imposed by their particular uses)

Everything else is an "add on" service that operates outside the OS. E.g., if your program wants to pause for a second, it talks (communication!) to a "timing service" program and says "let me know when one second has elapsed". Of course, that assumes the program has been given permission (protection!) to talk to the timing service (e.g., a calculator has no need for timing services so it shouldn't even know "time" exists)! The OS provides guarantees to the timing service that it will be able to measure one second accurately (timeliness!), on behalf of that original program and deliver the notification promptly.

If I want to send an email, the email program asks (communication) the address book program for the email address of the party I'm interested in. There's no way for the email program to even SEE the birthdate of that person (also present in the address book) -- the notion of "birthdate" doesn't exist (protection) in the context of email!

Because all of these "programs" are small, they can be efficient AND less buggy; they concentrate on doing one thing correctly instead of trying to be a text editor, address book, word processor, photo displayer, email agent, message filing system, etc. all-in-one! Crash one and the others are still uncorrupted.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: What TRULY Renders an Operating System Obsolete?

But, I never saw even Android updates get corrupted the amount of times that Windows updates get corrupted...

The "SFC-finding-corrupted-component-states" issue is going to get old, fast!

In fact, I see no signs of Android Pie having major issues. Just a volume nag, when it can "detect" headphones, on every reboot, or if Android forgets that preference randomly, which is known to happen.
Ironically, Apple don't do that kind of nagging, on the iPhone XR, which my father has now, iOS would always let me turn it up to the max. without giving me a nag like I'm a noob. I actually find that a bit strange.

But, I'm heard a rumor about the new iOS being majorly buggy!
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