Windows Week in Review transcript: February 1, 2008

Microsoft focuses on the launch of Windows Server 2008 and fends off rumors that Windows 7 is coming sooner rather than later.

 

It's official: Windows Server 2008 is coming soon. As for Windows 7? Not so much.

Welcome to the searchWinIT.com Windows Week in Review podcast transcript, for February 1, 2008. To listen to this podcast, visit the searchWinIT.com
Windows Week in Review home page.

IN THIS PODCAST

  • Windows Server 2008 launch nears

  • Microsoft refutes alleged Windows 7 timeline

  • Another Vista SP refresh released to private testers

  • Office 2003 SP3 coming before end of February

  • Research firm cracks TCP/IP flaw

  •   Windows Server 2008 launch nears

    Leading off, SearchWinIT.com reports that after nearly five years of development, numerous iterations and missed release dates Windows Server 2008 will finally be released to manufacturing on February 6.

    Microsoft's official launch date for Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 is February 27, though delivery of SQL Server 2008 was recently delayed until Q3 2008. A Microsoft insider confirmed the RTM date.

    All of the Windows Server 2008 SKUs, except those with the Hyper-V virtualization technology, will RTM on February 6. Hyper-V is still scheduled to come 180 days after the Windows Server 2008 launch.

    Early reviews on the new server are generally positive, with early adopters pointing to such benefits as improved configurability and toolsets, as well as increased performance when running Internet Information Services 7.0.

    On the flip side, one of the criticisms of the OS has been that the .NET platform does NOT run on Windows Server 2008 core. It has been said that DNS and Domain Controllers DO perform well, however.

    SearchWinIT reports that other concerns have to do with whether or not the servers can be migrated and integrated with other back-office servers, particularly where there are differences in the Web server. While not all adopters will perform a clean install of the server, many consultants recommend doing so.

     Microsoft refutes alleged Windows 7 timeline

    Speaking of releases, last week we reported that Windows 7, the successor to Windows Vista, may be available as early as 2009. However, Microsoft refuted those reports this week , describing such a timeline as invalid.

    The company maintained that it is currently in planning stage for Windows 7 and they expect it will take 3 years to develop. Adding that a specific release date will NOT be determined until the company meets its quality bar for release.

    In addition the company has yet to comment on whether the next generation OS had been released to partners and whether recently leaked Windows 7 SCREENSHOTS were valid.

    The lack of information released about the Windows 7 build have many speculating that while Microsoft may know more, they do not want to shift momentum away from their current desktop platform, Vista.

      Another Vista SP refresh released to private testers

    While we're on the subject, Microsoft released yet another new build for their Windows Vista.

    ComputerWorld reports that the latest version, SP1 Refresh was once again released to the company's invitation-only group of 15,000 testers, but unlike the first refresh, the company made it known that it will NOT be releasing Refresh 2 to the public via their Windows Update Service.

    Vista users however are not the only ones who can look forward to a refresh, as the company has also released an update for XP service pack 3.

    The XP refresh was made available via the company's connect beta site and sent to the same group of testers who are working with Vista SP1.

    As for the official release of the Vista SP, reports have surfaced stating the Vista drop will occur on February 15, while SearchWinIT recently spoke to a Microsoft insider who said the Vista SP1 release will coincide with the release of Windows Server 2008.

    Of course, Microsoft is the only one who knows when Vista will drop and as always the company remains quiet.

     Office 2003 SP3 coming before end of February

    And if that's not quite enough service pack news for you, users should expect to be automatically updated with the third SP for Office 2003 by the end of February.

    The SP3 will be pushed via Microsoft Update to all users who have not opted out of receiving it.

    Office 2003 SP3 is somewhat controversial because it automatically blocks access to older file formats that some users may need access at a later date.

    While many disgruntled users took to Microsoft's support forum in early January regarding the issue, Microsoft has now posted links where users could find automate tools to return access to those blocked older file formats.

    However, some users have still been hesitant to move to SP3,and those who want to continue that stance have until February 27 to opt out of receiving the update.

      Research firm cracks TCP/IP flaw

    And finally in security news, earlier this month Microsoft stated that the first critical vulnerability of the New Year would be exceptionally difficult for attackers to exploit. However, this week researchers claim that MAY NOT be the case.

    SearchSecurity.com reports that Miami-based research firm Immunity published a working exploit for the TCP/IP flaw addressed in Microsoft's MS08-001 security bulletin, one of two security updates released Jan. 8.

    Dave Aitel -- the company's CTO – says the code shows the flaw to be highly exploitable, and a Flash demonstration of the attack is available on the Immunity Web site for all non-believers.

    Not everyone is pleased with these findings however, and no, we are not just talking about Microsoft.

    Jeffrey Jarzabek, IT director for Matocha Associates in Illinois told SearchSecurity.com that while Immunity's intentions are good, publicizing the flaw could open a Pandora's Box of inviting attackers to compromise a system. He adding that the bulletin, "…deals with some serious TCP/IP holes that could compromise an entire system and therefore a network. Proving Microsoft wrong or proving something inferior of theirs creates an elevated sense of grandeur, but … releasing attack code to go through the flaw is just plain stupid"

    The idea that everyone would be safer if companies stopped releasing attack code was rejected by Immunity however, as Aitel noted that malicious people are constantly working to exploit flaws, and it's better to ensure that the good guys have the same information so they can build better defenses. He added, "People will have these things whether we produce the research or not, It would be vain for me to say we are the only one able to do this kind of research at this level. I can't say there aren't other exploits for this that were produced earlier."

    And that's it for this edition of Windows Week in Review. We'll be back next week with more news from the World of Windows. Until then, be sure to check back with SearchWinIT.com for all of the latest news, tips and expert advice.

This was first published in February 2008

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