Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--June 10, 2003

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Windows & .NET Magazine


1. Commentary: The SCO UNIX Lawsuit--Will It Affect Your Business?

2. Hot Off the Press
- Microsoft Settlement Change Highlights Apple's Problems

3. Keeping Up with Win2K and NT
- Win2K SP4 Is Coming Soon
- The Newest IIS Security Rollup

4. Announcements
- Get Exclusive VIP Web Site Access!
- Learn 10 Ways to Deal with Spam!

5. Instant Poll
- Results of Previous Poll: WLAN
- New Instant Poll: SCO UNIX Lawsuit

6. Resources
- Featured Thread: NT 4.0 to Windows 2003
- Tip: How Can I Configure the Recovery Console (RC) in Windows 2000 and Later to Not Require Me to Enter the Administrator Password?

7. Events
- Security 2003 Road Show 8. New and Improved
- Teach Yourself Windows Server 2003
- Submit Top Product Ideas

9. Contact Us
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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==== 1. Commentary: The SCO UNIX Lawsuit--Will It Affect Your Business?
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

Most Windows-based enterprises are likely well versed in the Linux debate in which Linux supporters argue that their favorite OS is more secure and less expensive than Windows because it's created largely by volunteers, is developed in the open and available for source-code examination, and is free to license. But many companies I've spoken to are less susceptible to the religious dogma behind Linux and take a more practical approach to implementing the open-source solution, as they do with any other technology. That is, most mid- and large-sized businesses are heterogeneous, implementing technology where it makes the most sense, which today, often means small and midsized Web sites, file servers, and in some cases even 3-D graphics-rendering farms. Linux has proven to be a fairly versatile and inexpensive alternative to Windows server products, even when you factor in the cost of supporting a UNIX-like environment. Over the years, I've found the steady improvements to Linux to be somewhat hard to swallow.
Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks that way. UNIX patent, copyright, and intellectual property owner SCO Group recently sued IBM, the largest Linux licensee, for $1 billion, charging the computer giant with stealing copyrighted UNIX code and using it in Linux. Furthermore, SCO charges that any company using Linux faces legal action over intellectual property rights because of the fact that crackers have stolen entire sections of UNIX code and placed that code in Linux. The legal battle, which Linux backers initially greeted with somewhat childish dissent, is starting to heat up. And if IBM doesn't respond adequately this week, SCO says it will cancel IBM's UNIX license, a legal bomb that could force IBM to stop selling its UNIX-based AIX software.
SCO's claims aren't without merit. After a weak rebuttal over the status of UNIX's copyrights from former UNIX owner Novell earlier this month, SCO produced documents that prove SCO has "all rights to UNIX ... technology, including the copyrights," an assertion Novell ultimately supported. However, Novell still maintains it owns certain patents related to UNIX, a fact that's unlikely to inhibit SCO from suing every Linux-using company on the planet. The problem, of course, comes down to the source code.
According to SCO, you can compare the UNIX System V and Linux source code to see where Linux is stealing wholeheartedly from UNIX. To make this comparison, however, you have to sign an egregious nondisclosure agreement (NDA), which prevents you from discussing details of the charges. This NDA is causing many members of the press to decline the invitation. Laura Dido of the Yankee Group signed the NDA, and she says the evidence is damning, with entire sections of source code, including original developer documentary notes, lifted wholesale from the UNIX System V source code. Based on this evidence, she recommended that companies with AIX contracts contact IBM immediately for advice. A wider concern is whether this development will forever taint or curtail adoption of the open-source phenomenon.
As with Microsoft's sudden domination of the Web browser market, critics have looked at Linux's sharp adoption and technical improvement rates with some distrust. How can an OS without any true central management or development strategy so quickly grow to rival and even eclipse the decades-old UNIX? Well, theft is one obvious way. As a hypothetical argument, let's say Linux's original threading code prevented it from scaling past a certain point. One way to improve that limitation would be to steal code from a similar OS--UNIX--that had already solved the scaling problem. But the question remains: Who stole the UNIX code?
This question might ultimately be answered in court, and although SCO has been silent about various details surrounding its claims, the company has said that it doesn't believe IBM is directly responsible for the theft. But what was once a curious, if nervously humorous lawsuit, is suddenly gaining steam. If SCO can revoke IBM's AIX license and prove that IBM used UNIX code in Linux, a wholesale attack on Linux companies could be next. And few of these companies are backed by the kind of legal resources IBM commands. If IBM falls, these other companies are in trouble.
The situation also has a couple of wild cards, as you might expect. The first is Microsoft, which recently made a huge media event out of licensing the UNIX code from SCO and recommending that other companies do the same. At the time, Microsoft said it was licensing the source code to provide better interoperability between UNIX and its products (notably Windows Services for UNIX--SFU). But where Microsoft goes, charges of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) follow. The Linux community immediately cried foul at the Microsoft media event, charging that the software giant was trying to throw another wrench into the cogs of Linux's progress. Microsoft, however, said that although Linux is indeed a threat, it has yet to feel the pinch from Linux, which the company says has stolen market share from UNIX not Windows.
Second, SCO is clearly using litigation as a revenue stream. The company doesn't have a balanced portfolio of products and services, and it doesn't take a financial genius to realize that someone at the company eventually decided that its only valuable asset was its ownership of the slowly fading UNIX. If SCO's suit against IBM is successful--meaning, the company makes oodles of money in an out-of-court settlement or by ultimately winning the case--we can expect SCO to move on down the UNIX and Linux food chains, suing companies that work on or use these technologies. The ramifications are staggering.
Is this legal threat something companies implementing AIX or Linux need to worry about, or will the SCO lawsuit disappear behind smoke and mirrors? Let me know what you think, and whether you believe your company--or the wider AIX and Linux communities--have anything to fear from SCO.


