Big Patch Tuesday for Microsoft

After a couple of months of minimal releases, it looks like Microsoft is serving up an extra-large helping of security patches. A whopping six critical patches are on the menu, as well as five labeled important.

The critical patches all involve problems concerning remote code execution, and affect Windows, Office, Internet Explorer and Visual Basic. A planned critical patch for Jscript and VBscript was dropped from the lineup.

The five important patches affect Windows, Active Directory, ADAM, IIS and Works, and involve elevation of privilege, denial of service and remote code execution. Get ready for some long updates.

Tech Spending Forecast Dims
Forrester Research has released an updated 2008 forecast that says U.S. companies and government agencies are expected to increase spending on information technology by just 2.8 percent this year. That's quite a bit less than the 4.6 percent growth that Forrester had predicted in December.

In particular, communications equipment investment will grow at a rate below the average, while both software and consulting services will tend to do better.

What do your spending plans look like for 2008? Give you your 2 cents at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Dell Limits Sales of AMD PCs Online
It looks like Dell has backed away from selling PCs with AMD processors, announcing that it would severely limit the online availability of systems using the alternative processor family. AMD-based PCs will still be available through retail stores and over the phone.

Are you looking for an AMD Dell? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Another BlackBerry Outage
Late yesterday, RIM apparently experienced yet another BlackBerry e-mail outage, with service becoming unavailable starting around 3:30 p.m. EST.

At this time, no word is available as to the cause or duration of the outage, but this is the second BlackBerry outage in several months. Such an occurrence is an annoyance or worse to those who depend on their BlackBerry units for fast and remote e-mail.

How about you? Did you notice a problem? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: Patching Microsoft's Patch Cycle
Yesterday, Doug suggested that Microsoft was taking the bold route by announcing its faults far and wide with every Patch Tuesday (whereas other companies may release patches quietly). Here are one reader's thoughts:

I agree that Microsoft's openness regarding its security issues are great and they have a very different attitude compared to the NT 4 days. I also praise them for the research they do themselves to find security holes in addition to all the third-party searching.

I just wish they would re-institute the old Security Patch Roll-Up idea they had several years ago. Remember when they mentioned the desktop OS (NT4 Workstation) and server they would release with a semi-annual -- or was it an annual -- security patch roll-up? Since there is such a huge gap between service packs, they really need to provide this at least once a year.
-Marcus

Have something you want to add? Let us know! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

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 level.

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