Petitioners Demand Microsoft Release a Free Windows 7 | Software
By Jack M. Germain
Jan 28, 2020 12:03 PM PT
Free Software Foundation desires Microsoft to maintain Windows 7 alive as a free working system. Microsoft stopped offering free safety patches and help for Windows 7 earlier this month.
Although the favored working system reached its 10th birthday final fall, some 200 million PCs across the globe nonetheless run it, in accordance with business estimates. Users embody small enterprise homeowners, some bigger firms, authorities companies, and hordes of customers worldwide.
Microsoft expects most Windows 7 customers emigrate to Windows 10, but it surely continues to offer patches and help for Windows 7 Pro and Enterprise, that are eligible for prolonged safety replace help for 3 years, for a payment. Windows 7 Home editions and Ultimate editions should not included within the choices to buy prolonged help.
The FSF this week launched the “Upcycle Windows 7”
petition. The group remains to be accumulating signatures, although it has surpassed its purpose of getting 7,777 folks to signal on to make Windows 7 obtainable at no cost. The present tally is approaching 10,000.
Making the OS free would permit customers “the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software,” in accordance with the inspiration.
The petition makes no reference to who would keep the free model with needed patchs and continued upgrades, if any.
Making Windows 7 free may very well be viable, stated Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
“At this point, the likelihood of converting current Windows 7 users to Windows 10 seems nil. Releasing the OS could earn Microsoft the goodwill of those users, and might lead to projects that would help ensure the continuing viability and security of Windows 7,” he advised LinuxInsider.
Not Just a Big Ask
The petition’s wording is to demand somewhat than merely ask that the corporate launch Windows 7 as free software program. The petition asserts that Microsoft ended “10 years of poisoning education, invading privacy, and threatening user security.”
Windows 7’s finish of lifecycle provides Microsoft “the perfect opportunity to undo past wrongs, and to upcycle it instead,” it states.
A precedent for releasing some core Windows utilities as free software program already exists, in accordance with the petition. So Microsoft would lose nothing “by liberating a version of their operating system that they themselves say has reached its end.”
Microsoft launched code for the Windows Calculator. So it could actually do the identical for Windows 7, in accordance with the inspiration.
Also, Microsoft launched MS-DOS 5 years in the past as downloadable code. However, utilizing it’s restricted to the phrases of a noncommercial-use license settlement.
Given Microsoft’s rising prominence in open supply, and its possession of GitHub, releasing the Windows 7 code as open supply additionally may very well be helpful to Microsoft.
It may very well be positioned as “putting our money where our mouth is,” King famous. Many within the open supply neighborhood would welcome that.
From Microsoft’s perspective, releasing Windows 7 won’t be as easy as one may count on. For typical customers, Windows 7 already was free because it got here bundled with their computer systems.
Microsoft is a for-profit firm. That means it incurs prices to develop software program for industrial use. The for-profit mannequin is the inspiration of the corporate, stated Maryanne Steidinger, head of promoting for
“IF they have no additional development costs — services, support, troubleshooting — around Windows 7, that might be a consideration to make it freeware, but then they should cut all support and let the market take the calls. I don’t think anyone would want that,” she advised LinuxInsider.
The proprietary OS nonetheless has appreciable market share to contemplate. Win 7’s market share is anticipated to be 35 % in 2020 and 28 % in 2021, Steidinger added.
“So that endears users to keep it and maintain it,” she stated. “Because of the continuing market share and revenue generation for Windows 7, I think the company will say no.”
It can be nice if Microsoft launched Windows 7 as freeware, however it’s not a certain wager that the corporate will reply favorably to the petition, stated Michael Arman, financial improvement director for the City of Oak Hill, Florida.
“Microsoft is not known for their charity, and there is plenty of code in Windows 7, which is used in 10 and in various other flavors of Microsoft’s software. Why should they give that away when they can sell it?” he advised LinuxInsider.
Mixed Corporate Signals
Microsoft declined our request to touch upon the FSF’s petition.
However, over the previous couple of years, Microsoft executives have instructed that open sourcing a few of its software program titles was not out of the query.
A future model of Windows launched as open supply was “definitely possible,” Microsoft’s Mark Russinovich stated at ChefConf 2015 in Santa Clara, California.
Microsoft ought to launch Windows 7 code below a free software program license to show that its love of open supply software program isn’t just a car to “exploit users,” the inspiration argues within the petition.
The basis didn’t reply to LinuxInsider’s request for clarification on the petition.
Why Keep Windows 7 Working?
For authorities companies, customers, and companies nonetheless utilizing Windows 7, the primary purpose to maintain Windows 7 alive is a no-brainer. “It just works” is the widespread battle cry.
Upon its introduction, Windows 7 was a excellent, extremely secure OS that corrected a lot of the errors Microsoft made with Vista, Pund-IT’s King identified.
“It still fills the bill for numerous Windows and applications, so satisfied consumers and businesses see little if any reason to change. This has been a recurring issue for past Microsoft OSes, including Windows 3.1, NT and XP, and I expect it will continue so long as Microsoft remains an OS vendor,” he stated.
Some Windows 7 customers go even additional of their continued reward for the out-of-date OS. It nonetheless works with an assortment of apparatus and software program that might not be appropriate with Windows 10.
“Everyone who uses it has more or less gotten it figured out and is comfortable with it,” Oak Hill’s Arman emphasised.
“There is also a HUGE installed base of Windows 7 software in business applications, and in many cases drivers for custom applications to interface with Windows 10 have not been written and may never be written,” he stated.
The ONLY factor “wrong” with Windows 7 is that Microsoft not helps it. That will make it more and more susceptible to malware, stated Arman.
“If the machine is not connected to the Internet, there is NO reason to make the change,” he added. “Windows 7 is now effectively out of warranty, such as it was. That doesn’t mean it won’t work.”