Monthly Archives: March 2005

Weblogs for MSN Spaces

Wow, just saw that Dave Winer turned on a version of just for MSN Spaces so you see most recent posts from those people using just MSN Spaces. Thanks Dave!

Good to know that we here at MSN Spaces are starting to get a little exposure.


Filed under Computers and Internet

VSLive! Interview: Don Box Talks Indigo and [Longhorn]

At VSLive! San Francisco, I had the chance to spend some time with Don Box, Product Manager for Indigo. It was a very interesting conversation, and Don is quite a character. Here’s a transcript of that interview.


RWM: Do you think there was a clamp-down on talking about Longhorn-related technologies after the WinFS accouncement?

DB: The thing that may not be obvious is, the closer you get to ship, the less time you have to blog. If you look at my blogging rate in September, it was like 23, and now it’s down to about 2 a month.


RWM: Where does this Indigo CTP stand on the Road to RTM?

DB: This CTP will be followed by Beta 1, and there may be CTPs between Beta 1 and Beta 2, as well as probably one or two more between Beta 2 and RC1. There probably won’t be any CTPs between RCs, God help us if there are. :). The goal is to keep the flow going as much as possible, and getting the world of Microsoft set up to do that.


RWM: Does "Beta 1" mean Longhorn Beta 1, or will they be separate?

DB: That’s Indigo Beta 1, and that will be in the second half of 2005.


RWM: So there will be a Beta 2 then?

DB: Probably. I’m willing to go on the record that there will probably be a Beta 2.


RWM: Will Indigo RTM before Longhorn RTMs, or do you think Indigo will ship first?

DB: The current thinking is that the downlevel version might be released before Longhorn, but we obviously can’t ship the Longhorn version before Longhorn, now can we? But Longhorn will ship with Indigo.

I don’t want to do anything to derail your enthusiasm for Longhorn, but on Indigo, we were… always building Indigo. We were going to catch the next train out of the station. The obvious choice for that was either Whidbey or Longhorn. Whidbey looked pretty… aggressive [chuckles]… and Longhorn looked safe. It was going to be work, and we’d have to focus, but we could make it. For us, we were building a component that is a part of Windows, and that it was pretty critical to the platform. But we always assumed we’d ship downlevel.


RWM: So the downlevel story was always there? I mean, it wasn’t just something you decided later on in the process?

DB: I’ve been with Microsoft and Indigo since January of ’02, and certainly when I came in, it was "we’re just another part of the .NET Framework, and we’d ship on as many OSes as we can. Even at PDC in ’03, we made a big deal out of it. It was in the slides.


RWM: That’s not something that a whole lot of people picked up on, at least from my perspective.

DB: Well, I probably gave it about 90 seconds of a 90 minute talk, but I was pretty excited about it. Lets face it, PDC ’03 was "Longhorn, Longhorn, Longhorn". In my estimation, I think Whidbey is pretty [expletive] exciting. The fact that Whidbey wasn’t at a developer-facing conference. If you think about the PDC, we had ’02, which was the "big" one in Orlando, when we released the platform, ’01, which was [laughing] "HailStorm"… [more laughing] the HailStorm PDC… and the ’03, which could have been the Whidbey and Longhorn PDC or whatever… but Whidbey was down in the noise, and Longhorn was what everyone wanted to talk about. I don’t blame them. WinFS, Avalon, and Indigo were big investments, and they are pretty interesting stuff, so naturally everyone got really excited about it. But I love Whidbey. I think it’s a pretty big deal. It’s kinda said that it never got a PDC, but HailStorm did.


Read the rest here


Great interview!


Filed under Windows Longhorn

64-Bit Windows XP Released To Manufacturing

Microsoft Corp. said Thursday that it has released a number of 64-bit operating systems to manufacturing, including Windows XP Professional, in time for a scheduled release in late April.


As expected, the company also released Windows Server 2003 Server Pack 1, the basis for the 64-bit updates.


Specifically, Microsoft said that Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard x64 Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Datacenter x64 Edition, and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition all had been released to manufacturing. Further details will be released at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) later this month.


The 64-bit operating system has been long awaited by both Intel and especially Advanced Micro Devices, whose 64-bit Athlon and Opteron microprocessors have been forced to run on beta versions of the operating system. Linux distribution vendors, on the other hand, have offered 64-bit versions for months.


"Microsoft believes this is the right time to provide this flexible new OS to customers and, with broad industry partnerships, help usher in a new era of computing," the company said in a statement. "Partners are embracing 64-bit computing in a meaningful way and the availability of x64 will serve as a catalyst in the market to bring benefits to the mainstream. More than 300 partners from every segment of the industry have demonstrated support for Microsoft’s x64 platform on both the desktop and the server."


Read the rest here


Finally! Well, almost finally, it won’t be officially ready and distributed until the end of April when it will be formally announced at the 2005 Windows Hardware Engineering Conference. But many consumers and businesses who flocked to 64 bit hardware before Windows was ready should rejoicing right now. A word of warning, XP x64 is still known to be still lacking in driver and software compatibility department. So if you plan on migrating to this new platform, still keep an existing dual boot installation of 32 bit Windows until compatibility is almost as good.


Filed under Windows x64

Windows Server 2003 SP1 Ships, SBS 2003 SP1 to Follow within 60 Days

On Wednesday evening, Microsoft publicly released the final shipping version of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1), the long-awaited security update. Windows Server 2003 SP1 is a long time coming–the initial version of Windows Server 2003 shipped almost two years ago–but it includes substantial security updates, some new features, and even performance improvements across the board. For these and other reasons, Microsoft says that all Windows Server 2003 customers should install SP1 as soon as possible.


"With Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, our development team took the time to treat the root cause of many security issues, not just the symptoms," says Microsoft senior vice president Bob Muglia, who oversees the Windows Server Division. "This service pack is very significant and should help address certain classes of exploits. Service Pack 1 is a major component of our overall strategy to help keep customers as secure as possible. I encourage all of our Windows Server 2003 customers to deploy Service Pack 1."


Some of the new security technologies in Windows Server 2003 SP1 include:


Security Configuration Wizard (SCW) – A new way to configure not just server roles, but server security based on which roles the machine needs to perform. The SCW can lock down ports, services, and other server features.


Windows Firewall – First released as part of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), the Windows Firewall is generally off by default in Windows Server 2003 SP1. However, Windows Firewall will be enabled by default on new installs, and during boot-up and setup, in order to protect the system from new classes of attacks.


Post-Setup Security Updates (PSSU) – When Windows Server 2003 with SP1 is installed on a new server, network connectivity to the system is shut off until an administrator configures Automatic Updates (AU) and downloads any critical software updates that might have shipped since SP1 was first released. This feature, dubbed PSSU, also protects machines during a previously insecure time.


Interestingly, SP1 increases overall server performance, which is unusual for a service pack. "The performance improvements are like the frosting on the cake," Sam Distasio, a group product manager for Windows Server told me during a briefing yesterday. Depending on the workload, the performance increase can be somewhat dramatic. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) performance, for example, is up 50 percent with SP1 installed, because support for that technology has been moved into the kernel with HTTP.SYS (which was moved into the kernel in the initial release of Windows Server 2003). Web hosts will also see big improvements, with a 40 to 80 percent startup time reduction, depending on the number of hosted sites. Overall, networking tasks impact the processor 50 percent less than before


Read the rest here

Download Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 here


Well, for the IT departments running Server 2003 this has got to be an anticipated update that will continue to show Microsofts level of comittment when it comes to reinforcing security into its Enterprise solutions as primary objective.


Filed under Computers and Internet

Apple, Microsoft prepare for war with new systems

After years of relative quiet, both Microsoft and Apple are frenetically working on major new upgrades to the base software that run the personal computers of tens of millions of business and consumer users.


Microsoft is using the code name Longhorn to refer to its next upgrade to the Windows operating system. Apple, keeping the theme of naming its operating system software after big and fast cats, calls its next release Tiger.


We’ll see Tiger in stores this year — perhaps within a few weeks. Longhorn, as is typical of Microsoft, has been delayed a couple of times and is now not expected until mid-2006.


Longhorn will be the first major Microsoft upgrade since Windows XP hit computer hard drives in 2001. That’s light-years in the world of personal computers, and much has changed in that time: Wireless Bluetooth connections for printers and keyboards are now common, floppy drives have disappeared, Wi-Fi is now widespread and dozens of new security challenges and issues like spyware and Trojans have surfaced.


Thus Longhorn will be the biggest upgrade since Windows 95. It may also prove to be a big sell for Microsoft. For all its early security faults, Windows XP has been greatly improved through patches and fixes and is now fairly stable and comfortable to consumers and corporate users, if not exciting and new.


Getting users to switch to Longhorn is going to require some mighty convincing reasons. And so far, Microsoft has been uncharacteristically quiet, speaking only in generalities. The company says Longhorn will make for easier and faster data sharing between applications, less power consumption for laptops, a more efficient navigation system, a more appealing desktop look and more secure wireless and networking capabilities.


Read the rest here


This guy has made a lot of mistakes in the article though, a Mac Mini does not cost $499 and Tiger will be released and publicly announced next month (April) not June. He seems like someone who does not write a lot of technology articles, he thinks Longhorn is the final name, how embarrassing.


Filed under Windows Longhorn

Microsoft To Launch 64-Bit Windows Server 2003 at WinHEC

Unlike the existing 64-bit version designed for Intel’s Itanium, the 64-bit versions coming out this spring will support both existing 32-bit and 64-bit applications and show considerable performance improvements in select applications such as databases. Microsoft is readying the launch of its long-awaited Windows Server 2003 x64 editions next month at its annual conference for hardware developers. At an Intel 64-bit Xeon event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Andy Lees, corporate vice president of server and tools business at Microsoft, said the official introduction of the 64-bit extended editions at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (HEC) 2005 in Seattle in late April.


Unlike the existing 64-bit version designed for Intel’s Itanium, the 64-bit versions coming out this spring will support both existing 32-bit and 64-bit applications and show considerable performance improvements in select applications such as databases. This will enable more customers to integrate existing 32-bit applications and experiment with 64-bit computing on the same platform.


"We’re in the final stages of completing that offering," Lees said. "We’re making sure we take all of the ISVs with us [and] we’ll be announcing a raft of people making full 64-bit versions of their applications available. The fact that you’re fully compatible with 32-bit [offers] massive improvements in price/performance."


Microsoft announced the release candidate of the Windows server x64 code in February. The company originally expected to ship the software in 2004.


Further out, Microsoft will also support Intel’s forthcoming dual-core technology. The combination of Intel technologies will make Windows perform on par with a Unix operating system, Lees said.


Read the rest here


All thats left now is the applications: SQL, BizTalk, Visual Studio, Host Integration Server….


Filed under Windows x64

Microsoft favours AMD over Intel for Windows Server X64

WHILE INTEL has only recently started implementing its 64-32 instructions in its Pentium 4 processors – even though they’ve always been there and just needed to be switched on – its Xeon processors have implemented EM64T for quite some months now.

All the more surprising then, to look at Microsoft’s minimum system requirements for Windows Server 2003 Standard X64 edition and to find the Vole appears to demand a much higher spec from Intel chips than it does from AMD’s.


According to Microsoft’s page, the minimum CPU sppeds required are an Opteron 140 (1.4GHz), a Xeon 2.80GHz with 800MHz front side bus and EM64T, or an Intel Pentium (4) processor with hyperthreading and running at 3.20GHz and with an 800MHz front side bus and EM64T.


As far as we can see by consulting the INQ crib sheet, here, the lowest specced Pentium 4 in the 5XX series which satisfies Microsoft’s requirements is the 541.


Microsoft said that you’ll need 4GB of hard drive space, and a minimum of 512MB of memory. It also says that the system requirements are "subject to change" before final release of the product.


There is not a lot of love between Intel and Microsoft, despite the facade of a perfectly happy 50s style marriage. Intel thinks Microsoft is "cheating" on it with AMD and with IBM, a view reinforced by AMD at every opportunity. A ménage à trois between Sam Palmisano, Hector Ruiz, and Bill Gates does, of course, beggar the imagination. But now we’ve put the image into your head, it will be hard for you to forget it, we suggest.


For example, at the launch of the Opteron in New York just two years ago, AMD produced a Microsoft wizard who essentially said that it and the smaller chip company had cooperated on design of the 64-32 processor.


Read the rest here


And I don’t blame Microsoft one bit for loving AMD over Intel. Intel was sucking as much money as possible out of the 32 bit platform until the end of the decade when they would then decide to introduce 64 bit computing as some sort of holy pioneer. AMD ended being the pioneer of course and thought Intel a few lessons about developing a 64 bit processor to the extent that Intel ended up implementing the same ingredients in their line of CPU’s. I salute you AMD!


Filed under Windows x64