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Microsoft Pulls Plug for Support on NT4 611

seymansey writes "According to and, Microsoft has apparently announced that as of the end of June, support for the now aging NT4 OS will be pulled. NT4 Server users have until the end of 2004 for support. Windows 98 users will be the next on the list for axed support too. Of course, Microsoft will still provide its knowledge base, but we wont see any more patches, etc. developed for the OS. After 7 years, it's kind of sad to see NT4 go."
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Microsoft Pulls Plug for Support on NT4

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  • by 5.11Climber ( 578513 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:06AM (#6309830)
    they're going to pull the plug! Damn!

  • by w.p.richardson ( 218394 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:06AM (#6309833) Homepage
    I still have to use NT 4 at work. It sucks to have to sync my Palm Pilot with a serial cradle! Yay 1987!
    • The devil you know (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:34AM (#6309998)

      I'm not convinced this is a good thing. While I generally think MS got Win2K right (though not XP), several people in my office still explicitly request NT4 on new machines. One guy who works on my team is considering this now, after spending a week chasing a bug somewhere on his WinXP box that causes it to reset without warning when running some essential software. Sometimes, better the devil you know really is good advice.

      • by EvilTwinSkippy ( 112490 ) <yoda@ e t o y> on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:57AM (#6310150) Homepage Journal
        I have a whitebox I built at home, and continually tweak when I have a few bucks to burn. It has an ATI all-in-wonder that I use to throw my playstation on the screen.

        We upgraded from 98SE to XP because I wanted an OS that could walk and chew gum at the same time. Let me tell you, mistake, mistake, mistake. Anything that uses the 3d accelleration crashes the system randomly. Which defeats the purpose of having an athlon-XP to work on computer animation now doesn't it?

        It's always dual booted, and I have finally gotten the Linux side so stable, my wife only boots into Windows to use M$ office. I have open office on the system, but she keeps mumbling something about layout. She like it because it boots from power switch to login, to KDE finished loading in 30 seconds. I'm digressing...

        I never thought I would see the day, but I actually have better driver support under Linux than XP for my machine. I have the firewire card working, with software to OPERATE the firewire card. My printers work without having to reboot to clear a printer-error condition. (A bug in the USB driver for XP.) My DVD playback and surround sound are perfect.

        And all this without having to drop another dime on hardware.

        • by xYoni69x ( 652510 ) <> on Friday June 27, 2003 @09:13AM (#6310278) Journal
          We upgraded from 98SE to XP because I wanted an OS that could walk and chew gum at the same time. Let me tell you, mistake, mistake, mistake.

          98SE is a good OS considering it's 16-bit (read: it sucks!).
          Very simply put, XP = 2K + crap.
          You should have installed 2K, it's the best Microsoft OS so far (I have yet to try 2K3 so currently have no opinion on it).

          • by necrognome ( 236545 ) * on Friday June 27, 2003 @10:32AM (#6310992) Homepage
            Actually, 98SE is 32-bit with 16-bit legacy support.
            see here. []
            For many programmers, a topic of immediate interest will be how to transport existing applications originally written for the 16-bit Windows 3.x (Win16) to the 32-bit Windows 98 and Windows NT (Win32) environments. Fortunately, such conversions, although sometimes tedious, can be relatively simple.

            Because both Windows 3.x and 98/95/NT follow the same general structural format, use the same messaging systems, and employ the same resource elements, the overall structure being moved from Windows 3.x to 98/95/NT does not change. For the most part, existing Windows 3.x applications will run directly under Windows 98/95/NT without requiring recompilation for the 32-bit environment.

        • You upgraded rather than a clean install, right? That's a prescription for problems like yours.

          Also, if you have an AIW, did you get the Remote Wonder too? The drivers that ship with the Remote Wonder will force a reboot at least every 4 hours, the latest drivers fix this problem.

          • After the upgrade didn't work, I did do a clean install. The clean install gave me more trouble.

            Let's face it, unless your components were designed with XP in mind, you are stuck in the eternel hell of unsigned drivers, finger pointing, and second-class-citizenship from vendors and Microsoft.

