Software Dependent Devices... Do they now need expiration dates like Milk?

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Software Dependent Devices... Do they now need expiration dates like Milk?

Post by circuitbored » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:12 pm

So Angular 9 was just released and it's only been around since 2016 (a little over 3 years). PHP has been around since 1995 (a little over 25 years) and is only on version 7... Windows 7 is still deployed on a massive world-wide scale, yet in January this year, Microsoft announced they'd no longer support Windows 7 with critical updates, forcing many people to buy a newer instance of their OS. Tons of people purchased windows 7 without knowing about it's support retirement date, as a matter of fact, it's probably still being sold in many places around the world right now to unsuspecting victims...

As we become more software dependent, we also have to consider how we can inject more stability to REDUCE the need for updates and obsolescence over time. Testing increases stability often in our world, but testing now is often an overlooked SDLC process because it doesn't usually generate income for companies, and actually increases delay in releases and increases project cost. Testing increases product quality and stability, which we should acknowledge ARE valuable characteristics in any outcome.

Hardware now (storage, memory, and processing power) are finite in devices like most mobile phones, eventually due to storage, and processing power, they slow down and eventually need to be retired. This aspect of hardware has driven migration of technology to the cloud, and has thus made us even more dependent on Software quality, stability, and security.

The process of applying frequent updates to systems devices is quite costly to companies and us as consumers as well. Updates are now frequently required for most IOT devices, phones and software-driven vehicles to fix bugs and security vulnerabilities, which can often be anticipated and avoided with healthy test cycles during original phases of product development. Many software and virtual systems in the business world are initially deployed, and then not updated until a compromise occurs, simply because updates are not usually an income generating process for most companies.

As technology we use becomes more prevalent in every device we use and intertwined into more critical roles like AI running transportation systems, many of these systems that are updated VERY Frequently.

Many things like cell phones and vehicles that are beginning to be totally software dependent also by nature become HARDWARE DEPENDENT, meaning that unlike in the past when these things used to last for many years, now they need to be retired because they fall outside of capabilities to support future updates.

IOT devices have been quite controversial in the past few years, as they suddenly become "bricked" or dropped from support by their manufacturers as support networks and equipment need to be retired because the initial revenue to fund those support systems dries up, and as capabilities do not support compatibility with new solutions.

The main questions citing this that I have are:

Should manufacturers issue expiration/decommission dates on technology reliant software-driven things?

Are technology companies and developers rushing major updates and platforms too quick without enough R&D and consideration of potential vulnerability?

If we continue to pay high prices for consumer electronics and software dependent products and cars that can be arbitrarily retired from support by a company at future dates, we're RENTING these products, NOT BUYING them, and that should possibly be a new required disclosure by manufacturerers.

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