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  • Do we need firmware and software updates forever?

    Home » Forums » AskWoody blog » Do we need firmware and software updates forever?

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    #2391466

    Check out this article: https://spectrum.ieee.org/we-need-software-updates-forever Consumers have relied on the good graces of device makers to keep o
    [See the full post at: Do we need firmware and software updates forever?]

    Susan Bradley Patch Lady

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    • #2391469

      We should mandate that device manufacturers set aside a portion of the purchase price of a gadget to support ongoing software maintenance, forcing them to budget for a future they’d rather ignore. Or maybe they aren’t ignoring the future so much as trying to manage it by speeding up product obsolescence, because it typically sparks another purchase.

      That, and also a toxic “culture” in Silicon Valley and its far-flung entrepreneurial echoes, that innovation that “breaks things” is good, staying with what merely works well enough is bad. A belief also shared, it would seem, by investors that, rather than doing proper due diligence, are happy instead to believe that if a company is not coming up with some “innovation” every six month (often little more than some meaningless tweaking), then it’s not worth spending money on, because the future, and the future fountain of profits, surely must be somewhere else.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

      8 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2391470

      Well, the short answer is: yes.

      But nobody will do anything about it.

      Just as an example, take a look here:

      Petition for Sony Xperia XZ1 Android 10 Update hits 2K

      https://www.notebookcheck.net/Official-Sony-Android-10-update-roadmap-confirms-that-the-Xperia-XZ1-phones-have-now-been-abandoned.442829.0.html

      SONY quite lightly broke their promise to keep this flagship device updated. I can obviously  understand why, but this is quite unacceptable. And nothing happened.

      Also, to compound the above: I actually own this very phone and 4 (four) years later it performs like it’s just removed from its box.

      Shame.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2391549

        If your feeling brave you could try a custom rom for it.

        https://www.getdroidtips.com/custom-rom-sony-xperia-xz1/

         

        I think part of a solution to this is a law to force companies to unlock the bootloader for devices

        if the company is not updating the device any more.

        This would allow the open source community to more easily fix security holes.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2391768

          I do not have problem with doing this, however had not had to do this before…

          Does it not require rooting the device, which may in turn invalidate all sorts of sensitive apps (banking, security etc.?)

          Still, I may give it a pass though, will be replacing this device in the next year probably…

    • #2391471

      Am I correct in thinking that the Android OS is itself riddled with security vulnerabilities, because it is based on antiquated code from an earlier, better age? Things like online SW become antique at light-speed, in this IT-driven age, I fancy.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

      • #2391560

        You are correct, its full of holes. But I think everybody is talking about obsolence, because, internet is present everywhere, even in fridge, which I really do not understand. Very lot of devices, that are offline do not need to update/upgrade. Marketers are trying to convince us, how awesome their product is, but hey are not telling the B side – that is “dangerous”.

        The thing is, that there are thousands of Android versions – some customized by Samsung, some customised by Xaomi, some customised by Zebra and more. Those devices are definately not safe and well-debugged. In fact, they are in danger. But thats why 2FA exists – to be 100% sure with internet banking and so.

        Updates make sense for internet connected devices.. But I rememeber times, when our cell phones were locked/unlocked by a single key. And if I lost my phone, I was stupid, it was my fault. Today people rely on other to make safer for them – and thats not good attitude.

        We live in era of awesome technology, lets enjoy! 🙂

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        PRUSA i3 MK3S+

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2391485

      Technology is an organism with a life of its own — and between Moore’s Law and fiscal realities, it’s become a monster.  I doubt it’s controllable, even were we to try.  Sure, we can nibble around the edges, but we can’t really change its course.

      Manufacturers can’t even fully and accurately document a product before its market life-cycle is over.  Training manuals for IT certification courses, for all their neat graphics and layout style, are littered with typos and grammatical errors.  They can’t even afford decent editing, time to market pressures and market lifespan being too short.

      Money, and Moore’s Law, are in the driver’s seat.  We just get to hang on for the ride.  And it continues to accelerate.

