Microsoft misjudges customer loyalty with kill-XP plea
This is what happens when your business model is built on continued dependency, not to mention planned obsolescence.
The Linux community is not immune to this either. The most popular distros like Ubuntu are becoming more Microsoft-like in their O/S design every day.
Any software that depends on continuous upgrades just to maintain existing functionality will always be "extortion-able."
How many of us would own a car that had to be upgraded every year or two just to keep running?
The solution is to stop designing software that allows only one version to be installed on a system at a time. Almost all software is like this today even though multiple copies of the executable itself would usually run just fine together. The problem is that the executables are designed to expect one and one one copy of the config files and other resources.
Only minor design changes would be necessary to allow multiple versions to be installed on the same system. This would dramatically ease migrating to new versions by removing the #1 obstacle that delays upgrades... insuring 100% compatibility with mission-critical functionalities.
Patching vulnerabilities in old versions is largely an exercise in futility. There are far more highly motivated malicious actors out there than there are legitimate developers.
The only realistic way to secure a system is with detailed, comprehensive, continuous inventorying. Computers sit idle more than they are in use. Instead of running some goofy "screensaver," they should be setup to use the time to automatically look for unauthorized files and insure that executables have not been altered.
To use an analogy, we should stop running to Dr. AntiMalware (i.e. a sales opportunity) all the time and instead boost our computers' "immune systems" to better feed on those foreign substances.