The MSM Solution Accelerator for Windows Server Deployment is designed to facilitate the deployment of Windows Server 2003 across well-connected networks within an enterprise IT infrastructure. The solution provides guidance and scripts to successfully complete the initial deployment, as well as guidance to maintain the solution within a production environment for subsequent deployments as a part of normal day-to-day operations.
It sounded to good to be true, winXP SP2 in December, but I checked my sources and it is still scheduled for Q2 of 2004.
This is great news! UPDATE: But it is wrong unfourtunatly
A Microsoft executive said the company will launch Service Pack 2 for Windows XP in December, months earlier than the company forecast on its Service Pack roadmap.
At the Citrix iForum in Florida on Tuesday, Microsoft's corporate vice president of content, Richard Kaplan, who is in charge of the Microsoft.com and Windows Update Web sites, told delegates that Windows XP SP2 would be available by the end of the year. The service pack was originally planned for this year, but had been put back to 2004.
Kaplan admitted that Microsoft's record on security has "not been good enough", but he claims the company is improving. Security is now the number one priority for Microsoft and that will be demonstrated with SP2, he said, revealing that the update will contain enhanced memory protection in an attempt to reduce the operating system's vulnerability to buffer overflow exploits. "One of the primary way worms get onto the system is by what they call a buffer overflow. There is a new technology that lets us lock out people's ability to install code in Windows using a buffer overflow," he said.
Additionally, SP2 will switch on Windows XP's built-in firewall by default and provide better control over ActiveX scripts: "Automatic downloading of ActiveX controls that you don't know about and don't care about--we are going to make this much, much easier to control."
Kaplan also said that Microsoft will, except in extreme cases, only release patches once a month: "You should install patches on your schedule rather than our schedule," he said.
Bill Gates was sat in a chair in a museum in Berlin tonight, and gave a whole series of remarkable sound bites to the assembled audience of CEOs, CTOs, venture capitalists, and one lone hack.
But surely one of his more remarkable claims here at the Etre conference in Old Berlin was the following bite.
Bill said that developing its next generation of Windows operating system software will cost as much as it cost the United States government to put a man on the Moon. That’d be Neil Armstrong.
Few weeks later then originally planned but it is out!
Unfourtunatly the today's released critical fixes are (obviously) not included.
This update consists of previously released critical updates, for Windows XP, rolled into one convenient package. Installing this item provides you the same results as installing the individual updates. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.
This update requires winXP sp1
Today the new method of notifying and distributing patches has started. On the 3rd Wednesday of the month the security bulletins will be released (accept if they are critical)
Well there are 7 new bulletins!
If you're wondering why Microsoft is taking so long to release Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), wonder no more: The company is working to back-port various Longhorn security technologies into SP2, providing a mid-ground between the default security found in XP and that which will be available in its next major desktop OS. Code-named "Springboard," the new security features include an updated version of the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF), which adds outbound scanning capabilities and other features previously found only in Microsoft's enterprise server product, Internet Security & Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000.
Microsoft's SP2 schedule came under fire late this past summer when the company quietly revealed that the release would not ship until the first half of 2004; previously, the company had told me that it would be released by late 2003. The previous service pack was initially released less than a year after XP itself, a schedule that most customers were comfortable with. But delaying SP2 until the first half of 2004 would create an 18 month gap between the service packs, an interminable amount of time given the vast number of security patches and other bug fixes Microsoft has released in the interim. Many of Microsoft's customers continue to avoid installing hot-fixes and other updates, and instead wait for service packs, which collect these updates into a single, installable unit. Continue at Source
Well the keynote yesterday of Bill Gates was nice but nothing new really, the Q&A session afterwards were more fun.
The famous product roadmap also passed the keynote session, Longhorn desktop 2005, Longhorn Server 2006 it said, but to the dutch press Bill Gates confirmed what we already know: there is no official release date yet for the next version of Windows, named Longhorn. "Longhorn could be 2005 or 2006.
