Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

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Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Mike Connor-4
Proposal:

Raise the minimum requirements for Gecko 1.9.2 (and any versions of  
Firefox built on 1.9.2) for Windows builds to require Windows XP  
Service Pack 3 or higher.


Background:

Supporting multiple OS versions is not zero cost, in terms of testing,  
code complexity and developer sanity.  We have previously raised the  
minimum requirement to Windows 2000 for Firefox 3.  We have also  
raised the minimum requirements for Linux and Mac builds in that same  
timeframe.  While we have not formalized a policy by which we drop  
support for OS versions, in general the main concerns have been how  
recently the OS versions have been available and sold (in some cases)  
as well as the ability and costs involved for users to upgrade.  
Additionally, the continued availability of security updates for the  
OS level is important, as users on unsupported of operating systems,  
especially Windows, are highly vulnerable no matter what we do, so  
there is a strong argument against giving those users a reason to stay  
on that platform.

On July 13, 2010, Microsoft will end all support for Windows 2000 (all  
service packs) and Windows XP Service Pack 2 (XP SP1 and the original  
XP have already passed their end of support).  This means that after  
this date, these OS versions will not get any security updates and  
will not receive any support from Microsoft.  Service Pack 3 is a free  
upgrade for all XP users.  Windows 2000 has no free upgrade path, but  
has not been available at retail since March 2004, and was last  
legally sold as a preloaded OS in March 2005, which is over four years  
ago, and will be more than five years from when we ship the last  
supported version of Firefox.  Users should be able to successfully  
migrate to XP or Linux if they intend to keep using their old hardware.


Affected Users:

All users still running either Windows 2000 or Windows XP Service Pack  
2 (or lower).  As Service Pack 3 is a free upgrade for XP users, only  
Windows 2000 users will be forced to change their OS to use the next  
version of Firefox.

As we intend to ship the next version of Firefox in early 2010,  
Firefox 3.5 will continue to be supported under our current support  
policy (six months after the next version) until after those OS  
versions are no longer supported, so users will continue to be  
supported by Mozilla as least as long as their OS is supported.


Relevant Links:

General Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy:
http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/

Windows Service Pack Support End Dates:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifesupsps#Windows

Windows 2000 Support Lifecycle
http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=3071

Windows Life-Cycle Policy (licensing availability)
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx

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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Robert Accettura
I know Win2k is somewhat limited at this point but is there any data
regarding what percentage of Windows XP users run something less than
SP3?  I presume most impact will be corporations that are slow to roll
out upgrades as SP3 has been out for a while now.

-R

Michael Connor wrote:

> Proposal:
>
> Raise the minimum requirements for Gecko 1.9.2 (and any versions of
> Firefox built on 1.9.2) for Windows builds to require Windows XP
> Service Pack 3 or higher.
>
>
> Background:
>
> Supporting multiple OS versions is not zero cost, in terms of testing,
> code complexity and developer sanity.  We have previously raised the
> minimum requirement to Windows 2000 for Firefox 3.  We have also
> raised the minimum requirements for Linux and Mac builds in that same
> timeframe.  While we have not formalized a policy by which we drop
> support for OS versions, in general the main concerns have been how
> recently the OS versions have been available and sold (in some cases)
> as well as the ability and costs involved for users to upgrade.
> Additionally, the continued availability of security updates for the
> OS level is important, as users on unsupported of operating systems,
> especially Windows, are highly vulnerable no matter what we do, so
> there is a strong argument against giving those users a reason to stay
> on that platform.
>
> On July 13, 2010, Microsoft will end all support for Windows 2000 (all
> service packs) and Windows XP Service Pack 2 (XP SP1 and the original
> XP have already passed their end of support).  This means that after
> this date, these OS versions will not get any security updates and
> will not receive any support from Microsoft.  Service Pack 3 is a free
> upgrade for all XP users.  Windows 2000 has no free upgrade path, but
> has not been available at retail since March 2004, and was last
> legally sold as a preloaded OS in March 2005, which is over four years
> ago, and will be more than five years from when we ship the last
> supported version of Firefox.  Users should be able to successfully
> migrate to XP or Linux if they intend to keep using their old hardware.
>
>
> Affected Users:
>
> All users still running either Windows 2000 or Windows XP Service Pack
> 2 (or lower).  As Service Pack 3 is a free upgrade for XP users, only
> Windows 2000 users will be forced to change their OS to use the next
> version of Firefox.
>
> As we intend to ship the next version of Firefox in early 2010,
> Firefox 3.5 will continue to be supported under our current support
> policy (six months after the next version) until after those OS
> versions are no longer supported, so users will continue to be
> supported by Mozilla as least as long as their OS is supported.
>
>
> Relevant Links:
>
> General Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy:
> http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/
>
> Windows Service Pack Support End Dates:
> http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifesupsps#Windows
>
> Windows 2000 Support Lifecycle
> http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=3071
>
> Windows Life-Cycle Policy (licensing availability)
> http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx
>
>

