Mods please feel free to move/delete the heck out of this if I'm doing it wrong. Now, on to business.
January 14, 2020 marks the official end of long term support for my favorite version of Windows. Like many, I didn't take the free transition to Win 10 after reading some of the shady things it does. That's why, some time ago, I set up a dual boot with Linux Mint. A good chunk of my Steam library as well as Minecraft run on Linux with minimal wrangling on my part. However, am I really ready to make the switch full time? Are You?
I'm still reading about the potential risks of running 7 unsupported, but it sounds like a bad idea in general. What have you guys done to prepare? Was this news a surprise to any loyal Win 7 users? I may be lazy, but I'm also stubbornly determined to be in control of my own machine. If something breaks, it'll be my fault and not because a giga-corporation decided I need more telemetry.
I wanted to hang on as long as I could, because windows 10 looked too much like a phone operating system and I'm a technophobe. But when my old laptop died last year, I thought I might as well get a new one with windows 10, because I'd just end up being caught out anyway, and come to think of it the shop wasn't even selling windows 7 or vista laptops anymore.
I adjusted, don't really notice it now, but I did go out of my way to get rid of the most 'windows 10-y' features like microsoft edge and cortana immediately lol.
I plan to keep using Windows 7 for a while. I've got a potential switch to Linux or Windows 10 in mind, but not on my current old potato computer, and I'm not really sure what I'll replace it with and when.
Unfortunately, while I've reduced my reliance on proprietary Windows programs as much as possible, there's a few I really depend on and can't easily replace, and trying to figure out I'd have to go about using Wine/virtualizing/dual booting to get my work done has made my head hurt :p
For me, the real Windows 7 end-of-life is going to be when Firefox stops supporting it—not having a modern, secure browser on the platform will be a particular problem.
In fact, if anyone knows how some major open source and proprietary programs are planning to handle the Windows 7 EOL, that would help me out. I don't think any are planning to immediately pull the plug, but I've had trouble finding reliable sounding information about this :p
TanteiSakana:In fact, if anyone knows how some major open source and proprietary programs are planning to handle the Windows 7 EOL, that would help me out. I don't think any are planning to immediately pull the plug, but I've had trouble finding reliable sounding information about this :p
Open-source projects generally don't plan their support too far in advance. They'll consider dropping support for it when few enough of their users run it to be worth the hassle of supporting it. They're not going to announce "we will stop supporting W7 in three years, two months and seventeen days", they'll announce "this is going to be the last version made for W7" when it finally happens.
But, we can make a reasonable inference. Firefox only ceased support for XP and Vista in the middle of 2018, four years after Microsoft ended support for XP and one year after Microsoft ended support for Vista (though this was on an "extended support release", 52.9.0esr). Windows 7 was a pretty popular version so they'll probably maintain support for a roughly similar period. Though the free upgrade to W10 may make its userbase dwindle faster, possibly leading to a shorter support period.
(Personally, I do use W10 on all my Windows boxes. I've run W8 and Vista, I'm used to bad Windows UI overhauls. And it actually does have some cool technical features I enjoy. I have too many Windows-only programs to switch my gaming rig or music rig over to Linux, but I could probably switch my dev workstation over to it. Just can't be assed - it works, why fuck with it? All my servers are Linux or FreeBSD though, Windows Server is just not my cup of tea.)
Some are still clinging to winXP with the Kmeleon web browswr, so don't worry, 7 will be useful for a long, long time yet. After that, your future phone will be powerful enough to run 7 in an emulator.
"That path is not a bed of roses", 4 days ago, 11:17 AM#8
SpaceRailroad:I'm still reading about the potential risks of running 7 unsupported, but it sounds like a bad idea in general.
I have always been using Microsoft Windows with neither "upgrade" nor "support" since I have ever remembered (i.e. Windows 3.11 and up); so this will not stop me.
Robotwin.com:Some are still clinging to winXP with the Kmeleon web browswr
That "some" actually includes me on an isolated PC at home. Thanks for mentioning K-Meleon anyway.
SpaceRailroad:However, am I really ready to make the switch full time? Are You?
WARNING: Sentimental post ahead
- I did not switch to GNU/Linux because it looked cool.
- I did not switch to GNU/Linux because it was cheap.
- I did not switch to GNU/Linux because it was functional. (Very far from it)
I switched to GNU/Linux because personal and political reasons to finally gain full autonomy of my digital life, and unlock my cyber freedom.
But freedom is bittersweet, breathtaking and full of sorrow at the same time.
This path is filled with much frustration, pain, and grief. It was so much that I dare say if one is not politically, technically, and personally (if not also financially) into this, they would give up on it for the coziness in the walled garden empire...
Windows 7 is actually the last version Microsoft Windows I would ever consider "upgrading" to; as it is the last Windows that offers classic desktop paradigm. (Windows 8 and later are plain NO-NO: not just for their UI, but also their spyware behavior and update policy as well)
My first full-on experience on GNU/Linux was around 2008 when I finally managed to installed Debian GNU/Linux 4.0, dual-boot, on my desktop machine; where my adventure began. At the time, Windows was still my main system.
