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March 12, 2002—In this issue:
- The Case for a Modular Windows
2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
- Sun Sues Microsoft for $1 Billion
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
- Microsoft's STPP—An Overview and an Update
- On the Go?
5. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)
- Windows 2000 ZeroIMPACT(tm) Migration
- Free Download—Control PC's Over the Internet!
- Real-World Strategies for Infrastructure Success
6. INSTANT POLL
- Results of Last Week's Poll: Mobile Devices
- Instant Poll: HP/Compaq Merger
- Featured Thread: DNS Port
- Tip: Create a Local Print Queue
8. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Collect Data on Your Inventory
- Repair Web Sites That Have Been Broken Into
9. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
If you're following the Microsoft antitrust case, you're aware that nine nonsettling US states have asked a federal judge to consider forcing the company to modularize Windows XP desktop versions. A modularized Windows would enable users, PC makers, and IT administrators to add and remove middleware components, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), Windows Movie Maker (WMM), Windows Messenger, and Windows Media Player (WMP). This solution makes sense, and I think Microsoft should voluntarily adopt it immediately. Before I jump into the benefits, let me explain why I think such a solution is possible.
During the Microsoft Office 2000 beta, I requested a more modular Office suite that would give end users and IT administrators fine-grained control over which features were installed. Microsoft could create these features, I reasoned, as software components that would expand the choices that users currently see on the Office custom installation menu. But Microsoft explained that it had developed the Office code-base over a long time period, and creating components from the Office code would require a complete rewrite.
Windows 9x was a similar software house of cards—a "thing built on a thing," as Andrew Schulman, software expert and author of the "Undocumented Windows" books, once called it, referring to the product's legacy as first MS-DOS, then DOS with a GUI, and finally as a purportedly cohesive single product. Win9x is the ultimate example of the spaghetti code that young programmers are cautioned about in entry-level high school and college software-development classes—a crude mismatch of old and new code, seemingly stuck together with bubble gum.
I'm happy to say that the Win9x days are disappearing. Windows NT, built from scratch and properly designed with a modular, extensible architecture, has grown into Windows 2000, and now Windows XP. Although the NT products and Win9x present a similar end-user experience, NT experts know (and appreciate) that NT is not Win9x but rather a superior product. With the release of XP late last year, even consumers can begin to understand what the IT world has known for years.
Microsoft first used NT's modular architecture to port the product to various hardware platforms, such as MIPS, Power PC, and Digital Alpha, and to provide various runtime environments. Over the years, Microsoft established new goals for NT. Among the goals was an embedded product, succinctly called Windows NT Embedded 4.0, which appeared just before Microsoft finalized Win2K in late 1999. This product further modularizes the NT base and lets developers create solutions specific to embedded markets. NT Embedded fully supports the Win32 environment and includes features we've come to expect from the NT family. The latest Windows embedded version, Windows XP Embedded (XPe), goes even further, offering developers more than 10,000 different components, including IE 6.0, WMP8, Windows 2000 Server Terminal Services client, USB support, and SNMP support.
Microsoft developed the NT Embedded and XPe products for slot machines, Windows-based terminals, and other connected devices. XPe proves that Microsoft is capable of producing a modular Windows version, and with XPe, the company makes a compelling case for why a modular Windows version would benefit its customers.
With a modularized version of XP, end users could more easily replace Microsoft components with competing products, if desired. PC makers might negotiate for a lower Windows price and use the savings to make deals with third-party companies for products that compete with Microsoft middleware. This customization could create an interesting scenario in which users buy PCs based on the included features. And IT administrators would have more control over which components are installed on their systems. Heck, even Microsoft comes out ahead if you consider the goodwill such a move would generate, the lifting of its legal problems, and perhaps even increased sales after uncertainty over the company's future plans is removed.
