Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Millennium Edition will stop getting security updates next month. Firefox 3, due out next year, will require Windows 2000 or later. A lot of controversy has erupted over the wisdom of these decisions.
But how many people are still using these older versions of Windows? And how quickly are they switching to newer versions?
Exact numbers are tricky to measure on the web, but trends… trends, you can measure. So, I present: the percentage* of Windows users visiting hyperborea.org using the Windows 9x series over the past three years.
As you can see, the Win9x/Me share has been dropping precipitously for at least three years, exhibiting a half-life of one year. Assuming this trend continues, it will drop to roughly 2.5% by this time next year. Admittedly still ahead of this month’s Linux stats, but then Linux doesn’t seem to be shrinking by 50% every year. This may be accelerated by Microsoft dropping security support, and by the release of Windows Vista, currently due sometime early next year.
I think it’s safe to say that the Windows 9x series is dying out.
*Calculated by summing the number of hits recorded by AWStats for Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME, then dividing by the total number of hits for all versions of Windows.
I may be in the minority, but I would still use 98se if it was feasible. OK, so it crashed more, but when it did, I could get out of it. XP doesn’t let me do anything but hit the power button when it gets angry.