Linked by Stefan Michalowski, M. Sc. on Thu 19th Aug 2004 08:27 UTC
Editorial Lately posted on Slashdot, an article written by Joel Spolsky mentioned the trouble through which Microsoft went to make each version of Windows backwards compatible. In one case, for the game Simcity, they even changed the way memory handling was done when running that application. You can find additional stories of software tricks that recent versions of Windows have to perform in order to run these bug-dependant applications on the web. After reading the story, I discussed with a couple of friends how weird this was and how Free Software completely avoids this problem.
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>That makes 6 years of support and many pieces of software
>newly produced still run even on Windows 95. So Microsft is
>doing a great job supporting their old system.

>SUSE only presents >downloads down to Version 8 of their
>distro. And version 8 isn't that old, isn't it. So if you
>want support for older systems you need to habe access
>to the softwares source to be able to maintain the system.

There is big difference. With Windows 95 your stuck. You don't have access to security patches and you can't fix the problem. Even contacting Microsoft will not help you as they do not have anyone to provide support. And of course, you cannot access the sources to fix the problem (or hire someone to do it). With Suse, you can always hire someone to provide support for an older version. You have a chance of fixing major security breaches.

Also, comparing Microsoft to Suse is a bit unfaire. Suse is tiny compared to Microsoft, it cannot handle supporting a huge number of releases, simply because of the lack of employees. Microsoft can afford to keep a number of employees to provide support.

Now, most companies are not the size of Microsoft, but more the size of Suse. So if you buy a closed-source package, most chances are that they will support at most 2 releases. So if you decide not to upgrade, you are stuck with a product that could have unfixed security issues and no support.