      • #2391510

        Yeah.  It could be done but there’s little point when something’s obsolete the day it’s released.  The top big “Tech” companies combined have market caps approx. the GDP of Japan; why would customers or legitimate product development even matter?

        There are so many Godzilla movies…monsters make more monsters.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2391488

      This image is a vote for maintenance.

      Meanwhile, my 10YO i7 desktop is still performing as well as my 2YO i7 laptop. The laptop is OK but doesn’t cast as well to TV as my phone or touch device. I wonder if a new laptop with graphics accelerator will fix that🤣🤣

      • #2391507

        I take all the “security” warnings with a huge grain of salt.  When updates intended to fix vulnerabilities cause problem after problem (is Windows’ printing fiasco fixed?  Maybe?) something’s very wrong.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2391577

          I read this morning that Apple has just released an emergency iOS patch, zero-day, exploit exists in the wild, sky is falling, must install, blah blah blah.

          https://www.techradar.com/news/apple-releases-emergency-ios-and-macos-security-patch-so-update-now

          Nobody knew about this before 9/20, when iOS 15 dropped?

          This smells to me like someone wants to push people to install iOS 15 faster.

           

          Group "L": Linux Mint

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2391611

            Looks like the patch is only for some old versions of iOS, nothing to do with iOS 15. From the bottom of the article you linked:

             

            “Reporting on the development, BleepingComputer shares that the vulnerability impacts iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, and iPod touch (6th generation) running iOS 12.5.5, along with Macs running macOS Catalina.”

          • #2392408

            Look up “Pegasus Group iOS hack.”  It’s a legitimate in-the-wild exploit designed by an infosec company.  It impacts all iDevices, at least ones that’ve received updates in late 2020 to 2021.

    • #2391509

      That blurb talks about gadgets, not sure if they mean gadgets or are speaking generically but many if not most gadgets are released so prematurely it’s debatable whether they ever could be improved with software.  They seem to be intended as impulse purchases, a constant stream of throwaway junk succeeded monthly by the same thing in a different package and color.

      Wi Fi lightbulbs?   Whaaaaaaa??????  Clap your hands and your home comes alive, jumpin’ left and right like Pee Wee’s Playhouse!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2391561

        World is full of use-once staff. And if you want someone to know when exactly you are at home, or what TV channel are you watching, go ahead buy house full of IoT staff. I wont do that, I consider myself as reasonable person and I do not need smart kettle, that cost three times so much, does not work properly for half a year and wastes our planets resources.

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        PRUSA i3 MK3S+

        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2392182

          “Smart kettle”… Maybe even as recently as ten years ago that combination of words might have been heard only in a comedy improv venue, somewhere, being said for laughs.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

    • #2391515

      Thanks for bringing this subject up, Susan. It’s sort of been an elephant in the room of the computer age.

      Forcing manufacturers to support firmware and software “indefinitely” seems way over the top, imho. However, the author does make a highly valid point and probably used that word as hyperbole to emphasize his point.

      I believe further extending support is a part of the solution, though how long is appropriate is certainly open to discussion. Many electronic devices are engineered to last way longer than the typical 3-year, “gotta have the latest & greatest”, discard cycle. The mining of metals and rare earths (getting more rare), the use of toxic chemicals in the manufacturing processes, the lack of globally effective recycling and reclamation of end-of-life e-waste, the consumerism and throw-away approach of much of modern capitalism, all coupled with the “move fast and break things” mentality in electronics and software, are leading us down an environmentally disastrous road.

      So, extended support is only one piece of a possible solution. Another piece would be placing certain regulations on manufacturers so they’re responsible for closing the product cycle, i.e. taking back their EOL products and recycling/reclaiming the raw materials for reuse. The total true cost needs to be reflected in the cost of the goods. Privatizing the profit and socializing the environmental cost can’t be sustained indefinitely.

      Electronics in not the only area that this kind of thinking has been proposed. Take for example the fashion industry (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB3kuuBPVys  and  https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/09/17/opinion/dirty-secret-about-clothes-is-getting-aired/) and also the automotive industry (https://archive.epa.gov/oswer/international/web/html/200811_elv_directive.html  and  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228434744_End_of_life_vehicles_recovery_Process_description_its_impact_and_direction_of_research), just to name a few.