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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Mike Beltzner
In reply to this post by Mike Connor-4
On 13-Apr-09, at 10:33 PM, Michael Connor wrote:

> Proposal:
>
> Raise the minimum requirements for Gecko 1.9.2 (and any versions of  
> Firefox built on 1.9.2) for Windows builds to require Windows XP  
> Service Pack 3 or higher.

Is there a reason for specifying SP3 here, in terms of development  
demand to keep Gecko compatible? Put another way, have the Windows  
libraries changed sufficiently between SP1 and SP3 that it's likely  
that we'll produce a version of Gecko that would be compatible with  
Windows XP SP3+ but not with SP2 or SP1?

Right now the majority of our Windows users are still on XP, but I'm  
not sure it's clear how many of those users have upgraded, or intend  
to upgrade (or in some cases are able to upgrade) and while I  
understand that the platform itself isn't supported by Microsoft, I do  
think that keeping those XP users from being able to use Firefox will  
end up doing more harm (to them) than good, no matter what the intent.

cheers,
mike
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Rob Arnold-3
On Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 11:13 PM, Mike Beltzner <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On 13-Apr-09, at 10:33 PM, Michael Connor wrote:
>
>  Proposal:
>>
>> Raise the minimum requirements for Gecko 1.9.2 (and any versions of
>> Firefox built on 1.9.2) for Windows builds to require Windows XP Service
>> Pack 3 or higher.
>>
>
> Is there a reason for specifying SP3 here, in terms of development demand
> to keep Gecko compatible? Put another way, have the Windows libraries
> changed sufficiently between SP1 and SP3 that it's likely that we'll produce
> a version of Gecko that would be compatible with Windows XP SP3+ but not
> with SP2 or SP1?


There are new features in SP2 (mostly security related) such as the
IAttachmentExecute interface which the download scanner uses. We could
eliminate the old IOfficeAntiVirus code if we drop support for Win2k and XP
SP<2. The APIs are mostly the same however. We can also drop the theme
hackery that currently exists entirely due to supporting Windows 2000 (since
it lacks the uxtheme api).


> Right now the majority of our Windows users are still on XP, but I'm not
> sure it's clear how many of those users have upgraded, or intend to upgrade
> (or in some cases are able to upgrade) and while I understand that the
> platform itself isn't supported by Microsoft, I do think that keeping those
> XP users from being able to use Firefox will end up doing more harm (to
> them) than good, no matter what the intent.


We can justify dropping 2k/XP entirely better than setting the minimum to XP
SP3 because there are many more new features in Vista that we could take
advantage of (native condition variables, graphics changes, integrity
levels, etc...).

I think we should see how Windows 7 pans out. If the result is good and
users migrate from XP, then we should consider dropping XP. Of course, there
will always be people who cling to old systems like Win2k and XP and they
will be vocal.

It should be pretty safe to drop support for Win2k but I cannot think of any
reasons besides the theme APIs.

-Rob
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Mike Beltzner
On 13-Apr-09, at 11:25 PM, Rob Arnold wrote:

> There are new features in SP2 (mostly security related) such as the
> IAttachmentExecute interface which the download scanner uses. We could
> eliminate the old IOfficeAntiVirus code if we drop support for Win2k  
> and XP
> SP<2. The APIs are mostly the same however. We can also drop the theme
> hackery that currently exists entirely due to supporting Windows  
> 2000 (since
> it lacks the uxtheme api).

Yes, I understand the case for dropping W2K support (though we should  
get our approximate user counts there and do that with our eyes open)  
and think it's virtuous. It was the SP1/2 bit that I didn't quite get.  
Aside from the IOfficeAntiVirus API, any other wins that anyone knows  
of?

> I think we should see how Windows 7 pans out. If the result is good  
> and
> users migrate from XP, then we should consider dropping XP. Of  
> course, there
> will always be people who cling to old systems like Win2k and XP and  
> they
> will be vocal.

Indeed, I think it will be a function of schedule (when will Gecko  
1.9.2 drop?) and market function. From what I hear in the latest  
rumour mills, though, Windows 7 may not be as early as originally  
expected, meaning that the XP market share is likely to stick around.

cheers,
mike
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Justin Dolske-2
In reply to this post by Mike Connor-4
On 4/13/09 8:13 PM, Mike Beltzner wrote:

> Is there a reason for specifying SP3 here, in terms of development
> demand to keep Gecko compatible?

