Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Nov 2009 09:31 UTC
Windows Last week, security vendor Sophos published a blog post in which it said that Windows 7 was vulnerable to 8 our of 10 of the most common viruses. Microsoft has responded to these test results, which are a classic case of "scare 'm and they'll fall in line".
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Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Microsoft could sort it out tomorrow, like I said.


As much as I want to believe you, we don't know if it's that simple. We talk about backwards compatibility as if it's a simple package that comes with an InstallShield uninstaller, but in reality we have no idea how entrenched "backwards compatibility" is into the operating system.

and hold back Windows certifications from software vendors who refuse to get their software up to standards - the cold hard reality is that when push comes to shove and the difficult decisions need to be made - they crumple.


They've just been fined massively, and forced to change their operating system for something as mundane as including a browser or a media player - how do you think the DOJ and Kroes would respond if Microsoft did something like that?

I'm sure just about every engineer inside Microsoft wants to do just that, but this isn't Apple we're talking about - it's Microsoft. They are treated differently because of their market position, and can't just do the kind of cut-throat code cutting Apple can do.

Reply Parent Score: 2

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

As much as I want to believe you, we don't know if it's that simple. We talk about backwards compatibility as if it's a simple package that comes with an InstallShield uninstaller, but in reality we have no idea how entrenched "backwards compatibility" is into the operating system.


Microsoft know where it is, they've noted the deprecated parts only there for backwards compatibility, they created the virtualised registry to get around permissions issues on applications which make the assumption that they have administration privileges.

The solution is easy - include in the book, 'If the application doesn't run, right click and select 'run in virtualisation mode' where by Windows XP fires up in boardless mode (which virtualbox supports) and it'll appear like any other desktop application but within a virtual machine that is sandboxed off from the rest of the machine.

They've just been fined massively, and forced to change their operating system for something as mundane as including a browser or a media player - how do you think the DOJ and Kroes would respond if Microsoft did something like that?


Based on what evidence. They can still call it compatible but they just can't get the sticker. That is no different than a person writing a JVM but unable to call it Java till it meets certain specifications. Heck, Microsoft do it already with Windows compatible logo where hardware vendors have to meet a minimum set of requirements before they can affix the logo to their hardware. Making the software vendor meet a certain set of criteria before they can affix the logo of compatibility would be no different than their OEM side of the business.

I'm sure just about every engineer inside Microsoft wants to do just that, but this isn't Apple we're talking about - it's Microsoft. They are treated differently because of their market position, and can't just do the kind of cut-throat code cutting Apple can do.


Mate, there was a manager a while back who said, "legacy code is an asset"; excuse me, but when has a rusted car on the front lawn of a property, without wheels, up on four concrete blocks ever considered an asset? in any other situation it is an eye sore and a source of property depreciation.

When you have managers so far out of touch with reality, so devoid of what technology is actually out there by way of virtualisation, you know the person should be put out to pasture. They had their time in the spot light, time to allow the spot light to shine on those people who aren't living in the age where COBOL is the the new and up 'n coming language of choice for business.

Edited 2009-11-10 13:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

There are a few problems with this approach, among them the performance hit that would come from virtualization (which might be small, but won't be zero), or the fact that a virtual machine wouldn't expose the host's hardware well (in particular, so far as I know, there's not good, high-performance way to expose the host's GPU). There's also the problems that, then you've got a lot of still-fundamentally-insecure apps running together in a virtual machine that's running a guest OS that's less-secure than the host. If any of those legacy apps manage sensitive information, and the virtual machine gets compromised, then you have a serious problem. There's also the fact that many insecure, low-level APIs don't virtualzie well.
Apple did something like this when they moved to OS X: if you had an <= OS 9 application, OS X would try to run the application in what amounted to an emulated OS 9. It didn't work very well; most legacy apps either didn't run well, or didn't run at all, and they didn't integrate with the rest of the system regardless. I think most Mac users took the hint and wrote off their Mac Classic applications, and used OS X native equivalents if they existed, and did without when equivalents weren't available. I know that's what I did.
I'm a fan of virtualization, but it's not a panacea, and it's not really a good way to handle any legacy apps on which you're dependent. At least, not in a desktop environment.

My other concern is that legacy applications and backwards-compatability really are good things. As someone else on this site has elegantly said before, you don't throw out a code-base with a 20-year track record just because the OS vendor says it's time to move on.

Reply Parent Score: 3

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

The solution is easy - include in the book, 'If the application doesn't run, right click and select 'run in virtualisation mode' where by Windows XP fires up in boardless mode (which virtualbox supports) and it'll appear like any other desktop application but within a virtual machine that is sandboxed off from the rest of the machine.


Isn't this exactly what "Windows XP Mode" for Windows 7 does, using a virtualised XP install running in a headless VirtualPC instance? And it even puts application shortcuts into the Start Menu for these apps.

Edited 2009-11-10 17:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

We talk about backwards compatibility as if it's a simple package that comes with an InstallShield uninstaller, but in reality we have no idea how entrenched "backwards compatibility" is into the operating system.


Very entrenched. All that should be scrapped for good. The ugly useless stuff should be left to run in a virtual machine with a Windows XP provided copy. They could cut a sizeable chunk of useless crap code out of the OS, not maintain it anymore and live it where it belongs.

I'm sure just about every engineer inside Microsoft wants to do just that, but this isn't Apple we're talking about - it's Microsoft. They are treated differently because of their market position, and can't just do the kind of cut-throat code cutting Apple can do.


Sure they can, as long as they provide a way for existing software to keep running.

Reply Parent Score: 2