      • by nuggetman ( 242645 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @09:48AM (#6310544) Homepage
        Windows XP resets without warning because that's the default behavior on the blue screen of death. To make it show the BSOD and possibly track down the problem

        Start > Control Panel > System
        Advanced Tab
        Startup and Reovery settings
        Uncheck "Automatically restart" under System Failure
  • Upgrades? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by adamofgreyskull ( 640712 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:07AM (#6309837)
    Once a product ceases to be supported, does "migration" to a newer product from it become unsupported?
    • Re:Upgrades? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jkrise ( 535370 )
      " Once a product ceases to be supported, does "migration" to a newer product from it become unsupported? "

      Excuse me, what is a 'supported upgrade"? Could you inserted a Windows XP prof CD into an NT4 system and Click 'upgrade'? And would that 'upgrade' your mail, contacts, viruses (?), screensavers, settings, apps etc.?

      Microsoft's interpretation of support implies merely a LipService, and a tiny discount on upgrade pricing.
    • Re:Upgrades? (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheCrazyFinn ( 539383 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @09:26AM (#6310395) Homepage
      Yes, in fact there's pounds of documentation on migrating NT4 to Windows Server 2003. I've got about 5lbs of it on my desk (About 1/3 of the Administrator's Companion for WS2k3 is about NT4 migrations)

  • Possible (Score:5, Funny)

    by pasi ( 518572 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:07AM (#6309843) Homepage
    And now Microsoft will turn it to Open Software so volunteers can start an own fork of it and continue deveploving it. .. and will win eurovision song contest and soccer world championship. And SCO will be popular again.

    OR, then not.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:08AM (#6309847)
    It is kind of sad to see Linux kernel series 1.99 go.
    • by julesh ( 229690 )
      It is kind of sad to see Linux kernel series 1.99 go.


      1) The more recent Linux kernels weren't better in almost all respects,
      2) Linux wasn't open source, and
      3) Linux kernels came packaged with various servers and network clients many of which are regularly found to contain hideous security holes

      I would agree with you. All 3 of these conditions hold for NT4.
  • by LinuxParanoid ( 64467 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:09AM (#6309852) Homepage Journal
    A full description of Microsoft's end-of-support, end-of-life policies, including dates for *all* it's OSes, can be found here [].

  • by Surak ( 18578 ) * <[surak] [at] []> on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:10AM (#6309855) Homepage Journal
    ...where I work. Why upgrade a server if it still works? Put 2000 and XP on the workstations, sure, but why replace an already-functional server? As long as it keeps serving files, right?

    Now there will be companies like ours scrambling to get 2000 Server or 2K3 server on their servers by the end of next year. And we won't have a choice. Upgrade or lose support. What do you do? You upgrade. :-/

    • Amazingly enough, we are upgrading our infrastructure to w2k (a thousand or so servers) and not our desktops (nt4) first. Odd. but I guess someone thought it be too....easy.

    • by Talez ( 468021 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:18AM (#6309894)
      Killing off NT4 and its old Microsoft LAN Manager "networking" was like killing off the 9x line. It had to be done and it'll hurt now and months later you'll be wondering what exactly the fuss was again.
      • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @10:38AM (#6311053)
        Killing off NT4 and its old Microsoft LAN Manager "networking" was like killing off the 9x line. It had to be done and it'll hurt now and months later you'll be wondering what exactly the fuss was again

        Err... maybe the approx. £1000 that forking out for a Win2K server license will cost. Take it from me, but for a small business, even months later you can be feeling the pain of an unnecessary cost like that.

        Also, what exactly is wrong with NT4's networking that is fixed by more recent Windows systems? I mean, OK, XP has a hacked Kerberos system which is kind of useful when working with multiple servers (I don't). What exactly are the other improvements that have been made over what NT4 supports?
    • by tsetem ( 59788 ) <> on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:20AM (#6309911)
      If you upgrade from NT4, do it right. Use Samba [].

