It's doubtful there are many people out there at this point that don't already know that support for Windows XP will come to an end tomorrow, April 8th. Despite that, a number of individuals and businesses will continue to run the operating system.
This doesn't likely apply to those maintaining an HTPC, as this tends to be a more geek-savvy set, but no doubt a few are out there. For those users, XBMC has passed its judgment, and the verdict is Linux.
Microsoft's Windows XP dies on April 8, and I will not be among those who mourn its loss. The sad part about the death of XP is that those who still run it might not even realize that their operating system is now dead.
Today, as Microsoft discontinues support for Windows XP, a 12 year old operating system, users all over the world find themselves with only a few options to choose from as they move on. It's not surprising that Microsoft encourages users to migrate to Windows 8.1, but of course, there are other alternatives. The best one by far is Linux. With over 100 distributions, Linux not only offers flexibility, but also reliability and support.
There are two basic ways to run Windows programs on Linux. One is to use CodeWeaver's CrossOver Linux. This program enables you to run many popular Windows applications on Linux. Supported Windows applications include Microsoft Office (from Office 97 to Office 2010), Internet Explorer 8, all current versions of Quicken up to 2014, and some versions of Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop CS.
Earlier in April I wrote about link-time optimization support for the kernel nearing reality. LTO support for the Linux kernel has been in the works since 2012 but only with Linux 3.15 will it become a mainline possibility. Link-Time Optimizations via GCC and other compilers allow for various compile-time optimizations to be applied across the binary as a whole. Enabling link-time optimizations can yield some significant performance improvements but results in much slower compile times and with large programs can cause problems due to the size of optimizing the complete binary at once.
AMD (AMD) is stepping up investment in open source Linux development for embedded devices through a new partnership with Mentor Graphics. The collaboration is aimed at encouraging open source development for AMD's latest heterogenous and multicore processors.
This week, Microsoft ends free support for Windows XP, cutting off the supply of security updates and bug fixes to anyone unwilling to pay the $200 per desktop fee MS is asking for extended support.
XP machines aren't just going to explode at midnight on 8th April but with hackers and malware authors already comfortable with the antiquated OS, it won't be long before some new exploit is discovered that will never be fixed. In short, if you value security then it makes sense to stop using XP.
Other than Windows, users and companies could look at Linux versions that run many Internet servers and those in companies. GNU/Linux is also at the foundation of Google Inc’s Android mobile OS.
Linux distributions include Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Elementary, Zorin and Lububtu. Ubuntu 12.04, for instance, comes pre-installed with the LibreOffice suite—a Microsoft Office equivalent. However, migrating applications from Windows XP to a non-Windows (read Linux) platform is easier said than done. But then, Linux distributions are free.
Parsix GNU/Linux, a live and installation DVD based on Debian, aiming to provide a ready-to-use, easy-to-install desktop and laptop-optimized operating system, is now at version 6.0 Test 3 and is ready for testing.