      Win10 Pro x64 21H1, Win10 Home 21H1, Linux Mint + a cat with 'tortitude'.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2391524

        Steve S has mentioned: “The mining of metals and rare earths“, among other minerals, some in very short supply in Nature, obtained with a kind of mining that I should add, also has serious working-force exploitation issues:

        https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/dec/16/apple-and-google-named-in-us-lawsuit-over-congolese-child-cobalt-mining-deaths

        Essentially, to put it as dramatically as it should be put, getting rid of a cellphone when a newer model comes out, to replace it with the new one, not as a matter of necessity, but as a show of immature insecurity and, or as a result of the maker’s planned obsolescence, is to buy an unnecessary gadget likely to be metaphorically stained with the blood of the exploited, to profit the exploiters that, all the way down the supply chain, get their cut — and to make a purchase that, as a “bonus”, by its very existence reduces further the availability of invaluable scarce resources. Those are called “rare earths” because they are rare. Recovering and reusing those rare materials, to the extent that this is possible, requires the phones to be recycled, rather than kept in a closet until the day comes to throw all the accumulated technological debris away. Something immature, insecure owners may be also more likely to do.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

        6 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2391520

      As I said in my Rant the anwser should be NO.

      What we wish MS had learned in 2005

      The very BEST are doing their best to work themself out of a job. They were paid to do a job and do it completely. The trouble with that idea “Forever Updates” is that these workers are NOT the best. They fix it as quick as they canand MIGHT put holes or bug in that need to be fixed later. The Best fix things so they do not break in the future. I refered to this article from 2005 and I will do it again.

      https://www.ranum.com/security/computer_security/editorials/dumb/

      The right question to ask is why don’t they do that. They do it the DUMB way (according to the article)

       

       

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2391553

      Very pertinent, especially for printers. I have (/had) a fully functional Lexmark, which was not supported when Windows 8 was released and a workhorse Brother MFC9880 laser printer which will work with my old Windows 7 laptop, but stopped working with Windows 10Pro after an update a couple of years ago. Very wasteful.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2391554

      Do we need firmware and software updates forever?

      NO

      Old hardware even if works properly can’t catch up to new hardware and software features.
      I think that Apple’s approach with 6 years of OS and security updates and 7 years of service and parts, after Apple stopped distributing the devices for sale is the right way.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2391556

        I agree, my answer is also NO.

        Point A – no system (especially complex one) will never be bulletproof
        Point B – constant desire to add functions and make system better with continuos updates make the system more vulnerable and faulty
        Point C – it requires more attention by users and admins
        Point D – cloud solutions are just trick to get more paying subscribers. There are many cases, where local solution fits better

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        PRUSA i3 MK3S+

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2391571

      For a long time Microsoft tried to keep Windows fully backwards compatible with lots of apps and hardware.  They have since moved to an Apple model of not doing so which is a good thing as it can make for a better and safer OS but not trying to address every legacy product.  It’s up the software and hardware vendors to address this issue.  Yes printers will sometimes not be recognized any longer but it’s not Microsoft’s problem, the printer manufacturer needs to update the driver.  It’s the same for software manufacturers as well.

      Old cell phones are a different kind of issue.  I still have an antique HTC phone that I use just as a media player when I wake up in the middle of the night and need to have some music to help me fall back asleep.  Maybe if I plug in a SIM card it might work but that is not my need.  My Google Pixel 3 phone won’t be receiving anything more that security updates now but it still works fine though the battery is starting to fade after three years of use.  Unfortunately, battery replacement is not as simple as it once was.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2391579

      As noted above, this is an aspect of a much broader problem. As long as we operate off of economic models that treat resources as infinite and attach no cost beyond that of current acquisition, we will be plagued with reality biting us back where that is no longer true, but at an earth level rather than individual company or individual. Such economic models make sense only if society can grow/expand out of the constraints. There is compelling evidence that we’re running out of room and resources for such an adolescent view. Can our species grow up? That’s truly the existential question for everyone since we’re all in the same boat.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2391580

      Forever?  What on earth for?  Five years, maybe, or even ten, depending on the initial investment in the hardware/software or combination.  But capabilities of both hardware and software grow beyond the abilities of the original hardware/software.  Planned obsolescence is a real thing, practiced by most manufacturers.  Don’t expect that to change.