      The latest version of Samba even allows you to set up your Samba server to be a PDC, and directly migrate your users & groups from an already functioning NT Domain.
      • We have some Samba servers on Red Hat, actually. But we have certain applications that absolutely *require* Windows servers (for one, we use Outlook for mail :( ), plus some of our contracts with our customers actually specify what kind of server and what operating system(s) are to be used to house their data.

        • *require* Windows servers (for one, we use Outlook for mail :(

          what does using Outlook have to do with having Windows as a Server?

          AFAIK you can use Outlook with any MTA....and Sendmail is relatively easy to setup, compared with Exchange...

          • You don't get the nifty collaboration features that Outlook has. Group calendaring, group task lists. It's nice, for instance, to be able check your boss's meeting schedule so you can fit in that Quake III Arena deathmatch. ;)
    • Where I work, we upgraded all NT4 servers to Linux. Except NT4 Terminal Servers, since the Citrix idiots refused to support NT4 on Metaframe XP, and Win2K EULA and support for Terminal Services is screwed up.

      Client migration to Linux is happening slowly, but we've stopped with Win2K and Office97. No Subscription (dis)Advantage for us, sorry.
    • by wirefarm ( 18470 )
      Because I can sure use the hardware.
      Just over a week ago, I picked up a really clean PC from a curb, where it was waiting for the trashmen to come and get it.

      Sure enough, when I booted it, there was a failed Windows 2000 install on the hard disk - the poor thing was just too slow to run it, so it was set out on its way to the landfill.

      Later that day, I added a 120GB disk, installed RedHat 9 using the server install of Samba, Apache, Webmin, whatnot - no X, since I don't need it for a server. I sold it f
    • by cr@ckwhore ( 165454 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @10:16AM (#6310840) Homepage
      Why upgrade a server if it still works? Put 2000 and XP on the workstations, sure, but why replace an already-functional server? As long as it keeps serving files, right?

      It'll only keep serving files for a few weeks until the next worm comes along and exploits an unpatched hole in the system. Then what? You upgrade.

  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:10AM (#6309859) Journal
    Poor Joe has never ever received any support from Microsoft for any of his licensed, legal Windows or Office software. How does this affect him?

    Factually speaking, NT4 was the last stable, fast and useful (as in drivers, functionality etc.) OS from MS, that offered a semblance of security.

    Anyways, what this means is we have to support Windows ourselves - any difference? I'm more conerned that Citrix stopped support for NT in Metaframe XP - those idiots! For no obvious technical reasons...
    • by Matrix272 ( 581458 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:48AM (#6310089)
      I can't see how anybody can say that the security in NT4 was enough, especially compared to newer OS's. And if you want to get all technical about it, since Joe ServicePack has never received any support from Microsoft, then he's running Windows NT4 without any service packs... since the service packs have to be developed by Microsoft. Keeping that in mind, I'd say Joe ServicePack probably has a long and hard road ahead of him to upgrade to an operating system developed in the better part of the past decade. I wish him luck.
  • With the frequency of its new releases and subsequent drops of support, it almost seems as if microsoft should stop pretending to provide support over the lifetime ofr a product, and just refers to a set period of time until the version "expires" from the beginning.
  • Oh Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by deadlinegrunt ( 520160 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:13AM (#6309869) Homepage Journal
    I dropped support for Microsoft too.
    • Re:Oh Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dukebytes ( 525932 ) <dukebytes@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:48AM (#6310091) Homepage
      You know thats funny - but somewhat true also. The promises that they will end support in 2001 - and 2002 and 2003 etc... kind of piss people off. The new licensing scheme - whatever the hell that currently is - is also pissing people off. We buy all shrink wrap licenses - might be stupid - be at least this way we know what we have - it wont expire - we can downgrade it and load it on any machine we want to.

      And (drum roll...) the next two Dell file servers we are getting in for pure storage will be "tested" with FreeBSD running Samba. Took me three years - but they are going to let me try it and see if it "works out" for us. The thing that finnaly pushed this over was when me and the big boss was going over the pricing for the servers - I said "remember we have still $1600 worth of M$ that we need to buy" and he said "Oh shit thats right" - and BOOM I went into action and low and behold we are going to try it out and see what happens...

