Patch Tuesday Brings 3 Critical Patches
- By Peter Varhol
Microsoft is releasing a total of four
security patches today
, three of which are designated critical and one moderate.
The critical patches all fix issues allowing remote code execution, two with
Office and one with Windows. More specifically, the Windows issue involves the
Jet Database Engine, while the Office issues involve both Word (including Word
for Mac) and Publisher. Finally, the moderate patch focuses on a variety of
software, including Forefront security components and OneCare.
Do you keep your system patches up to date? Report to me at email@example.com.
Microsoft Is Still Appealing
More specifically, Microsoft is appealing
a $1.3 billion fine levied by the European Union as a result of its failure
to speedily comply with the antitrust directive to make Windows API specifications
available at a reasonable cost to third-party software developers.
Microsoft claims that it seeks to bring clarity to the original ruling, although
it no doubt hopes that such clarity involves the ruling being overturned. The
appeal is going to the European Court of First Instance. Any final appeal can
go one step beyond this court.
Microsoft has also paid an approximately $1 billion fine in response to earlier
EU rulings. The EU continues to look into the practice of bundling Internet
Explorer with Windows, as well as other purported violations of antitrust law
I can't say I blame Microsoft for rolling the dice on appeal, but ultimately
you can't fight City Hall. What's your take -- truly bad behavior or oppressive
government regulation? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Patent Tables Are Turned
Microsoft has been known as one of the more aggressive collectors of technology
patents, which has enabled it to both issue threats to other vendors (and to
the open source community at large), and -- with a couple of notable exceptions
-- to protect itself from patent attacks by others.
However, a patent suit against Microsoft and Dell has now been reinstated
by an appeals court. The suit was originally brought by telecom equipment
vendor Alcatel-Lucent, and the technology covered by the disputed patent is
a data communications protocol that operates between a host computer and a mobile
terminal device, such as a portable PC or a smartphone.
Alcatel-Lucent had originally filed suit against Dell, based on the fact that
the vendor manufactured hardware that enabled Windows to communicate using the
technology presumably covered by the patent. Microsoft joined the suit afterward.
A previous employer told me that the best defense against patent suits is your
own patent portfolio, because just about any technology can be described to
infringe on a patent. What's your take on that strategy? Tell me your thoughts
Mailbag: How Do You Patch?, Calling All Publisher Users,
In light of today's patch rollout, Doug asked
readers to share their companies' patching process. Here are some of your
Our shop -- roughly 250 PCs -- pushes out patches via Intel's LANDesk
utility. We test first, glance at industry reports, then decide when to patch,
typically within a few days of patch Tuesday.
We have about 900 servers in our organization plus about 250 workstations.
Starting early last year, we have been using Shavlik NetChk software for patching
all our environments, and are very satisfied with it. The program allows you
to deploy, schedule and install patches at certain times with different reboot
options. There is also a nice feature to create custom deployments. We have
our own proprietary applications, and Shavlik lets me roll out new versions
of those as they are released. Shavlik made our lives easier. I recommend
Users of Microsoft Publisher -- which gets its own critical patch today --
came out of the woodwork:
I actually use Publisher! It is great for producing a monthly newsletter.
I wish it was automation-enabled so that I could use a template and update
the data from an external source.
I do use Publisher on occasion. I use it when I want to make a quick card
or booklet. I remember being told at a tech conference that it was going to
be the challenger to Pagemaker for long documents. (I also still have a machine
with Win 2000 just for PhotoDraw.)
I use Publisher on a regular basis at home for making cards, creating
Christmas letters and other things that need to be printed with images and
text. I've used Publisher for many years.
I still use this program occasionally. It can do things that Word should
do but can't seem to. For one thing, Publisher can print a folded booklet
(one standard piece of paper folded in half with four "pages" on
it). Word 2003 seems to have an option but it does not work -- at least, not
if one does not have a duplex printer. Publisher does it and makes it easy
Finally, one reader thinks we may have erred on the fuel
efficiency of Steve Jobs' Gulfstream V:
I think you slipped a digit on aircraft fuel mileage. The specs on the
Gulfstream site indicate that the Gulfstream V uses a little more than six
pounds per nautical mile or a little less than one mile per gallon -- still
less than your Cadillac. But then, it can carry 18 people, which would take
maybe six Cadillacs to transport them in equivalent comfort (i.e., they would
not have to drive themselves). So the Cadillacs are still the better choice,
and gives several days on the road to think of the next "wow" gadget.
Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
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