On that machine, I ended up savvy enough to occasionally use it as a real OS, install software from source code, debug WINE, do a manual system recovery, and write a GNU/Linux software on my own; but not enough to write system library, let alone a driver. It was just a side OS, which I have no much stake on it. That is, until one day I ultimately decided to use it as a sole main OS for my new machine...
I have actually started shopping my hardware specially for GNU/Linux compatibility (1) as far back to ~2013, for the first portable machine I would own. The result of that effort is the laptop I am typing this on. (3)
^ It came pre-installed with FreeDOS (which is still bootable today if I choose it), but I installed Debian on it few days after purchase. Of course, screw Windows; by buying a model sold with no Windows pre-installed (4), I got it cheap by dodging Windows tax as well.
As it turned out, despite my comprehensive demo-time testing with Linux Mint and KNOPPIX, this path is nowhere like a bed of roses. I use traditional desktop environment (a la GNOME 2.x), so I had to settle on older version of Debian; had to build a backported version of WiFi chip driver by hand, and lived with semi-functional (non-accelerated VESA) display driver with full-on screen brightness for a year.
Later I had to install a later Debian version alongside it for work-related uses (with XFCE desktop). This version sported newer Linux kernel and X11 drivers; so it had much less driver issues. But the desktop software was so buggy that I needed to do many desktop works on command line. I switched back and forth between old and new installation very often.
It was the day when first version of MATÉ Desktop (a continuation of GNOME 2.x) landed in Debian backports repository when I could finally have some peace of mind. I installed it, restarted the graphics system, and a familiar sight greeted me... together with several obvious bugs.
After so many rounds of debugging and hand patching that spanned years, this newer installation finally entered a "reliable for everyday use" state, and it is essentially the same configuration that I continue using to today.
And upgrading, you say?
I have been spending literally years learning, debugging, fixing, patching, tuning, melding this software system into a usable state on my own. At this point, it is my own home, my best friend, and extension of my body. This is the way I retain my computing autonomy.
I LIVE THE LEGACY
Pry it from my cold hands.
^ In the process, I also got a basic training for writing Linux kernel driver and firmware programming, but still never got around to put that to real use; due to ever-changing structure inside Linux kernel.
Still, for me, libre software is the now and the future I aim to. But whether libre or proprietary, I greatly detest developers who insist on "upgrades" all the same.
My next goal is to shop for a smartphone (5) that actually respects me as a person: fully works with Replicant (an ideal), LineageOS (a compromise), or PostmarketOS (a curiosity). The first one is plainly impossible as of now; the third one is a wildcard I'm not willing to risk; the second one is a reachable goal.
Looks like this is going to be a very long shopping session for me...
But this is the path I decided to walk in, and I intend to continue walking it.
SpaceRailroad:am I really ready to make the switch full time?
This highly depend on whether you are regular user or power user of your system.
In my experience, if the user is a regular user- you just got to keep the aesthetics the same with specific combination of distribution and software. And, with just few instructions, they would find their way and fit in. Auto-update or not will not matter much, unless the distribution did something very screwed-up that is.
^ The main catch is hardware (must not be too new), and interoperability issues that might crop up (e.g. when the user tried to open random .DOC file and found that the document was off in few places).
If it was a power user, tinkerer, or developer (like me); then they would face much harder time; because they must understand each workings, configuration tuning, how-tos, why-tos, catches, nuances, what-ifs, etc; from the level of user interfaces, applications, utilities, command line, system components, user-level API, filesystem layout, down to boot process and inner kernel's workings; in order to feel comfortable enough to completely switch.
With these, it took me a decade and half, to finally say that I'm now more comfortable using my current GNU/Linux system, than using Microsoft Windows 7.
My word of warning is: Using libre software is like venturing into the wild barren land to settle and make a living, like pioneers. Do you think you are capable to survive it?
If you think so, then this quest is for you. Good luck- you are gonna need it.
(1) I'm not saying "support", because OEM don't give $#!+ about libre OSes (2). It were either upstream chip manufacturers, or end users who wrote drivers for these devices. (2) If you went into a local tech shop and see devices with Tux Penguin or Liberty Bell logo, consider yourself very lucky. (And lucky times hundred, if you actually found one with the Liberty Bell logo) (3) Yes: 7 years, you read that correctly. The "expiration date" of things running libre software is basically the day that its hardware broke (with no spare parts), or the day you ultimately decided to abandon it. (4) Very noticeable on a showroom booth, because they demoed it with Linux Mint. (5) Right now, I use either old-school feature phone or classic landline and payphones for my voice call needs.
i havent had to reinstall since 2016. manjaro is solid on a little dell lappy, goes to work with me. fedora is solid on a thinkpad, running a file server for me with an uptime of.... 9 days, when i rebooted to test an autostart thing (it has been as high as 150 days).
