Is your Windows 2000 system up to security snuff? A new standard and tool can tell you. Plus a look ahead to some products still baking, a warming trend over Redmond, and some shunning news from Scandinavia this week in the wild, wacky world of Windows.
Gov't, groups release Win 2000 security benchmark
A group of security experts -- from both the public and private sectors -- has created a benchmark that will test the security strengths and weaknesses of Windows 2000 systems. You can download a free tool that checks security configurations and tells you if your Win2k system meets the group's standards.
Microsoft polishes Windows 2000 fixes
If you're waiting with baited breath for Win2k SP3, keep this in mind -- it's big. If it were a package, the mail carrier would have to leave it on the porch. Some installations could be more than 150MB. There's still no concrete release date. SP3 can be spackled onto Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2000 with Server Appliance Kit.
Partners: Microsoft delivering on Trustworthy Computing promise
Maybe Microsoft's "Trustworthy Computing" initiative truly is more than just a PR move. Some of the company's biggest partners say that the company is delivering on that promise, and that the very fiber of the company is changing for the better. Bill Gates says the security initiative has cost a fortune ($100 million), but he thinks the payoff of more secure products is worth it.
Microsoft to offer stand-alone version of Active Directory
Microsoft plans to include a "cleaver" with a future version of Windows, so network execs can separate Active Directory from the operating system. You would be able to set up this version of AD, called "Application Mode" without having to set up a whole OS and use it to support Web-based apps. It will ship 30 days after Windows .NET Server, which is slated for release by the end of this year.
Microsoft preps Bobcat SBS, Titanium version of Exchange
"Titanium" should hit the market about one year from now, according to Microsoft execs. This version of Exchange server software will basically be a bone thrown to keep customers happy until the .NET-based version of the software, called "Kodiak," is ready. Titanium will not be a .NET family member but will do a better job guarding against viruses and spam and sport better integration with Outlook and mobile devices. Titanium will mark the death of Mobile Information Server (MIS) software.
Also, Microsoft is offering $500 cash back on "Titanium" and the next "Bobcat" version of Small Business Server. Channel partners get the rebate for service to small business customers who buy SBS 2000 from Aug. 1 through January 31. So save those receipts!
THE CHILL IS GONE?
Microsoft's gentler approach to Linux
After years of ridiculing Linux and open source technologies, Microsoft is now changing its approach. Responding to Microsoft resellers' and users' demand for less hype, Microsoft is promising to take a more rational approach to comparing Windows to Linux and open source software. In fact, the company says it's learned a lot from Linux and knows it can't undersell the penguin.
Microsoft warms to SAML
The gap between Microsoft and the Liberty Alliance has gotten a little narrower. Microsoft announced that it will support most of the SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) standard, which is also a key ingredient in the Liberty Alliance's ID spec. Microsoft is still considering joining the Sun-backed group.
GOOSED, LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY
Sun, Lindows.com strike deal
What's another way Sun can burn Microsoft? Get cozy with Lindows. Sun is putting StarOffice on Lindows.com's operating system. Lindows makes a Linux system that's compatible with Windows. Microsoft tried, and failed, to shut down Lindows.com.
Norwegian government drops Microsoft license
How do you say "goodbye" in Norwegian? "Avskjed" or something like that. Anyway, that's what the Norwegian government has said to Microsoft, ditching Windows for Linux. Why the Scandinavian shunning? One Norwegian official says not renewing its Microsoft license will allow other software companies to compete for government business.
Gates gooses geese guano gunners
Penguins may be after Bill Gates' Windows, but geese have his windows in their scopes. And his roof. And his yard. Gaggles of overly regular waterfowl think Mister Microsoft's mansion is the perfect place to drop nasty, green goose bombs. Evidently the goose dumps are giving Gates goosebumps -- he asked wildlife officials in Washington state to do something about the problem. Now the chief park ranger has the green light to go on a massive bird hunt -- some 4,000 geese could get their gooses cooked thanks to their scatological sorties. If you're a Linux lover, go ahead and yell it -- "go geese, go geese!".