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OpenSolaris released under the GPL3 January 28, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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Jonathan Schwartz on his weblog has said that they want to license OpenSolaris under the GPL 3 and the CDDL license. First in my Opinion, thats impossible to do and actually still think that customers IP rights will be protected. IP is intellectual property for those of you who dont know. Sun right now is trying to stay on the “cool” side of the fence. They want Linux and defecting Microsoft developers. I think its shortsighted and foolish to actually give a thumbs up, or start planning to adopt a license thats incomplete, not yet a true license and you dont know all the terms of the license. If Sun adopts GPL v3 for OpenSolaris, not only as a software developer would I not develop technology for that platform but they are inhibiting the adoption of the platform because the customers and clients who wish to utilize DRM protections, will not be able to use the platform. As Linus Torvalds says, software licenses should not play politics. While I do not like DRM or big brother controls, they exist, people will want to use them. Sun needs to quit trying to kiss ass of a group they believe they need and do whats best for their customers. Not only the ones who do not like DRM but for those that find it necessary and wish to utilize those measures.

Firefox Myths January 25, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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Today on OSNews I read a pretty intriging article on Firefox myths. It was a pretty decent article complete with sources to other articles regarding different browsers, IE and Opera. now on the other hand this guy tried a very weak rebuttal to the Firefox myths article. I call it a weak rebuttal because the author relies on no external sources, while the author “Nanobot” (which the name alone is enough to get a snicker out of anyone) only relies on his own blog with his own commentary. Very interesting since Nanobot seems to think Andrew is regarding IE with all the glory.

AndrewK cites many external source most very friendly to Opera, while Nanobot wants to turn this into an argument over IE and Firefox it clearly isnt so.

Spyware can be delivered to a machine through any browser, this includes Firefox. AndrewK cites that Firefox extentions are not 100% safe and they are not. All it takes is a ignorant user to install that Firefox or even Netscape extention as it takes the user to click on the the yellowbar in IE to install that ActiveX control and to infect their machine with Malware.

Standards support for both IE and Firefox are incomplete and Opera on the Windows platform is the most standards compliant, its also noteworthy that none of the browsers Opera, IE or Firefox are Acid2 compliant. Nanobox cites that Konqueror and Safari are more standard compliant yet Safari nor Konqueror run on Windows.

Also, Andrew has stated on his page that this comparison is for Web browsers on the Windows platform.

Windows Vista Reviewed January 25, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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I’m a subscriber of MSDN, along with this subscription comes the opportunity of beta testing some of Microsoft’s newest software offerings. This includes but not limited to Windows Vista. When I got the CTP I was fully aware this is a beta and was expecting many problems but fortunately, I didn’t run into that many. Microsoft has generated a lot of hype regarding Windows Vista. Probably more than they did with Windows 95, but I’m pleased to report that much of it is true. The systems used for this review are as follows, Pentium 4 2.4 ghz 1gig of RAM, 280 gig of Hard Drive space and an Nvidia G-Force with the Nvidia Windows Vista drivers. Pentium 3 933MHz with 768 mb of RAM, 40 gigs of HD space and an Nvidia TNT2 32 mb video card.

Installation

Installation was pretty much straight forward and is much improved over the previous versions. Before you start the installation it is best to back up all your data in case of data loss. When I installed Windows Vista on the Pentium 4 machine it was replacing Windows XP SP2. The installation left my partitions intact and it didn’t delete my data I had on those partitions which was a plus. On the Pentium 3 it replaced Windows Server 2003 and unlike when I upgraded from Windows 2000 Server to Windows Server 2003 it didn’t damage my partitions either. This looks like it will be much smoother in upgrades than previous versions of Windows. Installation was a lot faster than previous versions of Windows. In fact its as fast as Windows Server 2003 in terms of installation. No problems here and it picked up most of my hardware on both machines, even the crappy integrated sound card on my Pentium 3.

The UI

When I first saw slate, I liked slate. When I first saw Aero I hated it but Microsoft has redeemed itself . Gone is that ugly as hell start button and is replaced with a blue globe with the Windows flag. Glass can sometimes get very annoying and luckily you can disable the Glass transparencies and you can even change your color schemes. If your machine cant handle Glass, you still get the new look called Aero Basic which basically looks like Aero but without the transparencies and effects of Glass. If you aren’t happy with Aero Glass or Aero Basic, Windows Classic is till there. If this is truly the final interface for Windows Vista, this will be a good mature interface and on par with that of OS X, I think Microsoft will change the UI as it has done in the past. Microsoft has also invested in making much more professional looking icons with Windows Vista and its good to see instead of the kindergarten reject looking icons that Windows XP had.

