SWsoft Brings Apple Hardware Into the Virtual Mix
Hoping to carve out a niche in the increasingly competitive virtualization
market, SWsoft has delivered a beta
version of its server product
, which it claims is the first virtualization
product that runs on Apple-based hardware, as well as the first to run multiple
copies of Mac OS X Server on a single Apple computer.
The upcoming Parallels Server can be installed using the company's hypervisor,
where virtual machines (VMs) work in concert with a primary or bare-metal operating
system. VMs run independently of each other and have no dependence on a host
operating system. Admins have the option of loading the server in lightweight
hypervisor mode or bare-metal mode right at installation time.
Parallels Server can simultaneously support any combination of 50 guest operating
systems -- including Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Red Hat Linux,
SUSE Enterprise Linux and Sun Solaris -- in isolated virtual machines.
Admins choosing to use Parallels Server on Apple Xserves can run Apple's latest
OS Mac OS X Server, commonly referred to as Leopard, in a virtual machine. SWsoft
officials point out this gives admins the ability to create "sandboxed"
Leopard virtual machines on which they can test patches and new applications,
and explore various hardware configurations without disturbing the production
The new product will sit along side SWsoft's Virtuozzo Containers. The company's
officials said they will rework its virtualization management tools to manage
both Virtuozzo Containers and Parallels Server some time this year.
Recent changes to the Mac OS X Server v. 10.5 Leopard EULA permit virtualization
of Leopard Server only on Apple hardware. The EULA doesn't allow Leopard Server
on non-Apple hardware.
Company officials said they are now accepting registrations for new beta testers.
Admins interested in participating can go here.
Microsoft Tool Fends Off Malicious Gadgets
Hackers keep hacking away, trying to find new ways to break down Vista's security.
Late yesterday, Microsoft urged Vista users to download a new security tool
capable of automatically
disabling malicious gadgets, those small applets that come bundled with
only Windows Vista. Vista users can download hundreds more gadgets that aren't
included with the year-old operating system.
The company is calling the new 1MB download, dubbed Windows Sidebar Protection,
a "high-priority" update. While the update is optional, depending
on what settings a user has selected in Windows Automatic Updates, the code
actually may be downloaded and installed whether you like it or not.
The Sidebar panel that holds the gadgets -- which are usually small but useful
tools for doing things like providing RSS feeds and tools for monitoring your
PC -- are composed of HTML and a variety of scripts.
However, as Microsoft's advisory states, "Vista treats gadgets like it
treats all executable code" and that "gadgets are written using HTML
and scripts." However, the particular HTML used to create these scripts
"is not located on an arbitrary remote server as most Web pages are...therefore,
HTML content in the gadget is downloaded first as part of a package of resources
and configuration files and then executed from the local computer."
Bottom line: Gadgets are dangerous and potentially malicious. While the gadgets,
which are created by both Microsoft and third parties, are available on Microsoft's
Web site, the company admits that it doesn't vet them. Microsoft officials said
they know of no vulnerabilities in existing gadgets presently.
"The update gives us a mechanism to prevent a malicious gadget from being
installed first of all, and if it's installed, to block the gadget [from running],"
said Austin Wilson, a director in the Windows client product management group
in a prepared statement. "We're being proactive here. We looked at the
[security] landscape and wanted this in place in case a problem arises in the
future," he stated.
Astaro Helps Promote Greener Networks
Trying to cash in on users' heightened interest in green technologies, Astaro
Corp. is starting a campaign highlighting the fact its core products can reduce
electricity consumption by up to 1,000 percent. The company, which specializes
in unified threat management (UTM) security appliances, contends its technologies
allow users to remove up to 10 standalone products by consolidating them onto
a single, unified, hardened platform, thereby significantly limiting waste and
the electricity needed to power network security appliances.
Company officials point out that in order to ensure the continuous operation
of many security devices, most companies must deploy dual products in a high-availability
or clustered mode. But in doing so, this can double and triple the number of
devices requiring power. So after two or three years, many such network appliances
must be replaced and typically thrown out since they can't be reused.
But because Astaro's products are available as software, users can deploy the
company's products on their own existing hardware, thereby sidestepping the
need to field additional physical appliances. For instance, Astaro said, admins
can virtualize Astaro's Security Gateway by using a pre-installed and pre-configured
Astaro Security Gateway image that can function with a minimal installation
so all security applications are running on a single VMware platform. It's this
approach that creates a much greener networking environment, company officials
Some analyst firms agree that the opportunity Astaro is pursuing could pay
off handsomely. In a report recently released by Gartner, the researcher said
the "need for firewall capabilities within virtual networks within virtualized
servers is emerging, yet clear." However, the report also said few vendors
now offer full-featured solutions: "Virtual-network firewall solutions
need virtual machine and policy awareness, including integration into VM management
tools. Vendors providing firewall solutions that bridge the physical and virtual
world are needed."
Admins wanting more information on Astaro's green products can go to
Mailbag: Hung Up on Cell Phone Ads
Intel's got big
plans to make connecting to the Internet easier, and wants to bring all
kinds of consumer electronic gadgets together. Darla chips in with her idea:
I would love to see (if it's not already happening) wired and cordless
consumer/business phones working with Bluetooth technology!
