Smooth Interoperator

Last week, Microsoft paid a visit to the cool, spacious, well-lit offices of Redmond magazine to argue that the company now has open standards religion and wants to work more closely with open source.

In particular, Microsoft pledges to support the OpenDoc file format more fully, and won't try to hold back any standards work around the format.

It also plans to keep working on cross-licensing deals with open source players.

Microsoft may never be as open to open source as Red Hat, IBM or Novell, but the company is becoming a lot more pragmatic and accommodating. As Microsoft moves higher and higher up the stack, it needs to play nice with the major enterprise players.

Agree, disagree? Tell me where I'm right or wrong at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

A Windows Surfin' Safari
Apple has been knocked for not doing enough to support its Safari browser and letting Firefox do all the heavy lifting.

Now, in a stunning reversal, the company is building a version of the browser for Windows! The new tool is now in beta, and has already been tweaked to fix a few security problems (Apple Patch Tuesday, anyone?).

At first, I scratched my head over why Apple would want to enter the browser wars. Then, I remembered how much it charges for iTunes songs and videos. Safari on Windows, I'm sure, would offer every option known to man for buying Apple content. I'm less excited already.

The company is also hoping that developers will build Safari Web apps, but it'll need gobs of market share for that to happen.

Latest on Leopard
For the sake of delaying the inevitable, I convinced my 13-year-old to wait to the fall release of Leopard before making me buy him a new Mac. To make sure I make good on my promise (and maybe pick up a Mac lapper for myself), he sent me these screen shots.

What do you think? Vista or Leopord? Answers welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Turning Notes Into SOA
As the father of Notes and now Microsoft's chief software architect, Ray Ozzie must have mixed feelings about tools like this.

Unify's new Microsoft Edition of Composer for Lotus Notes helps shops turn custom Notes applications into SOA services that work with various Microsoft tools such as SQL Server and SharePoint.

This is a very different approach to Notes migration. Instead of just moving the application logic to Exchange and Outlook (which ain't always easy), the tool migrates Notes databases to SQL Server, and converts the applications themselves to Web services written in C#. End users access the apps through ASP.NET apps or SharePoint. Pretty slick.

A SaaS SOS
If your shop builds on top of SaaS platforms such as Saleforce.com, then DreamFactory has a tool for you. The DreamFactory Developer Portal is designed to help developers jumpstart Web apps that tap into SaaS systems.

The free portal has training and tools. If the company can truly build a community, then there will be plenty of peers to give you advice.

Mailbag: Microsoft Patch Problems, More
Last week, Doug asked readers what they thought of Microsoft's patching strategy. Rodney is less than satisfied:

Until now, I was wondering if I was the only person with updates (three) riding my system tray for the past two weeks, hoping I shut my system down so they can play at installing. I'm running Vista Home Premium and this is the second time that this has happened. Updates arrive one evening and fail at installing for weeks at a time. When one batch installs, another batch appears to repeat the process.

With WinXP, updates installed in the background and were less obvious. What's going on with Vista?
-Rodney

And speaking of Vista, Nick has a bone to pick:

I have Vista Ultimate pre-loaded on a Dell Inspiron 9400. Mostly, it is very impressive. Getting my Dell bluetooth keyboard and mouse to work with the internal bluetooth card instead of the dongle was challenging. Sonic DLA didn't work for the first month or so until a driver patch came out. I am still waiting for F-Prot to issue a Vista-compatible version. So far, it's as least as good as XP was in its first six months. UAC is a non-issue. The UI changes take some getting used to, but if you ran IE7 on XP they aren't so jarring. There is one bad thing. One being minor, 10 being intolerable, this is 1.76038875096-E99.

I am talking about VERY slow file cut/copy/paste between networked machines. Do a Google search for "Vista slow file copy" and you will see what I mean. In a non-domain environment, cut/copy/paste operations between untrusted machines using pass-through authentication take FOREVER (i.e., 100MB of files on gigabit backbone taking 20-plus minutes to complete). That we are four months past release and this still isn't fixed doesn't bode well. We have absolutely no intention of creating a mixed XP-SBS2003-Vista environment until it does get fixed. The silence from MS on this problem has been deafening.

-Nick

Got something to add? Let us have it! Comment below or send an e-mail to 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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