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Why is software still written for deprecated OS versions?

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#1 gwilson001

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 02:17 PM

I have been researching astrophotography equipment and am trying to understand why the software that comes with most CCD's is written for Win98, XP or Win 7?  

These versions are no longer supported and unless you have an old computer lying around you are not going to be running any of these versions.

I'm sure that most will probably run on Win 10 but it is not listed as a compatible OS on most of the software I have seen bundled with many if not most of the CCD's.

This seems to be true for scope controlling software as well.  As an InfoSec professional I will not run deprecated versions of any OS  for all of the obvious reasons.

I'm amazed that manufactures are continuing to produce software for these unsupported OS's.



#2 descott12

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 02:24 PM

I don't think it is that anybody are producing software for deprecated OS versions. I think it is more that they simply have not had the chance to update or fully test on newer versions.

 

I am a Windows developer and I have a app that I created and market and I can tell you that it is tough to keep up sometimes and, for me,  the Windows 10 transition has been the worst of all the major updates from a support and development standpoint.

 

And there are still MANY Win 7 computers around and they will be for some time. Believe or not, I still have an XP box that I use for alot of things. It is not accessible from the internet but it is still very useful to me.


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#3 OldManSky

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 02:46 PM

Which "CCDs" are you referring to that have drivers written for older OS versions?

For cameras (CCD or CMOS) that are still in production, where you can buy new models from the manufacturer or retailer, a quick survey I did found that all of them have versions indicated as compatible with Win10.

FLI, QHY, SBIG, etc.  

Now, older models that you can buy used that are out of production...sure.  They have older drivers.  Nobody's updated them.



#4 kathyastro

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 04:00 PM

For most people, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Win7 was a good operating system, and lots of people who set up their systems a few years ago used it.  

 

What reason would they have to upgrade it?  The only reason is if the old computer dies and they are forced to replace it.  Because once you upgrade one component of a complex system, the built-in obsolescence forces you to replace every bit of software and quite a few pieces of hardware.  That is expensive, and something to avoid unless you are forced into it by dire circumstances.

 

My observatory computer still runs Win7.  I have had to stop accepting new updates on some products because they no longer support Win7.  But, while new features may be nice, they are not essential, and are certainly not worth the investment of money, time and energy involved in doing a major upgrade.


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#5 Devonshire

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 04:25 PM

Different perspectives make the world go 'round.  :-)

 

Scope control is, IMO, a process-control application that requires stability.  Win10 is, by design not functionally stable, and is effectively under remote administration by MS, who are unaware of my requirements (and unconcerned by them). 

 

I did try Win10 Pro in this role, just long enough for it to break, thanks to an update that changed features and drivers that I did not wish changed.

 

So I stay with Win7, which is functionally stable, for my scope laptop.  I seldom browse with it, my home wifi is firewalled, and my browser and AV software are likely to be supported long after MS drops Win7.

 

Not to put too fine a point on it, it wasn't that long ago that Win10 managed to edge above 50% of windows platforms in service.  And if hardware mfrs weren't forcing the matter and going all-in on Win10 on new machines for MS, I expect that the Win7 percentage would still be higher. 

 

I appreciate the InfoSec perspective, but I also see the potential vunerability from the Intel ME that make it all moot, anyway. 

 

I'll be expecting my ASTRO-software suppliers to be supporting Win7 well past Jan 2020, and when that runs out of gas, I'll switch to linux, or maybe BSD, and change out app software as required.  Or maybe MS will have a change of senior executives and realize that forcing functional updates on the unwilling is not such a good idea after all!  That would be the simplest path for all of us, but I'm not holding my breath...


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#6 bobzeq25

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 05:11 PM

I have been researching astrophotography equipment and am trying to understand why the software that comes with most CCD's is written for Win98, XP or Win 7?  

These versions are no longer supported and unless you have an old computer lying around you are not going to be running any of these versions.

I'm sure that most will probably run on Win 10 but it is not listed as a compatible OS on most of the software I have seen bundled with many if not most of the CCD's.

This seems to be true for scope controlling software as well.  As an InfoSec professional I will not run deprecated versions of any OS  for all of the obvious reasons.