      Do you want a smartphone camera update for a camera that does not exist on your smartphone?  Should Microsoft still be updating Windows 95?  Much of our consumption becomes outdated in capabilities within two or three years.

      Why don’t we, as consumers, practice more conscientious consumption?  I drive a 20 years old Ford F150, and I can buy parts for it virtually anywhere, any part.  It’s not cutting edge, by any means, but for my purposes, it doesn’t need to be.  It has over 255,000 miles and still gets me where I want to go.

      My daily driver mid-tower PC has 2013 motherboard and CPU.  What is there to update, firmware-wise?  Everything it can do is already updated as far as it can go.  I can (and do) update the software regularly, but that’s one of the major complaints here at AskWoody, too many updates too quickly.

      Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
      "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
      "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

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      • #2391633

        You hit the nail on the head bbearren.  Forever is long time.  Five or ten years is not too much to ask, and maybe more depending on what the product is.

      • #2391647

        As bbearren quite justly points out: “Planned obsolescence is a real thing, practiced by most manufacturers. Don’t expect that to change.

        OK, how about demand, instead of “don’t expect” then? With as much of the force of law as can be mustered? Considering that this is no longer the 1990’s world, anymore?

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

        • #2391684

          OK, how about demand, instead of “don’t expect” then?

          In the realm of computers and peripherals, the only demand available to consumers is the first line of your signature, “Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)”

          Buy something else.

          And there’s this video.  Microsoft needed a competitor, any competitor.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

          • #2391688

            bbarren Agreed, that is how it is — now. But it does not have to be so, because it is not so by a decree of Heaven; assuming that may never be another way, even if we actually tried hard enough to do something about it, is where we might differ on this. In any case, all of this shall pass the day Nature decides to call the whole game off.

            Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

            MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
            Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
            Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

    • #2391597

      Hi, The issue I have is that Microsoft cannot produce an OS that is bug free and it is constantly trying to catch up to features provided by Apple or some other company instead of doing what they have been good at, backward compatibility. Now with the update to Win11, Microsoft is obsoleting hardware that is only 4 years and old perfectly capable of running the new OS in the name of security due to CPU Generation and TP2.0 requirements. I get that we need more security but this is just a way to force the landfill full of perfectly good hardware. This was evident in Microsoft allowing THEIR surface device to run Win11 with an older gen. CPU. I also agree that firmware updates and the necessary software to support a computer should be made available for 10 years in order to support OS requirements. I realize this will never happen as computer hardware and software is becoming a major cash grab for companies and IMHO it is very unfortunate for users that simply cannot afford to constantly update their hardware and software to be compliant with the new rules.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2391661

      The only reason device manufacturers introduce planned obsolescence into their products (or throw out scare stories about the risks of still using those devices) is nothing to do with the maintenance/updating costs eating into their profits, it’s purely down to them wanting you to have a reason to buy their next shiny new thing.

      It’s commonly said that lightbulbs were invented decades ago that could last into infinity, but they had to be made to burn out so that people would buy more of them. It’s no different with modern technological devices.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2391662

        It’s commonly said that lightbulbs were invented decades ago that could last into infinity, but they had to be made to burn out so that people would buy more of them. It’s no different with modern technological devices.

        Watch this video on YouTube.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2391680

          bbearren: This is an extraordinary, revelatory video, no exaggeration! So this was dismissed as an urban legend (the (almost) eternal incandescent light bulb, its existence being kept secret by a conspiracy of big bulb-making companies), because of what turned out to be another urban legend! And maybe one propagated by parties interested in the “eternal light bulb” being considered by the usually well-informed as an urban legend? … So, a conspiracy theory that was about a real conspiracy? Sometimes, quite rarely, but it happens, a conspiracy theory turns out to be true. Unlike a dismissive one meant to protect a crooked business model that has turned out to be not the only possible profitable business model, as the much longer life LED bulbs now widely in use clearly demonstrate. Assisted by some government say so on this matter.

