Microsoft: Make Windows 98 Open Source/ Free Software
There is a large community of nostalgic geeks and developers who love old, archaic versions of Microsoft Windows. Unfortunately its source code is still proprietary and closed-source. This is a mistake. Old versions of Windows simply lose support and security updates. If you find a bug you cannot fix it, and Microsoft certainly will not fix it as its support ended decades ago. If you go online with anything from Windows 95 to Windows Vista you are going to get hacked. They remain closed source and essentially become abandonware. Some of us still use old versions of Windows on old machines, which have out of necessity become air-gapped, offline machines. We want to be able to modify them, to fix bugs, and collectively harden them. But for this we need to be able to read and modify the code.
That's what we advocate: Old systems (say all non-NT based, obsolete versions of Windows) should be released under a free (as in freedom) software license. Imagine Windows 98 CE (Community Edition). What wonder it would be for people to rediscover their old machines in the new world! Microsoft's recent support of Linux gives me hope that maybe they will open up at least the most archaic and ancient of these systems to the public. What respect the Free Software community would gain for Microsoft!
Microsoft doesn't have to go out of its way to maintain security updates for ancient operating systems. All it has to do is get out of the way and hand over the keys to these dead digital kingdoms to the public. Thousands of developers the world over in their spare time would pour through the now liberated source code of these old operating systems, hardening them against known attacks and updating them so that they could be used online! What competition can such an operating system have with, say, Windows 10? It would almost certainly only be used by us geeks who have a nostalgic appreciation for old operating systems. What does Microsoft have to lose? What a gesture it would be!
Microsoft, please open up these old versions of Windows to the public!