      I even went out and bought Using Samba - just in case ;)


  • Microsoft's stated policy wrt software support is End of Support after 5 yrs and End of Life after 7yrs.
  • by DarklordSatin ( 592675 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:17AM (#6309885) Homepage
    That's funny, there hasn't been a patch for NT4 in a very long time. What support is it that they're not going to be providing anymore.
    • "What support is it that they're not going to be providing anymore?"

      LipService!(TM). Beginning today, MS **will stop** saying that NT4 is affected by a worm or virus. They **will stop** using it in comparisons and benchmarks. They **will stop** Subscription (dis)Advantage programs for NT4 - you will have to pay $200 to get into WinXP Prof and then get the support.

      All in all, MS **will stop** making quality software like good ol' NT4.

      Warning: LipService will be avbl for versions above Win2K only!
  • sad to see it go? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:17AM (#6309891) Journal
    it's kind of sad to see NT4 go.

    I think it should have gone a LONG time ago, NT4 was tricky as a desktop OS because DirectX was pretty much nonexistant. I think once Win2K (and the first two or three SPs)came about, NT was a goner. The sad thing really is what came to replace NT and the like for the future-> XP, longthorn, etc.

    NT (4.0) wasn't that revolutionary, anyhow. kernel is about on par with 3.5, and the OS itself didn't become really stable until SP5 or so (SP4 caused crap (read: exchange) to crap out, IIRC), and by that time 2K was just right around the corner.

    I will be sad when 2K goes. in my opinion that's so far the best OS microsoft made. (XP drops low on the list b/c the nasty theme and horrible amounts of crap-service that comes pre-enabled, which (especially sys-restore) slowed your computer to a crawl and more).

    • by flend ( 9133 )
      As a desktop OS for l33t g4m3r kiddies maybe :) However, I think you'll find a lot of NT4 workstation installs in business and academia (my area). You don't need directx to run excel or draw graphs. Upgrading from NT4 to XP is a big unnecessary cost for organisations and a big compatability problem in the interim; incompatability of roving profiles etc.
  • Bad economy and Microsoft selling their OS for as expensive as ever? When the support runs out, that's going to be the straw that breaks the camels back, and I'd bet your boss will ask "are there any alternatives" to which you can grow horns and reply "why yes, sir" and show him/her your linux desktop or introduce them to one, using x-windows and staroffice (essentially looking exactly like winxp, accept staroffice is different).

    Budgets are tight, and MS is expensive, and I doubt they'll be offering the
    • by Delusion- ( 153011 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:43AM (#6310054) Homepage
      and I'd bet your boss will ask "are there any alternatives" to which you can grow horns and reply "why yes, sir" and show him/her your linux desktop or introduce them to one, using x-windows and staroffice

      And then your bosses financial department screams at you the next time he can't read their convoluted, thoroughly programmed-to-death excel files. Most People who find staroffice a useful alternative aren't using ms-office so much as halfway to the limits of its functionality. I found this out the hard way: accountants are not Most People. Neither are auditors, and in some cases, even the people in the human resources department. They know crafty Excel techniques which simply don't translate into Freebie Office documents of any flavor, for good or bad.

      Desktop evangelism can be dangerous, as it tricks the typical geek into thinking that because Staroffice is good enough a replacement to him for word and Excel (particularly the latter), that it's good enough for everybody. In a perfect world, maybe, but not in a real office with a lot of legacy programming, legacy programmers, legacy users, and genuinely talented Excel weenies. Much less Access weenies.

      Same debate? Gimp versus Photoshop. I've had people 'explain' to me why the gimp is a perfectly suitable replacement to Photoshop. For making web graphics, sure. For doing advanced production work for high level print processing? Not only is Gimp not even in the same league, it's not even playing the same game.

