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Go into a local small business with about [$|€|£]2-5m in turnover per year. A moderately successful veterinary practice comes to mind.

They have applications that need to be managed by what is undoubtedly an outsourced IT service, very likely related to some other system (practice management, diagnostic hardware, goofy industry-specific file formats, accounting, back-office, etc.).

They will stay on XP for ages because it works with everything they bought when they last "modernized" their practice ten years ago. Upgrading will be prohibitively expensive, on the order of making the decision to hire one junior staff member for a year.

The same upgrade will cost the same in a year, or five years, so there's no business purpose to upgrade until they need to migrate to another platform, either due to lack of support for modern hardware as the existing gear ends its lifecycle, or because of a strategically imperative application that requires an upgrade.

They may need enough "modernity" in their web browser for industry sites and (increasingly) wikipedia, but most uses of web 2.0 will be shrugged off as inessential, whether it's Facebook or Highrise/Salesforce/whatever.

Bigger companies have to refresh hardware due to failure at a higher rate. As a result, they can retain a permanent staff of people who manage OS images and upgrade on a next-to-last type cycle. Smaller companies are often using "personal" grade equipment and will take the accelerated depreciation when they need to buy one new laptop because the old one is too slow.




I understand the issues with small businesses--believe me. I also understand that in those environments, getting Firefox installed doesn't magically break everything.

The purpose of having a list like this is to record the service providers who do have products out there that break using modern browsers--because they're ripe opportunities for "doing it righter and cheaper".

Do people not see how hard they are making the lives of future developers (or even their own lives down the road) by continuing to coddle these people?

Your vet example would be happy to switch to a cheaper service (cheaper because the devs were cheaper, because the tech is more modern and less finicky) if it were available, and a hitlist of companies ripe for displacement (due to running old platforms) would help the vet as much as help the devs.

This is so frustrating.


"Do people not see how hard they are making the lives of future developers (or even their own lives down the road) by continuing to coddle these people?

Your vet example would be happy to switch to a cheaper service (cheaper because the devs were cheaper, because the tech is more modern and less finicky) if it were available, and a hitlist of companies ripe for displacement (due to running old platforms) would help the vet as much as help the devs."

The benefit of change has to outweigh the cost. How long would they have to close, or "click over to the old system" with clients, until they were fully transitioned? These are not organizations that use webapps as their primary app delivery platform. (Or, rather, they don't know that's an embedded IE control in their x-ray viewing application.)

Who cares about the devs? Seriously, they are the group that should be paying for access to the markets, either via currency (buying software that makes this problem go away) or by labor (maintaining ten versions of their sites).

The problem is that most developers, and web developers especially, are squatting on the properties of large organizations with goals that are not always aligned with theirs. At best, we own our way down to the OS system call level. Increasingly, our dependencies are bound much higher in the application stack. .NET and Java versions can be changed out from under us, web browsers can be swapped out, and even features such as HTTP pipelining or keepalive can force us to reevaluate our scaling strategies.

I agree that the lack of control is frustrating. This is the nature of the industry.

For an example in another industry, read about Swatch Group's desire to stop supplying watch movements (and parts) on the open market. ETA has become so central in the industry (very similar to a late 90s MSFT) that the Swiss government became involved in slowing the policy change of a corporate entity. Even so, a number of smaller watchmakers will cease to exist because they won't be able to adapt.


How "modern" technology makes developers cheap?


>They will stay on XP for ages because it works with everything they bought when they last "modernized" their practice ten years ago.

AFAIK the only reason XP was supported for more than that was the Longhorn delays.


Many of these people don't care about "support" from Microsoft. They care about compatibility with some piece of mission critical software, whether it's a DOS-based app, an old FoxPro database that won't run on a newer release (compatibility mode what?), or an ancient version of Peachtree that can't be upgraded without going through ten intermediate versions.

Whether it's XP, 98, 95, NT, OS9, SCO, OS/360, etc. isn't really the issue. It's that customers need a reason to upgrade, and making life easier for a web developer is usually not that reason.


Many of these people don't care about "support" from Microsoft. They care about compatibility with some piece of mission critical software, whether it's a DOS-based app, an old FoxPro database that won't run on a newer release (compatibility mode what?), or an ancient version of Peachtree that can't be upgraded without going through ten intermediate versions.

Or, for a significant number of businesses, support for some expensive custom hardware that came with a software package that runs on (for example) Windows XP, but doesn't work because of the device driver architecture changes on Windows 7. The odds of places like that upgrading just to get a new version of IE are approximately zero, and even less if part of that software solution actually uses IE specifically.




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