It's Patch Tuesday Time

Redmond magazine's executive editor of reviews, Peter Varhol, will now be taking over Tuesday's Redmond Report. Send any comments and questions you have to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Microsoft has issued seven security updates this week for Windows, Office, Exchange and BizTalk. This includes two updates for Windows, three updates for Office, one update for Exchange and one for CAPICOM and BizTalk. Several of these updates are rated critical.

In addition, the company released an updated version of the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. There are also seven high-priority non-security updates. Get all the details here.

Dell Delivers on Microsoft-Novell Linux Collaboration
Last November, Microsoft and Novell signed a highly criticized deal that provided for technology sharing between the two companies in the operating system realm. Specifically, it enabled Windows and Novell's SuSE Linux to interoperate more easily within the data center. Since that time, the companies claim AIG Technologies Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse, HSBC and Wal-Mart as licensees.

Part of the agreement was that Microsoft would indemnify SuSE Linux users from intellectual property claims (primarily through its large patent library) by Microsoft. Because Microsoft has not substantiated those claims with evidence or made legal moves for redress, many in the Linux community believe them to be false. In fact, version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPL), due out this summer, is supposed to prohibit such deals for intellectual property indemnity.

However, that backdrop doesn't seem to have bothered Dell, which announced earlier this week it was joining the Microsoft-Novell collaboration.

Specifically, Dell will purchase SuSE Linux Enterprise Server certificates from Microsoft and establish a program to migrate Linux users who are not Dell Linux customers to SuSE Linux Enterprise Server. This benefits both Novell, which provides the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server OS, and Microsoft, which gets a cut of the royalties. And it likely makes enterprise users running both SuSE Linux and Windows sleep better at night.

Given that Dell has also recently announced that it is preinstalling Ubuntu's Feisty Fawn release 7.0.4 on selected consumer desktops and laptops, it appears that the company is diving into the Linux business. SuSE covers the enterprise servers, while Ubuntu is available for the desktop. While Linux still represents a small part of the desktop market, it's a staple in many data centers.

Do you run both Windows and Linux in the data center? Are you worried about uncertain intellectual property ownership in Linux? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Windows Live Hotmail Launches
A new Windows Live Hotmail launched over the weekend.

If you're a new Hotmail user, you can sign up for one of these new accounts, or existing Hotmail users can upgrade. You can also choose between the "classic" user interface, which provides fast and basic e-mail, or a full version, which gives users an AJAX experience for a rich and responsive interaction.

Microsoft also revamped the mail service's user interface, and made sorting through and searching for contacts and messages more efficient and faster. It also provides a true POP mail experience, letting you synchronize mail, folders, safe and unsafe sender lists, as well as contacts on your computer and on the Web. It also links with your desktop Outlook, and will also offer connectors to other e-mail packages in the future.

Hotmail became Windows Live Hotmail when Redmond made it part of the Windows Live product suite, which includes online Office applications and Web space for small businesses, mobile features, product search and a host of other offerings.

Do you have a Hotmail account? Have you looked at the Windows Live offerings, including Windows Live Hotmail? E-mail me (from your Hotmail account, if possible) at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: Does Microsoft Anti-Virus Measure Up?, Microsoft vs. Ubuntu, More
More readers chime in with what they think about Microsoft's anti-virus solutions compared to third-party offerings:

It's bad enough that we have to pay for anti-virus to protect Windows, when we have already paid for Windows. But it's even worse when Micrsofot wants to make more money for doing what it should be doing already.
-Fred

Based on Microsoft's previous track record for getting it right with its OSes, I am hard-pressed to stick my head in the sand and trust it in the anti-virus arena. It is still tripping over problems of its own making.
-David

I haven't had the opportunity to use Forefront. I chose not to participate in the beta. But I have used OneCare from early betas. I never had any problems with it (outside of the usual problems with betas). For a time, it was the only AV solution for use with Vista.

At work, we use McAfee and their ePO server management. It has worked great for us and we're really happy with it as a solution. I don't envision us leaving it any time soon.
-Andy

Hmm. Paying MS for plugging the holes it left? What a radical concept! What's next? Mafia? Are Tony and Vinnie coming to break my legs for not buying M$ Ware? What's next for MS?

10. Buy off O&O software so we have to purchase a real defragmentation software. Diskeeper XP!

9. Take out Firefox from the market with a few missiles from your flight simulator.

8. "Reposition" iTunes as a threat to national security. We should get all our wholesome media needs at "the new social."

7. Remove all the XP leftovers from the shelves at Sams/Costco and cheap OEM builders.

6. Refresh all the systems running the Google/Yahoo Toolbar and replace with non-sensitive applets which will not collect data from us.

5. Make the MS firewall reject e-mail from Gmail by declaring it a virus.

4. Establish the new platinum standard for backup, and remove Backup Exec; all your files will be stored nice and safe at Redmond.

3. Kill Flash (work in progress).

2. Stop VMware spread with Virtual PC rebates for $25.00 per virtualized system. The catch? You gotta redeem it via CompUSA!

1. Replace YouTube with MSTV. So you can see what happens in China to those who protest Bill Gates' visits!
-Anonymous

Does Vista hold up against Ubuntu, which Dell is planning to preinstall on some of its computers? One reader shares his experience with both:

My main OS at the moment is XP Media Center, simply because it's the one I've run on this system for over a year and everything in the box works well. I've installed Vista Business within the last couple of months, and I'm generally happy with it, except for the lack of drivers for things that work under XP, mainly the TV tuner card and my integrated audio. The tuner card works, but there's no audio, because Vista identifies my audio chip as a high-definition audio device with little configurability for the TV card input.

Ubuntu 7.04 x86-64 is a new animal. This is the first time I've taken the 64-bit plunge, and it's been an experience. First off, I'm finally able to use all 4GB of my system RAM, and the Beryl manager working on Gnome, with a little tweaking, is gorgeous, perhaps even nicer on the eyes than native Aero Glass. I haven't been able to get the TV tuner to work, though, but I'm just getting my feet wet with this 64-bit version. Program and hardware compatibility seems to be a little spotty, so I'm taking my time to thoroughly research setting up the new OS.

Bottom line, I'd say that Vista is slightly, marginally, better than Ubuntu 7.04. It's not a totally equivalent comparison, because Ubuntu is 64 bit. However, given what I've seen so far, even allowing for the limitations on driver and software compatibility, I could see using any of these alternatives as my operating system of choice. I think that says a lot about the capabilities of currently available operating systems -- you can get almost anything you want either from Microsoft or open source alternatives.
-Dennis

And finally, here's proof that even a normal-sized keyboard won't save you from the occasional typo:

I have one minor correction to Monday's issue. In your article about the BlackBerry, there's a reference to the "KWERTY" keyboard. In fact, it's the "QWERTY" keyboard, named for the first six alpha keys on the upper-left of the keyboard. I always thought it was an interesting word so I just thought I'd pass that along.
-Dianne

I really don't think RIM will do any better with a full "KWERTY" keyboard! That will only confuse users more. Maybe it should take a cue from the Treo and use a QWERTY keyboard.
-Frank

Have some thoughts you'd like to share? Leave a comment below, or drop a line to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

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