I'm starting this thread to get an answer on why XP support was dropped in VC11. Not because I need it personally but because there are a number of people asking about it in the "wrong" places (overtaking blog posts, etc with this off-topic issue). I'm also re-posting a post from rab36 which is probably the best thought out of the complaints.
It would be great to get a technical answer from someone on this. Even if its not feasible to continue XP support at least armed with the reason for dropping it people can make informed decisions about how to move forward.
So why not offer C++ programmers the same possibilities?
What is the motivation? What are the technical reasons, if there are any?
I just want to elaborate a bit more about our motivation to support XP at least until 2014, maybe even longer with our software:
We are a manufacturer of measurement systems that are sold with an industrial PC (with Windows XP or Windows 7) and a sophisticated C++ application for acquiring, storing, analyzing the data.
Only recently we managed to offer Windows 7 64-Bit with all our systems because of driver issues of 3rd party data acquisition boards that are in the IPC.
We have an OEM license agreement with Microsoft for embedded systems that still allows us to purchase Windows XP.
We are selling maintenance agreements with our software and we have lots of systems on maintenance worldwide that are running Windows XP. Some of them are used in test lab or production environments that are not even connected to a network, so even the end of extended support of Windows XP in April 2014 will not force customers to migrate to Win 7. Upgrades to Windows 7 are difficult and expensive because hardware (because of the driver incompatibilities) with costs of several thousand of dollars (up to $15.000) has to be exchanged. The measurement hardware of the system is used typically for longer than 10 years, the IPCs are exchanged every 5-7 years.
On the other hand, I am very interested in using the latest Visual Studio and toolset for our software. In the past, we managed to migrate to the latest Visual Studio release typically within one year after the release of Visual Studio. We have a demanding application that makes heavy use of multitasking and multithreading. New features are developed with the latest language features and libraries. We are using lambdas, auto, PPL and ConCRT and agents library right now with VS 2010 SP1 in our product.
Not being able to use the latest toolset lets say in 2013 (because of Windows XP) would heavily impact this strategy. I expect that we have to support XP until at least 2015. So having no XP support in VS 11 comes way to early for us.