* Posts by Jim Middleton

5 posts • joined 31 Jul 2007

Microsoft SKUs Windows 7 clarity

Jim Middleton

Multiple versions benefit no one (including Microsoft)

Microsoft seems to forget that many students need VPN connectivity to school networks and many business users need the ability to play MPEG-2 files. Also, many small business people will purchase their computers from big box retailers who will only stock Home Premium and everyone benefits from the ability to secure their data (except those who forget their passwords!).

Home users need practically every capability of Windows except the ability to join a domain and be managed by group policy. This is also true for Vista and I'm surprised Microsoft hasn't learned from that experience. Prior to XP there was only one flavor for each version and the world loved Windows (though there was some antitrust unpleasantness concerning IE). I personally think Microsoft should go back to that model and offer domain connectivity and group policy as an add on for corporate clients - perhaps bundle it with server CAL's.

Is desktop virtualization important?

Jim Middleton

Virtualization = $avings

Desktop virtualization is of great interest to large organizations because there is enormous potential to save money and improve security.

* Modern multi-core processors running MetaFrame in the data center can each host multiple desktop sessions allowing the organization to replace most of its desktop PC's with thin clients. Thin clients are less expensive, more secure, cost less to support and don't need to be replaced as often. There may also be substantial savings in software licensing - you only need to license the maximum number of copies in use at one time. For most applications, that is a lot less than the total number of users in the organization. Some of the savings will need to be invested in the data center, network infrastructure and license metering but most organizations will come out way ahead.

* Virtualization allows you to optimize the environment for the application. If your organization has developed it's line of business applications in Oracle, it may make sense to build the virtual machines using Linux or Solaris instead of Windows. It's transparent to the user and may reduce the number of Windows licenses that need to be purchased.

* The support burden for a thin client is essentially zero. If they break, you simply replace them - no data to worry about, no uncertainty about whether it is a hardware or software issue, they can't be infected with malware. Whatever goes wrong, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes to get the user back up and running and very little technical skill is required.

* Thin clients are inherently secure. Corporate data is kept where it belongs - on the servers. Accessible but not transferable.

Power users will still need workstations and mobile users will still need laptops but most organizations can probably replace 75% of their computers with thin clients with no reduction in service to the users. There are a lot of potential savings there and significantly reduced attack surface for those concerned about security.

Britannia triumphs over Johnny Metric

Jim Middleton

Careful what you wish for.

Here in Canada we have been suffering the consequences of a partial conversion from Imperial to metric for 30 years. One idiocy is the practice of advertising meat in $/pound while the packages are stickered in $/kg. We've gotten used to it - as a "multicultural" society maybe we even prefer it this way but, if you have a choice, I recommend picking one system or the other and stick to it!

First Vista service pack beta for 07

Jim Middleton

The best laid schemes ...

Last Fall, at a pre-launch conference, we were told that Microsoft intended to use the same build for Vista SP1 and Server 2008 (nee Longhorn) and that they would be launched simultaneously. The Microsoft presenters made a big deal about this - SP1 would essentially be a new version of Windows, not just a rollup of patches. Of course, that was 9 months ago and plans can change but using the same build for server and client makes a lot of business sense and launching both simultaneously makes a lot of marketing sense so it's hard to believe they would abandon the idea so easily. Does that mean Server 2008 will also be delayed until next year?

MS-DOS paternity suit settled

Jim Middleton


Let's not forget that Kildall and Patterson both borrowed freely from DEC RT-11 just as, a few years later, Apple and Microsoft both borrowed a great deal from Smalltalk when developing their graphical operating systems. Couldn't have been as many lawyers around in those days. In any event they all got fair exposure and the marketplace picked the winner.


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