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

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

Mike Connor-4

On 14-Apr-09, at 1:00 PM, Samuel Sidler wrote:

> On Apr 14, 2009, at 9:54 AM, Michael Connor wrote:
>> On 14-Apr-09, at 5:39 AM, Robert O'Callahan wrote:
>>> 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?
>>
>> Because SP2 will reach end of life before 3.5 reaches end of life.  
>> Supporting SP2 for 1.9.2 would mean supporting a "dead man walking"  
>> OS for at least a year, if not longer.
>
> And? If our users are there, I don't think we should simply drop  
> support because Microsoft has.

If our users are happy running an insecure OS with no updates, they  
can run the last version of 3.5 as well.  If we do have users there,  
it is in their best interests to upgrade to SP3 and continue to  
receive security updates for their systems.  Unless they really really  
like spyware and being used as a spam gateway.

> I already know the answer, but, uh, have you read through the  
> dropping 10.4 discussion? And the dropping 10.3 discussion before  
> it? I know you have, yet a lot of your statements here are basically  
> what Josh was saying before.

I was the one who made the final call on 10.3, of course.  For 10.4,  
of course, there's some significant differences.  Win2k is a lot fewer  
users than 10.4 (10.4 has 3x the number of users as Win2k), the  
timeframe is a lot longer (10 year old OS, replaced 8.5 years before  
EOL, last widely sold on PCs around 2002, though some could be as new  
as five years old), and Microsoft provides a finite date for the end  
of actual patch support, instead of requiring guessing on our part.  
We know that after that date, users will be vulnerable and  
unprotected, and we know that even a current OS without patches is  
vulnerable when connected to the internet.  All of these things are  
real data points.

> Frankly, without actual data to back the discussion, I don't know  
> why we're even having it now. I saw a couple of things that we'd  
> like to do in SP2 and later. That's fine. Where's the list of things  
> we want to do that are only available in SP3 and later? Where's the  
> data saying 90% of users have upgraded from SP2 to SP3? I'm not sure  
> why we're talking about dropping support for XP SP2 at all yet,  
> especially without strong reasons why.


There's plenty of data.  Predicting the state of OS versions for when  
3.5 reaches EOL is going to be fairly imprecise, but win2k's share  
after July 2010 is likely to be tiny, declining, and heavily zombified.

SP2 vs. SP3 isn't especially interesting, but I would rather have a  
policy around ensuring that we support OS versions through their EOL,  
but not beyond.  That's the best tradeoff between resources and users  
I can think of.

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

Mike Shaver
On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 1:29 PM, Michael Connor <[hidden email]> wrote:
> That's the best tradeoff between resources and users I can think of.

I think what people are missing -- including myself -- is what the
resource cost _is_ for supporting SP3.  I don't think we gain anything
by being doctrinaire about OS support, though I'm fully in favour of
making economic choices to ensure that we don't bear costs out of
proportion with their returns.

It seems like moving to SP3 is just for the sake of moving to SP3, and
not because it actually gains us anything on the development or
support side.  The < SP2 and Win2K cases are much clearer, so it may
well be that there's just something about supporting SP3 that I'm
missing.

Mike
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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 pascal chevrel

On 14-Apr-09, at 1:07 PM, Pascal Chevrel wrote:

> Le 14.04.2009 08:10, Michael Connor a écrit :
>> 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.
>>
>
> Taking the problem with a different angle, most of the third world  
> and emerging countries use pirated software, all numbers I have seen  
> about China were saying that +90% software used was pirated and I  
> suspect that XP SP1 is the easiest one to pirate since it didn't  
> include the "genuine advantage" software in it.
>
> Given that security on the net seems to be a low priority concern  
> for users in Asia and the fact that most people use a pirated  
> version of Windows, I think we should evaluate if stopping support  
> for older versions of Windows is not going to hinder our growth in  
> emerging markets and specifically China (basically asking Mozilla  
> China if they have some insight on the matter).

I think it's entirely possible that it will hinder our growth in those  
areas.  I am not at all convinced that we want to target pirated  
software to succeed in our mission.  I think it's a bad position to  
take for mozilla.org, and I have moral and ethical issues around  
effectively supporting piracy by making decisions to ensure that users  
of illegal software can use our product.

-- Mike
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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 Shaver

On 14-Apr-09, at 1:34 PM, Mike Shaver wrote:

> On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 1:29 PM, Michael Connor  
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>  That's the best tradeoff between resources and users I can think of.
>
> I think what people are missing -- including myself -- is what the
> resource cost _is_ for supporting SP3.  I don't think we gain anything
> by being doctrinaire about OS support, though I'm fully in favour of
> making economic choices to ensure that we don't bear costs out of
> proportion with their returns.
>
> It seems like moving to SP3 is just for the sake of moving to SP3, and
> not because it actually gains us anything on the development or
> support side.  The < SP2 and Win2K cases are much clearer, so it may
> well be that there's just something about supporting SP3 that I'm
> missing.

