Should SQL Server 'Denali' Support XP?
I'm torn whether the next version of SQL Server should be backward compatible or move forward.
When I first glanced at the proposed list of OSes to be supported in the next version of SQL Server, code-name Denali, I actually thought: "Windows XP isn't supported? That's odd. There are a lot of XP machines still out there."
My immediate second thought was: "No, that's cool. It's getting too long in the tooth. Time to move on."
But it appears a lot of SQL Server developers agreed with thought No. 1. Yes, the nearly 10-year-old OS still has its proponents in the dev field (it's hard to believe XP was actually released to manufacturers before we all knew about Osama bin Laden).
Case in point was this reader's response to the blog announcing Microsoft's supported OSes and upgrade plans:
"Sadly, that Windows XP is not supported. I know many developers use SQL Server Express + SSMS on their Windows XP corporate workstations. And they do not plan to move to Windows 7 soon. I do understand, that life is going on, but still ... I wish it would support XP."
There were many more posts like that one, leading to a good deal of give-and-take among the readers on both sides of the issue. Two readers reported companies they worked at (or recently worked at) still had more than 10,000 XP machines!
Comments like those made me gravitate back to my thought No. 1. After all, Wikipedia says, Microsoft continued to sell XP through certain channels up until the beginning of 2010. And the Denali CTP was released later that year. Isn't it a bit premature to abandon the vast XP user base in introducing an important new SQL Server release when XP hasn't even been officially expired for much more than a year and half? Granted, I don't know when Denali will be officially released, but a lot of people think it might be this year.
But other readers make good points, too. Like this:
Good list and I support it. No reason to go backwards anymore. Those companies that still run XP on every desktop and mandate it, or have SQL2K, aren't going to run to Denali. If they think they need it, they'll make exceptions for the people that need it.
Any IT professional that wants to work on Denali, but has XP at work. Either invest in a machine that you can run it on at home or learn to set up a VM, but there is no reason for MS to invest time or testing efforts into supporting XP at this point.
Those kinds of comments made me reconsider thought No. 2.
Ah, I'm just too darned wishy-washy. Decide for me. Which should it be? Comment here or drop me a line.
David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.