XP-Replacement for Parents

Smylers Smylers at stripey.com
Thu Mar 27 16:04:05 GMT 2014

Raphael Mankin wrote directly to me, but has given me permission to
reply on the list:

> On Thu, 2014-03-27 at 11:48 +0000, Smylers wrote:
> > • Ubuntu:  The OS will install, but I don't know if Mum's scanner will
> >   work with it, and I'm pretty sure it won't work in the same way, where
> >   pressing a physical button on the scanner causes some HP application
> >   to open on the desktop with the scanned document.
> It almost certainly will. You will probably have to install a driver
> for it - assuming it is usb. I run scanners on my Ubuntu boxes.

It's wireless; does that affect your answer?

> >   Also, Mum has years of correspondence in WordPerfect files.
> >   LibreOffice claims to be able to open WordPerfect documents, but I
> >   haven't tried it and don't know how well it'd do. And anyway,
> >   LibreOffice isn't as good as WordPerfect is.
> Libreoffice will handle WP files with no probs. The layout rules
> differ slightly, but she should soon adapt.

That's pleasing, too. LibreOffice seems far from perfect at coping with
the vastly more widespread Word format, so I wasn't expecting it to do
much with the lessor-known WordPerfect. But maybe it's because
WordPerfect files are easier to parse than Word files (they could hardly
be worse).

> > • Newer Windows:  Would the latest Windows run on her hardware? Even
> >   if it did, would it run her several-years-old version of
> >   WordPerfect? And has its interface and so on changed so much that
> >   it would be at least as unfamiliar to Mum as changing to Ubuntu
> >   would?
> > 
> >   Or would a newer-than-XP-but-not-the-most-recent version of Windows be
> >   better? In which case, is it still possible to buy such a version? And
> >   how long till the same question crops up again with that?
> If going for M$, go for win 7, not 8.

Thanks. Would XP upgrade to 7, or would we have to wipe and re-install?

Is a decade-old (I'm guessing) laptop likely to cope with Windows 7?

And how long does this buy us? Does 7 have an end-of-life date?

> > • Stay with XP:  What does XP no longer being supported mean?
> >   Obviously IE won't get security fixes any more, but the latest
> >   Firefox says it still works on XP, so as long as she sticks with
> >   Firefox, what are the risks to her?
> Security is the whole issue with M$.

Indeed, but Mum (and Dad) have been coping fine so far without any
security problems we're aware of.

I guess what I'm actually interested in is, what is the additional risk
continuing to run XP beyond April 8th (with an up-to-date Firefox) which
Mum isn't already taking by using it now?

Or to put it the other way round: what is it that Microsoft are
currently providing for her, and which they won't be doing after
April 8th.

The question isn't “What's the most secure system we can think of?”, but
“Given the current set-up has been fine till now, what's the least we
can do to stay in a similar position?”.

Thank you all for your responses.


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