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Skymark Airlines still using Windows XP

22 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Skymark Airlines might not be as well-known as Japan’s two largest carriers, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airlines, but it’s still Japan’s biggest air travel provider outside the JAL and ANA corporate umbrellas. As a machinery-reliant company in an advanced economy, you’d probably expect Skymark to be on the technological cutting edge in each and every aspect of its business, but Japanese traveler and Twitter user @imogine0000 recently learned otherwise.

After arriving at the airport to hop a Skymark flight to his destination, @imogine0000 headed to the carrier’s bank of self-check-in terminals. However, before he could complete the process a glitch occurred, and the terminal had to shut itself down. As the system began to reboot @imogine0000 recognized the DOS/V startup screen, and figured Skymark’s check-in terminals were probably running on Windows 10, but it turned out his guess was way off…like almost two decades off.

It turns out that Japan’s largest independent air carrier, at least at the airport @imogine0000 was flying out of, still runs Windows XP for its self-check-in machines. For those of you who haven’t memorized the family tree of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows XP was released all the way back in 2001, and was pushed aside with the introduction of Windows Vista in 2007. Windows XP is five generations older than the current standard, Windows 10, and Microsoft officially ended support for the system six years ago. Heck, the day @imogine0000 sent his tweet, Jan 14, was also the day that service ended for Windows 7, the successor to XP’s successor Vista.

But while plenty of people were surprised to see the practically ancient OS rise from the dead like this, other commenters could feel a certain logic in the situation.

“There are a lot of internal business devices that still run on XP. Sometimes I see them when I’m at hospitals. Basically as long as you don’t need the terminal to connect to the Internet, it works just fine.”

“If it’s not connecting to the Internet, there aren’t any additional security risks from using XP, so it’ll do the job.”

“XP is a fine OS. I still run it on my non-online connected PC.”

“No problem there. I still have a PC I run Windows 2000 on, and it works fine and dandy.”

But even if Skymark could continue using Windows XP, why would it? The popular theory is tied to the company’s status as a low-cost carrier. Skymark can’t compete with JAL and ANA in terms of luxury or the number of routes/planes it flies, and instead attracts customers by offering much more affordable tickets. In turn, it needs to stay focused on keeping operating costs down, and upgrading every self check-in terminal it’s already installed in airports across the country would be a major expense. So as long as using old tech isn’t presenting any risks to passenger safety, security, or convenience, Skymark appears to be taking the philosophy of “If it’s not broken, why fix it?” which isn’t an entirely shocking school of thought regarding technology in Japan.

Source: Twitter/@imogine0000 via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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Newer isn't always better, provided that any risks are mitigated. New programs also has risks, some of which cannot be mitigated so the choice becomes the devil you know really well vs the devil you know very little.

But we all need to pick our battles.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Many banks still use code written in the 70's or early 80's.

Plenty of servers are running ancient distributions of some form of unix or very old linux.

If it's working, and if a better solution hasn't been made, why risk an upgrade?

Yes there are security risks, but if the devices running old software are not connected to the internet and are physically secure from tampering by random citizens, ancient servers and software can run for decades without issue and still serve their purposes well.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Windows XP SP2 was faster and more stable than ANY version of Windows Vista. Microsoft had to replace the kernel for the OS and that even made it worse. Additionally this hyperbole of Window's Vista numbers is based on purchases that Microsoft forced both vendors and customers had to make in order to roll back to get the OS that they wanted, Windows XP. Windows XP is doing just fine running bank ATM machines and at the time of being unseated had the lions share of OS market.

Windows 10 is another Microsoft kill box. Either you update or you current Windows 10 version is NO-LONGER-SUPPORTED. Fly on that logic...

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Time to upgrade to Linux.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Microsoft is stopping upgrades for home use Windows 7 and earlier. Companies can still get upgrades.

I suspect the version of XP used by Skymark is an embedded version built into the machines. Embedded versions of Windows are used in teller machines, POS machines and so on. Such machines have limited usage. For example, you cannot receive email an open files on an ATM as all you can do is certain bank transactions.

