WinInfo Short Takes - 13 Apr 2007

An often irreverent look at some of the week's other news, including Apple's ironic Leopard delay, Paul in the news, Microsoft's plot to kill XP, Vista activation hacks, Office 2007's fake flaws, virtualization delays, DNS threats, and so much more...

WinInfo Blog

Short Takes

   - Apple Delays Leopard

   - I Wish People Would Actually Read What I Write

   - Microsoft Plots to Kill XP

   - Microsoft Acknowledges Vista Product Activation Hacks

   - Office 2007 Flaw Reports Untrue, According to Microsoft

   - Microsoft Delays Virtualization Beta

   - Microsoft Warns of New DNS Threat

   - Bill Gates Allegedly Headed for Outer Space Too

WinInfo Blog

     by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

OK, seriously. The weather (I know, I know) has turned from bad to

worse. Say what you will about global warming, but we're not

seeing warming so much as we are the weather being unusual. December was warmer than usual, but April continues to be miserable, and we're

looking at a major snowstorm on Sunday. Sorry, but this weather isn't

what we signed up for. I know New England has crazy weather, but it's

getting silly.

Mark's birthday party was exactly the nightmare I'd feared, and it

took all weekend for my wife and I to recover. Mark, of course,

declared the event a success, in the sense that 17 screaming 9-year-

olds running rampant in a bizarre black-lighted indoor mini-golf place

can be called a success. Now he's planning something even more insane

for next year. I can't wait.

Our friends from France arrived Monday, and I should have known

something was wrong when I saw the paramedics go into customs, but I was blissfully ignorant until an hour later when I started wondering why our friends weren't coming out of customs. To make a long story short, their two-year-old daughter had gotten sick on the plane, and she was sick for the next three days or so. But this morning, she suddenly smiled at me, ate a big breakfast, and acted as if nothing had happened. So all is well, and our friends are here long enough that they can still go see some sites.

Leo and I recorded another episode of the Windows Weekly podcast this

week, although I'm curious to see what happens to the episode. Most of

the podcast was me ranting about Wikipedia, which had been ignoring my

complaints for quite some time. We recorded the podcast Thursday

night, and when I woke up this morning, Wikipedia had finally

responded to my complaints and fixed the problems. I'm conferring with

Leo about how to proceed.

Short Takes

An often irreverent look at some of the week's other news

     by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Apple Delays Leopard

Back when Apple was constantly poking fun at Microsoft for its

continual Windows Vista delays, I felt that the Macintosh maker was

being a bit disingenuous. This week, it became obvious why that's

true: Apple delayed the release of Mac OS X Leopard again, this time

to October 2007. Apple CEO Steve Jobs previously promised that Leopard

would ship around the same time as Vista, and then late last year

Apple promised that Leopard would ship by Spring 2007. Now, the OS has been delayed again, and you can almost hear the Mac fanatics scrambling to defend the company. Let's imagine some of their arguments, and how hypocritical they are, given that none of these people ever cut Microsoft any slack. "I'm glad that Apple is delaying Leopard," they'll say, "since this will ensure that the quality level is higher than ever." "Who would get worried over an OS delay?" they'll ask, rhetorically. "Don't worry, people, Apple hasn't given up on the Mac!" Sure Apple hasn't. Here's the reality: All the fun, all the excitement, and soon, all the money at Apple will be coming from the consumer (i.e., iPod, iPhone, Apple TV) side of the company, a shift that's been obvious for some time. This situation is similar to the switch Apple made from the Apple II to the Mac in the mid-1980s,

when the company abandoned the Apple II even though it was making all

the company's money at the time. Apple has seen the future, and it's the iPod. Sorry.

