Longhorn: great new OS or bum steer?

The third beta of Microsoft's next-gen operating system, a.k.a. Longhorn Server, has been released. It's downloaded at FU HQ, and I'm just waiting for some RAM to arrive to install it on a box for testing.

Top Stories

- Longhorn: great new OS or bum steer?

- Apple profits up; all hail the iJobs

- True viral ads

For all the support staffers out there

It’s in Norwegian, but oh so understandable... (thanks to FryUp reader Johnno).

- YouTube: introducing Le book

I’m in ur FU, splainin teh grammer

By now, you will have come across lolcats. As Anil Dash found out, u can has teh bad kitty grammars.

- Cats can has grammar

Longhorn: great new OS or bum steer?

The third beta of Microsoft’s next-gen operating system, a.k.a. Longhorn Server, has been released. It’s downloaded at FU HQ, and I’m just waiting for some RAM to arrive to install it on a box for testing.

Longhorn Server will be a huge departure from the existing Microsoft server operating system family. The biggest shock will be two-fold: first, you can now strip off what you don’t want and only install what you need; second, this includes non-GUI installations.

For the latter, you need a capable command line, and Monad or Windows PowerShell has been included in Longhorn Server. I’ve had it running here for a while and can attest to it being very powerful indeed, along the lines of *NIX C-shells. You can even control Exchange 2007 through PowerShell scripts. However, it doesn’t look like Exchange 2007 runs on Longhorn Server. Or will it? I’m getting conflicting info on this, so will have to try it out myself.

- Microsoft release first Longhorn public beta

- Windows PowerShell Team Blog

- The Microsoft Exchange Team Blog

Apple profits up; all hail the iJobs

“Nothing sticks to Steve” will be a saying soon, I predict. Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs can do no wrong at the moment, not after the company posted a whopping 88 per cent profit for the last quarter. Dodgy back-dated share options worth millions? Who cares?

Former Apple finance boss Fred Anderson has a snowball’s chance in hell, as he protests Jobs was in on the scheme all along. “Jobs knew!” Anderson insists, but is anyone listening? Not the share market at least, which hoisted Apple’s share to a record US$101.

Was Anderson the sacrificial lamb, or villain in the piece? I suspect we won’t know for a long while yet.

- Apple's board defends Jobs in stock options case

- Apple Board Members Bill Campbell, Millard Drexler, Albert Gore Jr., Arthur D. Levinson, Eric Schmidt and Jerry York today released the following statement

True viral ads

I’ve had my doubts about Google ads for a while, for the simple reason that they’re... on the Internet. This means that the ads have the potential to reach a huge audience, which is great for legit advertisers. What if they’re used for malicious purposes though?

I first came across such advertising on my blog, when I wrote an entry about a Premium SMS scammer targeting New Zealanders. As it happens, the scammer used (and still uses for all I know) Google to trap the unwary, and the ads appeared on my blog.

Of course, I wasn’t happy about this, and complained to Google three times asking for the ads to be removed. I never got a response but as the ads disappeared after a while, I just filed it in the “Huge Corporation Doesn’t Give A Damn” bin and didn’t pursue it further.

Google appears to have reacted quickly on new exploit that used the search engine giant’s “sponsored links” to divert visitors to a site that tries to install a backdoor plus a logger on their systems. The logger targets some one-hundred banks around the world, presumably to get the login details to plunder people’s accounts.

It’ll be interesting to see if this is a one-off, or if Internet criminals will continue to look for ways to exploit the huge reach that Google brings, not to mention the trust it currently enjoys with users. Something tells me the latter will prevail.

- Exploit Prevention Labs Blog: Google sponsored links not safe?

- Techsploder blog: Vodafone and its SMS text scammers

Cartoon from www.xkcd.com

Robert X. Cringely

Is Microsoft's monopoly kaput?

In just a few short days our choices in desktop operating systems seem to have tripled. Not only has Dell agreed to distribute Linux on certain desktop models, but it's also given XP a new lease on life. Responding to user requests on its Ideastorm site, Dell has agreed to offer consumers the option to get XP and not Vista on select Dimension desktops and Inspiron notebooks — at least until Microsoft sends XP off to the OS boneyard in January 2008. Even Michael Dell is running Ubuntu Feisty Fawn on one of his home notebooks. (I'm not so sure about that name, though — "Feisty Fawn" sounds a bit too much like Bambi on Viagra.) And, of course, Apple might lure a few more Windows converts when Leopard show its spots next fall.

Meanwhile, as Bill Gates and Nick Negroponte race to put Windows or Linux machines into the hands of the world's underprivileged children, faithful Cringesters weigh in on both sides of the debate. T.C. opines:

“...How many years (decades) did industry beg for a standard/unifying operating system? We thought it would be Unix — but some think it may be Linux (really Unix again). In the meantime, Gates steamrolls Windows into the market and we finally have the unified base. Not nearly perfect, but 90% of the world runs it. Now it's time to bash Microsoft over and over because they won? I have never been a big fan of Windows, but we will soon have had three generations of people using it. Which box would you give your kid to learn on if all were even? The hand cranked free PC running who knows what — or Windows/Office? Tell you what. You give yours the freebie, mine gets Windows, and we see who gets a job first.”

Note to T.C. I don't bash Windows because it won. I bash Windows because it sucks. True, each new version sucks a teensy bit less — even Vista is a small improvement over XP, compatibility issues aside — but at this rate we're still looking at 30 more years of suck before Microsoft finally gets it right.

I also think the days where mastery of Windows gets you a job are long gone — assuming they ever existed. (One of the few things Windows has done well is flatten the application learning curve.) Moving from a cheap Linux box to Windows isn't like moving from a Model T to an F16. The basic skills transfer easily.

On the other hand, if Linux gains a foothold in the world market such a transfer might not be necessary. J.H., a member of Linux International, sees a shining city on the hill, lit by the glow of open source software. As he eloquently puts it:

....one can hope that the people making the decisions in these countries will understand that it is not the cost of the school software that is the issue, it is really the choice they are creating now between software freedom and software slavery.

I see Linus Torvalds as Moses, holding Linux Tablet PCs in either hand, leading us into the promised land.

Dell’s Ideastorm site http://www.ideastorm.com XP option http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/04/19/12301.aspx Feisty Faun http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/corp/biographies/en/msd_computers?c=us&l=en&s=corp Leopard http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/04/12/HNappledelaysleopard_1.html?source=searchresult Third World of Windows http://weblog.infoworld.com/robertxcringely/archives/2007/04/windows_now_wor.html Shining Linux city http://www.li.org/

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