If you are still running Windows 7 at home, you can still upgrade for free. I just did so.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

20 years ago in the US, I sold computers and software to small businesses. Many of them were still using MS-DOS for simple applications, and so did I with our in-house ordering and invoicing systems. Bulletproof and never crashed. XP was the first Windows product that was stable and reliable. It would still be around in even more locations, but software developers kept writing programs that needed more power than it could deliver.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Why have the Japanese produce an operating system

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“If it’s not connecting to the Internet, there aren’t any additional security risks from using XP, so it’ll do the job.”

So, were these self check-in terminals connected to the internet or not?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most of Japan's public admin, including hospitals, is still using either Windows XP, or Windows 7. The govt does not want to shell out for a current OS. Japan still hasn't forgiven Microsoft for solving the OS Balkinization problem that plagued Japan until the early '90's, when each vendor sold its own mutually-incompatibale OS and software in hopes of establishing a dominant market position. Had it not been for Microsoft, Most of Japan would still be using NEC, Hitachi and Toshiba OS...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is a check in system, it connects to network hence it is still a security risk.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not really surprising considering how backward Japan is in terms of IT technology.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

probably still have to use a fax machine to communicate too like the Japan Coastguard and Customs

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is a check in system, it connects to network hence it is still a security risk.

Not nearly the same as being internet connected. Air-gapped networks wouldn't have much risk for WinXP.

Rick - WinXP was NOT the first stable OS from Microsoft. WinNT 3.51 was over 5 yrs before. WinNT 4 was a joy to use and stable for over 30 days at a time.

Calling MS-Dos bulletproof isn't accurate either. Due to the architecture, any program or TSR had full access to the memory used by any other program. It was common to see 1 program write to RAM used by other programs.

The best thing that ever happened for MS-Dos was OS/2 which could run DOS in protected memory and prevent system crashes. OS/2 was the best MS-Dos programming environment I ever used.

Moving from Win7 -- Win10 is most definitely NOT any upgrade. It is a downgrade. Further, it isn't the only choice. Linux isn't just for nerds. I'm with BertieBooster https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2020/01/reasons-to-switch-to-linux-from-windows Linux is extremely stable.

$ uptime xx:xx:xx up 197 days, 11:10

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Newsflash:- major investment banks still use Mainframes and code written 30+ years ago.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am the only person I know of that has a Landline phone. I like it. It works.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A fairly pathetic attempt at throwing shade at Japan's technology sector.

Skymark appears to be taking the philosophy of “If it’s not broken, why fix it?” which isn’t an entirely shocking school of thought regarding technology in Japan.

How about you educate your readers with Sony's new electric car, or Sony's new sensors that sense light better than the human eye, or Panasonic's transparent TV, or the countless other proofs that Japan is very much innovating and at the top of their game?

But of course, a low cost carrier uses XP, so of course it's backward. Heck, Putin uses XP. Many US military operations still use XP. Literally every carrier I travelled with around the world, for example in the US, France, Greece, Italy, all use a XP and at cases 2000, many of which weren't low cost at all.

There's a reason for that, as others have pointed out. Windows 10, the... "latest and greatest" is atrociously bad. Unreliable to bits. Visually an inconsistent mess. Incompatible with most of the professional applications used, as they were designed for 2000 or XP, and haven't been updated since.

So, before the typical "Backward Japan + fax machines" articles, please think a little.

Arigato.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They maybe using XP but thank god, they are not flying the 737-max.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So what ? Depends really if these Windows based PCs are Internet attached or not - the latter I suspect may be the case, in which case... so what ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Also... FYI. for your average Home User, who sits behind an ISP provided router - you should not really have to worry unless you are explicitly providing internet services such as a Web Service - a port scan should basically show that you are invisible except for your IP Address.

Too much hype

The biggest threat is from downloaded packages!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lots of excitement over nothing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Windows Embedded POSReady was the last OS based on the Windows XP SP3, the support for this ended on April 9 2019, assuming the check-in terminal was running this OS or even Windows XP SP3 (support ended Jan 2016), than not that ancient.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Last time I was in the UK (couple of months ago), I saw XP on POS devices. If the devices are on a dedicated LAN or VPN there should be little risk.

The computer adage "if it's not broken, don't fix it" probably applies here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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