I'm amazed that manufactures are continuing to produce software for these unsupported OS's.

As a practical matter, this is just not an issue for most everyone here.

 

The _major_ camera control programs (Sharpcap, Artemis, BackyardEOS, BackyardNikon, various ASI and QHY programs, ...) all work fine on Windows 10.  So too the _major_ acquisition management software (which includes camera control as a subsection).  SGP, Sharpcap, NINA, Voyager, APT. Maxim, the SkyX...

 

Most things use the ASCOM interface, and run on pretty much anything.

 

There may be some older software, for ancient hardware, from small developers, that doesn't.  You probably (almost certainly) don't want it for other reasons.


Edited by bobzeq25, 19 September 2019 - 05:17 PM.


#7 dpaigen

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 05:15 PM

As a professional software developer, I can answer this easily.  :-)

 

The first reason is that there are still a lot of machines running older versions of the OS (including win95), albeit mostly in the third world.  Not providing versions for older software can cost you sales.

 

The second reason is that it takes work to upgrade a package.  Sometimes, with some software and OS upgrades, it is easy.  Other times it is very difficult and expensive to rewrite the software for the new version of OS.  And in a few instances it might even be impossible.

 

Updating a computer with the latest security fixes is a luxury and a privilege.  Many computers are unable to update due to cost, compatibility, or legal reasons.

 

Amusing anecdote:  I was once required to keep my software running on IE8 (microsoft's internet explorer browser) even when IE11 was current.  This is sort of like insisting that a mechanic can repair a 1911 Stanley Steamer car even when all the rest of the cars on the road are hybrids or electrics.  My marketing department insisted we had important customers with locked down desktops that were unable to install newer browsers.  This argument went on months and months.  Supporting that old software cost us at least $50K.  Finally I found proof those customers were not telling the truth (an essential page was broken when rendered in IE8 and no one had noticed for over a year) and we stopped supporting IE8.

 

-David

 

Edit: I fixed some mismatching version numbers.

-David


Edited by dpaigen, 19 September 2019 - 07:18 PM.

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#8 Stelios

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 05:27 PM

Moving to Astronomy Software & Computers.


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#9 lphilpot

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:06 PM

I like being somewhere in the middle - Not on the bleeding edge, but in a 'safe zone', security-wise. I've worked in IT for more than 20 years and it's still amazing that brand new products from major vendors (I mean, world-scale corporate vendors) still require stuff like Flash, Active-X, Silverlight, IE, specific JVMs, etc.

 

That's part of the reason this is being written from my Xubuntu desktop at home.  lol.gif


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#10 zakry3323

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 06:43 PM

I'm very much in the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" clan. There isn't anything that I'm running acquisition-wise that requires anything much more powerful than a few mice running in wheels. I'd rather not have to buy new hardware and software and take a chance that something won't work. 

 

On the processing side though, well that's a different story. Sometime next year after Christmas bills are paid I'm going to look into a Ryzen platform and run some flavor of Linux to get the most out of Pixinsight. 



#11 Bob Denny

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 08:08 PM

As a professional (i.e. money making) developer my perspective is to make my software as broadly compatible as possible. If you have read this far, you already know that astronomy is populated by people with varying philosophies regarding updates and upgrades (including the OS itself). I'm not making any value judgements here, though it is a bit vexing to get support tickets filed for things that have been fixed for months or even years. On the other hand I'm also careful not to use dead technologies that are no longer supported, so that can sometimes leave people in the dust. I still support Windows 7 and will for the foreseeable future, as it is still best suited for in-observatory operations.

 

PS Active-X (and LPC) is an intrinsic part of Windows and 100% current (and heavily used internally in the OS) in Windows 10. Not the "controls" in web browsers though! The other stuff like SilverLight and Flash, and especially old IE "embrace and extend" stuff... yeah. And IE is dead now, though, and Edge is fully W3C compatible. No more of the old Steve Ballmer junk. MS is going broad (cross platform). 


Edited by Bob Denny, 19 September 2019 - 08:18 PM.


#12 t_image

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 12:17 AM

I have been researching astrophotography equipment and am trying to understand why the software that comes with most CCD's is written for Win98, XP or Win 7?  