From The Register:
Bill Gates yesterday confirmed that there is no official release date yet for the next version of Windows, named Longhorn. "Longhorn could be 2005 or 2006," Gates told a small group of journalists yesterday at the TechNet/MSDN seminar in The Hague. "This release is going to be driven by technology, not by a release date. Which probably means it is going to be late." It is not that Microsoft is on vacation or that it reduced its R&D, Gates explained. "But we have to make sure that we really take on something dramatic, like 32 bit computing eight years ago, or the NT kernel in Windows XP. We also have to solve a ton of things in terms of simplicity and management. It has to be a big advance across the board." One thing that seems to slow down the next release of Windows is the much talked about data storage system WinFS, technology designed to make information easier to find and view. Since it is based on the next version of SQL Server or Yukon, the system will essentially function as a relational database. Microsoft tried a similar approach with Cairo under Windows NT many years ago, but failed. "We have a lot more understanding of database technology these days," Gates said. "XML is coming in the mainstream and that helps too, but it is still not going to be easy." Integrating data from other databases could still prove difficult, Gates warned. "We will have pointers in the data like a URL or weblink. URLs are a perfect tool for this, but in previous databases we really had a problem with them. They screwed up the query semantics." Gates told reporters that Microsoft won't stop the development of its browser Internet Explorer. Critics complain that Microsoft has failed to keep pace with browser standards despite repeated pleadings and that development in general has slowed to a glacial pace. "How could we ignore the browser?," Gates responded. 'The Explorer is fully integrated with the operating system, take it away and the OS grinds to a halt. When you call up Help, you're using the browser. In Office 2003 instead of going to the local files, the browser will go online and fetch the latest documents." Without going into details, Gates says he sees opportunities for reading and annotation capabilities in Internet Explorer. However, the industry seems more concerned about software talking to other software, Gates said, than about software talking to the screen. "XML is going to be the key technology here too." Gates says he isn't aware of Microsoft expanding its relationship with BIOS maker Phoenix Technologies in a deal designed to more closely integrate the basic building blocks of the PC with the Longhorn system, as suggested by ZDNET. Both Microsoft and Phoenix are involved in plans to integrate digital rights management (DRM) technology at the operating system and hardware level, according to sources in the US. "To be honest, I haven't heard from Phoenix Technologies for over five years," Gates said. "Are they still in business? The BIOS will always be separated from the operating system. Actually, it's gotten out of date. If you run Windows XP, it calls very little of the BIOS." Gates also doesn't seem to have a lot of faith in 64 bit technologies in the consumer space. "64 bit is coming to desktops, there is no doubt about that," he said. "But apart from Photoshop, I can't think of desktop applications where you would need more than 4 gigabytes of physical memory, which is what you have to have in order to benefit from this technology. Right now, it is costly." Consumers are confused over 64 bit computing, Gates says. "It appears more magical than it really is. Even with 32 bit computing, I couldn't help noticing a level of enthusiasm that went beyond its technical merit." What is going to be important, Gates told reporters yesterday, is security. Microsoft invested over $100 million to refocus on building products that strive to be secure by design, by default and by deployment. In the Windows Division development work was put on hold while Microsoft conducted security training, threat modeling, source-code review and penetration testing. "The truth is that more people are getting after us," Gates said. But Microsoft is making progress. The company writes more secure code, essentially because of tools that show where problems might occur. It is also fixing problems much faster than it used to. Gates: "We've gone from little over 40 hours on average to 24 hours. With Linux, that would be a couple of weeks on average." Microsoft is also going to make sure that people install firewalls and updates by default. "None of the security problems recently affected people who had their software up to date," Gates said. "But we made it too complex for most people. Critical security patches should be applied with the speed of the internet." From now on, Microsoft will install these patches automatically. And it will bring the size of the patches down to satisfactory portions. "We used to send megabytes of software to fix a 20 byte file," Gates said. Gates is optimistic about meeting the challenge of the new security threats, he told reporters. "We have to. We invented personal computing. It is the best tool of empowerment there has ever been. If there is anything that clouds that picture, we need to fix it."
Microsoft says it plans to offer online video through its MSN Internet service and portal to deliver exclusive news, sports and entertainment to users for free.
MSN Video, which is in trial mode before its formal launch later this year, is aimed at attracting more subscribers to the MSN service and boosting revenues for the money-losing unit.
After chasing subscribers for years and competing against America Online, MSN has been shifting away from providing Internet access and toward providing subscription services for broadband users.
But MSN said on Tuesday that all of its video content will be available for free for all Internet users. The video can be viewed using Microsoft's Media 9 Series video player.
Microsoft's long-time rival in online media, RealNetworks, offers its own player and also has a video service, although premium content can only be accessed through a monthly subscription.
