On January 14, Microsoft brought to an end the era of Windows 7. The company will continue to support paying customers through paid updates, but all home users will now not get security patches. That's a unique problem for Redmond and one organization is now pushing for Win7 to be open sourced.
The unique problem is for the first time Microsoft is leaving behind an aging platform but also leaving behind tens of millions of users. Under normal end-of-life software scenarios, users have already moved on.
Of course, most organizations and individuals have already updated to Windows 10. However, such was the popularity and ubiquity of Win7 that many millions are now left with an unsupported platform.
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) says this is a dangerous situation. It believes users can still receive important security patches if Microsoft open sources Windows 7. In other words, management and functionality of the platform would fall into the hands of the developer community.
“Microsoft's support of Windows 7 is over, but its life doesn't have to end. We call on Microsoft to upcycle it instead,” FSF says in a petition.
According to the FSF, Microsoft has made several mistakes through the last years of Windows 7.
“On January 14th, Windows 7 reached its official “end-of-life,” bringing an end to its updates as well as its ten years of poisoning education, invading privacy, and threatening user security. The end of Windows 7's lifecycle gives Microsoft the perfect opportunity to undo past wrongs, and to upcycle it instead,” the organization says.
“We call on them to release it as free software, and give it to the community to study and improve. As there is already a precedent for releasing some core Windows utilities as free software, Microsoft has nothing to lose by liberating a version of their operating system that they themselves say has ‘reached its end,'” the Free Software Foundation adds.
Interestingly, the petition has arisen at the same time Microsoft's Windows 7 strategy is arguably being exposed. As we reported earlier today, one of Microsoft's last patches for Win7 caused a bug with wallpapers. Microsoft has now been forced to promise a free update for all users.