          The video is also completely on point about the wider issue of planned obsolescence.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

      • #2391793

        A properly sized tungsten filament heated to white hot in a near vacuum should last for a very long time.  Ditto for a tungsten filament in a halogen gas that does not support combustion.  And yet Halogen light bulbs burn out as fast or almost as fast as the older type light bulbs they replace.  Only thing gained – a few less watts, and a reason to increase the cost of light bulbs.

    • #2391683

      The risk of a negative security event is proportional to at least two factors: 1.) the quality of the current software/hardware; 2.) the frequency and duration of time connected to the internet.

      Interware, as I call it, is software/hardware that requires constant or frequent connection to the internet in order to perform as specified/promised by the manufacturer.

      Our threat surface, and thus the need to continuously support and update drivers/hardware/software would be much smaller if we weren’t steadily becoming more dependent on internet connectivity for our computing purposes.

      We should separate computing and office functions from entertainment and social functions in both hardware and software. Then you could buy a device(s) that meets your need(s) and assume the risk accordingly. This all boils down to understanding the risk and deciding who bears the risk. Asking (or paying) manufacturers and software companies to assume the risk, compelling them to continuously monitor penetrations and fix hardware/software imperfections, is wishful thinking IMHO.

      Personal computing was supposed to be just that – personal. If you sell out (or buy into interware), then you have to take what you get. And that is what the hardware manufacturers and software companies are doing – letting you assume all of the risk after a short period of support.

      When you enter a restaurant do you just tell the wait staff to bring what the Chef likes? Or do you look at the menu and order what you like? Both options get you fed. But only one choice has the greater odds of satisfying your dining experience.

      Nothing is forever. However, software that you own, and that connects to the internet (a very dangerous place I am told) at your command – not the software company’s command – lasts a lot longer and has a much smaller, or at least controllable, threat surface.

      Just my $0.02 worth.

      Down with Interware! Up with personal computing!

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2391739

      It’s commonly said that lightbulbs were invented decades ago that could last into infinity,

      The bulb to light all Ramat Gan (city in Israel).

      ..On June 28, 1981, the eve of elections to the tenth Knesset, Yaakov Meridor gave an interview to radio networks. He was one of the top candidates on the party list of Likud. He announced that a scientist working with him had invented an improvement in energy production on a chemical basis, with extraordinary efficiency and yield. As an illustration of the nature of the invention, “a global revolution that is yet to be grasped”, he told an interviewer, “It’s as if you took an ordinary household light bulb and, with this lamp, you illuminated the whole city of Ramat Gan.”

      In March 1982, while serving as Minister of Economics and Inter-Ministry Coordination, Meridor gave publicity to the invention in a special television broadcast. For a few days he captured the top newspaper headlines. When it was revealed that the inventor might be brought up on charges, the minister was held up to ridicule, and the incident was mockingly recalled for years afterward….

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2391706

      Another issue with long support times is the availability of “knowledgeable” programmers.  I would hazard a guess that many of today’s programmers are not familiar with the various software tools used maybe ten years ago.  There are enough differences  between C$, C, and C++ to confuse someone not intimately involved with any or all of the versions.

      You also have the situation where the originating personnel have retired or passed on.  Remember Y2K and the call for COBOL and FORTRAN programmers?

      Companies go out of business.  Their assets may be scattered among many other competing entities.  What happens to all the documentation that should have been saved.  Source code?

      Even building a product with a LONG life cycle (geosynchronous communication satellites, and Mars rovers for example).    The original set of engineers have moved to other companies or retired.  Any (bio)medical product has requirements for long-term support.

      For a regular consumer product, ten years from end of production would seem reasonable.

