Monday, April 24, 2006

When Microsoft lovers bash Microsoft

People tell me I bash Microsoft too much; that Microsoft's products really are great. OK, so I won't bash Microsoft this time around.

I'll let Microsoft's own friends do it.

Let's start with Mike Danseglio, program manager in Microsoft's Security Solutions group. In early April at the InfoSec World conference, Danseglio was talking about Windows security. He said, "When you are dealing with rootkits and some advanced spyware programs, the only solution is to rebuild from scratch. In some cases, there really is no way to recover without nuking the systems from orbit."

In other words, Windows users may have no choice but to wipe their systems down to the bare-metal and then reinstall the operating system and applications.

In one case, Danseglio said, a branch of the U.S. government had a malware infestation on more than 2,000 client machines that "was so severe that trying to recover was meaningless. They did not have an automated process to wipe and rebuild the systems, so it became a burden. They had to design a process real fast."

That's great. If you run Windows, Microsoft is telling you that you may need to have a network process set-up to blow away your systems and restore them automatically.

Let's take that a step farther. You also can't trust your data backups, because they might have malware hiding on them. You'll also need to keep your Windows systems constantly updated, because an unpatched XP system that's exposed to the Internet, according to a recent Symantec study, lasted only an hour and 12 seconds before being compromised.

Let's move on, shall we?

Paul Thurrott, editor and owner of Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, is the Windows expert's expert. I may know a thing or two about Linux, but I don't know Linux half as well as he knows Windows.

So, what does he have to say about the latest Vista beta? The title of his piece is: Where Vista Fails.

I quote: "Since the euphoria of PDC 2003 [Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2003], Microsoft's handling of Windows Vista has been abysmal. Promises have been made and dismissed, again and again. Features have come and gone. Heck, the entire project was literally restarted from scratch after it became obvious that the initial code base was a teetering, technological house of cards. Windows Vista, in other words, has been an utter disaster. And it's not even out yet."

And people thought I was hard on Vista!

If you're one of those people who've been looking forward to Vista -- and dismissing comments from people like myself who run multiple operating systems and have found Vista to be less than impressive -- you really must read Thurrott's story.

How about Aero, for example, that great 3D interface, which will almost certainly require you to update your graphics card if not force you into getting a new system? The one new feature that people are excited about it in Vista?

Thurrott has this to say: "Anyway, the reality of glass windows is that they stink ... But the visual difference between the topmost window (that is, the window with which you are currently interacting, or what we might describe as the window with focus) and any other windows (i.e. those windows that are visually located "under" the topmost window) is subtle at best. More to the point, you can't tell topmost windows from other windows at all. And don't pretend you can."

I don't know about you, but that's got me all excited about Aero.

Or, take another guy who's Microsoft through and through, Vladimir Mazek. He's the CEO of Open Web Now Corp., a small Orlando, Fla.-based business that's all about providing Microsoft services to its customers. He's a mover and a shaker in the Microsoft SMB integrator space, with more Microsoft certifications than you might have known existed. And he runs his own Web site, Vladville, off "by WordPress [the open-source content management system] on CentOS Linux 4.3."


Mazek explained to B.J. Gillette of Email Battles that, "Well the frontend box was always Linux, it was just powered by Blogger so it was a plain Apache. We used Windows + SQL 2000 for the backend and distribution of the SBS Show which gets like 40-60,000 downloads per episode so we had to get crafty about distributing it. But with the upgrade we just decided to standardize that end of things on Linux/Apache."

It wasn't because of any Linux or Apache technical wonderfulness that he switched over. He "migrated to Linux purely because of the costs. Despite popular belief, Microsoft does not give its MVPs [Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals] free production software."

Ah, but that is part of Linux's strength. For technically savvy users, like Mazek, it is completely free.

So, there you have it. A senior Microsoft employee saying that XP can be so thoroughly compromised that you may have no choice but to destroy and rebuild your PCs; a Windows expert's expert dismissing Vista as an "utter disaster"; and an extremely well-respected Microsoft integrator and MVP turning to open-source because it makes better financial sense.

I really don't have to say a thing about Microsoft, do I?

by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

[taken from Linux-Watch]

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