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Windows IT Pro UPDATE--Transitions--June 14, 2005

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Best Practices for Establishing and Enforcing a Security Policy in Your Business


1. Commentary
- Transitions

2. Hot Off the Press
- Microsoft Revamps Music Strategy to Compete with Apple

3. Networking Perspectives
- Changing Your Network's IP Address Scheme

4. Peer to Peer
- Featured Thread: Application Error
- How has the Power Users group changed in Windows Server 2003?

5. New and Improved
- Support Multiple Monitors


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==== 1. Commentary: Transitions ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

You could almost hear the crowd at Apple Computer's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2005 last week draw its collective breath when Apple CEO Steve Jobs, framed by a giant slide display that read, simply, "Transitions," verified that the rumors were true: Apple will switch the Macintosh to industry-standard Intel microprocessors. The decision has ramifications far beyond the small niche market that the Mac now controls.

As Jobs faced the WWDC crowd, a different kind of transition was being planned in Austin, Texas. There, REAL Software was planning a new version of its award-wining REALbasic, a version that will simultaneously give legacy Visual Basic (VB) users a place to put their hats and provide the kind of cross-platform compatibility that Microsoft Visual Studio doesn't even pretend to provide.

This week, I discuss both developments and explain how they prove, in many ways, that Microsoft's increasingly insular culture is ignorant of the changes that are now affecting the computer industry.

Apple Switches to Intel
Apple's successes with its iPod products have somewhat dampened enthusiasm for the Mac, the product that used to be the Cupertino company's bread and butter. But the recent decision to move away from PowerPC chips and embrace Intel microprocessors proves that Apple intends to compete, once again, in the PC market.

Today, IBM supplies Apple with the high-end PowerPC G5 chips that power Apple's PowerMac G5 systems. But IBM has been unable to meet two of Apple's core needs: faster versions of the G5 processor that will help the company compete with Intel Xeon-based workstations and a low-power version of the chip that's appropriate for notebook computers.

After studying the competition's road maps--Apple allegedly considered AMD chips and IBM's new Cell processor--Apple jumped into a partnership with Intel. Looking ahead at the chips that Intel intends to ship over the next few years, it's apparent that Apple will use a future-generation dual-core Pentium M chip for its PowerBook notebooks and a quad-core Pentium D processor for its Power Macs.

Migrating to a new architecture is risky, but Apple's done so twice before--once with the move from Motorola 68xxx chips to PowerPC chips and once with the move from Mac OS Classic to the UNIX-derived Mac OS X. Indeed, the underlying architecture of OS X makes the Intel migration possible. Apple's prior success migrating to new platforms almost guarantees that the company will succeed with Intel as well.

Why is this switch to Intel chips important to Windows customers? In Microsoft's cozy, insular world, backward compatibility is embraced above all else, and the company holds customers in check by ensuring that their legacy applications will run, unhindered, on future platforms.

This respect for the past is meaningful to some customers but bad for the technology that Microsoft develops and is therefore, ultimately, bad for most of its customers. Upcoming systems, such as Longhorn, the next Windows version, will be constrained by a need for backward compatibility. Indeed, after years of struggling, Microsoft has finally realized that Longhorn can't offer the best of both worlds. That is, the OS can't be a revolutionary upgrade and maintain backward compatibility.

Consequently, Longhorn will be a far less compelling upgrade than originally planned. It will use a modified Windows XP kernel and offer the same type of technology baby steps over previous Windows versions that XP did. That is, Longhorn will retain much of the legacy deadwood that has hampered previous Windows versions. That code is an entry point for intruders and their malicious software, and it makes Windows more complex and difficult to support.

Mac users face some pain with the switch, yes. But they'll also arrive at a system that is clean, stable, and devoid of unnecessary legacy code. My guess is that Apple will pick up momentum with the move to Intel, capturing many people who might have ultimately gone with Linux on the desktop. Will Apple's migration to Intel hardware help it bite into Windows' market share? It might. There's something to be said for a safe, simple, and secure system that just works. Longhorn will never be that system.

REALbasic Offers True Cross-Platform Compatibility
Earlier this year, REAL Software reached out to the millions of VB users who were uninterested in moving to the managed-code world of Microsoft .NET. Today, the company is shipping a product that should prove to be a milestone in the history of cross-platform computing. REALbasic 2005 will ship in versions for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, letting developers create software applications that run on any of those platforms.

The Linux version of this object-oriented software development environment is perhaps the most interesting. Available now in a public beta version--the final version will ship later this summer--REALbasic 2005 Standard Edition is free to all users. That's right: REAL Software is proving that it understands the Linux software market and is giving Linux users their first free, simple yet powerful software-development environment.

For VB 6.0 users, REALbasic 2005 provides a comfortable environment, albeit one that offers powerful OOP features. More important, perhaps, it provides a way to easily update legacy code and port it to new OSs. REALbasic 2005 is virtually identical across all three environments, but it attempts to support the best that each platform offers. For example, on Mac OS X, REALbasic 2005 supports Tiger's Spotlight instant-search feature.

Previous attempts at creating cross-platform development environments--most notably Java--failed because they didn't provide the performance and functionality of native-code generation. But applications created with REALbasic run natively on each OS, offering the performance you expect. No need to drop down to lowest-common denominator Java code or HTML.