MSN Video will feature 15 second advertisements for every 5 to 6 minutes of content, Microsoft said in a statement.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said that it would add more content providers this winter.
Microsoft has won approval from Beijing to sell its Windows 2000 software in China, laying to rest fears that new rules on encryption technology would snarl the product launch later this month.
"It's full steam ahead," said Michael Rawding, Microsoft regional director for greater China said on Wednesday.
"All versions are approved by the Ministry of Information Industry and the State Encryption Management Commission for sale in China," Rawding told Reuters in an interview.
China began enforcing rules in January that require companies and individuals to register their encryption products with the government, then apply for permission to use them.
Many executives fear the rules are the first step toward an outright ban of the sale in China of foreign encryption technology, which is embedded in everything from software and mobile phones to cable television systems and Internet servers.
Microsoft's Windows 2000 operating system contains powerful 128-bit encryption technology, and many companies have been waiting to see how China handled the case before proceeding to register their own encryption goods.
Flexibility In The Rules
By approving Windows 2000, scheduled for launch in China on March 20, the State Encryption Management Commission appears capable of enforcing the rules flexibly, Rawding said.
"We were in discussions with them constantly. We wanted an explicit pledge that they would not take punitive action against those products, because their release was imminent."
Some analysts had feared the U.S. software giant would be forced to remove its encryption feature from Windows and replace it with Chinese encryption technology.
But Rawding said Microsoft would be able to market the operating system without making any changes. "It's not feasible to assume you can rip out an encryption technology and replace it with another one," he said.
The rules appear to be aimed at giving Chinese authorities the ability to monitor encrypted communications when matters of national security or law enforcement are concerned.
Similar -- and often stricter -- rules exist in many Western countries, analysts said.
The encryption technology embedded in Windows 2000 is not a specific tool, but rather a feature designed to support applications such as electronic commerce, Rawding said.
"It shouldn't conflict with their security goals," he said. "Over time, for certain applications like e-commerce, it will be widely used."
Rawding said he expected no impact from a Chinese newspaper report in January which alleged government offices were banned from using Windows 2000 because of fears of shortcomings in its security features, opening the way for hackers.
Beijing quickly denied the report and Rawding said the government would be a major customer for the new product.
"We have no concerns and we anticipate a very strong market reaction," he said.
"Key ministries and key enterprises are actively evaluating Windows 2000," he said. "The pre-order figures are very exciting."
Microsoft dominates the Chinese market, installed in about 60 percent in China-based Web servers, the company said. The rest of the market is divided between several competitors, such as Linux and Netscape.
The Longhorn edition of Microsoft's Windows operating system is at least two years away--but the company is revealing some details on how it intends to create a smooth transition from today's Windows PCs.
One of the most significant enhancements to Longhorn is a data storage system called WinFS, technology designed to make information easier to find and view. Clearing up long-standing confusion, a Microsoft senior vice president said that WinFS will work with--not replace--the existing file system in Windows, called NTFS, when WinFS debuts in late 2005 or 2006.
WinFS "uses NTFS," Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's enterprise storage and enterprise management divisions, told CNET News.com. "We built on top. NTFS does what it does incredibly well."
Successful co-existence of different file systems is important to ensuring a clean--and potentially quicker--transition to Longhorn, analysts say. A new file system that breaks with the storage system in Windows PCs today could be disruptive to end users. Also, Longhorn applications could encounter compatibility problems with older Windows applications, causing problems for commercial software providers.
NTFS is only one component of the revamped storage system in WinFS. Another key building block is the querying capabilities of Microsoft's SQL Server relational database, according to Microsoft. WinFS also will incorporate the data labeling capabilities of Extensible Markup Language (XML), Muglia said.
"Think of WinFS as pulling together relational database technology, XML database technology, and file streaming that a file system has," he said. "It's a (storage) format that is agnostic, that is independent of the application."
With Longhorn and WinFS, Microsoft is tackling a nagging problem the company has long sought to address. For nearly a decade, the company has touted the vision of a single storage system that would break down barriers between applications and serve up stored information quickly and accurately.
"The desire has been around forever. It's almost like the Holy Grail of data storage," said Michael Cherry, an analyst at market researcher Directions on Microsoft.
The software giant later this month will disclose additional details on the company's ambitious plans with WinFS. At the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles at the end of October, Microsoft will describe how application developers and end users can take advantage of the revamped file system.