Performance and Security

Performance on the Pentium 4 was great, Windows Vista was very responsive and didn’t take a lot of time to open applications. Booting was speedy and responsive. On the Pentium 3 Performance was okay. It was basically on par with Windows XP. It was capable of performing minor to moderate tasks. Surfing the web, checking e-mail, using an development IDE, editing digital photographs, word processing and video conferencing. Just realize you will not be playing any high resolution games, you wont be doing any kind of 3D rendering with older hardware. Security on Windows Vista is much improved. You have UAP (User Account Protection) which keeps many problems such as Viruses and Malware at bay, and for children or public workstations locking down the system is much easier than it was with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. I had some problems with some security products but will discuss that in ‘Application Compatibility’. With Windows XP you had a problem with the more applications you installed the less responsive the system would be. This wasn’t a big issue with Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 and its good to see Microsoft has done the same with Windows Vista. Microsoft has made real progress on security this go, and it was needed. It seemed like the past practice with security by Microsoft was simply applying a band-aid to a half amputated arm. I think the security critics will be very pleased with these efforts.

Application Compatibility

This is where its going to be a huge bite. With Microsoft’s new security practices, expect some application compatibility issues. I have a few Applications that I have written that access the registry, I know its a bad practice and I mostly shy away from it, but you need to be Administrator in order to alter the registry. While you can give your user admin credentials some applications still will not install properly. I use StarOffice 8, StarOffice 8 installs and works properly on Windows Vista. Using a firewall and anti-virus though is tricky. With the firewall, you have to set it up as the Administrator and then reboot into your user account and it will work properly. If you try to install the firewall using your user account, it will install but when you log out and back in will cause the firewall to crash. Yahoo Messenger and Quicktime, RealPlayer all work properly. Netscape 8 will work using the Firefox engine if you try to switch to the IE engine Netscape 8 will crash. Firefox and Opera both work on this build as does Copernic Desktop Search. Yes, Windows Vista comes with search but Copernic indexes StarOffice and OpenDocument format documents.

New Applications

With the CTP you get Windows Calendar, Windows Mail, DVD Maker, Windows Media Player 11 and a new build of IE7. Windows Calendar finally gives Windows users the same type of functionality offered by iCal from Apple. Its a very professional application and will give small businesses and users real value without having to invest in Outlook, Groupwise or Lotus Notes. Windows Mail is simply Outlook Express rebranded and its also much improved. Its a shame these enhancements will not make their way back to Windows XP and Server 2003 as Windows Mail finally makes Outlook Express usable in terms of both Small businesses and it could give Thunderbird a run for its money. IE7 is much faster, very responsive and its Tabs functionality is extremely cool. It also handles RSS feeds much better than other browsers do and it appears that they must have really paid attention to the Maxthon teams efforts. Windows Vista also includes Windows Backup which is on par with many commercial backup utilities and Windows Collaboration is very nice, I haven’t had a way to test it but its meant as a P2P application that can allow users to collaborate heavily, whether across the room, on a different floor, or across the country. Windows Media Player 11 is much more improved and is visually more intuitive than even Apples iTunes. Search is also integrated into Windows Media Player. Its about time Microsoft added some commercial quality software to Windows. Oh yeah, for you Solitaire buffs, Solitaire has also been beautified..

The Bad

Well, as with most software we come to the bad. The biggest mistakes Microsoft has made to Windows Vista. Well, the new common tasks pane has been moved and its seems confusing, I personally don’t like the search in the start menu. While this may take some getting used to I find it inconvenient. I also don’t like some of the Big Brother mechanisms that Microsoft is building into the system. To be fair though, I will wait until they directly affect me before I decide whether to stay with Windows or move to the Mac.

Conclusion

I have been very happy with this CTP and I’m very glad to say that unlike the SuSE 10.1 Betas I am keeping this one on the machine. Its stable and useful and will help me get ready for Windows Vista. For those that have been fed up with Windows in terms of stability, usability, and security Windows Vista will be a breath of fresh air. For those that hate Microsoft and cant stand anything that Microsoft makes, well you will still feel that way. For those that want an OS that helps your productivity, doesn’t get in your way and that allows you much more customization of your system, you will be very pleased with Windows Vista.