It's actually pretty likely that supporting SP2 is not much different  
from SP3.  That's the current baseline for IE7/8 and Chrome, so I'm  
fine with that, at least for now, and we can watch to see whether they  
change their baselines once SP2 reaches end of life.  Of course,  
getting a working SP2 install after next July will be more  
complicated, but that's why we have MSDN subscriptions, I guess!

-- 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 Mike Connor-4
On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 1:36 PM, Michael Connor <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I think it's entirely possible that it will hinder our growth in those
> areas.  I am not at all convinced that we want to target pirated software to
> succeed in our mission.  I think it's a bad position to take for
> mozilla.org, and I have moral and ethical issues around effectively
> supporting piracy by making decisions to ensure that users of illegal
> software can use our product.

That's a fine discussion to have, but we should have it before we
decide how to use or not use such data in deciding operating system
support.  Especially when the vendor of the operating system itself
has taken varying stances on how or whether to support unlicensed
copies with security updates.  The security of those users running
pirated software is not just an issue for them, but has pretty
wide-ranging effects on the security of other internet users as well.

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

Rob Arnold-3
In reply to this post by John J Barton
On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 11:39 AM, John J. Barton <
[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>  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
>>
>
> I think there is a large gap between "continue to support XP SP3 on 1.9.2"
> and "bend over backwards". Of course maybe I should try yoga.


I wasn't suggesting that we drop XP entirely for 1.9.2 (in more than a few
years, we probably will). Supporting XP < SP2 (or worse, systems where
people "remove IE") is bending over backwards because it is almost like a
different OS (APIs and behaviors are different).


> of the vast majority of users who are using their OS legally and properly
>> maintaining it.
>>
> users). I would argue that supporting those systems doesn't help the needs
>
> But do you really want to base decisions on morality? Shall we ask users to
> certify that their machine is being used legally and has been dusted
> regularly? They never surf to sites on a mozilla-do-not-visit list? Always
> properly shutdown at night?


Morality is not the only factor in making a decision and I never said it was
the base for all of mine or should be for everyone. In fact, I never said or
implied any of those things you listed there.

I don't think any of this is mozilla's business.  The only issue is the
> number of users of XP SP2.


It is if they have put their machine in a state that is unsupported or
unstable due to these activities. We don't fix the bugs in the download
scanner that resulted from people "uninstalling IE" and I don't think you
will find many people who disagree with that policy.

-Rob
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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 Mike Connor-4
On 4/14/2009 10:34 AM, Mike Shaver wrote:
> It seems like moving to SP3 is just for the sake of moving to SP3, and
> not because it actually gains us anything on the development or
> support side.

SP3 is two things, a chunk of updates that you probably already got from
Windows Update, but could have declined:

* MMC 3.0, nothing to do with us
* MSXML 6, nothing to do with us (I hope)
* Windows Installer 3.1, nothing to do with us the way things seem to be
going
* BITS 2.5, I'd be surprised if we decided to use it instead of rolling
our own
* IPSec Simple Policy Update, nothing to do with us
* Digital Identity Management Service, nothing to do with us
* Peer Name Resolution Protocol, nothing to do with us
* RDP 6.1, nothing to do with us
* WPA2, a stretch to claim it's to do with us

and a chunk of new things:

* better black hole router detection, nothing to do with us
* Network Access Protection, nothing to do with us
* CredSSP, nothing to do with us

So unless I'm misunderstanding one of the things which sound like they
are only about interactions with Windows servers on your Window LAN,
requiring SP3 would be an entirely non-technical choice unless we plan
on doing an .msi *and* using a feature that was in the 3.1 update, or
using BITS for background downloads.
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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
Rob Arnold wrote:
>
> I don't think any of this is mozilla's business.  The only issue is the
>> number of users of XP SP2.
>
>
> It is if they have put their machine in a state that is unsupported or
> unstable due to these activities.

I think it would be helpful if someone can enumerate the reasons why XP
SP2 is unsupportable or unstable for 1.9.2. Mike Connor's proposal cited
Microsoft's EOL policy at the reason. I don't think this is enough of a
reason, because Microsoft updates beyond SP2 are not easy nor valuable.
But perhaps there are other reasons?