      Even if you can get the manufacturers to support up to ten years, whats to keep an auxiliary process updated?  Look what happened when Adobe killed Flash.  Granted, it was a nightmare to keep up-to-date, but it broke the scanning function of my (admittedly very old, vintage 2006) HP printer-scanner.  Printer works fine.  I found a workaround for the scanner, it’s just not as convenient as the original setup.  HP doesn’t have a fix for the scanner function.  They have kept the drivers updated so things seem to work okay on W10 for the printer functions.

       

      What about SaaS?  I think it was Quickbooks is going to a subscription model.  Your old versions won’t work anymore.  I understand that every 3-5 years QB would obsolete the old versions causing the user to buy the latest and greatest.

       

      My 2 cents worth

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      • #2391888

        wdyblash: Taking “support” more broadly, to include “preservation”, of information in particular (including source code written in computer languages by now nearly forgotten, or known to a decreasing number of programmers — of which Fortran, in its newer but still back-compatible, vectorized forms mainly for supercomputers, is not one)  since clay tablets, granite stelae and papyrus first, later on parchment and, later still, pulp paper, impervious to acidification, went out of style, same as more or less have already, in more recent times, scannable archival photographic recordings, along with the various forms of computer’s removable media: from age-decaying magnetic media such as tape reels, to CDs and maybe soon DVDs; not to mention expired Web sites (link rot) and even one day (when Twitter itself disappears, or maybe sooner) some historically significant Tweets and such — the recorded history of humanity does not seem so safe and set to be passed down the generations anymore. And this is not something where a reasonable 10-year support may be called for. More like a 10,000-year one seems in order here and definitely at risk of not happening.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2392356

        between C$, C, and C++

        Think maybe you meant to type “C#, C, and C++”, but…
        as C# was developed by M$ for use in their .NET framework, I totally understand the source of the confusion. 😀

        I found a workaround for the scanner, it’s just not as convenient as the original setup. HP doesn’t have a fix for the scanner function.

        Glad you found a workaround for your scanner. If you’re not already using it, though, VueScan Scanner Software is usually a good option to consider.

        Hope this helps.

    • #2391782

      To continue with my previous post…

      Would you like to be the programmer assigned to support a dead product?  Would the newer programmers be put to the test to see how they react to this potentially career limiting assignment?  Maybe six or eight months in the ‘dead product’ support group before being turned loose on the latest and greatest.  Could be a way to learn from the ‘mistakes’ and how to avoid them in the future.

      What kind of issues would be appropriate to fix?  Drivers for current operating systems?  Security fixes? That would seem to be a black hole of problems.  Would there be a selling price below which updates would not be provided (cheap products get no continued support)?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2391977

        Well, it depends what you are expecting. Being programmer assingned to “dead product” (as you call it) may be bad, because every programmer knows, how difficult may be to try change other persons source code. And I think that is exacly what is happening recently, I think. Especially with Windows, I really dont belive that there are same programmers who designed Windows 10 in the first place.
        And now different people are debugging Windows 10 and providing updates and new features nearly every week. What do they expect? Do you feel the irony in that? Just because someone came with “brilliant idea” to provide updates every week, it gets more fragile.
        I dont know how it really works, if HW vendors have information about significant changes in Windows, so they can prepare for it, or they just react to current situation. But drivers are definatelly worth updating. I know its not possible to preserve all systems as it is, but the constant stream of updates is not way to success for me personally. At least not with the evnironment (OS).
        The product can be considered dead, if it does not work anymore for some reason. And if the programmer wants to earn more payments, he should adapt his code. If you have team of 3 programmers to your product, just to provide updates and keep your application up-to-date, you must pay those programmers. You must sell more. Or, as Microsoft did, go to subscription model and provide support and updates. It could be called vicious circle.
        I know lot of products, that require very little attention and they are great.
        PS – Who came with “hiding” scrollers in Windows, for example? Its the most annoying thing ever 🙂 Thats the worst update ever 🙂

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        PRUSA i3 MK3S+

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2392414

          doriel: you make some very good points, I entirely agree with them. But … should “vicious circle” be really “virtuous circle”? Paying more the debuggers and fixers by selling more product or going to a subscription model to get money to cover the resulting higher labor costs does not seem like a such a bad idea if the end product, the patched OS, thanks to the resulting good patches and tweaks, is all the better for it and the user is less infuriated by it, something always bad for the blood pressure. The alternative is to reduce the profits by using more of the money gained from sales to pay for those extra labor costs, something quite unbelievably way out of step with these marvelous times we live in.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2392436