I suppose one minor point is that we don't have tinderboxes testing the
3 different SP flavors of XP. [AFAIK they're all the same SP, though I'm
not sure exactly which one.] It would be nice to raise requirements to
what we actually test (which should become SP3, if it's not already).

Justin
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Mike Connor-4
In reply to this post by Mike Beltzner

On 13-Apr-09, at 11:33 PM, Mike Beltzner wrote:

> On 13-Apr-09, at 11:25 PM, Rob Arnold wrote:
>
>> There are new features in SP2 (mostly security related) such as the
>> IAttachmentExecute interface which the download scanner uses. We  
>> could
>> eliminate the old IOfficeAntiVirus code if we drop support for  
>> Win2k and XP
>> SP<2. The APIs are mostly the same however. We can also drop the  
>> theme
>> hackery that currently exists entirely due to supporting Windows  
>> 2000 (since
>> it lacks the uxtheme api).
>
> Yes, I understand the case for dropping W2K support (though we  
> should get our approximate user counts there and do that with our  
> eyes open) and think it's virtuous. It was the SP1/2 bit that I  
> didn't quite get. Aside from the IOfficeAntiVirus API, any other  
> wins that anyone knows of?

There's a number of other places this occurs.  There's also been bugs  
that were SP1-only (i.e. bug 366643, which turned up from an mxr  
search).  There were significant architectural changes with Service  
Pack 2 around security, which benefits users if it doesn't impact  
compatibility.  (Someone on IRC described it as the "Internet is  
Scary" service pack.)

Put another way, XP (no SP) and XP SP1 have been unsupported and  
unpatched for years now.  Users on those OSes are almost certainly  
vulnerable, if they're not already owned.  Any effort expended in  
supporting those users is the technical equivalent of throwing good  
money after bad.  I don't know of any software that would require  
SP1.  Other than slow-to-upgrade corporate environments (which will  
_surely_ migrate by SP2 EOL), I am unaware of anyone choosing to  
remain on lower service packs past the support date for any reason  
other than being unaware of the very real risk involved.  IE7/IE8/
Chrome already require XP SP2 or higher (I can't find data on whether  
Safari has any Service Pack-level requirements) so I don't think we  
lose anything by catching up.

>> I think we should see how Windows 7 pans out. If the result is good  
>> and
>> users migrate from XP, then we should consider dropping XP. Of  
>> course, there
>> will always be people who cling to old systems like Win2k and XP  
>> and they
>> will be vocal.
>
> Indeed, I think it will be a function of schedule (when will Gecko  
> 1.9.2 drop?) and market function. From what I hear in the latest  
> rumour mills, though, Windows 7 may not be as early as originally  
> expected, meaning that the XP market share is likely to stick around.

I don't think completely dropping XP is feasible for 1.9.2 unless it  
ships in 2012, given that many machines (notably netbooks) are still  
shipping with XP Home right now.

-- Mike
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

John J Barton
In reply to this post by Mike Connor-4
Michael Connor wrote:
> Proposal:
>
> Raise the minimum requirements for Gecko 1.9.2 (and any versions of
> Firefox built on 1.9.2) for Windows builds to require Windows XP Service
> Pack 3 or higher.

...
> On July 13, 2010, Microsoft will end all support for Windows 2000 (all
> service packs) and Windows XP Service Pack 2 (XP SP1 and the original XP
> have already passed their end of support).  This means that after this
> date, these OS versions will not get any security updates and will not
> receive any support from Microsoft.  Service Pack 3 is a free upgrade
> for all XP users.  

I wonder if this is true. I would believe "free upgrade for all XP
licensees".  Anyone with a corporate install Windows computer from a
former employer or other circumstance may not have access SP3. I wonder
how many of us there are? Betcha a lot more than you'd think. It's  not
like SP3 is important (or Vista for that matter).

I could switch this machine to Linux, but I would be very reluctant to
break what works.

Seems like July 13, 2010 would make 1.9.3 more appropriate.

 >
 > Relevant Links:
 >

Microsoft policy is not so important as what the installed base actually
contains. Is there info on that?

jjb
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Phil Ringnalda
In reply to this post by Justin Dolske-2
On 4/13/09 9:35 PM, Justin Dolske wrote:
> I suppose one minor point is that we don't have tinderboxes testing the
> 3 different SP flavors of XP. [AFAIK they're all the same SP, though I'm
> not sure exactly which one.] It would be nice to raise requirements to
> what we actually test (which should become SP3, if it's not already).

