Six Flaws Fixed

Today is a special day. My daughter Lauren turned 18 (she can now buy lottery tickets and cigarettes, and apparently doesn't have to listen to her father, or so she tells me). It's also patch Tuesday, a tradition that, while not 18, sure feels like it!

Today's fixes may focus on XML Core Services, which is being hacked as we speak, as well as Visual Studio. Besides miscellaneous Windows fixes, there's also a new rev of the Malicious Software Removal Tool (does this remove malicious software, or maliciously remove software?).

Java Now Open (Source) for Business
Yesterday, Sun announced that Java would join Solaris as a major product that is now open source. I'm the kind of guy that admits his shortcomings (I've got thin wrists and a thick middle), so I'm not ashamed to say I almost thought Java was already open source (maybe because my open source-junkie son David is such a Java fan).

Java just has this image of openness, one that .NET will probably never have unless it comes with a full General Public License (even David Blaine couldn't hold his breath that long).

Despite my ignorance, this is a big deal. Java will now be even more embraced by the young software anarchists who will become tomorrow's code leaders.

I don't happen to think that Microsoft has to make .NET, Visual Studio and the rest fully open source. But it should think very, very seriously about giving Java the exact same consideration as Visual Basic and Visual C#.

Hide Your Code
So you've just finished your software masterpiece, a beautiful pile of code that could be the next VisiCalc. So what's stopping all the creeps on the Internet from exposing the source code and giving it to every code monkey from Boston to Bismark?

Stealing your intellectual property is one thing. Even worse, hackers can use the source to attack your product!

If you develop with Visual Studio, more help is in the way. There is an upgraded free tool from PreEmptive Solutions -- long known for its obfuscation technology -- that can hide your code, and it will be bundled with the next round of Visual Studio. The new rev is more tightly integrated with VS than it has been in the past.

Vista Makes It Home to CompUSA for Christmas
CompUSA will start selling Vista by the end of this month to small business customers. The deal is aimed at being fair to small shops, as corporate customers with Enterprise Agreements can pick up Vista this month, as well.

But this all seems so backward. Businesses are the last to move to new versions of Windows, usually waiting until at least SP1.

Consumers, especially crazed gamers, are the ones who line up at midnight, not Joe IT. Yet consumers this holiday season won't be buying souped-up Vista machines -- they'll be on hold until next year.

Maybe this is all a secret plot to get folks to shell out $250 for Zune, which launches this week. I might change my mind on Zune: With wireless and a neat video screen, it seems to pack more punch than the iPod. As long as they leave out the Blue Screen of Death, maybe I'll pick one up.

Doug's Mailbag: Time Is Right for Vista, IE Versus Firefox
I recently admitted I goofed by siding with a Gartner finding that predicted Vista wouldn't be done on time -- famous last words, since Vista went RTM soon after. At least you all are a forgiving bunch:

Don't beat yourself up too much, D-Man. Have you got your hands on the gold code yet? Has it bombed out your system yet? Has the security community lambasted it as the 'same old Swiss cheese' yet? MIS has already told us, in no uncertain terms, that we will be struck down with great vengeance and furious anger if we attempt to poison our systems with IE7. Sometimes, it's kind of cool to have Samuel L. Jackson as an IT director. Anyway, this thing has been rushed out the door faster than drunk Uncle Bob at the end of Thanksgiving dinner -- and could very well wind up in the same dirty alleyway with Bob if the security promise isn't delivered. You (and Gartner) may well prove to be right.
-John

Vista is done' is an interesting quote. Isn't it generally accepted that no Microsoft operating system is ever 'done' until at least SP1? I know that I won't be running Vista any time soon.
-Duane

And for those of you keeping tabs on the IE-Firefox browser war, here are two takes:

Honestly, I've only managed to upgrade one of my computers to Firefox 2. (My hands have been hurting, putting home computing to a minimum, and at work I use a flash drive with Firefox portable.) I like what I've seen so far, though getting used to the close button being on the tabs (and having to scroll if I have too many tabs open) takes some getting used to. Where were those tips on how to tweak it again?

As for IE7, I am less than impressed. I offered to be the guinea pig for it at the office. I like that they've finally gone with tabs, but I hate that I have yet to be able to view any video clip in it. I can see very clearly the commercial that plays before the clip comes on but when it's the clip's turn, I invariably get "Content Not Available," or words to that effect.
-Gabrielle

I have been using IE7 and Firefox 2, and without a doubt Firefox 2 is better and much more stable. IE7 will not run all pages right and it sometimes impedes other applications from running. I find some of the tab interfaces by IE7 very nice -- for example, the button that will present a browser section with all open tabs on one screen.
-Jose

Got a take of your own that you'd like to share? Either comment below or e-mail me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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