Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE, March 4, 2003


Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies.


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March 4, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - Linux, Windows, and You

2. HOT OFF THE PRESS - Leaked Longhorn Build Shows Little Progress

3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT - Win2K File Rename Bug Fix; a Win2K DNS Update; a Problem Involving Incoming TCP Connections; and More

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Join The HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show! - Start Your Spring Training with Windows & .NET Magazine Web Seminars!

5. HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT) - FREE Directory Reporting Tool - WIN an MP3 PLAYER

6. INSTANT POLL - Results of Previous Poll: Windows Server 2003 Upgrade - New Instant Poll: Linux Desktops

7. RESOURCES - Featured Thread: Is DHCP an Active Directory Requirement? - Tip: Passwords and Windows XP's Recovery Console

8. NEW AND IMPROVED - Reduce the TCO of Your Windows-Based Networks - Maximize Disk Performance - Submit Top Product Ideas

9. CONTACT US - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.




(contributed by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected])


Last week's Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE editorial about Linux garnered predictable feedback from Linux fans, and many readers misunderstood what I was trying to communicate. Part of the problem is weaning people away from long-held beliefs about Linux that often aren't based in experience and real-world use but rather on anecdotal evidence that's been forwarded around the Web like modern myth. And part of the problem is that I have a limited space here in which to express my thoughts, and I can't always adequately describe my stance in the allotted space.

I wanted to get the point across that Linux has some problems, and they aren't necessarily obvious. Some respondents questioned my experience with Linux and noted that because I write for Windows & .NET Magazine, I'm obviously biased to the Microsoft point of view, which isn't true. I first installed Linux 7 1/2 years ago (using a Slackware distribution that required multiple sets of 3.5" disks), and I’ve maintained a dedicated Linux server in my home office for years. I'm amazed at how much the environment has matured over the years--especially the desktop-oriented ease-of-use features--but the reality is that Linux still isn't as mature as Windows. Taking that idea with my comments last week about Linux bringing forward the "cruft" of UNIX, we have a "worst of both worlds" scenario: Linux looks and acts like UNIX but isn't as mature, stable, or scalable. Also, compared with Windows, Linux is harder to use, administer, and troubleshoot.

When people discuss Linux, they often focus on the same few areas. One obvious area is cost, which is often misunderstood to mean only the software's up-front cost. Out of the box, Linux is usually free or nearly free, but the product's true cost includes much more than that. At the enterprise level, Linux, as a UNIX clone, is ultimately much more expensive to run than Windows because of its complexity and the lack of administrators experienced with the environment. Organizations incur these expenses through support costs or downtime.

Many people also split hairs in an attempt to bypass some of the more obvious complaints about Linux. For example, I hear again and again that "Linux is a kernel, not an OS, so it's not fair to make apples-and-oranges comparisons to Windows." Please. It's true that dozens of different Linux distributions exist, and each bundles applications and various services with the underlying Linux kernel. But obviously, when I--or most people--write about Linux, we're referring to the complete environment. Linux benefited in the early days from the disparate range of available distributions, but these different versions make the environment confusing and harder to support today (e.g., most Linux vulnerabilities affect most common Linux distributions).

Speaking of vulnerabilities, I specifically avoided concerns such as security and reliability last week. Historically, the Linux community has glided along, foisting unproven claims about Linux's superiority in these areas when compared with Windows. Recently, however, testing and real-world experiences are beginning to prove otherwise, and in time, I believe that Linux will be categorically proven to be less secure and less reliable than Windows.

I'm not saying that Linux is a complete wash. Looking over the competitive landscape, Linux offers some advantages over Windows in certain situations and is a better solution than commercial UNIX implementations and Apple Computer's Macintosh OS X in many other situations. For example, Linux stands out in the low-end Web serving market. But I reject any blanket statements about Linux superiority: The environment has only recently gained major backers such as IBM, and it will take years, if then, for the Linux community to match the processes, development standards, and research and development that Windows now enjoys.

So why do I bother writing about Linux, especially in Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE? Am I trying to smear the competition and spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD)? No, not at all. I'm trying to offset the wild claims that come--unchallenged--from the other side. In reality, most enterprise environments are heterogeneous, and it's more important for administrators to consider cases in which using Linux makes more sense than using Windows than to worry about pseudo-religious matters. For example, as corporations retire legacy UNIX systems, your choices are threefold: You can upgrade to a newer, more expensive commercial UNIX version and related hardware (Sun Microsystems sells such solutions); you can migrate your applications to Linux, typically on Intel-based hardware, which has inexpensive up-front costs but higher long-term costs (because Linux is based on UNIX, simple application conversion is often possible); or you can migrate to Windows, which, depending on the applications and services you need, might be expensive and time-consuming at first but will probably pay off in the long run, thanks to Windows' scalability and total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits. Microsoft sells solutions such as Services for UNIX that make this transition a little easier.

