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Windows Server 2003 Security Guide April 29, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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Microsoft has released a security guide for Windows Server 2003.  Some very good information in it.

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Microsoft exec calls for calm on OSS site April 29, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Tech News.
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This post deals with the Port25 site.  The SearchOpenSource.com site has an article where Bill Hilf calls for some calm in the seas of Port25.  I agree totally with him.  While Rev. Don Parris, editor-in-chief of Linux news site LXer.com, claims Bill Hilf is in the bottom of the pecking order and its true, he is.  But the good thing about being the bottom man is that someone above you had to actually approve the idea of the site before  it went live.  Microsoft is trying to improve its relationship with the Open Source community, and its done a decent job of it.  There is change coming at Microsoft and to beat an old saying thats been beaten numerous times, Rome wasnt built in a day.  Parris, ESR, and the other Open Source advocates can sit there and throw stones but you wanna know what.  I for one dont give a shit what happened between Microsoft and Korea in 1998, I for one am interested in what Microsoft has to say about interoperability and I for one think Port25 is a good idea.  If you hate Microsoft that much that you just want to come on Port25 and talk trash, do yourself and everyone else a favor.  Ignore the site.

Microsoft wants to build a community and they will.  As with most extremists that show up in forums these guys will eventually get tired and quit coming.  Those who are actually mature enough and professional enough to actually participate in this kind of setting will stay and things will get better.  I know Bill Hilf doesnt want to have to start modding and banning people but he will have to

The return & Solaris 4/06 April 29, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Tech News.
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Well guys Im back now from my little bit of time off.  the first bit of news I figured I would share is the news of Solaris 4/06.  It has been released and has a grocery list of decent changes.  Read the notes and download this.

Download

Release Notes

Gone for two days April 26, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Tech News.
1 comment so far

I am off to a funeral for two days I will be out of town.  Someone keep me informed on whats going on on the net

Linspire 5-0 v2 released April 23, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Tech News.
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Linspire has released v2 of their flagship product Linspire 5-0.  v2 has no major new features but improved code quality, hardware support and includes updates to included packages.

Community notice

Release Notes

New GNOME Does Search Right April 23, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Tech News.
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Jason Brooks over on eWeek has a review of the new GNOME desktop and a review of some of the new features.  I Personally am now more impressed with GNOME as it has a better look and feel and doesnt feel aged like the previous version have in the past.  Although KDE is still my preferred desktop for Linux and UNIX, GNOME has at least become bearable.

When Paul Thurrott is wrong April 23, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
4 comments

This story came out a few days ago and I read it.  Before we start I have a lot of respect for Paul.  He has been a journalist for years, he has been around in the tech industry for a long time.  I’m critical on Microsoft and I’m also critical on its competitors.  If they give us shit, I say its shit.  As I did with SLED and as I have been on Mac OS in the past.  The problem I have with Thurotts article is not that I’m a Microsoft enthusiast, the problem I have is that once again, like WinHEC last year he is giving a definitive shoot down on Windows Vista based on a CTP.  CTP’s despite what many say are not major code releases.  They are a snapshot to the customer that shows where the product is at the moment and should not be used to give a definitive thumbs up or thumbs down of the product.

Microsoft has pulled features from Vista and or set up different delivery systems for these features.  WinFS, delayed.  Monad will not be shipped as part of the OS which as an administrator that pleases the hell out of me.  Monad and Command Prompt are just two features of the Windows OS, command line for Linux and Mac OS X, for the users who dont need to use them to get into trouble.  With regular users the first thing I do is restrict them access to the command prompt and not just on Windows, on UNIX, Linux and Mac OS X systems as well.  Why?  because basically unless they are old time UNIX or Linux cats they dont know what the hell they are doing and I would rather see them doing their work, being productive instead of going into a command line and fucking up the system that I will have to repair later.  Monad will have to be downloaded and installed separately, which is just fine by me.  WinFS will be released later and unless I see something with strong appeal that Copernic or Vista’s integrated search cant do I probably wont bother with it.

