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Date:      Fri, 29 Mar 2013 16:38:14 +0000
From:      Matthew Seaman <>
Subject:   Re: EOL
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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On 29/03/2013 15:19, David Thurber wrote:
> I have 5 XP machines on my node that are used to crunch data 24/7. So,
> I'm looking for an OS platform that has a 10 year EOL to replace XP/3.
> What I got from your website appears to be a year or two at most on
> freebsd 8.3, and we really don't want to repeat the travails of the
> transition from 98SE to XP/3 after this one because the research team
> will be mostly mid 80's early 90"s by then.  It's a lot of data fetched=

> over the web so we need security updates to keep the OS secure with
> minimal interaction.

10 years is an eternity in computing terms.  In 10 years your five
machines will be easily outclassed by a single machine costing a
fraction as much, if Moore's Law holds up.  In fact, by then you could
probably virtualize all five onto the same platform and still come out

Might I suggest that your best option is not to look for an OS which has
a 10-year release lifetime; something I think you'ld struggle to find
from any FOSS project, and would probably have to pay exhorbitantly for
from a commercial provider.

Instead, look for an OS where you can maintain a configuration
environment for the lifetime of your project.  By that I mean you can
still run the original binaries.  In this respect, I think FreeBSD would
be one of the better choices.

I mean, 10 years ago, FreeBSD 5.0 and 5.1 were the latest releases.
Now, that release branch had its problems, but it marked the last hugely
incompatible change across major version updates (as seen in the 3 -> 4
and 4 -> 5 upgrades).  In principle, given a suitable set of compat5x
libraries (ie. the misc/compat5x port) and a kernel compiled with
'options COMPAT_FREEBSD5' (which is in the default kernel), you could
run software compiled for 5.x on a contemporary system.

Of course, there can't be any guarantees that your project running on
FreeBSD 9.2 now could be supported in compat9x mode on FreeBSD 15.x in
2023.  But I'd suggest the FreeBSD is probably one of your best bets for
achieving that.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.

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