Microsoft has denounced the plan to modularize XP as impossible, stating that the middleware applications in question are integral to Windows and that the plan would simply cause confusion in the marketplace. But the company asked for, and received, a short delay to its remedial hearings, which would have begun this week, so that it could look over the plan more closely.
Microsoft, do us a favor. Give choice back to your customers, and create a modular Windows. You know it's possible, and it would benefit us all. Then you could get back to that innovation you're so fond of touting, innovation that occurs more easily in a truly competitive marketplace.
Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]
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2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
Sun Microsystems launched a $1 billion lawsuit against Microsoft Friday, citing its dissatisfaction with the government's proposed settlement in Microsoft's antitrust case. The Sun lawsuit is the third such suit to erupt in recent days, following similar cases brought by browser-maker Netscape (a division of AOL Time Warner) and Be, a small California company that wasn't successful breaking into the OS market. (The verdict against Microsoft specifically mentioned Sun and Netscape as examples of companies that suffered from Microsoft's illegal, anticompetitive actions.) Sun makes the Java Web-oriented runtime environment, which Windows no longer includes. For the complete story, visit the following URL: http://www.wininformant.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=24409
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
(contributed by Paula Sharick, [email protected])
If you work with Microsoft OSs, you know that managing security hotfixes and bug fixes is an ongoing nightmare, complete with catalog errors, file-version problems, multiple installers, and inconsistent registry modifications. The challenge of incorporating updates into new builds and distributing timely updates across an enterprise further complicates matters.
Last October, Brian Valentine, senior vice president of Microsoft's Windows Division, previewed the company's Strategic Technology Protection Program (STPP), a new six-pronged initiative that Microsoft hopes will simplify and expedite the arduous security update process. In February 2002, Valentine reaffirmed that the STPP initiative is alive and well but, predictably, behind schedule. I've prepared a progress report on each component of the STPP vision and a brief description of how each initiative will help keep systems current and secure. To read the document, visit the following URL:
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6. INSTANT POLL
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "What is your company policy about the use of mobile devices?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 202 votes:
- 6% We don't allow them
- 20% We allow company-owned devices only
- 37% Individuals may use their own devices—with restrictions
- 38% Anything goes
The next Instant Poll question is, "What do you think of the HP/Compaq merger?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) It's a good thing, b) It's a bad thing, c) Don't know, or d) Don't care.
Mark wants to know how to specify which port number internal DNS uses to communicate to an external DNS server. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:
(contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com)
Q. How can I create a local print queue so that I can configure default settings on a network print queue?
A. If you connect directly to a network print queue, you can't set defaults for items such as duplex printing. To work around this limitation, you can create a local device that points to the network printer, then create a local print queue by performing the following steps:
- From a command prompt, type
NET USE LPT1: \\<printer server>\<printer> /persistent:yes
to map the local LPT device to the network printer.
- Add a local printer in the usual way (go to Start, Settings, Printers, and click Add Printer).
- Specify a local device (LPT1), and configure the new printer.
8. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Scott Firestone, IV, [email protected])
Altiris announced the Altiris Inventory Solution, a systems management solution that features enhanced data collection capabilities and broadened inventory collection support. The solution can capture the serial number from many hardware platforms and PC models. You can track which OS, updates, security features, and bug fixes are installed on each PC. The Altiris Inventory Solution costs $22 per node when you purchase 100 nodes. Contact Altiris at 801-226-8500.
Lockstep Systems released WebAgain 2.5, software that automatically repairs Web sites that have been broken into and restores the original content without any human intervention. The software detects unauthorized file additions and destroys them, and prevents intruders from illegally hosting and sharing files through your Web site. WebAgain 2.5 costs $995 per monitored Web site. Contact Lockstep Systems at 480-596-9432 or 877-932-3497.
9. CONTACT US
Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:
- ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — [email protected]
- ABOUT KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT — [email protected]
- ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — [email protected]
(please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)
- TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.winnetmag.net/forums
- PRODUCT NEWS — [email protected]
- QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
Customer Support — [email protected]
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