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Dec 28 2016

Mozilla to Cut Firefox Support for Windows XP and Vista

We all know from experience that many long-term liaisons between browsers and operating systems were created for rational grounds rather than because of immediate or emerging bonds of sympathy between two software makers. Surprisingly enough, though, such strained relationships are often among the longest-lasting in the industry – as was the case with Mozilla's Firefox browser and Microsoft's discontinued-but-not-yet-completely-deceased OS's.

However, since Microsoft retired Windows XP for good in 2014 and will pull the plug on Windows Vista in April 2017, Mozilla's development team decided the time was right to phase out support for the prehistoric platforms as well. Hence, Firefox 52, which is due in early March, will be the last "complete update" including both functional and security enhancements. Afterwards, adamant XP and Vista users will continue to receive security updates until September before Mozilla follows in Microsoft's footsteps and discontinues support for both OS's altogether. More details are available from Mozilla's support page.

The move is a (somewhat belated) acknowledgement of the fact that no matter how hard its developers may try, no single piece of software can compensate for typical shortcomings, such as missing security updates or popular exploits, that render unsupported operating systems unfit for use in any environment – whether at home, at the office or on the go. Moreover, Firefox is by now the only among the five most popular browsers to offer such a level of backwards compatibility, even though the 'extended maintenance' bound many programming and financial resources that could otherwise have been used to modernize and accelerate Mozilla's browser and its various rendering engines. Long-time Firefox fans will therefore most likely support the shift. In contrast, remaining XP and Vista users now have one less reason to stick with their favored OS and will thus be forced to run a long-overdue platform upgrade – either to Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 if they want to stay with Microsoft, or to one in a swarm of Linux distributions


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