      Half of the corporate honchos I've had to deal with in regards to desktop issues get irritated that their office PC doesn't have the same annoying shovelware, quirky desktop setup, and bells & whistle proprietary add-ins as their ridiculous and expensive name brand PCs. Visions of apoplexy dance in my head at the idea of explaining to them why the "My Computer" icon is called something else, why it behaves differently when opened, and why the hell I can't load their three-versions-old copy of AOL onto a sweet chromed linuxy desktop, or if I can (via an emulator) why it runs slower, and why there's extra "stuff to click".

      These are the same people I had to have meetings with about why the naked dancing chick.exe attachment their cousin sent them doesn't seem to work at the office (all attachments stored at server, released by me as appropriate - e.g. no exes, .doc files (because .rtf files don't harbor viruses), unapproved .zip files, and all the usual suspects (script files, vb files, etc.)

      I'll pass on evangelizing a more complicated (or even just 'different') user experience to these people, thank you very much.
      • My hard core excel users are very much in the minority. Frankly most of my users don't get much past spell check, and the top of the food chain has secretaries to do powerpoint.

        YES for specialists, OpenOffice is not a solution. However, not everyone is a specialist, indeed, most people can barely use the computer, follow printed instructions, or do much to help their cause beyond phoning the helpdesk.

  • kinda sad... (Score:5, Informative)

    by imag0 ( 605684 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:20AM (#6309907) Homepage
    ...After 7 years, it's kind of sad to see NT4 go.

    After spending two years in MA phone support for NT on laptops I would have to say I am happy the damn thing is finally dead.
    Installing NT on anything was time intensive, installing drivers had to go in a particular order or it turned that hardware into a doorstop:

    imag0: "You mean to tell me you installed the video drivers before you installed card services and your ethernet drivers?"
    Client, quivering after spending the past three hours reloading NT on a laptop: "Uh, yeah."
    imag0: "Ok, pull out your boot diskettes again and see if we can repair install..."

    A long running joke in laptop support was that NT meant "Not Today". And it was true. Repair installs didn't. Service Control Manager (SCM) was only there to throw cryptic, useless errors at users just long enough to generate support calls and let's not get into how hard Adobe Acrobat and SP4 clusterfucked in some Trident configurations.

    Glad it's dead. No love lost here. Burn your cd's and feel happy its gone the way of win 3.11 and MS Bob.
  • Many people will argue Microsoft has every right to stop patching old operating systems. After all, we don't see security patches for older open source software, right?

    While that's true, there's a big difference between using open source software versus Microsoft products when upgrading. Now all of these sites that use Windows NT will be forced to shell out money to get a supported version of Windows (there many not be too many, but they're out there). Hundreds if not thousands of dollars will have to b
  • Well, dont feel too bad about losing official Microsoft support for Windows NT, at least we have the fun of trying out ReactOS [] ...
    I look forward to those guys coming up with a workable Windows NT clone one of these days.
  • In my opinion, this is a reasonable step; you cannot support all your programmes when you release them in a pace as Microsoft does.

    The sad thing, however, it that in the future, you will be forced to migrate, as your license will be temporarilly.

    When you are wise, you stick with NT4 as long as possible (very good with Office 97 for an administrative environment) and leapfrog to the version after Server 2003 or perhaps a later version. This is definitely the cheapest option.

    It's about time that temporal l

  • sad to see it go? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:25AM (#6309935) Homepage
    Funny, I dont think any of my NT4 critical systems are going to go anywhere.

    as far as support no longer available, Big deal. I can get 3rd party support.

    My NT4 servers are going no-where... they all server me very well with 99.9% Uptime and each decoding 24 different MPEG2 DVD quality video streams at once on a Pentium 166.

    Until the vendor writes Windows 2000 drivers for these very high end MPEG cards, NT4 is the de-facto standard in cable tv headends for many more years.

    sorry, but this is a non-issue for most of us... it doens make the OS magically dissappear.
  • NT4? Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Matrix272 ( 581458 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:31AM (#6309975)
    I know a lot of people are nostalgic for the "old days" when NT4 was brand new, and was the best option in the market... as long as you wanted to pay premium dollar for Microsoft's products... but seriously, who cares about it anymore?