Mozilla has made a few changes to its ranks and recently promoted a new
CEO. But Benny thinks it ought to work on its browser a little more:
I use mainly MS Outlook for my Web mail and the interface in Firefox
is terrible! So I don't foresee shifting to Firefox until they fix this issue.
Readers are fired up about sundry plans to put ads
on cell phones. Most of you think it's an all-around bad idea -- to put
Call me old (I am, after all, 51), call me cynical (I have been in the
industry for 38 of those years), but I just want a phone that sends and receives
calls. The day I am forced to put up with the stream of excrement from half-wits
exhorting me to buy their unnecessary, useless, self indulgent tripe is the
day I place my phone up some advertising executive's rear end on vibrate and
switch to smoke signals.
If I start to get advertising when I place a call, I'll stop using a
If they want to pay my cell phone bill, I would not be opposed. But of
course, they will not pay the bill. So, no, I don't want ads on my cell phone.
I absolutely hate the idea of ads on my cell phone and I will boycott
any advertiser that does so. We should at least be able to opt out of any
The first lawsuits of this technical age of Aquarius will be directed
at the text or display advertiser who breaches the "Do Not Call"
lists to which users have already registered their phones. Using a different
delivery method to the same device should not render an invasive advertiser
immune from prosecution.
I would expect that this collaboration between the two leading companies
who monopolize the search engine oligarchy would draw the attention of the
government's antitrust investigators.
I'm with you, Lafe -- no way do I want more advertising! I'm tired of
roadside ads of all kinds, extra-long commercial breaks on TV, Web ads that
get in the way, and other Web ads that are so poorly built they hog my CPU
so I can't work (thanks, HP, for that animated ad, and IE 7 for supporting
it). I pay enough for "privacy" on my cell phone -- they had better
not invade it or they may find themselves on the end of a consumer revolt!
Even responding "GO AWAY," as prescribed by AT&T, doesn't stop
the text onslaught. Perhaps we need the "Do Not Call" list to be
extended to "Do not text/advertise/whatever" to my phone or "you'll
be sued as I have proof of your breach on my phone, sucker!"
And Bruce has a wealth of things to say about Yahoo's mobile development plans,
cell phone spam, Firefox and more.
Here's my take on Yahoo as a Verizon customer: Yahoo, on my two phones,
sucks. Both phones have a brain-dead version of Yahoo on it where you can't
even prevent communications from non-friends. Now, why would a company allow
spam like that? Simple: Unless you are on the premium plan or a plan that
has unlimited text, you pay for every message you get. So that's my take on
why Verizon hasn't killed Yahoo spam -- it would cost them potential revenue,
either in the form of text charges or premium charges.
As for phone apps, I'm sick of renting them. I'm also sick of phones
being able to play media, but only the media your vendor sells you. And I'm
sick of having to buy new phones -- the ones I have rock and work great. Then
we get to Android. I want to write my own phone apps -- I have some wicked
combinations of various apps I'd love to create (I'd tell you, but then someone
might beat me to it -- sorry). I also think that many of the apps are brain-dead
because either the phone vendor limits them or the creator runs out of steam
due to all the phone platforms that have to be supported. God, it's a nightmare
out there for that -- if they got it down to even two that would be a big
help. I'd love to have some open source apps that can be extended or mashed
up. One of these days, I've got to download the Android kit (not even sure
it's available yet) and build one particular mash-up that I think would be
a huge sell.
Then we get to Firefox. I use firefox exclusively. I can't stand IE 6
or IE 7; both suffer from "my name is Bill and here's what you will like
-- take it or leave it." I love the way you can use tabs and the way
that you can decide where the various bars appear. The ONLY time I use IE
(and it's by force) is getting updates from Mr. Bill. Again, what I like about
Firefox is that it's totally open and if I want to tweak something about it,
One other thing I've noticed: the Sync on Ford cars. Here's another place
where you only get what they provide. I'm sure everyone has said this to you,
but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to think that stuff up. I wanted that
thing five years ago on my VW. I've got a mash-up idea for that, too, and
a ready-made group that would be willing to buy it. Just need to make sure
that it doesn't violate line-of-sight rules in all 50 states.
We as consumers are losing rights in droves. DRM and DMCA have not prevented
copying; all it's done is prevent competition. Things you used to be able
to do with a bucket of bolts (so to speak), you can't even do anymore. What
ever happened to the rule that says I can do with it what I want to and they
can't do anything about it? That's a right that consumers need to demand back.
Android and Firefox give you those rights back. MS, the music industry, hardware
companies, service providers -- they want you to lose everything. Is it any
wonder other countries are ahead of us? Maybe it's because they don't have
stupid rules that say I can't hack together stuff.
Hey, I understand patents -- that's not the issue here. If I were to take
something that is patented and use it, of course I should pay fees. I'm not
advocating stealing. Nor am I advocating stealing encrypted streams. No, what
I'm advocating is being able to do what I want to do with my stuff after I
get it -- to be able to use it as I see fit as long as I don't violate traditional
copyright and/or patent laws.
Want to sound off? Leave your comment below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.