Sort of depends on what you mean by "test" - according to wikimo, the
Talos XP boxes are SP2, but afair unit tests have always been Server
2k3, and even back to Fx2 builds are 2k3 (though I think they might have
started out as 2k, and Thunderbird 2 is apparently still chugging along
on a 2k tinderbox).

If you break perf on SP3 but not on SP2, you won't know it, but if you
break something unit tested on XP-anything but not 2k3 (or Vista but not
2k3), you'll only know it if someone finally says "you know, I haven't
been able to get a test run on my XP VM to pass since..." or when
someone reports the real-world breakage.
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Mike Connor-4
In reply to this post by John J Barton

On 14-Apr-09, at 1:11 AM, John J. Barton wrote:

>> On July 13, 2010, Microsoft will end all support for Windows 2000  
>> (all service packs) and Windows XP Service Pack 2 (XP SP1 and the  
>> original XP have already passed their end of support).  This means  
>> that after this date, these OS versions will not get any security  
>> updates and will not receive any support from Microsoft.  Service  
>> Pack 3 is a free upgrade for all XP users.
>
> I wonder if this is true. I would believe "free upgrade for all XP  
> licensees".  Anyone with a corporate install Windows computer from a  
> former employer or other circumstance may not have access SP3. I  
> wonder how many of us there are? Betcha a lot more than you'd think.  
> It's  not like SP3 is important (or Vista for that matter).

If you don't have the license (i.e. if it was part of a corporate site  
license, and you left the company with the machine) then technically  
you aren't using the software legally.  I suppose there's some number  
of people using software without actually having a license to that  
software.  I don't believe we should make a decision based on users  
who can't upgrade their OS because they aren't using it legally.

> > Relevant Links:
> >
> Microsoft policy is not so important as what the installed base  
> actually contains. Is there info on that?

Microsoft policy is completely important, if that's when security  
updates stop happening.  I don't think we want to put time and  
resources into operating systems which will rapidly be exploited.  https://isc.sans.org/survivaltime.html 
  has a fun graph which shows average time to exploit an unpatched  
system exposed to the Internet.

If the installed base wants to be zombies, that's fine, but that  
doesn't mean we should invest in giving them one more reason to expose  
themselves.

-- Mike
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

John J Barton
In reply to this post by John J Barton
Michael Connor wrote:

> software.  I don't believe we should make a decision based on users who
> can't upgrade their OS because they aren't using it legally.

Ok, I guess we disagree. I think mozilla should make decisions based on
the needs of their users.

jjb
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Rob Arnold-3
On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 2:31 AM, John J. Barton <[hidden email]
> wrote:

> Michael Connor wrote:
>
>  software.  I don't believe we should make a decision based on users who
>> can't upgrade their OS because they aren't using it legally.
>>
>
> Ok, I guess we disagree. I think mozilla should make decisions based on the
> needs of their users.


I don't want spend my time debugging or trying to reproduce an issue for an
operating system that isn't up to date when it could easily be. If users are
illegally using their OS and cannot upgrade due to that, I do not want to
have to bend over backwards to recreate their environment to reproduce the
bug and test a fix (in addition, there are moral issues with helping these
users). I would argue that supporting those systems doesn't help the needs
of the vast majority of users who are using their OS legally and properly
maintaining it.

We have users who use the server editions of Windows and Firefox works
mostly correctly there, but it is technically unsupported and I have had to
deal with bugs resulting from the subtle differences. The fewer platforms we
have to support, the more productive my time can be spent working on bug
that address issues for a much larger set of people.

-Rob
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Serge Gautherie-2
In reply to this post by Mike Connor-4

Count me in as a W2K user :->
(And, unrelated, I build with '--disable-vista-sdk-requirements'.)

I would ask for some kind of '--disable-xp-requirements' if that's possible.
If it's not (= probaly unwanted), then too bad for me...


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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Robert O'Callahan-3
In reply to this post by Mike Beltzner
On 14/4/09 4:37 PM, Michael Connor wrote:
> Put another way, XP (no SP) and XP SP1 have been unsupported and
> unpatched for years now.

Those are excellent reasons for dropping support for XP/noSP and XP/SP1.
But why drop support for XP/SP2?

Rob
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Simon Paquet-2
In reply to this post by Mike Connor-4
Michael Connor wrote on 14. Apr 2009:

> Proposal:
>
> Raise the minimum requirements for Gecko 1.9.2 (and any versions of  
> Firefox built on 1.9.2) for Windows builds to require Windows XP  
> Service Pack 3 or higher.

