Petition Calls for Microsoft to Make Windows 7 Free!

With Windows 7 entering its end of life earlier this month, many users have had to make the rather tough decision of sticking with the operating system (and running risks with no further security updates) or lumping the move over to Windows 10.

Well, technically, users do also have the option to pay for extended support, but we daresay most ‘home’ consumers aren’t going to bother with that. It seems, however, that there has been an unusual twist in the death of Windows 7.

Windows 7 Petition Calls for it to Go Open Source!

The FSF (Free Software Foundation), a once vocal critic of the operating system, has just launched a petition. In it, they are calling on Microsoft to make the Windows 7 free to download.

The official website (which you can check out here) reads as follows:

On January 14th, Windows 7 reached its official “end-of-life,” bringing an end to its updates as well as its ten years of poisoning education, invading privacy, and threatening user security. The end of Windows 7’s lifecycle gives Microsoft the perfect opportunity to undo past wrongs, and to upcycle it instead.

We call on them to release it as free software, and give it to the community to study and improve. As there is already a precedent for releasing some core Windows utilities as free software, Microsoft has nothing to lose by liberating a version of their operating system that they themselves say has “reached its end.”

To the executives at Microsoft:

– We demand that Windows 7 be released as free software. Its life doesn’t have to end. Give it to the community to study, modify, and share.
– We urge you to respect the freedom and privacy of your users – not simply strongarm them into the newest Windows version.
– We want more proof that you really respect users and user freedom, and aren’t just using those concepts as marketing when convenient.

What Do We Think?

In a nutshell? This is not going to happen. Microsoft would never consider releasing an operating system for ‘free’. Not, at least, not until they were 100% certain that it was absolutely dead and obsolete.

There were similar calls when Windows XP support ended 6 years ago and, even now, Microsoft hasn’t released a free version of it to the public and there’s a very good reason for it.

Namely, that as much as Microsoft may not want it to be so, people (and companies) are still using both operating systems. In fact, the last check showed that roughly 26% of users were still running Windows 7 with around 3-5% still rocking Windows XP. Releasing a free version could potentially allow for all manner of poking and prodding within it and, who knows, perhaps the discovery of even more exploits that Microsoft wasn’t aware of.

Yes, the community could undoubtedly improve it (particularly if they had the source code, which is what I think the petition is really driving at), but Microsoft, quite simply, is not going to want to take that risk!

So, as much as some of you may admire the FSF and their petition, the chances of this happening (ever) are practically zilch!

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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