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==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Settlement Change Highlights Apple's Problems
Microsoft has agreed to modify its $1.1 billion antitrust settlement with California in response to Apple Computer's complaints that the original agreement simply provided free Microsoft software to schools in that state. Under the terms of the modified agreement, Microsoft will instead provide California schools with vouchers good toward the purchase of any computer hardware or software, not just software that Microsoft makes. California sued Microsoft in the wake of the company's historic federal antitrust trial, accusing the company of overcharging the state's consumers for Windows, Microsoft Office, and other software products. For Apple, fending off Microsoft in its home state is a crucial move because Apple's education sales--once one of its strongest markets--fell 15 percent in 2002, when California schools faced budget shortfalls and moved to standardize on Windows. For more details about this story, visit the following URL:

==== 3. Keeping Up with Win2K and NT ====
by Paula Sharick, [email protected]

Win2K SP4 Is Coming Soon
Windows 2000 bug reports and hotfixes have slowed to a trickle during the past few months. This slowdown always presages the release of a new service pack. As of June 8, the Microsoft Knowledge Base contained 23 Win2K pre-Service Pack 5 (SP5) articles, including the recommended Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), IP Security (IPSec), and Network Address Translation (NAT) update I described in last week's column ( ). These pre-SP5 articles indicate that SP4 won't include fixes for several USB problems or problems with terminal servers that fail in high-stress environments. Using history as a guide, we can expect SP4 sometime during June or July. So ramp up your software distribution scripts and put SP4 on the schedule for a late summer or early fall deployment.

The Newest IIS Security Rollup
After engaging in numerous real-time cyber–sword fights against malicious intruders, Paula Sharick recommends you avoid similar frustrations by updating your systems with the latest Microsoft IIS security rollup. You can read more about this update at the following URL:

==== 4. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Get Exclusive VIP Web Site Access!
The Windows & .NET Magazine VIP Site is a subscription-based online technical resource that's chock-full of problem-solving articles from all our publications. For a limited time, you can access this banner-free site at which you'll find exclusive content usually reserved for VIP Site members only. Only VIP subscribers can access this site after June 13, so check it out today!

Learn 10 Ways to Deal with Spam!
In this audiocast event, you'll discover simple but effective ways to fight spam, plus learn the common tricks spammers use to get your email address. You'll also receive a free white paper from NetIQ about controlling spam and the chance to download a free trial of NetIQ MailMarshal SMTP. Register today!

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==== 5. Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: WLAN
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Does your organization have a wireless LAN (WLAN)?" Here are the results from the 70 votes:
- 46% Yes
- 54% No
- 0% I don't know

New Instant Poll: SCO UNIX Lawsuit
The next Instant Poll question is, "What do you believe will be the implications of SCO's lawsuit against IBM?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) The lawsuit will have far-reaching effects on the Linux community, b) The lawsuit will affect IBM, but not the entire Linux community, c) The lawsuit will be thrown out, or d) I don't know.

==== 6. Resources ====

Featured Thread: NT 4.0 to Windows 2003
Reader Tiv is planning his organization's move from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows Server 2003 and wants to know whether it's possible or feasible to jump over Windows 2000 directly to Windows 2003. If you have advice to offer, visit the following URL:

Tip: How Can I Configure the Recovery Console (RC) in Windows 2000 and Later to Not Require Me to Enter the Administrator Password?
by John Savill,

To configure the RC to not require you to enter the administrator password, perform the following steps:
1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Setup\RecoveryConsole registry subkey.
3. Double-click SecurityLevel, set its value to 1 to not require password entry (or 0 to require the user to enter the password), then click OK.
4. Close the registry editor.

You can also use the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Local Security Settings snap-in (go to Local Policies, Security Options, "Recovery console: Allow automatic administrative logon") to configure this setting.

==== 7. Events ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

Security 2003 Road Show
Join Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott as they deliver sound security advice at our popular Security 2003 Road Show event.

==== 8. New and Improved ====
by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Teach Yourself Windows Server 2003
Sams Publishing released three new books: "Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Delta Guide," "Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Unleashed," and "Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Windows Server 2003 in 24 Hours." Pricing for the books are $29.99, $59.99, and $29.99, respectively. Contact Sams Publishing at 317-581-3500.

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]

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==== 9. Contact Us ====

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