These versions are no longer supported and unless you have an old computer lying around you are not going to be running any of these versions.

I'm sure that most will probably run on Win 10 but it is not listed as a compatible OS on most of the software I have seen bundled with many if not most of the CCD's.

This seems to be true for scope controlling software as well.  As an InfoSec professional I will not run deprecated versions of any OS  for all of the obvious reasons.

I'm amazed that manufactures are continuing to produce software for these unsupported OS's.

I'm amazed by the population that just accepts the "must update to the latest thing always" rat-race that hardware and software developers profit from,

and the cat-and-mouse move/countermove hamster wheel cybersec has tried to programmed us all to live in....

It's just another distorted spin on the disposable consumerist society mindset that one cannot be satisfied with something classic....

 

As far as astrophotography equipment goes a good discipline is to have turnkey systems that are DMZ'd from any infosec threats.

I doubt most people are controlling scopes remotely via internet, and if they are, they can probably afford IT support.

And ironically enough the old PC that is still running with XP as an OS serves just fine as a dedicated scope controller device without need for any updates or internet browsing/connectivity,

because it does one job well and doesn't need improvement.....Most things up in space haven't changed....So it's not like there is need for a "google maps update" that could be risky.......

 

I'm not looking forward to the day when IoT like houses and cars will be slave to 'updates' and 'patches' hoping not to be crashed by a hacker or taken captive in one's own house.....

I'll pass.


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#13 descott12

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 06:13 AM

I'm amazed by the population that just accepts the "must update to the latest thing always" rat-race that hardware and software developers profit from,

and the cat-and-mouse move/countermove hamster wheel cybersec has tried to programmed us all to live in....

It's just another distorted spin on the disposable consumerist society mindset that one cannot be satisfied with something classic....

 

As far as astrophotography equipment goes a good discipline is to have turnkey systems that are DMZ'd from any infosec threats.

I doubt most people are controlling scopes remotely via internet, and if they are, they can probably afford IT support.

And ironically enough the old PC that is still running with XP as an OS serves just fine as a dedicated scope controller device without need for any updates or internet browsing/connectivity,

because it does one job well and doesn't need improvement.....Most things up in space haven't changed....So it's not like there is need for a "google maps update" that could be risky.......

 

I'm not looking forward to the day when IoT like houses and cars will be slave to 'updates' and 'patches' hoping not to be crashed by a hacker or taken captive in one's own house.....

I'll pass.

I couldn't agree more.



#14 rgsalinger

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:55 AM

Once you have a stable imaging system in terms of hardware and software - you're frozen - then I think it makes sense not to touch it. That part of this thread makes sense to me. I'm usually at least a year behind on most of my software as I like others to be the pioneers when it comes to astronomy. 

 

At the same  time, I think that upgrading to Windows 10 was the best thing I ever did. I got it when before (Insider Program) it first came out and I must have done 12 upgrades over the past 4 years without a single problem emerging. The systems are rock solid, almost like a Linux system, in my experience and do not crash as the older systems like to do. They boot up in seconds and if they lose power, all is not lost. I can't even remember that last time one of my Win10 Pro systems needed to be rebooted for a Windows problem. 

 

As far as the updates are concerned, there's been exactly one reported problem with Astronomy software in the whole time that the OS has been out. That was an interesting one but it really had as much to do with poor programming practices as the update. Research and see for your self. The GUI is much easier to use and you have the knowledge that you're getting the latest security patches. Win 7 will lose those is 6 months.

 

Vendors are NOT developing anything for the older versions and may or may not even test with old OS's before releasing something new. That's a misunderstanding on the part of the OP about what's really going on. What's actually happening is that in some cases they choose not to bring something forward because they have a better product. It would be a very odd piece of Win7 software that could not be brought forward. Some old releases for the SKY, for example, just won't run. So, if you are using newer hardware and software putting that old OS on the box along with everything else may or may not work. I see a lot of problems on these fora that smell to me like some old OS being used to support new hardware and software.

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#15 TomTTuttle

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 03:28 PM

It's about profitability.  As a professional developer, I'm not going to go write new software for an old system, and I'm not going to re-do old software for new systems. What's the incentive? So unless you want to pay for it... 