First lab tests: Apple iMac Intel Core Duo January 24, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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Great write-up on MacWorld regarding the new iMac. Very interesting

Microsoft sinking its own ship January 23, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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LXer has published an article on How Microsoft is sinking its own ship. very laughable but in my own way Im going to do to this guy what I do to Steven Nichols over at eWeek and sytematically tear down his thinking.

” Financial growth has slowed and its stock price remains flat “

Just because they havent moved in terms of sales doesnt mean a thing, one thing that Microsoft has that these other companies dont have is a steady source of income. They have OEM contracts, service contracts as well as other sources of income that Linux vendors and Google do not have.

” It missed the trends in Internet search and music download “

And where is the money in these markets. Google doesnt make money from search, they make money in advertising. Apple hasnt made a dime in its music downloads since it first opened its store. What keeps the Music store afloat is the sale of the iPod. Apple has said in its quarterly financial report that they make no money off of the iTunes music store.

” It’s still fighting anti-trust in Europe and Asia “

60 billion is a hell of a warchest, and its growing

” AOL instant messaging continues to dominates the IM landscape “
For consumer use yes, Yahoo is like #2 and MSN #3, Google Talk hasnt even made any kind of break-in. Too bad. What kills MSN is that they have no chat service unless you subscribe to MSN Internet Services, Yahoo and AOL you dont have to subscribe.

” Alternatives exist to Microsoft’s core business “

How great are these alternatives? There is only one alternative that can actually give Microsoft a run for its money, thats Apple and Mac OS. Most people who use Linux do so because they are under the illusion Linux is free and its an illusion thats finally going away

” The verb for searching on the Internet is Google “

Yeah and in Europe people say they will MSN you later, your point?

” Google beat and outbid Microsoft for a stake in America Online. Microsoft had hoped a stake in AOL would have boosted MSN. Microsoft has shown that it doesn’t fare well in running business ventures unrelated to its cash cows Microsoft Office and the Windows desktop.”
Google needed AOL to resign their contract, if not Google was toast. I wouldnt say Microsdt has a hard time running its buisness ventures. The X-Box 360 is doing rather well, Great Plains software is doing extremely well in growth from what I have seen and Windows Vista will probably win back a few hearts and heads. They also do well in terms of Visual Studios and their development platform.

” File-sharing software and Apple computer’s iTunes have redefined how the world obtains and listens to music and videos. Yahoo sits in the top position among Internet portals and the Mozilla Firefox browser has cracked the fortress of Internet Explorer.”

illegal downloads and lock-ins to Apples proprietary offerings that you have to have an iPod to listen to, or in my case, download em, Burn a CD rip em to MP3 and put them on my Carbon. When IE 7 is released I plan to switch and Im probably not the only one. Be prepped for that Firefox trend to go into reverse.

” On the desktop, Apple appears poised to grab market share for the first time in ten years. Microsoft has decided to target that market instead of the server side where fighting IBM has taken a toll, HP has changed partners and Sun appears poised to make another run with a joint Solaris and Linux strategy.”

Apple will pull in a couple of Marketshare points but ask yourself this question, how many of those brand new Macs will be dual booting with Windows, and how many seats of VirtualPC will Microsoft sell? Remember each deployment of VPC is a license for Microsoft Windows. Also, Microsoft last year outsold Linux servers. Sun has no joint Solaris/Linux strategy. If you want Linux you will get Linux, in Suns eyes if you want Windows you get Windows, but they primarily sell Solaris and focus on Solaris sales and its worked rather well for them

” Windows servers may have taken away the dominance of Novell, Banyan Vines and IBM LAN Server but Microsoft never made its way into mission critical applications. In places where Microsoft tried they failed miserably. In a relatively short time frame, Linux won the battle Microsoft started in the server arena. “

Is this guys high or something? Windows does extremely well in the Mission Critical Applications. I suggest you take a look at actual market data instead of tuning into the “Linux is god” forums.

” Microsoft made big promises to Independent Software Vendors back in the days when MS bundled the stripped down version of Windows and DOS with every PC. To get everyone writing applications for him, Mr. Gates promised to never cross the line between applications and operating systems. So, companies like Lotus, WordPerfect, Act, Intuit and others banked on Mr. Gates word. Microsoft then turned around and squashed their loyal ISVs. That won’t happen again.