Next, he addresses who is to blame for the delays, broken promises and as he called it "train wreck" that has become Windows Vista.  He wants to blame Bill Gates, who took over as Chief Software architect.  I hate Bill Gates as much as anyone else and anytime I have a problem with a Windows system I wish he was sitting next to me so that I can choke the life out of him.  But Bill has done two great things with Windows Vista.  First he dropped the Windows XP SP2 codebase and replaced it with the Windows Server 2003 SP1 codebase which is a much more robust system and doesn’t have as many quirks as the XP sp2 codebase and is much more tolerant of extreme changes than SP2.  Next, he implemented a Security first approach to Windows Vista which I am not going to argue that’s a bad thing, although my buddy Steven J Vaughn Nichols would probably say that’s what Microsoft needed to do in the first place. I don’t like to pass out blame, when you pass out blame you are merely making excuses so unlike Paul, I blame everyone on the Windows team for the delays, the problems and the screw ups.  After all, Windows is not a one man project.  Should Bill Gates have stepped down?  Well if Bill Gates should step down, then so should Steve Jobs and Linus Torvalds.  All three are vestiges of the past.

Next, he likens Windows Vista to a warmed over copy of Mac OS X Tiger.  I think Paul forgets that many of the features that are in Tiger were in earlier versions of Longhorn beta, around the PDC 2003 era and were copied into Mac OS X Tiger.  Who shipped first?  Who cares.  The fact is that every system has a mail client, every version of Linux and Mac OS X has had calendars and mail clients.  Those are features customers want and what they expect and the features are helpful.  Who introduced RAW image editing first? it was actually Picasa from Google.  So Apple does its fair share of copying as well as some of its innovations.  I’m hard up to find a truly innovative feature in Mac OS X. The only difference is they do it prettier and the shiny things are what catches peoples attention.  If Windows Vista is so bad, then why are other system developers, ie Novell and Apple copying features from Windows Vista and incorporating into their own products.  What you think alt-tab and a multi columned start menu are innovations in SLED?  The search bar in the SLED menu a Novell innovation?  Do you think (Konfabulator) Dashboard is an innovative feature of Mac OS X?  Do you think Spotlight is an innovation found in Mac OS X?

Broken promises, who hates broken promises?  I do.  Did Microsoft break any promises?  Of course.  I have used the Vista CTP’s and I see enough in there that would improve my life as an admin and as a user a great deal.  Personally, I dislike XP.  I personally think they blew the dog, with the pink thing hanging out, with Windows XP and they have redeemed themselves with Windows Vista.

I agree with Paul on the UAP feature in Windows Vista.  Its in there, its not exactly as flawless as in other systems but if Microsoft didn’t include it people would be bitching and moaning about it not being included.  Personaly, I like Paul would like to see it a little less frustrating and with Windows Defender I would like a warning on certain software, but if I chose to download it after I have been given a warning it should be my choice.  Aero, I like something’s, I dislike others but I’m taking a wait and see attitude because hey, its a CTP not the final code.  I personally am taking a wait and see attitude on Windows Vista before I make any final judgments on Windows Vista because its a , lets say it all together now, a CTP.  Not final code.  When dealing with a CTP, RC candidate or Beta if you are fortunate enough to be a tester, send your feedback to Microsoft, that’s what its for.  Its not there to the final be all say all, its for feedback.  If Microsoft see’s a need to change it they will.

So I personally think Paul was way in left field with this review, sorry Paul.  What are the chances of Microsoft changing everything to Paul or anybody else’s total liking?  Not very likely, but I challenge anyone to find me a system that is 100% perfect and doesn’t contain a feature that someone doesn’t have a gripe or bitch about or that they would not like to see implemented better.  Windows Vista has been a very frustrating journey but the final product will be the one where I ultimately give it a thumbs up, or thumb to the throat.

