A Japanese prefectural government has come up with a novel – if not old-fashioned – way of resolving the problem of migrating desktop computers which still run on the aging Windows XP operating system, of which over 30 percent of all computers in Japan still run on. The solution – keep the venerable OS running, but disconnect it from the Internet.
Around a year from now, in April 8, 2014, U.S.-based software giant Microsoft will stop all manner of official support for the old operating system, which was originally launched in August 2001. The successor to infamous flops Windows ME and Windows 2000, Windows XP was a different animal altogether – ubiquitous in the extreme sense, Windows XP was the most widely used operating system until August 2012, when Windows 7 overtook it. Now Microsoft is looking to close the lid on this part of operating system history, ending releases of security patches and support for errors and bug fixes. Looking towards that date, budget cuts are forcing Japanese local governments to take some very strange actions.
The Aichi prefectural government, in its defense – or probably as it doesn’t have much of a choice – is planning to upgrade or replace 7,200 of the 8,000 PCs running Windows XP by the end of fiscal 2013. But it has decided to keep the remaining 800 even after the 8 April deadline on one agreed pre-condition – that they will no longer connect to the interwebs. In Ichinomiya City, still in the same prefecture, around 360 XP machines will still continue to run. City officials argue that they would still be able to run non-internet programs and applications, and they think that disconnecting them from the internet would keep them relatively safe. In Toyohashi City, the plan is to physically block Ethernet ports with tape, just in case someone forgets that the XP machines are no longer allowed to connect to the global network.
A piece of good advice for the IT handlers of these machines would be to tape up the USB ports as well. Of course, we jest, but hear us out – USB storage is one of the most convenient ways data is leaked and viruses and other malware get transferred from one machine to the other. What we are actually saying is that XP is mostly history now – you can only hold on to it for so long before you have to give in to Windows 7, the world’s most popular operating system as of the moment. Keeping it isolated in an environment that pushes connectivity will pretty much do you in, as you can’t keep running a machine whose purpose is to use data through connectivity in isolation and not suffer the drawbacks.
[via The Register]
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