With the eventual release of Vista, Microsoft will stress its current customers’ resources. Word on the street says that Visual Basic programmers haven’t made a successful transition to C# and the .Net framework appears like just another development model – not the development model. So, unless an enterprise needs Microsoft media player and a few other replaceable items, the Linux desktop has much appeal in the corporate environment. “

Were you there when Microsoft made these so called big promises? Microsoft did nothing different than those developers did to him. MultiPlan (Excel), was new at the time of DOS and Lotus and WordPerfect, Why did it Win? Because Microsoft actually went ahead and advanced and innovated on the platform. Lotus and WordPerfect wanted to stay DOS, they didnt even offer a Windows version until years after Microsoft Office won. Act wasnt being actively developed for years until Symantec bought the product. The ISV’s went to sleep and Microsoft woke em up. Once of Microsofts employees actually summed it up pretty nicely with this article I will say too, I run Apache and MySQL on Windows, works extremely well for me. When I needed IIS and Apache to cooperate so that I could render ASP.NET applications, Microsoft support was extremely helpful in helping me set that up. As for Microsofts .NET Framework not being a serious, development platform. Well there are only 2 development platforms, Java and .NET. Thats not a Microsoft quote, thats a Sun Microsystems quote. If .NET wasnt a real concern, why would IBM and others be trying to Topple .NET? If .NET wasnt a true concern, why would Novell be trying to make Mono as compatible as possible with .NET?

With Intel moving its R&D to Shanghai and HP in Beijing watch for more consumer oriented desktop products to become available for Linux. Afterall, if people use Linux as their desktop in Asia, South America, India, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, then ISV and hardware manufacturers would seem stupid if they only produced products for Windows. “

And with Oracle and HP moving their development stations off of Linux and onto Solaris 10, I think the Linux community better quit worrying about Microsoft and start worrying about what they need to do.

” Not too long ago, Microsoft tried to sell us on the argument that if you used their software on the desktop you should use their servers too. It actually made some sense or let’s say some people bought it. Then people bought NT and Windows 2000 and then Microsoft’s knowledge base expanded exponentially as did their their customers’ infrastructure problems. (That’s also the time Microsoft started marketing their expensive support offering, too.)

With Linux running mission critical applications and replacing Microsoft infrastructures, doesn’t it make sense to create seamless solutions and put Linux on the desktop?

It makes sense to put Linux on the desktop when the desktop no longer matters. As we move from PC centric infrastructures to an executable Internet. Linux begins to make more sense. So, the seamless solution works better today when proposed with standards based operating systems rather than with klugged directory services, etc. You could also argue that the leading technology deploys on Linux easily considering Apache runs 65-70% of all web sites.”

Yeah and with as many servers running Linux, many of those companies still use Windows for the desktops, also the Apache numbers dont count for all Linux deployments, many people think they do but they dont. Apache runs on many platforms, including Windows.

Personally and Im sure Im not the only one that feels this way, the internet is not the place for productivity apps. My documents are my business and I dont think security or bandwidth exists for me to truly be productive on the internet. I would trust a Thin client architecture or web based office suite as far as I can throw em.

Microsoft has no problems, unlike the Linux community which after reading this article makes me think 2 things.

First thought ” Thank God I dont use Linux enough to become a blind zealot”
Second thought ” These guys need to get their heads out of this alternate reality they live in.

113790852880489057 January 22, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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WorldLabel.com has made their templates available for OpenOffice.org writer. Very nice. They are available for OpenOffice 1.1, OpenOffice 2.0 and they work with StarOffice 8 as well.

Sun NDIS Wrapper Toolkit January 21, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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the OpenSolaris team has ported Project Evil from FreeBSD to the OpenSolaris OS and Solaris 10. The rebranded Project Evil aka Sun NDIS Wrapper Toolkit allows Solaris users to use their Windows Wireless device drivers on Solaris 10. very noteworthy task, especially for Solaris users.

HP Opteron blades, Proliant supports Sun Solaris 10 January 21, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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Very, very good news for Solaris looks like Sun is becoming a serious competitor again.

The WMF Exploit: Backdoor, or just bad coding? January 17, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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There has been a conspiracy – theory for whether the WMF exploit was intentional or a backdoor. Personally, I believe that it is not. It has been in Windows since 1990, also other OS’s, NeXTStep, BeOS and Mac OS X use Metafiles in the same ways as Windows does. tin-foil material.

No SP3 until 2007 January 17, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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Microsoft has said Windows XP SP3 will not be available until 2007. Considering SP2 was such a massive fix, I dont think SP3 will be as major.