Breaking up with Bill

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 10/27/2003 - 00:09

This is a really good article on one man's switch to Linux. Instead of focusing on the actual migration, however (as many of these types of articles do), this one focuses on the reasons why he made the switch. It's a short and entertaining read, but he brings up several important points. My personal favorite quote?

It wasn't just the virus, or the thrice-weekly crashes, or the forced upgrades or even the massive, bloated resource hog that Microsoft Office has become. It was the realization that Microsoft is building the Great Eye That Never Sleeps, which, in combination with your government identification number, will be used to track you, verify you and determine if you are a properly obedient little wage-serf.

Here's the full article.

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 09/30/2003 - 15:52

Here's an interesting new twist on the MS Anti-trust settlement. Basically, MS owes CA customers $1.1 billion dollars as repayment for their uncompetitive practices. Not one to miss an opportunity, CEO Michael Robertson setup MSfreePC.comwhere "eligible consumers who act quickly can receive their share of the $1.1 billion settlement." See the site for additional details.

MS, however, did not take kindly to this, and sent a cease-and-desist letter threatening legal action. Michael Robertson has just replied with his own press release, and while I'm not personally a fan of Lindows, this is a very worthwhile read. It very nicely sums up many of the "issues."

China looks into Windows code

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 09/30/2003 - 08:24

Yes, I've been lazy about updating the site. Lots going on lately. Got a couple new items for you today, though, beginning with ...

China is about to begin studying the source code for Microsoft Windows. This is part of an effort to verify the security of the platform, as well as ensure that there are no "backdoors" into the OS for any U.S. agencies to exploit.

Now, I'm all for security, but am I the only one that feels this is a bad idea? Considering that Windows (unfortunately) runs ~90% of our nation's computers, do we really want the Chinese government to have full access to the source code? Especially when our own government does not? Especially when during the antitrust trials Microsoft said themselves that the source code cannot be released for the sake of national security?

Hmm... Could it be that maybe they care more about making sales than our own national security? Nooo, not MS. With programs like Microsoft's Government Security Program, which includesmore than 30 "countries, territories, and organizations (though no mention of the U.S.)," how could one even think it?

Read the full story here.

Microsoft Insecurity

Submitted by jbreland on Wed, 08/06/2003 - 18:33

Most readers should hopefully be aware of the severe RPC vulnerability announced a couple weeks ago that affects all versions of Windows NT, 2000, XP, and 2003. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security just released a second advisory about the flaw, urging users to install the appropriate patch ASAP. More details can be found here, and the patch itself (along with technical details) can be found here.

A new vulnerability in IE has also been reported. According to this article, "Notepad popup windows can be displayed from an HTML email message or Web page regardless of browser security settings. In addition, Notepad popups can access files on a hard disk, possibilly causing stability problems in a Windows saystem." A followup post on Bugtraq points out that this IE flaw also affects many other mimetypes and protocols. For now, the only fix is to switch to another browser.

Microsoft publishes security guides for admins

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 04/29/2003 - 11:51

Apparently Microsoft doesn't have too much faith in those who administrate MS boxes. Oh well, I guess they understand that a majority of NT, 2000, etc. admins don't know enough about their system to make it secure... but oh wait... they can't, they have to rely on patches from MS.

"Microsoft found that an overwhelming majority of the security breaches its customers have suffered resulted from configuration mistakes. These included unpatched systems and unprotected administrative accounts on servers, Stephenson said."

Geez, give them a break... I mean, if the admins had patches within the day for their problems... or easily appliable patches that don't break other things... maybe this wouldn't be such a big deal.

Now as for the unprotected admin accounts on servers... well... then that person shouldn't have a job.

Read the article here[Computerworld]

More about Windows Server 2003

Submitted by jbreland on Fri, 04/25/2003 - 14:58

This article is an interview with Rob Short.. the guy who is the VP of Windows Core Tech... interesting stuff

It talks about what Linux and Unix have over 2003...

here is a tidbit:

"We've built a patch mechanism in 2003 that will be shipped externally. We'll be able to patch probably two thirds of the components without shutting the system down. That's an area where the Unix guys are ahead of us, because of the way they do redirection -- they can patch a file and then change the symbolic link. That's an area where we've got a problem, and we'll fix it in the near future when possible."

Of course this was my favorite quote

Read the rest of the story

Ballmer: No sleep lost over Linux

Submitted by jbreland on Fri, 04/25/2003 - 13:51

C|Net is carrying an interview with Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, about Linux, FOSS, piracy, sales, and marketing, among other topics.

This guy cracks me up everytime he says something. He's so completely full of crap that I'm surprised he's even allowed to be in the IT field, let alone CEO of the most dominate software company in the market.

Some highlights:

I would argue that our customers have seen a lot more innovation from us than they have seen from [the open-source] community.

I'm sorry, what? What exactly did you innovate? What in your entire product line was not acquired or stolen from someone else?

Linux itself is a clone ... of a 20-year-old system.

Actually, is a 30-year-old system, and it's an evoultion of it, not a clone. And by the way, do you remember something called MS-DOS? Windows for Workgroups? Window NT? How exactly is this version so revolutionary?

A Linux PC in most countries is a PC in which somebody is being encouraged to pirate Windows.


And I also don't think hardware prices have come down, at least at the client. Hardware prices have not come down significantly in a number of years...The capability goes up, as the capability goes up in our software.

C|NET: "Average selling prices are pretty far down."

No, no, no. Not in the home. It hasn't come down in the last several years at all. Remember when sub-$1,000 PCs were all the rage. The percentage of sub-$1,000 or $500 PCs is not significantly different today than it was several years ago. There is more capability every year for the price, but the same could be said for Microsoft Office 2003.

Wow. Anyone else have a headache after reading that?

There are numerous more choice quotes, so please, grab yourself a Dew, pop some popcorn, sit back and prepare to be entertained.

Here's the full interview:

Corporations Suffer Microsoft Activation Bug

Submitted by jbreland on Thu, 04/17/2003 - 13:18

Microsoft sucks, on so many levels. In their latest anti-piracy scheme, they've managed to screw over all of their largest customers.

Corporations using the Select version of Office, which includes a site distribution license to eliminate the need for individually registering each installed copy of Office, have recently been hit by a bug that's prompting users to register Office with Microsoft. Of course, this is precisely what the Select version is supposed to get rid of.

But wait, it gets better.

When prompted to register, you can select "Remind me later." Well guess what? You can only select this 50 times, and then Office will refuse to load.

But wait, it gets even better!

Becuase of another known bug, the registration wizard will refuse to start after the 50th try! So, now users are unable to use Office at all, nor can they register it to enable it again.

So why am I posting this on my site?

Guess who discovered the problem affected a certain "Select" corporate customer that signs his paycheck.


Full story on The Register:

Windows Server 2003 Heralds New Era for Software Security -- hmm

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 04/14/2003 - 20:31

In an attempt to salvage MS's tattered Security track record, Microsoft is trying to push server 2003 as the new era for software security. While this might be true as compared to other MS server OSes... it remains to be seen how it will stand up against Apple's OSX, Linux, and Solaris which are far more securable platforms.

Here is MS's press release