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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Apr 4, 2005 (Vol. 10, #14 - Issue #519)
OS Wars: Redmond vs. Redhat
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • Tablet PC: First Impressions
    • Fire When Ready
    • OS Wars: Redmond vs. Redhat
    • What Is The Next Headache?
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
    • Yankee Group North American Linux Windows TCO Survey
    • W2K3 SP 1 RTM'ed And Released To Web
    • Microsoft To Plug ID Controls Into Windows
    • End Is Near For XP SP2 Download Blocker
    • EC Gets Peed Off And Microsoft Caves
    • Redmond Pegs New Exchange Release For 2006
    • Step-by-Step Guide: Prepping for MCSA and MCSE Certs
    • CounterSpy Enterprise Wins Windows IT Pro Shoot-Out
    • Survey Results: What Are The Biggest Printing Problems?
  6. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • CounterSpy Enterprise: The Press Loves It!
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Tablet PC: First Impressions

Its 6:05 am. I woke up this morning like a kid expecting his birthday presents. What you are reading now was written with a stylus in my right hand and cup of hot tea in the other, while I'm very comfy on my sofa.

Yes, you guessed right. I'm testing a new Tablet PC we got from Motion Computing. Now, I have to admit that I'm one of these "Real Men Don't Read Manuals" kinda guys. Sometimes that saves me time. Now and then it's counterproductive though. This was one of those times. Trying to type a password with a stylus is a nightmare. I should have done some RTFM-ing.

My start with the Tablet was a bit rough because of that, but when I discovered the built-in fingerprint scanner things went a lot smoother and I warmed up to the concept. And now we're getting to the "birthday party" feeling. Last night I started playing with the Microsoft OneNote 2003 application.

Something good has come out of all these billions invested by BillG. OneNote can actually recognize my handwriting with high accuracy if I put in a little discipline while writing. I wrote this by hand, cut and pasted it and voila: it's text that goes right into Word or notepad. I'm impressed.

The Motion Computing tablet is well designed, sturdy, has over four hours of battery life and an overall feeling of thoroughness and attention to detail. I think I'll keep it. [grin]

Now, at the house I have two Dell PC's networked plus a laptop mounted on my treadmill with a wireless connection, so I don't really need another portable device. For business use it's another story. If you are in a lot of meetings, need to make notes for yourself and/or send these to other people, this is a significant time saver.

Any mobile professional like in hospitals, large facilities, warehouses and the like would be able to use this. Hooking it up to wireless is of course a snap. But that is also where security comes in. These puppies need to be taken care of in that respect. It's an important platform that needs to be protected even more than desktops. Your layered security "posture" needs to be implemented on these machines with high priority. They are easily stolen. So think hard disk encryption, enforce the biometric authentication, have good AV protection installed, and since they come with built-in access to the net, scan for malware on a regular basis. I have been testing CounterSpy on this thing. It runs flawlessly.

Now while sipping my hot tea, I am going to cook up some more fun things I can do with this new toy!

Fire When Ready

I could not resist so I forwarded this very humorous blurb written by the infamous Robert Cringely from InfoWorld. Being an XBOX owner myself, I was laughing my a$$ off. Here goes: "Fire When Ready: Microsoft likes to boast Xbox is the hottest game system around, and for once they aren't just blowing smoke. Last month the Redmond rounders recalled more than 14 million Xbox power cords due to a fire hazard. But according to a report in The Register, the problem is caused by bad solder joints, and the new cable actually makes the problem worse. Sounds like the cable fix was issued by the same team that handles Windows security patches." Hee hee.

OS Wars: Redmond vs. Redhat

The Tech Briefing this week is dedicated to a sole topic. The recent Yankee survey results comparing Windows to Linux. It's a very worthwhile read!

What Is The Next Headache?