    NT4 came out 7 years ago... and 6 service packs later, they almost have it working. There are still so many bugs with it, I can't keep track. It's a nightmare to maintain, and nothing is kept in a logical place. Even the log-in key-press sequence (ctrl-alt-del) is anti-intuitive. The graphics are horrible and bland. The hardware support is pathetic, even for its day. To my knowledge, you STILL can't access anything via USB on NT4. It's a system-resource hog (that's kind of given, since it IS Microsoft). Can ANYBODY tell me why they're still using it? The cost for maintaining it over 6 months is more than purchasing a new computer with Windows 2000/XP. What can NT4 possibly offer that Windows 2000/XP (or even Linux) can't? All the other options are easier to work with and/or cheaper.

    I don't blame Microsoft at all for getting rid of it. I just wish they would have done it sooner... or even never come out with it in the first place. They could have just continued development on it until 1999 and come out with Windows 2000 and actually had a product that made it worthwhile to put on a server (in some people's opinions).
    • Ctrl-Alt-Del (Score:5, Informative)

      by jpmorgan ( 517966 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @09:43AM (#6310510) Homepage
      The login sequence (ctrl-alt-del) is there for a very particular purpose - it's an important security feature.

      Since no user-program can grab ctrl-alt-del keystrokes (yay x86), forcing the user to hit c-a-d before they login proves that the login dialog is actually the system login dialog, and not some trojan somebody wrote to collect usernames and passwords.

      • Re:Ctrl-Alt-Del (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Drakonian ( 518722 )
        But a Service can send a fake Ctrl-Alt-Del to dismiss the dialog. VNC can do it. I don't think it would actually be that difficult to put up a window that looks like the login screen and collect passwords.
  • I'd like to know how the various OEMs, VARs, and ISPs handle this. I know of several companies that offer various types of maintenence contracts that also happen to cover NT4, since their product is based on that OS. Most companies that might be concerned about this probably bought a "Solution" from one of the big name companies, which included both hardware and software, so they may or many not be affected. The little guys, however, might have some trouble, especially if their servers are just white boxes that they built up themselves...
  • Ummmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by AntEater ( 16627 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:44AM (#6310065) Homepage
    "After 7 years, it's kind of sad to see NT4 go."

    7 years ago, it was kind of sad to see NT4 coming.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:51AM (#6310112)
    NT 4.0 has been out since 1997 or some time and they're just pulling support now. That's pretty impressive, even if they've been in maintenance mode for a long while.

    Contrast that with Red Hat for example, who are yanking support for their 'personal' operating systems 12 months from the time of their release. It's kind of sobering to think that Red Hat 8.0, 7.3, 7.2, 7.1 are end of lifed in six months from now and 9.0 a mere four months after that.

    While this might save Red Hat money in the short term I have to wonder what impact it will have on customer confidence. Even assuming you bought it on the very day of release at best you get twelve months maximum of bug fixes, which isn't very much especially if you were planning on deploying it. If some horrible exploit is discovered ten months from now you're screwed. You might appeal to the community to produce an updated patch, but you still forfeit any QA testing or automated RHN update that you would have gotten before.

    But let's face it, only a small fraction of people would be aware of or bother to manually plug new exploits anyway. With time a burgeoning number of exploitable RH boxes will become a prime target for crackers. Too bad for them you say, but often those cracked boxes are used to launch attacks and are therefore a danger to everyone. Look at Microsoft's reputation concerning security of their operating systems and wonder if Red Hat's end of life policy will mean the same for them.

    • Contrast that with Red Hat for example, who are yanking support for their 'personal' operating systems 12 months from the time of their release. It's kind of sobering to think that Red Hat 8.0, 7.3, 7.2, 7.1 are end of lifed in six months from now and 9.0 a mere four months after that.

