As I've mentioned elsewhere, I came to Modplug on Windows 98 which was actually being emulated on my Mac 8.1 with VirtualPC. This was back in 2005. In 2008 I switched from Apple to Windows XP because of the sheer amount of software available (as a matter of fact, there's a world of good software I'm still finding). I still have the same computer and I have no intention of moving up from XP, because it does enough, and I don't wish to be on the internet at home.
The reason I respond to this thread with serious concern is that one day, probably sooner than I'd like, I will also be on this list of ModPlug moving away from me because I see no need to stay with the latest-and-greatest OS.
As already stated in the issue tracker, we have no intention at all to remove Windows XP support anytime soon.
Just do me a favor: make sure the last one I can use is as stable as can be gotten. So even though you'll have to drop support because the rest of the world is at Windows 2020, I can still get my compositions done while I stay on XP.
This decision would have to be made when, in some speculative future time, dropping Windwos XP support would actually be on the table. Whether that would be feasable could depend on a whole lot of things, none of which anyone can predict right now.
With respect to the current case, we do not have any intention to continue providing further bug fixes for OpenMPT 1.26 once 1.27 is released.
One other thing: I wouldn't believe your magical update system — there are a lot of people who don't let you know what computer they're using, all for their own reasons. You have ZERO way of determining or even speculating how many computers are actually using ModPlug, and because of lack of accountability as well as randomity, Statistical Analysis is useless. It's the same problem with the internet as a whole — you don't know what's on the other end of the feed.
You are correct that we cannot reliably estimate the total number of OpenMPT users or their respective frequency of use.
However, in order to make any descision whatsoever at all, we must base that decision on the best available data that we have. Otherwise it would just be guessing everything.
You are guessing that the percentage of users not using the update mechanism is bigger on older systems than on newer systems. I do not question that, in fact I am expecting the same thing.
That question could be answered by collecting browser statistics on the openmpt.org download page (and mapping them to system versions), and correlating those with the statistics we see in OpenMPT installations using the update checker. However, as far as I know (Saga Musix may correct me on this), we are not collecting these.
I'm not even sure if we are collecting download count statistics at all. However, even if we did, this would not allow us to correlate this number to the percentage of users not enabling the update checker, because people might download OpenMPT from download sites other than openmpt.org itself. Downloading OpenMPT from other sites is totally fine by the OpenMPT license and we can neither actually change or prohibit that, nor do we want to do that.
Thus, we are left with what we have available, which is the count of OpenMPT installations having enabled the update checker as well as anonymous statistics (which both are enabled by default for new installs). In addition to the system statistics we gather when anonymous statistics are enabled by the user, we also get to know the version and build variant that does the update check (even without anonymous statistics, as this part is essential to the way the update check is currently implemented (and has been in the past)). Thus we can somewhat estimate whether users of the Win32old build variant tend to be more reluctant to enabling statistics. We are not seeing that - in fact it's the opposite if I am reading the numbers correctly. However that may also be due to old versions which did not make a distinction between Win32 and Win32old.
Anyway, if we do not want to trust the numbers that we are collecting, we could turn to other published statistics about desktop operating system use. Wikipedia has a whole article about these at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems
. Leaving aside what these statistics actually measure as well as their precise methodology, they also show that even Windows 2000 fell below 0.1% share more than 5 years ago.
Since I have been working on OpenMPT (which is about 3.5 years by now, I think), as far as I can remember, there has not been even a single bug report from any user on Windows 98 SE, Windows ME or Windows 2000, or any other indication at all that we have any actual users on these systems. OpenMPT was even broken and did not run at all for about half a year because we had missed that an UnRAR update had broken OpenMPT on these systems - again, noone complained at all.
I cannot imagine any stronger indication that we could require to back up our decision than the indications we have collected so far.
Frankly, even if we did see users on 98, ME or 2000, in my opinion the benefits of dropping pre Windows XP support would still outweight the harm done to users on these systems. I cannot tell where the turning point would be, but that question is simply nothing to think about currently, as we have the strongest indication possible of having no users on these systems.
Your other reasons for letting go of the older-OS users may be valid, but it's not because of how many end-users are using what OS. Just call it what it is: it's inconvenient for you and YOU want to stay with the latest builder.
Let me change the perspective here a bit. You are an OpenMPT user and want the OpenMPT developers to continue supporting OpenMPT on outdated systems. However, as current development tools do not allow targeting the outdated systems, the developers are forced to use outdated development tools which are not supported anymore and do not even run on modern systems at all, which means the developers are even forced to use outdated systems themselves.
OpenMPT users deserve to get the (questionable, in my opinion) benefits of old systems support but developers must suffer because they must stay with outdated systems themselves? I honestly do not think that expectation can be called fair by any reasonable measure. (Being forced to use C++98 instead of C++11 in 2016 could be compared to having to do mixing and arranging your music with 4 track tape machines instead of a DAW or tracker, let alone constantly having to repair the tape because it constantly tends to fructure and catch fire in surprising ways (akin to working around bugs in old compilers and systems) - the analogy is probably bad in a lot of aspects, but I tried to find something in the audio field)
I think you are also missing another important point: Supporting old systems is not only inconvenient for us developers but also for the users. As already stated before, we once again ran into a bug in Visual Studio 2008 while implementing a new feature. Now, I could myself take the burden and, even though I have the strongest possible indication that noone would care anyway, try working around the problem and determine why this ancient compiler just crashes, wasting an unknown amount of hours in the process which would be lost from other work on OpenMPT; - or I could simply remove that feature again and thereby hinder progress and hurt all other users on modern system; - or, we could finally remove the cumbersome support for outdated platforms just as planned. This isn't just some theoretical hypothetical situation - it's the situation right now.
As long as you allow users to open files of any age, which you've stated is your mission, I think your justifications are valid.
Sure, that will not change of course. It's even more important for libopenmpt (and the primary goal of libopenmpt) than it is for OpenMPT itself (not saying that it's not important for OpenMPT also).