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Letters to the Editor - 27 May 2003

Can Apache and IIS Coexist?
I suggested that you remove or disable IIS because you can't have two programs listening for network connections on the same IP address and port. So in this case you can't run IIS and Apache both on port 80. You can solve this problem in several ways. The easiest way is to simply configure each server to listen on a different port but use the same IP address. To do this, edit Apache's httpd.conf file so that the Listen directive is set to 81. Next, restart Apache. If you use this method, Apache will listen on port 81 and IIS will listen on the default port 80. To access an Apache-hosted Web site, you use a URL of the form http://www.example.com:81.

Return of the Thumbnail View
Thanks for publishing Sean Daily's "Ensure Graphics Files Display Previews and Thumbnails Correctly" (March 2003, http://www.winnetmag.com, InstantDoc ID 37752). I have agonized for some time about why my thumbnail view just went away. I thought its disappearance might be related to my removing and reinstalling Microsoft FrontPage 2002. I didn't know why or what to do about it. I followed your instructions in the article and my thumbnail view is back.

Welcome to the Microsoft Club?
Mark Smith's "The Soul of Windows" (January 2003, http://www.winnetmag.com, InstantDoc 27392) was informative, but I would like to present an additional view. I wasn't a part of the initial Windows "club" when it first started, and I've been a network administrator for only 4 years. Microsoft isn't a club or a hobby anymore. It's a company. Why is this so wrong? The company was successful and made money. Most of the magazine's readers have jobs because someone somewhere made a profit and hired people to help their company make a profit.

Some of the readers responding to this article are looking for a warm and fuzzy club feeling from Microsoft. But considering the company's size, I think that's an unrealistic and possibly unfair expectation. I think Microsoft makes an honest effort to serve the customer and be helpful. I've found that Microsoft's technicians and customer representatives have great attitudes, and they're concerned about equipping me to help the people I support.

Many new IT employees in the market aren't looking for a club but for employment. I read Windows & .NET Magazine for helpful instruction and advice, not to be in a community. For most of us, it's how we get a job. It's not about being in a club. So let's just get to work.

After reading several replies to Mark Smith's article "The Soul of Windows," I can't resist formulating my own theory about the reason Microsoft changed the marketing focus from systems administrators to top executives. This is what I think: As many of us agree, Microsoft didn't take market leadership because they offer better products. Was Windows 3.0 better than Macintosh? No. Was Windows NT Server better than Novell? No. The Microsoft products succeeded simply because they were less expensive.

Microsoft's target used to be systems administrators. Microsoft was trying to convince administrators that its programs were good enough to replace the market leaders but at much less cost for the enterprise*so, we could make the appropriate justification (i.e., the Return on Investment—ROI—argument) to the finance group. Let's face it: We don't have any decision power in the enterprise. Or do we? Can any admins implement any high-tech project (e.g., Storage Area Network—SAN, wireless) without the approval of the chief financial guy? Our job is to evaluate, recommend, and, if approved, implement. Microsoft understood the buying process very well and still does. Now that the company has taken the enterprise environment, it doesn't need the systems administrators any more to justify its programs. Now it can go directly to that financial guy. The reason Microsoft is scared by Linux and the open-source initiative is not that the programs could be better than Microsoft's but because implementing and maintaining them could be much less expensive than using Microsoft products.

Until one company demonstrates that it can live with open-source applications alone, Microsoft's dominance won't be threatened. But Microsoft doesn't want to wait for that day. What does that mean for systems administrators? Well, in the same way we brought Microsoft to the enterprise, we can get rid of Microsoft by justifying the cost of using alternatives to Microsoft products. I have to admit that this task is more difficult than it was in the early 1990s. But it's not impossible. Install a small network in your home, test the applications, extrapolate the results, and calculate the cost. You might be surprised!

Why Not Free Tools?
After reading Douglas Toombs's "Web Monitoring Solutions" (April 2003, http://www.winnetmag.com, InstantDoc 38276), I started noticing a consistent trend with the Windows community in general. The subject of free (or open-source) tools rarely makes its way into the articles. I realize that this is a Windows-based magazine. But I know firsthand that having a tool that does what Ipswitch's WhatsUp Gold does for free would be a great tool.

In addition to the tools that are listed in the article, you need to add Nagios (http://www.nagios.org). Yes, it runs on Linux, but in a small shop, any old hardware would be able to monitor everything. I monitor 400 servers with more than 1400 services. I need multi-tier escalations, the ability to log Help desk tickets, and the ability to launch scripts against the Windows boxes to repair failed services if necessary.

A few years ago, I worked in a small shop in which I was the only IT guy. I would have killed to have this tool. Our company had no money to spend on WhatsUp Gold or any other tool like it. I'm very interested in the open-source movement because it often offers excellent products that cost only the time that you invest implementing them. If there is a tool that is just as good as a commercial product, Windows & .NET Magazine should present it even if it runs on Linux.

FASTFACT
60% of respondents to a recent Windows & .NET Magazine Instant Poll said they believed that Windows Server 2003 will be Microsoft's most secure OS to date. For the complete Instant Poll results, go to http://www.winnetmag.com/poll.

OOPS
In Ed Roth's "Windows XP's Advanced Networking Feature" (March 2003, http://winnetmag.com, InstantDoc ID 37939), the instructions to upgrade the .adm file on a Windows 2000 system, Step 3, state: "From the MMC Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, right-click the DC to which you want to apply the new settings, then select Properties." The sentence should have read: " ... right-click the domain container to which you want to apply the new settings, then select Properties." We regret any inconvenience this error might have caused.

In Dustin Puryear's article "Apache 2.0 on Win2K" (April 2003, http://winnetmag.com, InstantDoc ID 38288), the author says that when installing Apache software you need to "first remove or disable any existing IIS installation." Is this a necessary step, and can Apache and Microsoft IIS coexist?

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