I'm on debian testing on all my computers, with KDE set up to essentially work like windows 98 in terms of the window bar, and caja instead of dolphin as a file manager. Before that I'd always use cinnamon on LMDE. I didn't have any problems with anything that wasn't on the label, but the software versions were just getting too old for me (the debian it's based on has ancient software versions for everything, like gimp 2.6 or something). I didn't want regular linux mint cause they expect you to reinstall it to upgrade the system to a new version every single time (what?)
I really haven't had any problems where stuff would just break in ages either, I can't even remember the last time. Like sure maybe if you're sadistic and use like... arch linux, but if you use baby bullshit linux like me and aren't really using any windows-only software that doesn't work well with wine, it's pretty smooth sailing these days.
I have one student that exclusively uses linux. its possible any issues i should have had other the past 4 years have all been psychically pushed onto his machines. (just about every class is something new to try and troubleshoot. he considers me a linux guru but clearly i pale in comparison to Xwindows, as my attitude is also 'if i cant find the answer on google, reinstall with a different distro'.)
I never got the chance to use Windows 7 (nor did I get to use Vista), but it's always sad to see when good software hits end-of-life. After when my XP computer was retired, I ended up getting a Windows 8 laptop and from there upgraded to Windows 10.
Though with rumblings Microsoft is looking at moving Windows completely to the cloud, I think it's time I look at Linux if Microsoft goes through with fully going to the cloud. Because I know they will update Windows 10 to transfer more things to be handled across the cloud like they tried adding Windows 10 functions to 7.
I'll miss it dearly. I remember hearing the horror stories of Vista and holding onto XP as long as I could until getting a new computer in 2011, but 7 won me over and similarly broke my heart with the news of dropped support. I decided to save myself the turmoil later and spent the summer ripping the bandaid off, upgrading to Windows 10 and optimizing the OS as much as possible to be useable and not awful, but it's still pretty awful. Certainly didn't win me over like 7 eventually did, but I've managed to get used to it fairly well by now, and I am thankful that it's compatible with all my old software, especially the dated stuff I use to make comics.
I do fear the future of Windows a bit, though. Just like console UIs it feels like companies just want to dumb things down and take more and more freedom from the user, yet I'm too scared to try ditching it altogether and switch to a Linux distro or something. I'm just such a creature of habit and familiarity, when programs or UIs or OSes switch on me it drives me insane, but even when I have to update to a new Windows OS and hate it as much as 10, there's still more familiarity and similar functions than if I switched to another OS. Maybe someday I'll suck it up and try doing what I've had friends recommend, and install something alongside Windows so I can boot into one or the other depending on what I wanna do that given day. Or I'll just keep hoping that the Microsoft overlords aren't as devious and malicious as my paranoid brain convinces me they are and things won't get much worse. Much.
mitchellbravo:It's important for context to remember that in our old country, Seven Rain was a bit of a legendary personality- a yeti, if you will.
When I got my first (and only) windows 8 computer I had it's system converted to windows 7. It messed a lot of things up and made several options and features pretty much unusable or completely broken. But I don't regret it and damn was it worth it. I couldn't stand looking at that Nokia Lumia design.
Even before I touched that computer's system several features slowed down and/or stopped working.
If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Location:Munich, Germany, Europe, Terra, Solar system, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Cluster, Laniakea Supercluster.
SpaceRailroad:However, am I really ready to make the switch full time? Are You?
I'm using 100% Linux at home (since... 2000?) and about 95% Windows-7 at the job because I must. The rest of 5% Linux comes into play when things go wrong under Windows, then I use Linux to save the day.
SpaceRailroad:I'm still reading about the potential risks of running 7 unsupported, but it sounds like a bad idea in general. What have you guys done to prepare? Was this news a surprise to any loyal Win 7 users?
Since Windows-10 is essentially spyware and M$ does everything to make everyone switch to Windows-10, I don't buy much of these news and intend to keep the Windows-7, unsupported.
SpaceRailroad:I may be lazy, but I'm also stubbornly determined to be in control of my own machine.
Me too. So Windows-10 is not an option. Of course Linux would be the best in terms of keeping to be in control of one's own hardware.
SpaceRailroad:If something breaks, it'll be my fault and not because a giga-corporation decided I need more telemetry.
Also, I firmly believe that Linux is better suited to fix problems you might encounter. Most distributions can be run from a CD or DVD for trying them out, this gives you the opportunity of doing a quick check about whether the problem is hardware- or software-related. And if it's software-related, I consider my chances to go back to a previous working state (without a complete re-install) much better, because there is no one-ring-to-rule-them-all registry.
(And I remember that one time when someone caught a boot sector virus that was somehow not removable with windows' tools and abilities. So I booted a Linux from a CD and overwrote the first few MB of the hard disk. After that, re-installing Windows was possible.)
I use Linux for my Mac Mini (mainly Xubuntu because I now hate Apple with their slow, new MacOS updates). Also use Windows 8.1 virtual machines since Wine isn't that reliant on Linux and since Windows 7 is too slow on VMWare Workstation for me (but why, though?!).
Posting to the topic, dang... Microsoft's ended support for Windows 7 yesterday, already? I read years ago that extended support would end today but time flies by so fast.