PortableApps.com is considering ending Windows 2000 support for certain products. This blog post provides the background, the reasoning, and asks for community input.
Windows 2000 Background
Windows 2000 was end-of-lifed four years ago in July of 2010. Before being end-of-lifed, its usage was quite low. Today, Windows 2000 sees only about 0.03% usage in global market share and 0.06% in PortableApps.com website visitors. At this point in time, most important apps have long since dropped Windows 2000 support (all major browsers, office suites, email clients, FTP, etc).
Current Windows 2000 Support on PortableApps.com
At present, our tools (launcher, installer, appcompactor, etc) as well as our platform (menu, app store, updater, backup) continue to support Windows 2000. As most apps have dropped support for Windows 2000 and testing each release for when they do is burdensome, we no longer test or certify apps with Windows 2000 nor do we list Windows 2000 compatibility in the app directory on our website.
Issues With Windows 2000 Support
There are multiple issues with ongoing Windows 2000 support. One is that we no longer test on Windows 2000 for anything, including the platform. So, although we list Windows 2000 as supported, given features may stop working with any release.
A larger issue has to do with development. We're currently tied to Delphi XE2 for the menu portion of the platform as it is the last version with Windows 2000 support. This version is no longer supported and has some bugs that will never be fixed. It was released in 2011 and superseded by Delphi XE3 a year later. Newer releases of Delphi offer bug fixes and additional features that would make development and feature additions easier. The current release of Delphi is XE7 which released this month.
Ending Windows 2000 Support, Dropping Platform Compatibility
What we're considering is dropping Windows 2000 as a 'supported' OS across the board. Our packaging tools (launcher, installer, etc) would continue working with Windows 2000 as they are based on NSIS Unicode, but we would no longer support it nor list it as a supported OS. That way software publishers that wish to continue supporting Windows 2000 may continue to use our tools to do so, both for portablization and packaging. This may change, of course, as we update the tools to use newer versions of NSIS and associated plugins or migrate to another language and compiler. But we'll make a best effort to maintain support if publishers want it at present.
On the platform side, we'll likely upgrade the build process to use Delphi XE7. Test compiles already work without issue. Windows XP and up will continue to work as they do now. And we'd be well positioned to add more OS integration options and features on Windows 7, 8/8.1 and the upcoming 9 release. This will mean, however, that all future platform releases will fail to run on Windows 2000.
Possible Final Release
One thing we could do is offer a final release for Windows 2000 of the platform sans updater and continue to make that available for download. We've considered bundling versions of the last releases of some major apps that supported Windows 2000 as well, but that would be problematic. All of them (email, browser, FTP, office suite) have major security vulnerabilities and we shouldn't really be encouraging anyone to continue using them.
Windows XP Support Continues
It's worth noting that although Windows XP was end-of-lifed a few months ago in April of 2014, it remains popular in general worldwide and within the PortableApps.com userbase. Although some apps have begun to end support for Windows XP when the update to newer compilers (FileZilla, etc), we will continue to support Windows XP with all our tools and the platform for the forseeable future.
I'd like to hear the communities thoughts on this, which is why this post is here. So, if you have something to add, please chime in below. Thanks!