            I think it could be virtuous circle, if updates reflect the real situation and do not come on weekly basis, because.. they just set the process that way? I mean, updates/patches are good, but to repair vulnerabilities. Not because start menu is not clourfull enough.
            I think people will learn and take the better from this and adapt in the future. For example the option to opt-out from updates (knowing the risk it brings). Otherwise Im affraid im not too much insterested in checking every month whats broken after recent update – my OS, favourite game, websites, …

            Updates are good, but not fluidy continuos changes. And I say that as an IT employee, just my opinion.

            Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

            HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

            PRUSA i3 MK3S+

    • #2391865

      This might mean we need to sort a lot of old kit with new firmware, or watch the security a bit more closely:

      https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/microsoft-wpbt-flaw-lets-hackers-install-rootkits-on-windows-devices/

      (Posted it on jobs for this weekend, then thought it’s probably better under firmware..)

      If you check out what’s in the area concerned you find an attacker leveraging this could ransomware your Windows license by breaking the table, as the OEM variables there in part identify the machine identity and serial to Microsoft. (to be sure they’d have to hit a third item, but that would depend how the flash holding the network adapter MAC address is accessed… but that data might be in the main flash for some hardware.) You might know what the values were but it’s going to presumably get harder to put them back after you fix a problem.

      https://download.microsoft.com/download/8/A/2/8A2FB72D-9B96-4E2D-A559-4A27CF905A80/windows-platform-binary-table.docx

      That’s not to mention that electronically flash memory programs in blocks so so change a few bytes the chip itself reprograms the whole data cell those bytes are within, which means there is a bit of time during which Windows deciding to shut down could cause corruption.- flash tech –  https://www.jedec.org/sites/default/files/KeunSoonJo.pdf

      A note for the hardware hacker types – its getting more common for flash content to be encrypted with the serial number of the processor accessing the flash (in a PC, that would be the PCH not the CPU) so a direct attempt to do anything about any of the issues at hardware level is probably a non starter – you generally don’t even get a write protect jumper as the flash controllers are back ended on SPI/ SPD/ESPI as I was trying to explain to Mauri. Now wondering if someone was trying the exploit on his PC and corrupted his BIOS table.. (https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/corrupted-bios-chip/ )

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2391990

      I dont know how it really works, if HW vendors have information about significant changes in Windows, so they can prepare for it,

      Hardware OEM and software devs which are Microsoft’s partners get documentation and beta test new features, changes…

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2392349

      On the hardware recycling, not throwing away question, mostly these days brought up because of the combination of the underdeveloped personalities of many so-called adults, with their fascination with having the latest of the biggest and shiniest, as well as the relentless push of more of those things in a short-cycle of introduce-and-obsolece followed by certain OEMs that shall remain nameless, because we all know who they are, there is this article today in the Washington Post, affectionately known as “the WaPo” by us around here. It is probably too well paywalled for most to read, so I am including an excerpt that makes the main point up front (emphasis mine):

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/09/28/how-to-recycle-repurpose-e-waste/

      Many of your old phones and tablets are packed with components containing rare metals that are difficult to find and pull out of the ground. Once those components wind up in the landfill, there’s no easy way to recover them, so the limited supply we already have shrinks even further. Other kinds of e-waste, such as rechargeable batteries, often contain chemicals that could pose problems for the environment or human health, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And gadgets that contain no-removable batteries could start a fire if they, say, get crushed in a compactor.

      The world generated 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste — comprising laptops, smartphones, electric toothbrushes, air conditioners and much more — in 2019, according to the Global E-Waste Statistics Partnership, an organization founded by the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations University and others to track the growth of the problem. Less than a quarter of those castoff products were verifiably recycled. The rest, the report says, likely wound up being tossed into the trash or “exported as secondhand products or e-waste” to countries so they can decide on how to deal with it.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
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