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Firefox To Drop Support For Windows 98, Me

Mozilla will drop support for the nearly obsolete operating systems when it releases Firefox 3.0 in 2007. Some users criticized the decision.
Mozilla Corp. will drop support for the almost-obsolete Windows 98 and Windows Millennium operating systems when it releases Firefox 3.0 sometime in 2007, the company said last week.

Surprisingly, the decision -- which closely followed a move by Microsoft not to patch a critical bug in Windows 98 and Millennium -- was met with some resistance.

One contributor to Bugzilla, the database of fixes for Firefox and other Mozilla software, immediately added a "counter bug" entry questioning the decision.

"Mozilla is running on some other platforms having smaller numbers, so why kill Win98?" wrote someone identified as Hermann Schwab. "If you want to kill it, please don't do it silently in the backyard by checking in something in the trunk, but do a survey about market shares of OS in the new installed (or updated) Firefox."

Mozilla developer Gervase Markham, however, proposed knocking out support for Windows 98 and Millennium not with next year's Firefox 3.0, but starting with Firefox 2.0, which is scheduled to release in August.

"The key point is that after July 11th, 2006, Microsoft will no longer be providing even critical security updates for any of the Win 9x family," Markham wrote on his blog. "I argue that continuing to support these operating systems in a browser or other Internet-facing product after vendor security support ceases is actually irresponsible, because it gives users the idea that they can continue to safely use those operating systems for surfing the Internet."

Users commenting on Markham's blog were almost unanimously against his idea. A sample was a message by someone identified only as "Alfonso."

"If Firefox 2 works in 98 I can't understand a good reason to say [to] those users, 'Hey, we won't give you this version. We know that it works, but we don't like your OS, so move away and leave us alone.'"

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