Worried over Microsoft shutting down support to its XP Operating System and the likely burden on your budget for migration to a newer OS version?

Activists of the Free Software Movement of India say you had better switch to free software that can easily substitute the proprietary, costly licences of Microsoft. “When you migrate, it involves a lot of cost on hardware upgrades and migration. Besides buying the OS copy of a higher version, users need to upgrade their hardware so that their systems can support the new OS,” Y Kiran Chandra, General Secretary of the Free Software Movement of India, told Business Line.

Quoting studies, he said the Government of India alone would require Rs 10,000 crore for the migration and hardware upgrades.

Microsoft stopped support to Windows XP on April 8, asking its users to migrate to higher versions of OS. Those who do not migrate would be exposed to bugs as the IT major has decided to stop fixing them. A number of organisations in the country, including public sector undertakings, private companies, and educational institutions still rely on Windows XP, exposing them to security vulnerabilities.

“It is time we move to free software solutions. We strongly recommend that all companies, educational institutions and the healthcare industry switch to these solutions based on GNU/Linux. We offer support to any organisation that wants to migrate to free-software-based systems,” he said.

“Windows XP is known to be vulnerable to virus attacks, malicious software and critical security bugs. With Microsoft officially discontinuing support to it, it will leave the critical computing infrastructure of most of these companies at a huge risk,” he said.

The FSMI is planning to meet representatives of all political parties and other stakeholders to drive the message.

He said countries such as China and the European Union members were embracing free software in a big way. “We should also encourage people in general and corporations to switch to free software,” he said.

(This article was published on April 19, 2014)
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