Patch Times 12
After tomorrow, your Microsoft software is going to look like the tires on
the Three Stooges' car -- full of patches!
Microsoft is releasing a full
dozen patches tomorrow, covering everything from Office to Access and nearly
all current versions of Windows (for some reason, Windows Me and DOS 6.0 don't
get any fixes).
While most patches cure that old bugaboo, the Remote Code Execution, no less
than three try to keep hackers from stealing information.
In two months, there will be a fairly
big change in how Microsoft discloses its flaws. Starting in September,
the company will give more detail on the severity of its flaws so you can decide
which patches to install first.
Is your patching under control, or still a pain in the neck? Complaints and
advice both welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Microsoft may come clean on its security flaws each and every month, but for
Google it seems to take an outsider to point out weaknesses.
That's just what happened at the recent Black Hat conference, where security
maven Tom Stracener from Cenzic Inc. showed
how Google Gadgets can be hacked to steal passwords and personal information,
and perhaps ultimately pilfer transaction data.
These gadgets may be cool, but given their exposure, they should probably have
no place in your enterprise.
Are you taking extra steps to lock down Web services such as gadgets and IM?
If so, how do you do it? Answers should proceed directly to email@example.com.
Want To Save Energy? Buy More Software
Microsoft has been making some decent efforts in the area of green computing.
A nearly free hypervisor is one great move.
Now Microsoft is touting the benefits of System
Center Configuration Manager, which is Energy Star-compliant by virtue of
its ability to configure hardware to hibernate, sleep and shut down when not
My only complaint? Vista is a huge hardware hog, meaning we're wasting lots
of watts running this OS -- at least, those of you that have taken the plunge.
Is your shop energy-aware? If so, what do you do to save on power? Give us
your best suggestions by writing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mailbag: Would You Use Linux?,
IBM in the Clouds, More
Last week, after word came out that IBM was working
to build Linux-only PCs, Doug asked readers whether they'd find room for
these things in their own shops. Here are some of your responses:
You asked, why would you use Linux in your shop? Cost. It has crossed
my mind for the purpose of thin-clients doing basically nothing but booting
into Linux and loading RDC software to connect to a Windows Terminal Server.
No need to pay for big, beefy machines and Windows client licenses if the
employee is mostly remote, but needs a workstation when they come to the office,
and would use their remote desktop anyway because that is where all their
files are and it is configured to their liking.
If the environment I am in changes, yes. Vista is already banned from
the network. We run Solaris, Linux, 2000, XP and 2003 server with some 2000
servers still around, and at least one Mac OS X. A Linux desktop (if we can
buy it from Dell as it is a state requirement all hardware must be bought
from Dell) yes, but no Notes. It would need to conform to the Oracle, Outlook,
Office standard. There were several Red Hat Linux desktops in use fairly recently.
I need to run a program that is only written for Windows, but I can connect
to another machine or virtualize it to get around that. When I need to connect
from home, I use OS X and VPN in with a remote client.
Not today. And not from IBM. I was an IT professional before the IBM
PC was released. I know the stories. IBM would love not to have to sell Windows
to its loyal customers who want personal workstations for their non-technical
workforce, but that will not happen until someone invests some serious money
to position Linux for the non-technical desktop. Make Linux truly plug-n-play
(as Windows is on most any OEM system) and IBM might stand a chance, but the
costs far exceed the return IBM is ever going to get to provide its customers
with commodity desktops. Unlike most Linux vendors, IBM has the resources
to do this but they just don't have the stomach for it.
Could I be wrong? Sure, I could! Would I switch to Linux? Sure, if I
was convinced that it would meet my needs better than Windows -- but that
selling job is up to IBM and its partners. They talk a good story but I doubt
they will come through.
There are too many wild Linux horses in the race to pick one of the winners.
The only common Linux direction is "anything but Microsoft or Sun."
Anarchy may work to bring down the "ruling class," but it doesn't
work when you need to assemble a system to bring order to the Linux chaos.
It will take an IBM or HP or someone else to bring the Linux chaos to an end
and give it a directon and a future. I fear the disarray that stalled Unix
is awaiting Linux.
You may have the kid down the street mow your lawn rather than a landscaping
company to save a few bucks, but when you make a business investment, you
invest based on a clearly defined investment strategy with established history,
focused strategy direction and an ultimate goal. If you want to gamble, there
is always horse racing or today's Linux.
As for IBM's push
into cloud computing, one reader thinks it's a major move -- and we should
Having been a customer of IBM for many years before PCs, I wouldn't count
them out by any means. True, they do err (as does Microsoft), but they should
be taken seriously.
And Peter shares his thoughts about Zimbra's
open source alternative to Outlook:
One comment about Zimbra (we're actively considering it as a hosted e-mail
server). The Web client doesn't support secure e-mail (digitally signed, encrypted,
etc.), and I can't see anything on their Web site about Zimbra Desktop supporting
this either. If this is the case, I think a lot of corporate customers will
stick with Outlook (I know we will). At least for the time being.
Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.