Gates secludes himself in a twice-a-year ritual for his "think-week". Eating grilled cheese sandwiches and drinking Orange Crush he's studying papers and ponders the future of technology. Well, we at Sunbelt have a better way to predict the future. We simply ask YOU! Here goes:

So, a couple of years ago spam surfaced and made life hard. Last year, spyware stuck up its ugly head and made life hell. So, what do you perceive to be next year's major headache? This "Next Headache" survey is to ask you about trends you see which you think are going to cause major trouble a little further down the road. It's a "one question" survey! Tell us what "IT thunderclouds" you see on the horizon? Thanks a lot in advance, your feedback is much appreciated:

Quotes Of The Week:
"Most of us know perfectly well what we ought to do; our trouble is that we do not want to do it." -- Peter Marshall.
"The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet." -- William Gibson,

Warm regards,
Stu Sjouwerman (email me with feedback: [email protected])


Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without


Yankee Group North American Linux Windows TCO Survey

Well, here is the Exec Summary report of "Redmond vs. Redhat" over the last 12 months. "Veeery" interesting data by the venerable Laura Didio at the Yankee Group.

"An overwhelming 88% of corporations report that Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Server 2003 operating system provides equal to or better performance and reliability than Linux in comparable usage scenarios.

Those are the results of Yankee Group's independent, non-sponsored North American Linux Windows 2005 TCO Comparison survey. The results indicate that Microsoft's continued attention to hardening the core Windows operating system yielded tangible performance improvements.

The 88% of corporate customers who rated Windows performance equal to or better than Linux is a 12% increase from the 76% of customers who ranked Windows on a par with Linux in Yankee Group's 2004 TCO study.

Yankee Group's March 2005 poll of over of over 500 North American users indicates there is no universal clear-cut TCO basis to compel the corporate masses to do a wholesale switch from Windows to Linux as there is for a migration from Unix to Linux. And there is no indication that users are replacing Windows with Linux. The majority of wholesale Linux defections continue to come at the expense of mid-range UNIX installations, although many organizations are installing Linux as a complementary OS to existing Windows servers. The survey found that Linux has maintained, but not expanded its healthy 15% market share compared with a 73% for various versions of Windows server from 2004 to 2005.

The survey emphasized that businesses continue to expand the ways in which they utilize Linux. Over 50% of corporations now utilize Linux for a variety of functions including: Web server, Email server and specialized application server. Perhaps the most startling survey revelation was the fact that over 50% of the respondents said they had performed a thorough TCO analysis. But when asked to calculate their specific Linux and Windows capital expenditure and maintenance costs, 75% on average, could not answer explicit questions.

Businesses lack crucial TCO information such as the cost of a Linux or Windows server upgrade; what they're spending on network management, third party applications, tools and utilities, ongoing maintenance, security, systems downtime, calls to the Help Desk and hardware and software break/fixes!

The absence of such crucial financial information makes it highly unlikely for corporations to make informed purchasing decisions and it heightens their risk of choosing technology(ies) that are ill-suited to their business needs.

The 20% of Yankee Group survey respondents who did possess the TCO data, indicated the most crucial issues and events that negatively and positively impact TCO and ROI, occur at the application layer and services portion of the software infrastructure and not at the core server operating system foundation layer.

The survey yielded other surprises as well. Among the highlights:

- Users rated security of Linux and Windows Servers nearly equal. The average security rating for Linux servers was 8.3 compared with 7.6 (on a scale of 1-to-10) for Windows servers.

- Windows Servers recover 30% faster from Security attacks than Linux. It takes approximately 12 hours to restore Windows servers from a security attack compared to about 17.5 hours to bring back a Linux server.

- Patch Management Woes Lessen for Windows, on the Rise for Linux. Windows security and patch management woes a major source of user concern and angst in Yankee Group's Linux, Windows and UNIX 2004 TCO Survey, have largely dissipated.

- At the same time, Linux users expressed growing concern over the "forking" of the Linux and open source distributions - that is, the various versions of Linux distributions or customized versions of Linux could result in major management woes. The potential incompatibilities could make routine management functions such as patch management, upgrades and security fixes a nightmare.

Additional Survey Highlights

- Microsoft Mends Windows Patch Management - Respondents reported that the time spent on Windows patch management was reduced by an average of 80% at no incremental costs. This is due to Microsoft's decision to ship patches on a monthly rather than weekly basis and provide the Windows Update Services (WUS) free.

- Conversely, survey respondents reported that the time they are spending performing patch management tasks in the Linux and open source environment grew commensurately from 2004 to the present as companies installed more open source.

