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Re: Does service lookup by name work on Windows now?

From: Alexandre Garreau
Subject: Re: Does service lookup by name work on Windows now?
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2019 22:08:11 +0100
User-agent: Gnus (5.13), GNU Emacs 25.1.1 (i686-pc-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 3.22.11) of 2017-09-15, modified by Debian

On 2019-01-27 at 16:11, Tim Cross wrote:

The only problem with continuing to support any OS which is no longer maintained is that, in many cases, we are implicitly supporting users on platforms with significant and well known exploits. This is especially true with Windows XP, which has numerous, well documented and easy to exploit vulnerabilities.

If so it’d mean emacs would be supporting Windows at all, so it should stop supporting it at all, which complies with what previously said.

However emacs is present on Windows to give a (imho, very good) taste of what free software can be (in one of the best way of showing it), so to advertise for other operating systems, so it’s not supporting anything at all but freedom.

While I would agree that the decision to use a vulnerable OS is up to the individual user, in practice, many users don't understand the risks and consequences. To make it worse, exploited systems can also be a threat (or inconvenience) to other users (for example, by being the source of botnets or DDoS attacks).

When a computer is under Windows XP it is often because it’s simply impossible to switch. It is then way better to allow most of (free) software(s) to keep being updated on these, as otherwise it’s simply that the old versions of these are going to be used instead, increasing the attack surface. So this is an argument supporting much more the reverse: it would harm to make emacs stop supporting XP.

Also a lot of XP computers are ran on special hardware that allegedly can’t be changed at all without more problem (I’ve heard “nuclear plants” once, meanwhile I effectively observed XP being consistently used in nuclear installations, though not active nuclear plants), and that is consequently kept offline (yes there are offline attacks such as worms, stuxnet, etc. but that’s also a question of policy).

Also while I regularely see Vista being used by many unaware uncaring users, I didn’t see XP since a very long time ago except on computers of more expecienced peoples that had the technical knowledge allowing them to know there is indeed more crap in Vista than XP. So I believe the technical level of awareness is better for XP users than Vista users in the end.

There is an argument that it would be more responsible to not support any OS once it is no longer maintained and receiving patches for security vulnerabilities to discourage continued use of vulnerable systems and encourage users to update to a current and more secure OS (which of course could be GNU Linux!). This may also make maintenance of Emacs easier as it would reduce the need for exceptions and work arounds for older systems which don';t support more modern OS practices.

Quirks are to be excepted from everywhere. Especially from old not-that-used UNIXes: Windows is much more a case of something consistent with itself (since it’s completely opaque), and used by many many many people (so it’s less work to make it compatible with more environments).

It’s not only the fault of old systems but much more from diversity. That is something you mostly find in more “open” (lots of commercial UNIXes), free (all the free distributions), and imho is going to increase in the future, albeit some other proprietary, highly insecure, and widely as well as increasingly used non-GNU/Linux systems, such as Android (which imho is going to be with time way worse than anything XP could have been).

Btw it’s GNU/Linux, GNU–Linux, GNU-Linux, etc… maybe even “GNU” alone in some cases …but not “GNU Linux”, since we are talking of the whole operating system, not some “Linux” (which is a kernel), which would be from GNU (and there is none, or you are confusing with GNU Linux-libre maybe).

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