Microsoft has never made any attempt to create a cross-platform development tool, even though most of its large customers use multiple platforms. And the latest version of its software development suite, Visual Studio 2005, is years late and heavy with niche product editions that will prove confusing to customers. In Microsoft's view of interconnectivity, software applications are silos that interoperate only through Web services or other high-level means. Thus, the company will never engineer Visual Studio to create Linux services, even though such a capability might ultimately help its customers.

So which functionality is more valuable: porting a VB 6.0 application to .NET code or porting it to run on two other OS architectures? I guess the answer depends on your needs. But if you're sitting on a library of VB 6.0 code and want to bring it forward to a more capable environment that offers modern OOP features, you could do a lot worse than REALbasic 2005.

Final Thoughts Microsoft is a customer-centric company, and it often listens to customers when planning upcoming products. But I think many of its competitors are doing a better job of picking up on industry trends and shipping products that truly meet customer needs, rather than Microsoft's needs. If Longhorn isn't better, more secure, or simpler than XP, few business customers will make the leap. And if Microsoft's customers are deploying software to the platforms that make the most sense to them, why isn't the company expending more effort on cross-platform software development?


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

Microsoft Revamps Music Strategy to Compete with Apple
Stung by a series of defeats at the hands of Apple Computer's iTunes and iPod products, Microsoft is revamping its digital music offerings in a bid to regain lost momentum. Microsoft plans to ship a public beta of Windows Media Player (WMP) 11--codenamed Polaris and originally scheduled for inclusion in Longhorn--in November 2005. Read the complete story at the following URL:

==== 3. Networking Perspectives ====
by Alan Sugano, [email protected]

Changing Your Network's IP Address Scheme
If you've ever had to change your network's IP address scheme, you know it's not an easy task. Alan Sugano offers some tips for helping to make the job easier.

==== Events and Resources ====
( A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: )

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In this free Web seminar discover the various categories of high availability and disaster recovery solutions available and the pros and cons of each. You'll learn what solutions help you take preemptive, corrective action without resorting to a full system failover, or in extreme cases, that perform a non-disruptive, automatic switchover to a secondary server. Register Now!

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Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005. SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database computing environment. Receive a 1-year membership to PASS and 1-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now!

Streamline Desktop Deployments
Managing desktop software configurations doesn't have to be a manual process, resulting in unplanned costs, deployment delays, and client confusion. In this free Web seminar find out how to manage the software package preparation process and increase your desktop reliability, user satisfaction, and IT cost effectiveness. You'll learn how to simplify the deployment and configuration process, starting with the new-application request, review, and approval process and progressing through software packaging and deployment.

Win A Windows IT Pro VIP Subscription – Register and You Could Win!
In this free Web seminar, learn what the most common fax messaging challenges encountered in the workforce are and solutions for how to turn these common fax "headaches" into cost-effective, easy-to-use, business communications. You'll also receive a free industry white paper on fax deployment and integration techniques. Register now and you'll receive a 30-day software trial and a starbuck's gift card for attending!

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Managing storage growth, providing application resiliency, and handling small errors and problems before they grow are all important aspects of boosting your Exchange uptime. In this free Web seminar discover how storage and application management techniques for Exchange can be used to improve the resiliency and performance of your Exchange infrastructure. Register now and get your free eBook!

==== Featured White Paper ====

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In this free white paper you'll learn how to reduce management overhead when dealing with multiple platforms and the costs and benefits of a centralized "holistic" approach to security management. Get the ins and outs of managing multi-platform security and how you can safely, securely, and sanely manage the security infrastructure of complex, multi-platform environments.

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==== Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll:
The voting has closed in Windows IT Pro's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Which of the following would you like to see more of on the Windows IT Pro Web site?" Here are the results from the 114 votes:
- 74% Technical articles
- 8% Breaking news
- 8% Product coverage
- 7% Humor and entertainment
- 4% Forums and interactive blogs

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

New Instant Poll:
The next Instant Poll question is, "Does your company monitor employee email?" Go to the Windows IT Pro home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, b) No, but we plan to do so in the near future, c) No, and we have no plans to do so, or d) I don't know.

==== 4. Peer to Peer ====

Featured Thread: Application Error
Forum reader jwhart has been getting weird error messages on his Windows XP machines. They're application errors that appear at the Ctrl-Alt-Del screen before the user logs on. Read more about the problem and offer your advice at the following URL:

Tip: How has the Power Users group changed in Windows Server 2003?
by John Savill,

Find the answer here:

==== Announcements ====
(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

Why Do You Need the Windows IT Pro Master CD?
There are three good reasons to order our latest Windows IT Pro Master CD. One, because it's lightning-fast, portable tool that let you search for solutions by topic, author, or issue. Two, because it includes our Top 100 Windows IT Pro Tips. Three, because you'll also receive exclusive, subscriber-only access to our entire online article database. Click here to discover even more reasons:

Chat with Mike Otey about SBS SP1
Windows IT Pro's Mike Otey will answer your questions about Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) Service Pack 1 (SP1) in a chat on June 15 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. For details, visit the Microsoft chat site at;16543944;6134865;q?

==== 5. New and Improved ==== by Adam Carheden, [email protected]

Support Multiple Monitors
Aten Technologies recently announced the MasterView Dual-View CS-1744, a KVM switch that supports multiple monitors. The switch supports as many as four computers via a USB keyboard and mouse. It can switch the video display for two VGA/SVGA/MultiSync monitors on each connected computer, with resolutions of up to 2048 x 1536. It also supports microphone and audio and has an additional front-side USB port for peripheral support. You can pick up a CS-1744 for $310.99, which includes all the necessary audio and video cables.

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to mailto:[email protected].

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