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November 5, 2002—In this issue:
- The Microsoft Ruling: What It Means to You
2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
- Wi-Fi Alliance Announces WEP Replacement
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
- Support Site Enhancements Pending
- The Storage Solutions You've Been Searching For!
- Try a Sample Issue of Exchange & Outlook Administrator
5. HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT)
- Make Your Mark this November
6. INSTANT POLL
- Results of Previous Poll: Laptop Purchases
- New Instant Poll: Antitrust Trial
- Featured Thread: Clearing a Print Queue
- Tip: How Can I Stop Windows from Caching a .dll File after I Close the Program that Was Accessing It?
8. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Manage Your Windows Clients
- Target AD Organizational Units for Software Delivery
- 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 Friday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly handed down her long-awaited ruling in the Microsoft antitrust trial, surprising legal experts by essentially green-lighting the company's proposed settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Although the judge was critical of Microsoft in the ruling, she basically gave the company a major legal victory, especially when one considers the seriousness of the crimes of which Microsoft was found guilty. Regardless, Judge Kollar-Kotelly's decision has wide-ranging repercussions for Microsoft and the entire IT industry. Here's what happened.
The Microsoft antitrust trial split into two separate hearings late last year when the DOJ and nine of the states involved in the suit agreed to settle the case, while nine other states and the District of Columbia refused, asking for separate, less lenient remedies. This separation is now moot, however, because the judge denied the nonsettling states' request; her ruling effectively rubber-stamps the DOJ settlement, with very minor changes—and that's a shame. The nonsettling states' key request—that Microsoft reengineer Windows so that end users, IT administrators, and PC makers can remove middleware such as Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Windows Media Player (WMP)—would have given the company's customers more choice and prevented Microsoft from continuing to abuse its Windows monopoly through product bundling. Instead, this final agreement lacks teeth, although Microsoft must adhere to some behavior changes.
First, PC makers can now launch non-Microsoft products during a PC's boot stage and bundle third-party products in Windows without fear of reprisal from Microsoft—and that's good. In the past, Microsoft threatened PC makers with the loss of their Windows license in such cases. In one famous example, Microsoft withheld IBM's Windows 95 license until the day Win95 shipped because IBM bundled Lotus SmartSuite with its PCs. This action prevented the hardware giant from offering Win95-based PCs until months later, costing IBM millions of dollars in lost sales.
Now, beginning in Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1), Microsoft is giving us an ineffectual UI that lets us "hide" (rather than remove) certain Microsoft desktop middleware products and replace them with third-party solutions. Ho-hum. We could do that before, without the UI.
The ruling also ensures that PC makers receive uniform licensing terms for Windows, eliminating favorable pricing for those companies that towed the Microsoft line in the past. Microsoft previously punished companies such as Gateway and IBM with higher Windows prices than other PC makers because those companies had the temerity to bundle third-party applications such as Netscape Navigator with their PCs. Now, Microsoft can provide only sales-volume-based discounts or discounts for companies that make PCs that boot more quickly than the competition and other similar criteria. This second condition is interesting because it rewards PC makers for being innovative, but some PC makers, such as Gateway, complain that it lets Microsoft continue to arbitrarily threaten companies because only Microsoft controls the criteria under which the discounts apply.
Also, Microsoft must now license the appropriate software source code to third-party developers that want to integrate applications with Windows in the same way Microsoft integrates middleware such as IE, WMP, Windows Messenger, and Outlook Express. But the ruling lets Microsoft set the licensing cost on a case-by-case basis, which could let the company continue to hold out on any organization it perceives as competitive or unfriendly. Companies such as RealNetworks and Sun Microsystems, which want to make server middleware products that run on Windows 2000 Server or Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003, should, theoretically, be big beneficiaries of this requirement. But Microsoft's behavior toward these two long-time competitors will be very telling. My guess is that they'll find Microsoft as difficult to work with as ever. The reason? These companies have already complained to the DOJ that Microsoft isn't upholding its end of the bargain. They claim Microsoft is releasing information about only the software interfaces that the company deems relevant. If this situation continues, Microsoft might find itself back in court.
To ensure that Microsoft upholds the settlement agreement, Judge Kollar-Kotelly requires the company to create a three-person compliance committee. This committee will consist of Microsoft nonemployee board members—not third parties—raising speculation that the committee will act in Microsoft's best interests rather than in accordance with the committee's stated goal. However, the judge also granted herself the ability to monitor Microsoft's compliance for at least 5 years. Given its past transgressions, the company requires strong oversight.