Are any of these choices obvious? No, and naturally you'll base your decision on your own requirements. But that's why the whole Linux versus Windows debate is silly. Both environments offer unique benefits, especially for enterprises seeking to move away from expensive UNIX environments. Just pick the technology that meets your needs, now and in the future, and make sure to base your decision on facts, not conjecture.

Hey, I'm a Linux fan. In fact, 18 months ago, I confided to a friend that I expected to be using a Linux desktop full-time within 1 year. That switch never happened for a variety of reasons--one of them being that the Linux desktop-environment wars have somewhat stagnated Linux's desktop growth of late--but I still keep the faith. Watching the technology evolve so quickly is exciting, but that doesn't mean Linux is on par with Windows in many areas, at least not yet. But it's getting there, and I'll keep watching.


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(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])

* LEAKED LONGHORN BUILD SHOWS LITTLE PROGRESS A newly leaked build of Longhorn, the next Windows desktop version, shows little progress over the earlier builds I've evaluated, suggesting that the product is still many months from fruition. Longhorn, build 4008, mysteriously showed up on Usenet news servers Friday, sending enthusiasts scrambling to download the prerelease code. The Longhorn build, which is delivered as an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9660 file, can upgrade an existing Windows XP installation, or you can install the program from scratch on its own partition. For the complete story, visit



(contributed by Paula Sharick, [email protected])

* WIN2K FILE RENAME BUG FIX Have you ever seen a Windows 2000 machine hang after you remotely attempt to change a file's name? According to the Microsoft article "File Server Stops Responding (Hangs) When You Rename a File" ( ), a coding error in the rename procedure can create a deadlock between two threads on the server, both of which wait forever for access to the file control block. When the server becomes unresponsive, a reboot will clear the deadlock. The reference doesn't state how frequently this problem occurs but indicates Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) has a bug fix for the rename problem, a new version of ntfs.sys with a file release date of January 16, 2003. This subtle timing problem affects all Win2K versions.

WEB-EXCLUSIVE ARTICLES: The following items are posted on the Windows & .NET Magazine Web site. For the complete story, use the following link and scroll to the appropriate article.

* Win2K DNS Update Corrects 2 Failures * Win2K Refuses Incoming TCP Connections * HP SecurePath Fills Up System Event Log * Spooler Service Bug Fix



(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

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* RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLL: WINDOWS SERVER 2003 UPGRADE The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you believe Windows Server 2003 is a compelling upgrade to Windows 2000?" Here are the results from the 320 votes: - 27% Yes - 43% No - 31% I don't know yet

(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

* NEW INSTANT POLL: LINUX DESKTOPS The next Instant Poll question is, "Does your company run Linux on any desktops?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Yes or b) No.



* FEATURED THREAD: IS DHCP AN ACTIVE DIRECTORY REQUIREMENT? Scott wants to know whether DHCP is required for Active Directory (AD) implementation or whether he can implement a static IP. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:


Q. Why does the "The password is not valid" error message appear when I log on to Windows XP's Recovery Console (RC), even though I enter the correct password? A. This error message might appear if you originally installed XP from a Sysprep image or if you ran Sysprep 2.0 on the computer at one time. Sysprep.exe changes the way the registry stores password keys. As a result, these changes aren't compatible with the XP RC logon routine. To resolve this problem, follow the instructions in the Microsoft article "'The Password Is Not Valid' Error Message Appears When You Log On to Recovery Console in Windows XP" ( ).



(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])

* REDUCE THE TCO OF YOUR WINDOWS-BASED NETWORKS ScriptLogic and released "The Definitive Guide to Windows Desktop Administration," an eBook by Bob Kelly. The eBook tells readers how to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their Windows-based networks. Topics include reducing Help desk and administration costs, managing security with Group Policy and desktop lockdown, managing user profiles and mapping network resources, and scripting custom solutions. The eBook is published on a chapter-by-chapter basis. You can register to receive email notification when each chapter is available for download.

* MAXIMIZE DISK PERFORMANCE Executive Software released Diskeeper 7.0 Second Edition for Windows, software that lets administrators select from one of three new algorithms to perform a quick system defragmentation, consolidate free space, and maximize disk performance. Pricing is $49.95 for the workstation, $249.95 for the server, or free as a downloadable update to Diskeeper 7.0 customers. Contact Executive Software at 818-771-1600 or 800-829-6468.

* SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]



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)


* PRODUCT NEWS -- [email protected]



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