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December 9, 2002—In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- First Yukon Beta Set for First Quarter 2003
- Report: Email Overload Doesn't Exist
- Microsoft Lobbies Governments to Reject OSS
- Happy 10th Anniversary SQL Server!
- Planning on Getting Certified? Make Sure to Pick Up Our New eBook!
3. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
Microsoft is prepping the first beta release of SQL Server 2003 (code-named Yukon) for release in February or March and will use feedback from the beta to determine the final release schedule. The long-awaited Yukon code base will usher in a new era on Microsoft's software-development roadmap; the company will incorporate the software into other projects, including the Windows Future Storage (WinFS) file system in the next Windows release (code-named Longhorn) and the data store for a future Microsoft Exchange Server release (code-named Kodiak). Microsoft will also issue the next major release of Visual Studio .NET to coincide with Yukon; a minor release (code-named Everett) will ship in early 2003 to coincide with Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003.
Microsoft will deliver Yukon beta 1 to only 1500 testers, although a future release will be more widely available. Alpha code is being used inhouse and with select close partners, the company said. A key advance in this release is the ability to code stored procedures in any Visual Studio .NET-compatible programming language, thanks to full compatibility with the Microsoft .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR). This feature will make SQL Server more accessible and useful for developers.
Before Microsoft finalizes Yukon, however, the company will ship the final version of SQL Server 2000 64-bit Edition (code-named Liberty). The company will finalize this project in time for the April 2003 release of Win.NET Server, which includes various 64-bit editions.
According to a recent study from nonprofit organization Pew Internet & American Life Project, Americans who use email at work said, overwhelmingly, that the technology is essential to their jobs, saving them time and helping them more easily communicate with other people. That news probably comes as no surprise to anyone who uses email. But the study also found that most email users receive very little spam or other unwanted mail; 50 percent claim to receive no spam at all.
So what am I doing wrong? If you can believe this study, I fall into a small group of so-called "power emailers" who claim to be overwhelmed by email. Let me give you a recent example. This morning, as always, my first task was to sort through my email, which these days involves a lot of manual deleting because I'm experimenting with antispam packages that work with IMAP email. Between midnight and 9:00 A.M. today, I received 84 email messages. Of those messages, 63 were spam. On an average weekday, I receive more than 100 legitimate email messages; I've never thought to count the total number of spam messages. But, yes, I feel overwhelmed by email—and spam—on a daily basis.
But in this study, even power emailers, who spend about 2 hours a day handling email, didn't complain much about spam. Only 11 percent of respondents said they were overwhelmed by email, although this group represented 20 percent of the total surveyed. The report says that most people receive only 15 email messages a day. One caveat, however, is that the study concerned work email addresses only. Workers could be more conscientious than home users.
Microsoft is waging a major lobbying effort to prevent the United States and other international governments from choosing open source software (OSS) solutions, especially Linux. Observers believe that Microsoft launched its campaign in response to several South American and Central American governments that recently began looking into requiring OSS solutions; the campaign has popped up all around the globe, including South America, and in numerous US government and military agencies. The company has even lobbied the new Office of Homeland Security, asking it not to fund OSS research.
The crux of Microsoft's argument against so-called free software is the GNU General Public License (GPL) under which much of this software is licensed. According to the GPL's terms, software code is freely available and any changes made to that code must also be made freely available. Microsoft says that these requirements can be dangerous for commercial software companies that create proprietary software and don't reveal the underlying code to customers. Because GPL won't let Microsoft and other companies mix and match open-source and proprietary solutions, they have no incentive to sell OSS solutions. And if developers inadvertently combine open-source code with Microsoft's proprietary code, the company would be legally required to surrender the rights to the software code of its own programs.
"The GPL, in my view, is bad in all its dimensions," said Jim Allchin, group vice president of Microsoft's Platforms Group. But OSS advocates say the company's complaints are simply a smoke screen to hide its fear of Linux and other free solutions. More important, Microsoft's efforts thus far have been unsuccessful. Despite the software giant's heavy lobbying, the US National Security Agency (NSA) recently released its own super-secure Linux version. And in cash-strapped developing and third-world countries, Linux and other open-source solutions are particularly viable. Microsoft might be dominant in today's computing landscape, but the potential market for PCs and supporting software is much larger when you factor in the masses in China, India, South Africa, Central America, South America, and other areas.
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