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

Mike Shaver
On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 2:39 PM, John J Barton
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> I think it would be helpful if someone can enumerate the reasons why XP SP2
> is unsupportable or unstable for 1.9.2. Mike Connor's proposal cited
> Microsoft's EOL policy at the reason. I don't think this is enough of a
> reason, because Microsoft updates beyond SP2 are not easy nor valuable. But
> perhaps there are other reasons?

Did you see Mike's reply to my later in this thread, agreeing that SP2
was an OK baseline?

Mike
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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 4/14/2009 2:39 PM, John J Barton wrote:

> Rob Arnold wrote:
>>
>> I don't think any of this is mozilla's business.  The only issue is the
>>> number of users of XP SP2.
>>
>>
>> It is if they have put their machine in a state that is unsupported or
>> unstable due to these activities.
>
> I think it would be helpful if someone can enumerate the reasons why
> XP SP2 is unsupportable or unstable for 1.9.2. Mike Connor's proposal
> cited Microsoft's EOL policy at the reason. I don't think this is
> enough of a reason, because Microsoft updates beyond SP2 are not easy
> nor valuable. But perhaps there are other reasons?
It's not about being "unsupportable" so much as "a platform which will
rapidly be exploited" given that it won't get security updates.

-- 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 Samuel Sidler
Michael Connor wrote:

>
> On 14-Apr-09, at 10:10 AM, Samuel Sidler wrote:
>
>> On Apr 14, 2009, at 5:19 AM, Simon Paquet wrote:
>>
>>> 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.
>>
>> I, too, would like to see some actual numbers from our user-base
>> (downloads, hits on mozilla.com, ADUs, etc) before making a
>> determination on what we should do about Windows 2000.
>
> What you really want is the trend data,

Yes! And if the trend data shows that XP SP2 is not significant its a
reasonable thing to ditch supporting it.

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

gabriel morrow
On Apr 14, 3:02 pm, John J Barton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Michael Connor wrote:
>
> > On 14-Apr-09, at 10:10 AM, Samuel Sidler wrote:
>
> >> On Apr 14, 2009, at 5:19 AM, Simon Paquet wrote:
>
> >>> 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.
>
> >> I, too, would like to see some actual numbers from our user-base
> >> (downloads, hits on mozilla.com, ADUs, etc) before making a
> >> determination on what we should do about Windows 2000.
>
> > What you really want is the trend data,
>
> Yes! And if the trend data shows that XP SP2 is not significant its a
> reasonable thing to ditch supporting it.
>
> jjb

i personally thin dropping support for windows 2000 and all pre xp sp2
os would be a good idea

i dont think dropping support for xp sp2 is good idea because
maintaing support for it would not be much harder then maintaining
support for sp3
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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
Mike Connor wrote:

> On 4/14/2009 2:39 PM, John J Barton wrote:
>> Rob Arnold wrote:
>>>
>>> I don't think any of this is mozilla's business.  The only issue is the
>>>> number of users of XP SP2.
>>>
>>>
>>> It is if they have put their machine in a state that is unsupported or
>>> unstable due to these activities.
>>
>> I think it would be helpful if someone can enumerate the reasons why
>> XP SP2 is unsupportable or unstable for 1.9.2. Mike Connor's proposal
>> cited Microsoft's EOL policy at the reason. I don't think this is
>> enough of a reason, because Microsoft updates beyond SP2 are not easy
>> nor valuable. But perhaps there are other reasons?
> It's not about being "unsupportable" so much as "a platform which will
> rapidly be exploited" given that it won't get security updates.

My XP SP2 system has not been exploited in the almost 5 years since SP2.
How rapid are we talking ;-)

I think we might have a different view of the value of Windows security
updates for individuals.

 From what I understand, the probability of a machine being exploited is
primarily determined by the type of Internet connection and the
frequency of dubious software installs.  Since, as you have pointed out,
the number of attackers is very high, and since the OS is not fully
protected, any machine be exploited sooner or later. In this reality,
security updates and anti-virus software delay attacks but don't prevent
them. Would you be willing to run a fully updated Windows box on the
open Internet? If so my information is just out of date.

I agree with the general principle of encouraging better security. I
just don't think that it should be the primary issue for support
decisions because it has higher cost and lower benefit than one would hope.