      While this might save Red Hat money in the short term I have to wonder what impact it will have on customer confidence. Even assuming you bought it on the very day of release at best you get twelve months maximum of bug fixe
      • (a) Use the "normal" RH distro, get the latest and greatest software for free, and help RH and the free software community improve the software (by filing bug reports, if nothing else).

        Yes, but some people actually buy Red Hat software. You know, actually put down money on the counter of Frys or wherever in exchange for a boxed set. They're in the same boat as people who've downloaded the OS. If I bought ten boxes to deploy somewhere I would be mighty upset if I got ten months of support for my troubles.

    • RedHat's policy is that if you want 5 years of support, buy a copy of enterprise Linux [], otherwise upgrade your O/S every year. Simple.

      The nice part about Linux is you aren't locked into one vendor. If you don't like it, run Debian or SuSE or something else!

    • Red Hat is a company that makes pretty much a drop in the bucket compared to Microsoft. Actually, it's more like a few molecules collecting at the bottom of a fifty-five gallon drum. Red Hat's source of revenue will inevitably shift more and more from their boxed product to OEM deals and services for their software.

      Red Hat's end-of-life-cycle comes about for maintaining packages that were in the base installation of the product. However, their subscription package (primary service via RHN) allows custom
  • by Soulfader ( 527299 ) < minus author> on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:52AM (#6310114) Journal
    After 7 years, it's kind of sad to see NT4 go.

    Hmm, you haven't actually used NT4 lately, have you? =)

  • USB Errors (Score:3, Insightful)

    by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:52AM (#6310117)
    Oh back in the day when your computer locked up once a week because the USB errors had maxxed outthe limit for error log size. All because MS wouldn't release a USB driver for NT even though motherboard manufacturers had been including them for years.

    For awhile it looked like MS would do the samething with USB2 to force people to upgrade from Win2K to XP. But yesterday they released Win2K SP4 to include a USB2.0 driver.
  • by LazloToth ( 623604 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @08:57AM (#6310155)

    Yeah, NT is not *nix. Yeah, NT isn't a lot of things. But I've worked with it since SP1, and, you know, once you get used to it, you can get a lot of productivity out of it. So much depends on drivers and, of course, program code. These days, NT lacks some refinement. So does Linux, for that matter. Nonetheless, after 6 1/2 service packs, NT delivered (and continues to deliver) a fair amount of bang for your hardware buck. In some ways, it is refreshing to use a product that is not weighed down with useless features. Our remaining NT servers, running on Compaq Proliant 1600 hardware, are fine producers. And contrary to myth, they do NOT have to be rebooted every day, every week, or even every month. This isn't a Microsoft ad - - I'm leading the charge away from MS products at my company. But I will give some credit where it's due.

  • by Jim Norton ( 453484 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @09:03AM (#6310192)
    Windows 98 OEM isn't supported by Microsoft either. For some reason, 98 SE is. Go figure. I don't care if Microsoft officially offers patches or support for it but what REALLY pisses me off is when developers prevent applications from installing on Windows 98 OEM machines (we have a bunch of win98 oem machines at work which do the job fine) There is no good reason why they shouldn't actually WORK on Windows 98 OEM they just prevent the application from being installed.

    The ones i've found:
    Windows Media Player 9
    Novell ZENworks for Desktops Management Agent (this REALLY sucks since we're deploying ZFD at our company)
    Acrobat Reader 6
    Solidworks 2003 Viewer

    I'm sure there are many others. A disturbing trend, to be sure. There is actually a workaround to get the ZFDMA working on 98 OEM machines without using the installer, but it's an ugly hack and can't really be automated.
  • Hitting a Wall (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tarsi210 ( 70325 ) * <> on Friday June 27, 2003 @09:27AM (#6310398) Homepage Journal
    Dropping support for OSes that are clearly out of their useful lifespan is good and all, but we're going to eventually hit a wall here. Hardware is becoming fast enough that most users could really give a bean's ass whether they have the latest and greatest, their machine(s) are running fine where they are. I work in an industry (long-term health care) where the processing requirements for workstations just aren't that impressive. Win95 and 98 are just fine and will be for probably a few years, if not more.