- Windows Server Downtime Costs Companies two to three times as much as Linux server downtime. This is not due to any inherent flaws in the Windows server OS, but rather reflects the crucial nature of the data and applications running on Windows servers. Windows application servers racked up the biggest downtime expenses: $5,624 per hour versus $1,168 in hourly downtime costs for comparable Linux application servers.

- Linux Servers Take Nearly Four Hours or 30% Longer to Recover from a Security Attack than a similar Windows Server. The survey respondents revealed that it took them 17 hours on average for their Linux servers to recover from a security attack to compared to an average recovery time of 13.2 hours for Windows Servers.

- Linux Maintains Strong Server presence. Three-fifths of those polled - 60% -- said they have Linux installed somewhere in the organization. This figure is unchanged from the 60% of businesses that had Linux servers installed, according to the Yankee Group's 2004 TCO Survey Comparison Report.

- Linux Desktops are no threat to Windows XP's dominance. While 49% of businesses do have some Linux clients present in their organizations, only 1% uses Linux as its' primary desktop.

- Red Hat is the Number One Linux Distribution Vendor. Red Hat holds 45% market share compared to 25% market share for its nearest competitor, Novell SuSE.

- Approximately 20% of businesses will purchase outside indemnification for potential copyright infringement lawsuits.

- One-third of businesses using Linux has provided no Linux training for their IT staffs.

- Slightly more than one-third of companies - 35% -- will use only in-house resources for their Linux migrations.

- The overwhelming majority of businesses converting from Unix to Linux 80% will not retrain their Unix administrators on Linux.

Overall, Yankee Group's North American Linux Windows 2005 TCO Comparison Survey shows that Microsoft clearly and convincingly corrected the most severe technical customer concerns. It must now maintain that vigilance. The survey responses also show that Linux is no longer a pristine Utopian environment.

The increasing popularity and deployment of Linux and open source are making it prey to the same TCO issues that have long plagued their Microsoft Windows counterparts. Additionally, the Linux market is beginning to experience "forking" or fragmentation among the various distributions and customized code. There is a high probability that this will increase interoperability and integration issues. Corporate customers are already concerned about this. In summary, Linux and Windows each have specific strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats which can impact a corporation's TCO and ROI, positively or negatively.

To achieve optimum results and avoid undue deployment problems and expenses, corporations must perform a thorough cost, performance risk analysis to determine the right technology option. Any business that does not know or cannot determine the key costs associated with its software infrastructure risks making the wrong technology decision. Such a mistake may adversely impact the TCO of their respective environments for years.

By Laura DiDio
Senior Analyst
Yankee Group
Boston, Ma.


W2K3 SP 1 RTM'ed And Released To Web

Redmond late Wednesday delivered several security enhancements with the release of Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003.

Please note that while Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions and WinXP Prox64 Edition were also were released to manufacturing they will not be available through the WindowsBeta website (as SP1 is) They will be available through various partners in late April.

You will be interested in W2K3 SP1 as regards security for the following reasons:

1) W2K3 SP1 is a unique service pack that provides you with significant security enhancements and reliability and performance improvements.

2) SP1 addresses additional core security issues with the new firewall and a security configuration wizard that reduce the attack surface by gathering information about specific server roles and automatically blocking all services and ports not needed for those roles.

3) With SP1 the development team took the time to treat the root cause of many security issues, not just the symptoms. SP1 is significant and should help address certain classes of exploits.

Another feature that I like is so-called "post-setup" security updates which block all inbound connections to the server after installation until the latest security updates have been delivered via Windows Updates. Redmond claims that SP1 can improve server performance and reliability up to 50% depending on workloads.

If you have Automatic Updates enabled with automatic download, you should be aware that SP1 will be made available through Automatic Updates (AU) as a High Priority update in July 2005. You can get it at:

Release Notes for SP1:

Windows Server 2003 SP1 list of updates:

Microsoft To Plug ID Controls Into Windows

ZDNet reported that Microsoft will build software for managing identities into Windows in order to beef up security by giving users more control over their personal information.

The ID technology, called "info-cards," will give users more control over their own personal information in order to shop and access services online, said Michael Stephenson, a director in Microsoft's Windows Server division.

Microsoft is currently working on a new Internet Explorer Web browser and version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, but Stephenson declined to say whether info-cards would be built into the current Windows XP version or into Longhorn.

