A Windows developer, upset at the likely demise of Windows Live Writer as part of Microsoft's move to retire the Live brand, has launched an online petition drive to save the tool.
On Wednesday, Microsoft announced it was retiring the Windows Live brand, and will replace it with a set of online consumer services targeting Windows 8, the operating system upgrade expected to launch later this year.
In a grid Microsoft published yesterday, Windows Live Writer was noticeably absent, leading users to conclude that the company was killing the blog publishing program.
Windows Live Writer debuted in late 2006, two months before the launch of Windows Vista, and supported the follow-up Windows 7 as well. It was last upgraded in 2010.
Scott Lovegrove, a U.K.-based Windows Live MVP -- for Most Valuable Professional, a title Microsoft bestows on people who contribute to its various technical communities -- took exception to the pending death of Windows Live Writer.
Today, Lovegrove launched a drive on the online petition website Petitionbuzz.com to save the program.
Lovegrove proposed that Microsoft either create a Metro version of Live Writer that will run on Windows 8 and Windows RT, or release the software's source code so that others, presumably developers like him, "can keep [it] going and keep it fresh."
Lovegrove has created numerous plug-ins for Windows Live Writer to help bloggers using WordPress. one of the most popular blogging platforms, build and maintain their sites.
As of 1 p.m. ET, Lovegrove's petition had collected 100 signatures, doubling its total in two hours. By 4 p.m. ET, more than 200 had signed the petition.
Users of the application bemoaned its apparent death in comments left on the Wednesday blog post by Microsoft.
"Please tell me that you are not killing Windows Live Writer," wrote Navjot Singh in a comment today.
Those who signed Lovegrove's petition also pleaded for Live Writer's survival.
"Please don't kill the best blogging software on the planet," said one signer.
Windows Live Writer is an orphan of sorts, since it is a local application -- users download it from Microsoft's website and run it on their PCs -- and is no longer linked to an online service: Microsoft axed its Windows Live Spaces blogging platform in the fall of 2010, telling the 30 million users to migrate to WordPress.
Microsoft's response to questions about Live Writer's future was first delivered on Twitter through a company account.
"Windows Live Essentials apps, such as Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, & Writer will work great on Windows 8," stated the Windows Blog's Twitter account today.
Shortly afterward, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that that was the company's official comment, more or less.
"As mentioned in the blog, more information coming soon," she said, referring to the Wednesday blog's promise to provide more details down the road. "The good news, all desktop apps work great and are supported on Windows 8, including Windows Live Writer."
But that's not the issue, countered Live Writer users: It was always assumed that the software would work on the new OS.
What has not yet been answered, said one freelance software developer on Twitter, was whether Live Writer is doomed.
"Saying Windows Live Writer will run great on Windows 8 is like saying that Silverlight 5 will run great too," tweeted Todd Spatafore. "Question is: Is there a future?"
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.