Michael Sauers at Travelin’ Librarian posted this, which links to a Microsoft announcement. To wit:
Support for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Millennium Edition (Me) ends on July 11, 2006. Microsoft will end public and technical support by this date. This also includes security updates. Microsoft is providing final notifications to customers to end the extended security update support for these products.
Sauers emphasizes the end of security updates. That may be an unfortunate consequence–but in general, this strikes me as a good and necessary step.
What it means is the end of DOS. Windows ME (“Windows Mistaken Edition”–I know that’s not what it stands for, but that’s the reality) and Windows 98 were the final versions of Windows as a graphical interface running on top of DOS.
Windows XP, like Windows NT/Windows 2000, is an integrated operating system based on the NT kernel. The “DOS window” is a simulation of DOS.
I’m as slow to upgrade some things as anyone. I’m using Office Pro XP (or Office Pro 2001, if you prefer) at home because, well, I have a free copy of the current Office Pro (a bennie from MS Search Champs 4, as arethe fabuloso Natural Wireless keyboard/mouse combo I’m using at home and the Encarta DVD I haven’t loaded yet), but my wife and I haven’t decided who should get it–and Office Pro 2001 still works just fine.
But DOS is well past its pull-by date. Those who still haven’t moved to XP or W2000 probably aren’t coping with security updates anyway. I’d guess that not having to do patches for two entirely different systems should improve the speed and quality of security patches.
All in all, a good thing. I think.