"We're trying to make the end-user experience as simple as possible," Stephenson said, adding that Microsoft's "goal is to make sure that this is as broadly accessible as possible." More at:

End Is Near For XP SP2 Download Blocker

A tool that blocks the automatic download of Windows XP SP2 is set to expire soon. For IT shops that have yet to deploy SP2, Microsoft is offering some last-minute help.

EC Gets Peed Off And Microsoft Caves

They agreed to rename WinXP. Windows XP without media player now gets an 'N' added. Redmond has agreed to tag an "N" to the name of the WinXP flavor sans Media Player that it has been ordered to offer by the EC as part of an antitrust decision.

Redmond Pegs New Exchange Release For 2006

Microsoft plans to release the next version of its Exchange messaging server in 2006, a company executive said Tuesday. Redmond had previously said that Exchange 12, the code name for the next Exchange version, would be out in 2006 or 2007. Andy Lees, corporate vice president of the server and tools business at Microsoft, in a presentation in San Francisco on Tuesday said the product is slated to ship in 2006. More at InfoWorld:

Step-by-Step Guide: Prepping for MCSA and MCSE Certs

When it comes to pursuing Microsoft certifications, nothing beats well-rehearsed preparation and practice. Though the details involved in pursuing the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certification differ somewhat from those involved in pursuing the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) credential, the same general approach works well in both cases. This learning guide provides a step-by-step approach to help you prepare for certification. By Ed Tittel, Contributor


CounterSpy Enterprise Wins Windows IT Pro Shoot-Out

Again, we have some fantastic news to report. You downloaded CounterSpy Enterprise because you needed a true enterprise antispyware tool. Well, the quality just got independently confirmed by the leading Windows enterprise magazine when they reviewed the enterprise version of CounterSpy and compared it to four other products.

Some highlights of their review: "I found CounterSpy Enterprise's interface to be fairly intuitive and powerful for managing antispyware protection for Windows clients. The product is designed to be an enterprise-class system and appears to have the groundwork to succeed in that category -- the winner in our tests. Rating: 4 out of 5."

And then to think that this was a Beta they reviewed, and the code was updated significantly since then. The current detection capabilities of CounterSpy compared to its competitors are shown in this chart, based on the recent PC World tests.

Here are the latest CounterSpy Threat Definitions Updates. The new client definition V152 includes the following. Added:

Private Eye 2004 1.4
Actual Spy2.0
Spytech NetVizor 4.15

Added from Microsoft:

Moved several cookies from higher risk threats to low risk threat.

False Positives Fixed:
Advanced Instant Messengers Password Recovery 2.50
Mass IM
Watchful Eye Key Logger
Ace Password Sniffer 1.1
Spytech SpyAgent 5.3
BlackCore v2.1

Here is access to the latest version for download:

Survey Results: What Are The Biggest Printing Problems?

A survey of nearly 1,000 IT Managers around the world conducted this month has found the biggest problem with their printing networks was "printing waste" (56%).

The next biggest problem was inability to do "accounting for printing" (41%). Other categories of problems included inability to control print jobs and other complaints, however the majority problem was "printing waste", followed by inability to do "accounting for printing".

To determine how important the problem was to solve, 62% of the respondents said they would switch all their printers to a single brand if that printer manufacturer solved this problem.

All those surveyed deployed Print Manager Plus as a possible solution to the problem. With Print Manager Plus running in their networks, 88% said that Print Manager Plus solved their biggest problem.

The survey was done on IT Managers of over 950 organizations around the world (companies, government agencies, schools and universities). The average number of users in the average organization was 2,500 users. Organizational sizes of those surveyed were as small as 5 users to organizations of over 50,000 users. Check Print Manager Plus here:


This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff


CounterSpy Enterprise: The Press Loves It!

Vendors can claim what they want, but reviews in the Press are much more objective. That's why Sunbelt is thrilled to announce that CounterSpy Enterprise won the antispyware shoot-outs in the press recently. Both eWEEK and WindowsITPro Magazine chose CounterSpy Enterprise as their winning enterprise antispyware product. See for yourself why CounterSpy is getting all these good reviews, and find out how badly your own networks are infected with spyware with your 30-day CounterSpy eval: