It's Patch Tuesday Time
- By Peter Varhol
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
Have some thoughts you'd like to share? Leave a comment below, or drop a line
Peter Varhol is the executive editor,
reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software
developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees
in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university