December 06, 2018Microsoft trash talks Windows 10 LTSC

Microsoft has again disparaged Windows 10 Long-term Servicing Channel (LTSC), the OS feature-fixed version that most resembles the now-discarded traditional Windows maintenance model.

"All too often, I have seen strategic decisions about Windows 10 servicing options and the use of the Long-Term Servicing Channel driven by the wrong criteria, for example, IT professional familiarity prevailing over end user value and impact," John Wilcox, a Windows-as-a-Service (WaaS) evangelist for Microsoft, complained in a post to company blog last week.

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Elsewhere in his epistle, Wilcox spelled out Microsofts position on LTSCs suitability (MRI imaging equipment, air traffic control devices and others), its cadence (every three years or so) and omissions (no Edge, no Cortana). He also recounted instances when he had worked with customers who had adopted LTSC (dubbed LTSB at the time, for "Long-term Servicing Branch") at Windows 10s mid-2015 release. These customers, Wilcox said, were "looking to unwind their LTSC deployments and shift to SAC," referring to the twice-a-year Semi-annual Channel release rhythm as he described the second-guessing.

Officially, LTSC is a specialized edition of Windows 10 Enterprise that promises the longest intervals between feature upgrades of any version of the OS. That means fewer changes during a set timeline, a less-involved upgrade effort and fewer disruptions - as well as fewer possibilities for applications breaking because of a modification of the OS.

At least, thats what IT admins saw in LTSC. But not Microsoft.

Wilcox saved his hardest-hitting punches against LTSC for his list of reasons why the static OS is a poor choice for general use. He trumpeted Windows 10 SAC - and so critiqued LTSC - on topics ranging from security ("Windows 10, with the latest feature update installed, is always the most secure release") to peripheral support ("LTSC ... may not support new hardware or peripherals that you need").

The most serious knock against LTSC, Wilcox said, putting it first on his list, is its short-lived support for specific PC processors.

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"You must (make) sure you have a long-term supply of devices and service components for the life of your expected usage of the device," Wilcox asserted. "If the hardware your device is using needs to be replaced in five years, do you have a replacement supply to support the version you are running?" Left unsaid is that the problems he raised are entirely due to Microsofts own out-of-the-blue decision in early 2017.