Visual Studio Refresh

Visual Studio 2008 has been out for less than a year (I'm good enough at math to at least know that one), but it's already getting its first refresh. A new service pack for Visual Studio and .NET Framework 3.5 is done and is now in the hands of those that actually manufacture this stuff.

Even if you're not a developer, there are a few things that may be handy to know. The service pack makes software faster to develop and more data-driven. Now you can tell your developers you want that new data-driven application, and you want it now!

IE Down, But Far From Out
If the numbers from Janco Associates are real -- and I have my doubts -- Internet Explorer's market share has dropped to 58 percent, with Firefox picking up 19 percent.

That leaves 23 percent for "other" browsers. Others like what? Safari is on 4 to 5 percent of machines, but most Mac people I know (like my two sons Nick and David) use Firefox.

While I always welcome competition, I'm scratching my head over this one. For instance, Janco calls Google Desktop a browser, when it runs inside a browser. Hmm.

Help me out. What browser besides IE and Firefox has any serious share, and why? Answers welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

No Gold for Windows
The opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics were driven by over a hundred media servers...one of which apparently failed. Thanks to some good eyesight, IT savvy and the miracle of digital video recorders, we now have a recording of a Blue Screen of Death projected onto the ceiling of the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing.

The image, posted in Gizmodo, prompted a debate over whether the crash was real or faked (like the opening singer, apparently).

Is this real or just a put-on? And what kind of error was it? Claims, suppositions and cold, hard facts welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: SQL Server Here But Not, More
Readers chime in on the RTM of SQL Server 2008...and why, exactly, it's taking so long to get to customers:

It might be taking so long because it relies on VS 2008 SP1.
-Daniel

You can download from MSDN five different versions of SQL 2008 RTM which I think are pre-pidded to be non-eval/dev type installations (or you can choose the eval install which expires after 180 days, I think). This download typically attract developers first wanting to test things out. However, if you try to install this on a box that already has Visual Studio 2008 installed you can run into some problems until they release Visual Studio 2008 SP1 (the current beta SP1 doesn't seem to help avoid the problem that prevents installation).

In my book, this is not ready for primetime, since you have to wait several days to get a patch. I would have wanted MS to delay the SQL 2008 release until VS 2008 SP1 is ready to help me avoid all the installation issues it presents. Hopefully, SQL 2008 + VS 2008 SP1 patch in a few days will help restore my confidence.
-Robert

And a few of you try to shed some light into Microsoft acronyms:

I believe an RTM to Microsoft is basically the same as "Gone Gold" is to game developers and manufcaturers. That's how I take it and I believe that's how others take it, as well.
-Justin

Microsoft "releasing to manufacturing" means sending a master, making DVDs, blah, blah. There is also a RTW (Release to Web) process that requires all of the internal stuff (URLs, GUIDs for the bits, validation of the bits, security, Web content, etc.). This starts as soon as the master is created for the manufacturers and takes some time. This is why there is a lag. As a benefit to Volume License customers, they get it first.
-Grant

One reader explains why Linux has no place in her office...as much as she wants it to:

According to our head IT guy, SAP only integrates with Microsoft Excel. So if you use SAP, you have to use Excel. Which means you have to run Mac or Win OS. We are an international org and we run desktops on Micro$oft (some of our servers are Linux).

I'd love to use Linux and Open Office, but that tail is not going to wag the dog.

-Lynn

Rich throws in his votes for best and worst OS:

Worst: DOS 4.0/Windows ME. Best: DOS 6.2/Windows XP.
-Rich

And because today is Patch Tuesday, it's only fitting that readers opine about their favorite thing in the world:

Patches -- more fun than a root canal. Although manageable to a large extent, my biggest complaint is having to restart servers on a constant basis. Servers have become so mission-critical in recent years that a reboot becomes a PITA experience, even for a smaller shop such as mine. With all the advances made in recent times, is there no one that can figure out how the patches can be applied on the fly and not require reboots?

Then again, the better solution would be to develop a secure OS in the first place.
-Scott

Someday, Microsoft will release patches that don't require a reboot, but I don't expect that in my lifetime!
-Rusty

For Patch Tuesday bulletins, maybe Microsoft could adopt the Deptartment of Homeland Security's methodology of color-coding severity of risk.
-Anonymous

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com. And don't forget to check in tomorrow for more reader letters.

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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