The ruling means that the Windows of the future will be largely like the Windows of today: A product integrated with other Microsoft technologies that might or might not have succeeded on their own. The good news is that administrators will be able to replace certain desktop middleware products with third-party solutions, although the underlying Microsoft code will remain on the systems. And the good news for companies developing server middleware products is that Microsoft must now license technology—albeit at a price—that should make that development work easier.
For Microsoft and its products, the ruling means business as usual in Redmond. Whether that's good for you will depend on your relationship with the software giant and your opinions about the company's products. Would you describe the past 7 years as a period of innovation and technological advancement? Either way, the next 5 years should seem pretty familiar.
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2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA), which certifies IEEE 802.11 wireless networking products with the Wi-Fi marketing label, has ratified a new standard for wireless security. Dubbed Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), the technology will replace the compromised Wireless Equivalency Protocol (WEP) security technology in most existing Wi-Fi products today. Most Wi-Fi vendors will offer WPA upgrades to existing products through firmware updates. For the complete story, visit the following URL:
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
(contributed by Paula Sharick, [email protected])
I obtain a great deal of troubleshooting and support information for this column from Microsoft's hotfix lists. Locating the current hotfix lists at http://support.microsoft.com or http://support.microsoft.com/partners is difficult, if not impossible, and the current search engine won't produce the hotfix lists. However, if you know the secret URL, you can scan lists of all published hotfixes, organized by server and desktop OSs, database technologies, messaging, Systems Management Server (SMS), desktop applications, and Internet applications.
You might expect the most recent list of hotfixes for server OSs to be current as of the day you scan the list. But when you click the server OS category, you see that Microsoft hasn't updated the server bug list since the end of September, and thus the list is 6 weeks out-of-date. The Microsoft Content Manager responsible for this list says that the outdated server hotfix list is intentional: "Due to all the changes to existing content for our new internal knowledge management tool launch, there are nearly 7000 articles that we would have to click through individually in order to generate the lists. We are in the process of automating these lists and hope to have them live shortly after November 8 when our new tool is online and publishing to the Web." I'm both eager and skeptical about the new internal knowledge management tool. If we're lucky, the next version will be smarter, more accurate, and more timely. For more details about problems with Microsoft's support site, visit the following URL:
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)
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5. HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT)
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6. INSTANT POLL
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Which considerations are most important to you when making a laptop purchasing decision?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 134 votes:
- 18% Transportability (i.e., size and weight) - 60% Power and functionality - 22% Price
The next Instant Poll question is, "Do you agree with the judge's decision to uphold the settlement in the Microsoft antitrust case?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for
a) Yes, it's a fair decision, b) No, it's too lenient, c) No, it's too strict, d) I don't know, or e) I don't care; I'm just glad it's over.
Mark wants to know how to periodically clear a print queue on a Windows 2000 server. Read more about his situation and join the discussion at the following URL:
(contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com)
A. Windows caches .dll files to speed disk I/O. However, even after you close the calling program, the .dll file remains cached. To stop Windows from caching .dll files after you've closed the calling program, perform the following steps:
- Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
- Navigate to the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer registry subkey.
- From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
- Enter the name AlwaysUnloadDLL, then press Enter.
- Double-click the new value, set it to 1, then click OK.
- Close the registry editor, then reboot the machine for the change to take effect.
8. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])
ScriptLogic announced ScriptLogic 4.0, desktop administration software that helps you manage your Windows clients. The newest release provides an increase in performance with features such as new multithreaded management components and a new engine that processes the client logon request. Multiple Profile support provides scalability for any size enterprise. ScriptLogic 4.0 features validation-logic enhancements and uses a four-part validation logic scheme. The new Service Manager version lets you configure multiple services and servers with one click. Other enhancements include a logoff agent, a new Assign Logon Script dialog box, updated global options, and a new ScriptLogic API. For pricing, contact ScriptLogic at 866-727-4785.
Altiris announced Altiris eXpress Connector for Active Directory, connector software that lets you import computers, users, and organizational units (OUs) from Active Directory (AD) and Windows NT domain groups into Altiris eXpress. You can now use Altiris IT management solutions to migrate OSs, distribute software, manage assets, create reports, and carry out policies based on imported AD OUs. Altiris eXpress Connector for Active Directory uses Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) to provide one-way synchronization from AD to Altiris eXpress. Altiris Connector for Active Directory is available at no extra cost to Altiris eXpress customers covered by annual upgrade protection. Contact Altiris at 801-226-8500.
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].
9. CONTACT US
Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:
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- ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — [email protected]
(please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)
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