Archive for September, 2005

Microsoft’s OneCare, Antivirus, Firewall, Spyware Remover, and more

Monday, September 19th, 2005

Microsoft is preparing to release a product they call OneCare, it is a suite of security related apps which goes a few steps beyond the critical update patching of WindowsUpdate. It will include a far more functional firewall (than that provided in Windows), antivirus, spyware remover, backup automator, and disk fragmentation automator. Price has not been announced, but is expected (by the author of the article cited) to be ~$40/year.

As the article also points out, it is nice to know that Microsoft, not profiting enough from selling the OS, can now profit even more from the issues surrounding its insecurity, and in the process drive other competitors in that space out of business. I am not suggesting that Microsoft has been directly responsible for all of the security woes of the platform, not at all. Any dominant platform would be by its popularity the target of script kiddies, virus writers, bot net builders, etc. But, Microsoft has made their job considerably easier by their decisions and neglect. One example would be the fact that a virgin install of XP from media if directly connected to the internet would be vulnerable to and extremely often become infected with various worm-borne contaminants before it was able to be patched via Windows Update. The time before the average computer on the average network would be infected is something like 7 minutes, seriously. Either you need to have a hardware firewall (firewalled router) or you need to take the steps outlined by SANS, steps which should have been at the very least implemented by Microsoft in the original media. Other OSes have made other choices about which services/ports to allow open and vulnerable by default, and their choices (most often: none) have meant their OS can at least survive into its critical initial patching. Obviously if you’ve bought XP recently, or on a recent computer then you’ve been safe via the SP2-related protections, but that’s a bit too late for so many users, and the damages (hundreds upon hundreds of millions if you believe the news media reports of worm-related damage, not to mention annoyance from bot nets delivering spam and conquering more PCs) should be paid off (I would argue) by the profits they will reap from OneCare. Or, since that’s totally impossible/impractical, give OneCare away for free, as a penance for their many gaffes of the past, present, and future. Will it happen? Almo$t certainly not.

The article: Now Windows can clean up after itself

Windows Vista Product Editions

Saturday, September 10th, 2005

Paul Thurrott over at WindowsITPro got the skinny on just what flavors of Vista there will be, two days ahead of the general announcement at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2005.

Here are the names and roughly what their current equivalent is, read the article for the full details:
Windows Vista Starter Edition – like XP starter
Windows Vista Home Basic Edition – like XP Home
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition – somewhere between Home and Pro
Windows Vista Professional Edition – like XP Pro
Windows Vista Small Business Edition – like XP Pro, but with more enterprise features
Windows Vista Enterprise Edition – like XP Pro, but with even more enterprise features
Windows Vista Ultimate Edition – hard to describe succinctly, like XP Pro, but more control for gaming, access to premium content (music, video, etc.), and more

So many different versions, seems a bit confusing, but each seems to have a different demographic firmly in mind.

Vista Itanium Uses Limited

Friday, September 9th, 2005

If you want to use your company’s Itanium server with Windows Vista I sure hope you’re planning on using it as a database, because that’s pretty much all they’ll let you run (well, and “custom and line-of-business applications”). Some of the things you won’t be able to do include: fax server, Windows Media Services, Windows SharePoint Services, and file/print servers. Seems a bit strange to me. Announcing Target Workloads for Windows Server “Longhorn” Itanium-based Systems

Google’s Customized Microsoft Search Page

Friday, September 9th, 2005

Here’s a slightly strange fact, given Microsoft’s position on Google (and to a lesser degree vice versa). Google has a customized search page which searches only Microsoft content (http://www.google.com/microsoft.html), and that page appears linked to by Microsoft http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink?linkid=23818. The fact that Google has the page isn’t really all that strange, it’s that Microsoft is linking to it that is. A relic from years ago? A link created by some naive developer at Microsoft? Who knows, not bad fodder for conspiracy theories, though. Google page searches for Microsoft content.