Of course, this is about Windows XP Service Pack 2, but as my co-worker Alain wrote in ‘About backward compatibility of XP SP2: Life has changed …‘, I also have my own view on this.
It actually struck me when driving towards the south of France, a week ago. It is a good 8 hours drive, in sunny summer weather conditions. Luckily my sturdy Audi A4 (I love that car!) has airco and the heat did not bother me. But as you are driving along on the highway, did you ever notice these little flying insects (aka ‘bugs’) that tend to end up being squashed on your windscreen (aka ‘window’). They also tend to leave quite a sticky and messy trace on the windscreen. Some worse than others. Using the built in windscreenwiper and the little waterjet, only results in somewhat of an improvement, but you need a lot of water and a long time of windscreenwiping going on to really get a clean window again. And that in mid summer, you can imagine some gestures and looks you get from the kids on the backseat of cars that are overtaking you. Now there are the bugs that bump and leave some (bigger) bodyparts behind, these ones tend to clean up nicely. But you also have the ones that go ‘splat!’ and leave a trace of semi-transparent, or somewhat yellowish goo. These are the really nasty ones, as a quick windscreenwiper action only results in more blurr and goo being spread across the window. And even then there is a difference in where the bug hits the windscreen. When I’m driving I do not mind the ones that target the viewing area of the passenger, and these just become cosmetic bugs, but the ones that ‘land’ in my viewing area really pose a problem in visibility and thus in safety. So after a long trip, it is imperative that you take some time out to stop along the road in a service station, take a spunge and wipe the windscreen clean, to ensure your own safety and to be a responsible secure driver on the road..
Now doesn’t that sound a lot like Windows XP SP2? After having done good milage with Windows XP, it is also time to take a service stop, and clean up your machine and get rid of many bugs. Especially as some of these bugs create a dangerous environment for you to work in safely. Like the ones plasterd all over your windscreen, which can seriously hamper your field of vision. These I compare to the security bugs that have been fixed in SP2. And here is where I like to continue the comparison. When driving on a busy highway, every driver needs to take responsibility to have clean windows. Drivers with dirty windows pose a risk not only to themselves but also to others on the highway. This is the same for the information highway. Unserviced Windows machines can pose a risk for others on the same highway.
Aah, I’m getting on a really serious tone here, but hey… I personally think this is serious. Statements of individuals that they will not apply the service pack because some app might stop working are, to me, wrong. One should demand from the app vendor a fix to make it work. I do however understand big companies holding off for now, because they are still waiting for fixes for applications. (I was thinking, thats what the previews and release candidates were for, to get these fixes by the time the SP rtm’ed)
Oh, for the non-techies: do not take a spunge and clean your computer, that is not what I am talking about 😉