I Wish People Would Actually Read What I Write

Last week, I offered up my opinion that Microsoft would never release

Windows XP SP3. My opinion is based on years of experience observing

Microsoft, but is nothing more than an opinion. Yet, for some reason,

this bit of conjecture has been reported all over the Web as "Paul

Thurrott reports that Microsoft has cancelled XP SP3." Sigh. So ZDNet

blogger Mary Jo Foley simply asked Microsoft about XP SP3. (I wish

more people had thought to do so.) Here's Microsoft's decidedly

noncommittal response: "SP3 for Windows XP Home Edition \[and

Professional\] is currently planned for 1H CY2008. This date is

preliminary." So there you go. And for the record, I still feel that

Microsoft is going to skip out on XP SP3. Even if the company does

release XP SP3, 2008 is about two years too late.

Microsoft Plots to Kill XP

And speaking of XP's impending death, Microsoft said this week that it

will stop providing XP to PC makers and retail stores by the end of

2007, you know, just in case anyone thought they could get in the way

of Vista sales by buying XP. "This has been the practice at Microsoft

for some time, and this process provides a gradual transition away

from a previous version of an OS, from full availability, to

availability only through a distributor, and finally availability via

downgrade rights," a Microsoft representative told CNET

Microsoft Acknowledges Vista Product Activation Hacks

This week, Microsoft admitted that hackers have broken the product

activation scheme in Vista in at least two different ways, letting

users pirate the software and install Vista on multiple PCs. However,

Microsoft said it has no plans to thwart the hackers' efforts. "Our goal isn't to stop every 'mad scientist' that's on a mission to hack Windows," Microsoft Senior Product Manager Alex Kochis wrote in his blog this week. "Our first goal is to disrupt the business model of organized counterfeiters and protect users from becoming unknowing victims. This means focusing on responding to hacks that are scalable and can easily be commercialized, thereby making victims out of well-intentioned customers." I guess Microsoft isn't sanctioning these hacks, but it sure isn't doing much to discourage hackers either.

Office 2007 Flaw Reports Untrue, According to Microsoft

This week, Microsoft investigated reports of four flaws in its Office

2007 system and determined that the only flaws were in the reports.

According to the company, the reported flaws aren't true and don't

"demonstrate any vulnerability in Word 2007 or any Office 2007

products." Microsoft also complained that it wasn't told of the flaws

before their public disclosure. Anyway, the point here is simple: If

you read about possible flaws in Office 2007 this week, relax. The

reports are bogus.

Microsoft Delays Virtualization Beta

This week, Microsoft alerted me to a delay in the delivery of a beta

version of its Windows Server virtualization technology (code-named

Veridian and Hypervisor). The company had originally planned to ship a

public beta of Veridian in the first half of 2007, but that release

has been pushed back to the second half of the year. However,

Microsoft said that the delay of the beta won't affect the final

release, which is still due within 180 days of Longhorn Server.

Microsoft also noted that Longhorn Server is still on track to be released in the second half of 2007. Also, another Microsoft virtualization technology release--Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1--has been delayed to the second quarter of 2007.

Microsoft Warns of New DNS Threat

This week, Microsoft warned that a newly discovered flaw in its DNS

Server service in various Windows Server versions could quickly be

exploited, so the company will likely ship an out-of-band (OOB) fix.

In other words, it looks like Microsoft's going to be forced to ship a

fix as soon as possible, instead of waiting for the regularly

scheduled May 2007 patch release. This type of OOB release is a

nightmare for system administrators, but I suppose it's better than

seeing malicious hackers remotely control all of your servers.

Bill Gates Allegedly Headed for Outer Space Too

With ex-Microsoft programmer Charles Simonyi currently circling the

globe in the International Space Station after a flight aboard a

Russian rocket, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin said this week

that Simonyi told him that billionaire Bill Gates will also visit

outer space soon. Gates, like Simonyi, would have to pony up a $25

million fee and undergo months of training before traveling into

space. But let's face it: $25 million is pocket change for the world's

richest man, and he's not exactly burning the midnight oil coding DOS

on punch cards anymore. Simonyi is the fifth "space tourist" (or, as

he put it, the first "space nerd").

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