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AutoIt Operating System Support

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#1 ·  Posted

I'm seriously considering dropping support for Windows 9x and Window NT 4. They aren't supported by Microsoft any more, noone else is writing stuff for them and I feel like we only do it out of habit (and my stubborness).

The last compiler that could even build an .exe that would run on 95/NT4 was Visual Studio 2003. Visual Studio 2005 and the newly released 2008 don't create files that will run on these systems anymore. (Well you can "hack" bits of the C Runtime in 2005 to make it run, but it's not pretty and it's not working for us with 2008). Using 5 year old compilers isn't pleasant. We like using new stuff :P At some point we'll end up having to run an older compiler in a virtual machine just to build! That would suck.

You may have seen that in the last round of betas a number of these didn't run on 95/NT4 - this is because we have to jump through hoops to trick them into running and we don't always get it right and it's difficult to test. Recent versions of the compiler helpfiles sometimes ignore the older OSes and you have to guess whether an API will work or not. This "hoopage" also adds an amount of exe size - I'm guessing around 10-50KB which is not much but we could "compile for speed" rather than "for size" and make better use of it. It also adds complexity to our code and we have to have a number of .exe files and aut2exe compiled files to run on these old systems (AutoIt3A etc.). This also has an impact on additional components like Scite.

I always said that I would support operating systems as long as I came across them as part of my job. Well, I've had to write a single pre-Windows 2000 script in the last two years - and that was just a WinWait/Send script. I've also starting thinking what the "big deal" would be if someone had to use 3.2.10.0 (current release) in order to write a script to support these systems - does it really need to be the latest version? I'm thinking not. Why not just leave a link up to the last Win95 compatible version on the website and move on?

I'm proposing to move to Visual Studio 2008 and target Windows 2000 and above only (Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, Longhorn, Win PE). All the "A"/ANSI versions would be removed.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but I'm leaning heavily to the side that ditches support.

Discuss.


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#2 ·  Posted

I'm all for ditching them. Over the last few years, I've rarely *seen* an NT4 box, much less have a need to support them, even in my huge corporate environment(s) during the workday. We've taken the same stance - MS has gone far beyond the support lifecycle period, and so have we.

I'd assume having an archived "known good" build posted for those instances where someone would need the code would be sufficient.

For myself, every byte of compiled filesize reduction is a plus when deploying scripts to remote sites w/ slow pipes.


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#3 ·  Posted

Well, sooner or later that thing(if under MS), it had to happen.

Why not just leave a link up to the last Win95 compatible version on the website and move on?

I agree.

At the moment, I stayed with XP, but at least I think that decision would be an open door to new possibilities in AutoIt.

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#4 ·  Posted

I support ditching the older systems. I haven't seen any older systems except for the 98 virtual machine I still have around. And I don't write programs for it, I keep it for sentimental value.

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#5 ·  Posted

Win9x and NT4 have pretty much gone the way of the carrier pigeon. I haven't even seen a Win9x box in more than two years. I did see an NT box - in a box that was a dedicated device controller.

So.... dropping support for those OS platforms makes sense given your compiler not supporting those environments.

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#6 ·  Posted

Sounds reasonable.

I vote for dropping all pre-Win2K Windows support, with a forum sticky saying which was the latest version that had it.

:P


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#7 ·  Posted

Agreed. The last script I saw for 98 was a BSOD colour changer :P

As much as I like 98 it's not really worth supporting it now.

James

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#8 ·  Posted

I'm in favor of ditching it Jon. I may have the odd occasion to use it but for those rare times I could just run it from my portable drive. As long as I remember not to use the right-click compile etc. Even that could be overcome by changing the file extensions the same as I used to for testing files under tha Beta version. Or better yet just leave the current ANSI files (and a copy of the current help file) in the AutoIt folder and I can still use my Compile ANSI option.


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#9 ·  Posted

I rebuilt 2 NT4 systems last week - both tool controllers (one SP3 , other SP5)

It was awful - trying to find drivers for 10 year old graphics cards, touch screen drivers, SCSI drivers and mal-functioning NICs - let alone remembering how to do it.....

I do have scripts that need to run on some NT4.

If there was just one version available that could run on older PCs - that would be enough. There is enough functionality in the present exe to do anything I would need to do with these NT4 boxes.

I would rather you were able to concentrate on new features and more speed - than trying to make new features backward compatible.

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#10 ·  Posted

You're driving the bus so it's your choice Jon. Personally, I'm in favour of ditching them but only because I use XP. I can see it may dishearten those still using pre 2K Windows (are there any left?) because when it comes time to ditching support for XP, I'll probably feel the same, however, no point in crippling AutoIt by having it support OS's no longer in general use.

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#12 ·  Posted

I agree wholeheartedly. I haven't seen any OS earlier than Win2000 being run in at least a few years.. If removing support for these will do good for AutoIt, I'm all for removing it.


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#13 ·  Posted

Darn, no more Autoit in school :P

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#14 ·  Posted

I say ditch'em, won't find and business worth it's salt using OS not supported.


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#15 ·  Posted

I've also starting thinking what the "big deal" would be if someone had to use 3.2.10.0 (current release) in order to write a script to support these systems - does it really need to be the latest version? I'm thinking not. Why not just leave a link up to the last Win95 compatible version on the website and move on?

I agree.

I'm using WIN98SE on 2 home machines one of them with very old HW which can't run newer OS

and one of them I'm going to upgrade to XP soon.

Some of my friends are still using WIN 98/2000 on old HW machines too.

But I agree that WIN98 is not supported anymore and becomes rare in wide public.

This was only question of time when it happens.

I think this Jon's solution will be very good compromise:

To have 3.2.10 version publicitly advertised/retained (with download links) as latest version with ANSI support.

I must weep for now because I'm involved in this BIG change ;)

It's evolution: Survive only the best ones  :P

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#16 ·  Posted

Darn, no more Autoit in school :P

Your school is still running those ancient versions? I imagine that's almost counter-productive to teaching people anything with...

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#17 ·  Posted

My school science lab uses old Win95 Intergraph computers. But They recently upgraded the rest of the school with Dell and XP, but guessingly decided not to update the science lab ones.

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#18 ·  Posted

Your school is still running those ancient versions? I imagine that's almost counter-productive to teaching people anything with...

Yep, every pc in my school runs Windows 98. Even our laptops.

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#19 ·  Posted

Wow, that sucks.

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#20 ·  Posted

I'm all for leaving behind older OS's... it provides the developers with more time to make more changes that help a majority of people.

Has anybody's school changed to all (or mostly) Vista yet? The computer people at my school think Vista is a bit unstable concerning networks and stuff like that...


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