Some Mac Resellers Pre-Installing Windows XP April 22, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Tech News.
5 comments

Apparantly some demand has been put up their for Windows XP on Intel Macs.  Some resellers are preinstalling it but the Intel Mac is not a supported platform.  Microsoft has said it may offer support in the future

L.A. Times pulls columnist’s blog over fake names April 22, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
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Didnt this guy learn anything from the Stephen Glass case?  Michael Hiltzik posted responses on a guys blog under a different name.  Its not like he fabricated a story or anything.  Geez people get a life.

The best software April 22, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
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One of my practices that I follow and I tell other people is to use the software thats best for you. I hear it all the time "Open Source produces the best software" or "Proprietary software is the best". To tell you the truth I havent found any development model that produces the "best" software. I have ridden on both sides of the fence. I use Open Source software, I use Proprietary software and yes both have their advantages and disadvantages.

One of the things I hear all the time is Linux and Open Source is the best. When I ask why almost everytime the answers range from, "Its free" to " I get to see the source code". Good reasons and one of them is true, You do get to see the source code. But when I ask, " What changes have you made to the source code and what new functionality have you added to the product?" the next common answer is "nothing " and that holds true for most users, most Open Source software users do not alter the code, they simply use the default configuration thats supplied. I think I have met maybe a dozen people who have actually modified Open Source code, I’m sure there are more I just havent met them. Now for the zealots I get responses such as "FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!" in Mel Gibson in Braveheart type bravado, no I am not kidding and I have actually seen that happen, other responses include "I hate Microsoft" or "Bill Gates is rich enough" and my personal favorite is "Im not Bill Gates whore" Funny though how many people categorize Bill Gates and Microsoft with proprietary software when there are thousands of proprietary software companies out there today.

 Now, when someone tells me they use Microsoft or Sun proprietary products and I ask why the answers come back "They offer good support" or "They work well with Company X other software" also very good answers. So if both sides have adaquate reasoning what makes one better than the other? It doesnt. A lot of times in geek crowds software zealotry and religon finds it’s way into any argument and often times it filters down, like lava from an exploding volcano.

 So how does this translate into "The best software." It doesnt. No software is 100% perfect. I have never considered myself an Open Source advocate, I have never considered myself an traitor to freedom proprietary software advocate. I advocate the best software for me to use for a particular task. I use Apache, I love Apache. Why? Its faster, its more flexible and if I am running Windows 2000 Server, which I do, and a Windows Server 2003 box I dont have to worry about the different versions of Apache like I do with IIS on Microsofts platforms. I run MySQL on both 2000 Server and Server 2003. Why? Becuase its a leaner product, its hardware requirements are not as intensive as SQL Server. Is it because its Open Source? Nope. Is it because its free? Nope. SQL Server Express Edition is also free and quite adequate for my needs. For what I need it for both products work, they work well. On the desktop side I use OpenOffice.org on all my desktops. Why do I do this? Well, in this case its because its a free product. I have in total 9 PC’a. Some laptops some desktops and 1 tabletPC. I am not about to do $499 x 9. But for my basic word editing, the presentations I do and the little spreadsheeting I do, its fine. Do I use it because its better? Nope, hell I cant even play background music through an entire slideshow in Impress without having to write some BASIC code for a Macro. How many non tech users can even write a BASIC Macro? Thats how come I will always have at least one copy of Office 2003/2007 installed. I use it because it offers advantages. One being, its free. The second being, it runs on many platforms besides Windows so I dont have to worry about purchasing CrossOver Office to run Office on Linux. The third being, it works fine for what I need it to do. I happen to love VB and C# so I do buy Visual Studios, I also do a lot of home movies so I do buy Adobe Premiere. Both cost a lot of money, but both also are the best software for the categories for which I use them. For my audio work I buy Adobe Audition its the best software in my opinion to do audio work.

When making a choice of what software to use dont base the decision on the development model. Thats like saying all black, chinese or hispanic women are better in bed than all Caucasian women. Dont let religon and whats cool and hip influence your decision. Make the decision based on your needs, sit down and make a list of the advantages and disadvantages to your needs. Find out what the software can do and what it cant do and what features you may need or want. In some cases an Open Source solution may work better than a proprietary solution, in some cases a proprietary solution may work better than an Open Source solution.