    This dropping of OSes is just going to cause a pain for support techs and admins dealing with these systems. You can't run anything newer on them without a hardware upgrade, but you can't get anything updated for the old OS, either. Software vendors drop their support as soon as M$ does, not because they are sheeple, but because they know it'll just cause problems. Want to install IE 5.5 on Win95? Good luck finding it. (you can, but not at M$) Want to install the latest Adobe, or MSN, or etc? Nope. And it'll just get worse.

    I realize the push to deprecate OSes is for good reasons. They want to get rid of OSes that are buggy and insecure (ok, good call) and they want to push for new hardware in the market and keep sales running. Good ideas in the long run, but there has to be someplace where people just stop buying because it doesn't make sense to keep upgrading. (which I think we're starting to see now)
  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @10:09AM (#6310768) Homepage the companies with big support contracts. People like CSC will happily carry on supporting NT4 for years to come, as long as you give them enough cash.

    Hell, I know of one deployment of NT3.51 still being supported by a 3rd party!
  • by yAm ( 15181 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @10:28AM (#6310955)
    Look, I have to ride herd on a pile of MS servers, just now more 2k than NT. We've built a damn good business using the these machines. We've stretched the things to their limits of the with some of the processes that we have implemented. We've discovered deep bugs and pushed MS to fix 'em. We have a functioning, stable business that relies on this OS.

    This is where MS *always* makes it greatest mistake. They desire to become respected in the Enterprise market, yet these idiots cannot put a leash on their marketing department.

    Hint to Microsoft: If you want to be taken seriously, stop changing your OS's willy-nilly. IBM supports OS's and hardware for years after they've gone past their prime. Why? Because their customers still use them. Businesses are built using your software as a tool to get work done. Now just because you decide that hammers are out of vogue, you cannot force everybody to switch over to pneumatic nail-guns. This "ok, ok, ok, we're serious now. We've come up with a great new way to do X" shit has got to stop. DDE, OLE, OCX, ActiveX, COM, DCOM, COM+. .NET and now not .NET.

    You know, it is possible to run a network with their tools (quiet down, I work for people who have made this decision and pay me to implement it), but for cryin' out loud, business processes change slowly if at all and once that you realize that marketing won't sway established systems to change at the drop of a hat, the sooner that you will find customers that will stick with you for the long haul.

    That is until you get greedy and start gouging on licenses...
  • by cthompso ( 2283 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @11:16AM (#6311441)
    I was an MCSE for NT 3.51 at Charles Schwab in the mid-nineties. NT 4 was noticeably buggier and crashprone than NT 3.5*. So anyone involved with the NT servers was constantly fighting fires. I remember being struck by how calm the Unix admins were, and how they got to do more interesting work...platform uptime was a non-issue for them. So, with a little help from a sympathetic Unix sysadmin (thanks Art!) I was able to talk the boss into letting me switch to the Unix admin group. NT4......may it soon pass to the ash heap of history.
  • by writertype ( 541679 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @02:01PM (#6312995)
    it's kind of sad to see NT4 go."

    You need a pet.

  • Slander and chunks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Friday June 27, 2003 @02:24PM (#6313225)
    OK, so this is wild speculation with an undue overtone of paranoia and slander:


    That Microsoft would pull Windows NT 4.0 this or next year has been known for well more than a year. This has been one of Linux zealots' (like me) greatest argument why not move from WinNT to Win03/04, but rather upgrade to a Linux system!

    So, in my cold cellar, I have had this vision of Microsoft and SCO executives meeting in high fashion bars and nightclubs in Rio, Monte Carlo, Singapore, and elsewhere to discuss how to kill Linux the best, as otherwise it may well take over a too large chunk of the market when NT is terminated. (If the chunk is large enough, there may well be a fearsome snowball effect) The answer was, however, easy - Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The reward for the SCO executives, apart from a few more drinks that night? Well, yes, a bright, rich future at any position in the Microsoft controlled sphere perhaps? Who knows.

    Yes, I do believe in my nightmares at times.

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