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

Mike Connor-4

On 14-Apr-09, at 3:45 PM, John J Barton wrote:

> Mike Connor wrote:
>> On 4/14/2009 2:39 PM, John J Barton wrote:
>>> Rob Arnold wrote:
>>>>
>>>> I don't think any of this is mozilla's business.  The only issue  
>>>> is the
>>>>> number of users of XP SP2.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> It is if they have put their machine in a state that is  
>>>> unsupported or
>>>> unstable due to these activities.
>>>
>>> I think it would be helpful if someone can enumerate the reasons  
>>> why XP SP2 is unsupportable or unstable for 1.9.2. Mike Connor's  
>>> proposal cited Microsoft's EOL policy at the reason. I don't think  
>>> this is enough of a reason, because Microsoft updates beyond SP2  
>>> are not easy nor valuable. But perhaps there are other reasons?
>> It's not about being "unsupportable" so much as "a platform which  
>> will rapidly be exploited" given that it won't get security updates.
>
> My XP SP2 system has not been exploited in the almost 5 years since  
> SP2. How rapid are we talking ;-)
>
> I think we might have a different view of the value of Windows  
> security updates for individuals.

Your SP2 system is still getting security updates though.  After July  
2010, it won't, so it's largely a factor of how soon a new exploit is  
discovered that is left unpatched by Microsoft, and of course whatever  
other mitigations you have in place.

Firewalls/security software do help as well, but I'd be curious how  
many people will ensure they use those but not upgrade to SP3 to keep  
getting updates and be as protected as possible.  It's basically like  
choosing to stop locking your doors and letting your alarm system be  
your protection, it's not the best thing you can do, and your odds of  
your stuff getting stolen go up.  By how much isn't really my domain,  
but from the research on the subject, it's pretty much critical.

-- Mike
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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 John J Barton
On 15/4/09 9:29 AM, Michael Connor wrote:
> Your SP2 system is still getting security updates though. After July
> 2010, it won't, so it's largely a factor of how soon a new exploit is
> discovered that is left unpatched by Microsoft, and of course whatever
> other mitigations you have in place.

One thing we have to keep in mind is the possibility that Microsoft will
extend the support cycle for products in response to customer demand,
especially enterprise demand. They've done it before.

I think it makes sense to drop support for a platform when the vendor
does, but not before. As long as there's a possibility 1.9.2 will ship
while XP SP2 is supported by Microsoft, we should support it too.

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

Neil-4
In reply to this post by Mike Connor-4
Michael Connor wrote:
> 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.
Firefox has only just dropped support for Windows 98/NT4 (i.e. no more
Gecko 1.8 branch releases), while Thunderbird and SeaMonkey's official
(as of time of writing) current releases still run on Windows 95 (and
MinGW SeaMonkey seems to run fine on my Windows NT 3.51 tinderbox,
although someone complained that release builds crash on startup). So
dropping Windows 2000 would seem to be a little premature.

Or is this minimum requirements as in "Developers are not required to
ensure that code compiles with VC7.1 and runs on Windows 2000 but we
accept contributed patches"?
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Bobby Holley
woo, we made slashdot.

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/14/2029236

On Apr 15, 2009, at 12:44 AM, Neil wrote:

> Michael Connor wrote:
>> 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.
> Firefox has only just dropped support for Windows 98/NT4 (i.e. no  
> more Gecko 1.8 branch releases), while Thunderbird and SeaMonkey's  
> official (as of time of writing) current releases still run on  
> Windows 95 (and MinGW SeaMonkey seems to run fine on my Windows NT  
> 3.51 tinderbox, although someone complained that release builds  
> crash on startup). So dropping Windows 2000 would seem to be a  
> little premature.
>
> Or is this minimum requirements as in "Developers are not required  
> to ensure that code compiles with VC7.1 and runs on Windows 2000 but  
> we accept contributed patches"?
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Felix-57
In reply to this post by Mike Connor-4
Boy, this will certainly help switch people to Firefox. "There's this
great secure web browser that you really should be using! Oh, but
you'll have to upgrade to SP3". That'll be met with enthusiasm. I'd
love to see some numbers showing that SP3 has anywhere close to the
numbers of SP2. And really, WGA is the least of many people's concerns
when upgrading to SP3. But I guess if Firefox wants to overtake
Internet Explorer in terms of marketshare, emulating the poor choices
made for IE will somehow help (or are those choices the very reason
people switch to Firefox in the first place?).
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Michael Kohler
Felix wrote:
> Boy, this will certainly help switch people to Firefox. "There's this
> great secure web browser that you really should be using! Oh, but
> you'll have to upgrade to SP3". That'll be met with enthusiasm.

If somebody cares about security, he has upgraded to SP3. (or at least
he has installed the patches manually)
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Re: Proposal: Raise minimum requirements for 1.9.2 on Windows to WinXP SP3

Stuart Parmenter-3
In reply to this post by Mike Connor-4
On Apr 13, 7:33 pm, Michael Connor <[hidden email]> 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.
>

What is the cost on our side to actually supporting these?  Being one
of the few people who has done a lot of Windows development over the
last few cycles, I can tell you that keeping things working on 2K
isn't really very hard.

stuart
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