 

The thought of running WinXP did make me laugh though. We're talking an operating system old enough to vote in November's election!  And I guess they're not using USB3 or not using an Intel chipset.  Intel refuses to release USB3 eXtensible Bus drivers and flat out tell you to put it in USB2 mode in the BIOS. 



#16 lphilpot

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:55 PM

I don't like too many updates too often, but the "if it ain't broke" philosophy is self-defeating when it comes to software. Over time, it will become "broke", no matter what you do, due to discovered and publicized but un-patched vulnerabilities, growing incompatibilities, etc. The trouble is finding a sweet spot that's bearable but still adequately keeps up. I find that patches and such are generally far less odious than the outright poor design and marketing-driven bonehead "features" that invariably find their way into far too many new versions.



#17 ccs_hello

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 10:35 AM

OS upgrade is "encouraged" by the software manufacturers for various reasons.

The upgrade can add, remove, tweak (and optionally add/rmv a price tag on it) features.

It can be good or bad, depends on if such move hits the hot buttons that the application developers and ultimately you, the end user cares.

 

Beyond the general statement above, OS upgrade tends to deprecate (some call that "progress") old hardware and the corresponding intermediate shim (device drivers, API, and middleware) such that the total cost of an OS upgrade is more than just the OS upgrade itself.  I guess lots of parties are happy except the one that has to shell out the bill.

 

In the mean time, people ought to see what's the "new" philosophy on the upgrade OS. 

Is it catering toward end-user friendly, general purpose computing/gaming or something else?

Is it getting a stronger grip, getting application developers to join the "App Store" closed garden?

Is it inserting shims in the middle to stay relevant (e.g., collecting data flowing thru it) and to monetize the newly introduced "smartness" benefit? 

 

In astro use cases, if you know it, quite a bit low level access (to control and interface with actual astro gears) are getting harder, if not impossible.

After all, the applications tend to lean toward "control system"  type of applications which needs openness

An OS with a strong grip will not be a good direction for them.

 <-- P.S. this trend starts from XP era and is getting closer and closer to see door shut.  When that day comes Win X will be no different than OS X (guess you know the struggle over there...)


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#18 ccs_hello

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 10:47 AM

Always interesting to see market share changes over time (2003 - 2019)

https://www.youtube....h?v=eJuvKn5j_kE


Edited by ccs_hello, 22 September 2019 - 10:50 AM.


#19 perdrix  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 04 October 2019 - 04:59 AM

The thought of running WinXP did make me laugh though.

Well ... You know what I just recently bowed to pressure to build DeepSkyStacker so that it would run on Windows XP as well as later versions.  It took me about 1 hour to find and rework most of the code that wouldn't work on XP, and only one feature had to be sacrificed (progress indicators in Task bar icons).   It actually took longer to fiddle the VS2017 build properties to actually build it for XP!

 

The only thing that was problematic was the version of libtiff I was using failed under XP, so I needed a small change to their code.  That took me longer to track down :(

 

David


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#20 Sp0nG3Bo8

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 01:02 AM

actually its all a question of perception. "deprecated" only means that the OS programmers stopped supporting it. that is very sad because if ACTUAL manufacturers would continue to make drivers for old OS people would still be on win98 ... i know i would... unfortunately like was explained above: programmed obsolescence is everywhere. after-all if you are still on win98 then your computer would run like a world record sprinter... and you could probably keep your hardware for years more than as it is now.

 

also note that companies use their OS way way later than what regular folks would and sometimes they sign special contracts for extended support... (meaning THEỲ get support even if if YOU don't)

 

these days software bloat is ridiculous, SPECIALLY on open source platforms.

 

 


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#21 bridgman

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 01:40 AM

I have been researching astrophotography equipment and am trying to understand why the software that comes with most CCD's is written for Win98, XP or Win 7?  

These versions are no longer supported and unless you have an old computer lying around you are not going to be running any of these versions.

In some cases it's just that the software itself has not been updated for quite a while. The control software for my ST-237A was last updated in 2003, shortly after I purchased it. Still available for download though, along with manuals etc...




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