I am a little bit concerned about dropping Windows 2000 given that
Gecko 1.9.2 will be released when W2K will still be supported by
Microsoft for a few months.

On the other hand, its global market share is steadily declining and
already very low according to the market share reports from Gemius,
StatCounter and Net Applications.

Do we have any reliable numbers from our own download and AMO
statistics on the percentage of users, which are still using W2K?
I think this discussion would benefit from those numbers.

Simon

--
Thunderbird/Calendar Localisation (L10n) Coordinator
Thunderbird l10n blog:       http://thunderbird-l10n.blogspot.com
Calendar website maintainer: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar
Calendar developer blog:     http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/calendar
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Chris AtLee-3
In reply to this post by Phil Ringnalda
On 14/04/09 01:43 AM, Phil Ringnalda wrote:

> On 4/13/09 9:35 PM, Justin Dolske wrote:
>> I suppose one minor point is that we don't have tinderboxes testing the
>> 3 different SP flavors of XP. [AFAIK they're all the same SP, though I'm
>> not sure exactly which one.] It would be nice to raise requirements to
>> what we actually test (which should become SP3, if it's not already).
>
> Sort of depends on what you mean by "test" - according to wikimo, the
> Talos XP boxes are SP2, but afair unit tests have always been Server
> 2k3, and even back to Fx2 builds are 2k3 (though I think they might have
> started out as 2k, and Thunderbird 2 is apparently still chugging along
> on a 2k tinderbox).

Yes, all of our Fx 3.5 builds and unit tests are done in windows 2003.
Talos testing is done under XP and Vista.
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Robert Kaiser
In reply to this post by Mike Connor-4
Michael Connor wrote:
> Proposal:
>
> Raise the minimum requirements for Gecko 1.9.2 (and any versions of
> Firefox built on 1.9.2) for Windows builds to require Windows XP Service
> Pack 3 or higher.

We're really trying as hard as possible to piss off as many users as we
can, right?

Robert Kaiser
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Robert Kaiser
In reply to this post by Mike Beltzner
Michael Connor wrote:
> Put another way, XP (no SP) and XP SP1 have been unsupported and
> unpatched for years now. Users on those OSes are almost certainly
> vulnerable, if they're not already owned.

Wait, you seriously believe one single user would upgrade their OS just
because there's no new Firefox available for them? Int he contrary, they
will either switch to a different browser or continue to use an old,
more insecure Firefox. That's already the case with a good number of
people on Win9x and Firefox 2 (still millions of people, last I heard)
and I haven't yet heard of anyone who thrashed Win9x because Firefox 2
was EOLed and Firefox 3 is not available for them.

It sounds like some people here have a strange view of how people decide
to use what system. Firefox is not the driving force for people to buy
new computers (which is bad for nature anyways) or buy and install new
operating systems.

And dropping Win2k support will be a very good argument for business not
using Firefox ;-)

Robert Kaiser
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Mike Shaver
In reply to this post by Robert Kaiser
On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 9:42 AM, Robert Kaiser <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Michael Connor wrote:
>>
>> Proposal:
>>
>> Raise the minimum requirements for Gecko 1.9.2 (and any versions of
>> Firefox built on 1.9.2) for Windows builds to require Windows XP Service
>> Pack 3 or higher.
>
> We're really trying as hard as possible to piss off as many users as we can,
> right?

Yes, that is our goal.  It has nothing to do with trying to apply our
limited resources to where they can affect the most people.

On the bright side, SeaMonkey will be able to continue to support XP
SP1 and Win 2k, and thereby gain all those users, since per your other
message they'll just switch to another browser -- sounds like a real
opportunity for you.

Mike
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Mike Shaver
In reply to this post by Robert Kaiser
On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 9:51 AM, Robert Kaiser <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Michael Connor wrote:
>>
>> Put another way, XP (no SP) and XP SP1 have been unsupported and
>> unpatched for years now. Users on those OSes are almost certainly
>> vulnerable, if they're not already owned.
>
> Wait, you seriously believe one single user would upgrade their OS just
> because there's no new Firefox available for them?

I don't see that position stated in the quote -- why do you think that
Mike believes that they would upgrade only to get Firefox?  (Though "a
single user" is a pretty low bar, so I'd probably be willing to make a
wager.)

> And dropping Win2k support will be a very good argument for business not
> using Firefox ;-)

They'll have to stick with IE6 if they want to keep Win2K on desktops,
I think, since IE7 isn't supported there AFAIK.  That's not really an
addressable market for us regardless, I'm pretty sure, so we should
again focus on getting the most result for our investment.

Mike
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