Silent Patching, Chrome, Etc.: What Readers Think

Agree or disagree with silent patching, Microsoft has been doing it. Still, it's an irksome practice that makes Max in NY think that MS forgets that admins have a tough enough job as it is to have to worry about yet another thing:

Anyone who ever been an admin in any decent size company knows, that any patch or fix of the patch has to be tested before put into production. What do we test for? Well, maybe this patch overwrites some dll, or changes registry settings, which is used by some other application. From time to time we check online updates to see if we missed anything and let's say the result comes negative - we are current.

But with this practice (updates in the background) you can never be sure anymore. So, now, are you current or what? In the end we all are after the same goal - minimize unscheduled downtime. But with this approach MS puts its own corporate goals (hide their mistakes in order to look good) ahead of everything else. That really sucks and adds tons of headache to the rest of us. Home users could not care less though...

I like what Richard G. had to say; like he's reading my mind or something:

Would you rather have them publish the flaw, so it can be exploited? I think not. Fix the problem so it is not a problem.

Even so, Stewart thinks MS should be transparent all the way:

Any and all patching should be available to anyone, anytime. Can Microsoft say “Open Source”?

If we were to judge by MCPmag.com blog commenters alone, Google Chrome -- not Firefox -- might be the browser that Microsoft's IE will have to reckon with in the months to come (see "Internet Explorer Slips The Slope"):

The days of a browser having over 50% marketshare will be gone. Under even circumstances I would think 3 generic browsers would each have a 20 to 30% marketshare, with 20% left to others. By 'even circumstances' I mean where these percentages are not influenced by browser being tied to a product. The clearest example is Safari, the second IE. Safari is much more bound to Apple than IE has ever been to Windows, not necessarily from a technical but from a practical viewpoint. Where Windows users have been slowly but surely adopting Firefox, for a Mac and especially an iPhone, Safari it is. Certainly iPhone users have an overrepresentation of average users and to a lesser extent IE.

Chrome will likely be one of the Big 3. If I have to make a prediction, I would say by 2012. Chrome and IE are around 30%, Firefox at 20%. This leaves out mobile phone installations. While mobile phones are already a big factor on the internet, the choice of browser is none or very limited on a given device. -- Erwin B.

I cannot keep IE8 from crashing after viewing more than 3 web pages. This despite all the latest updates. I am p..ed about Microsoft turning off the error reporting for it. We have switched all our computers to Chrome as primary browser and are very happy with it. No more crashes after allocating 3/4 Meg memory that require a reboot of the computer.... -- Tom

I am becoming very nervous using IE8 and IE7 in fact the last 3 versions are nothing to write home to mother about. I am 1 step away from dumping it from my personal systems and replacing it with Google. I am fed up with not being able to open IE. At first it was on 1 computer and now it has spread to all 4 computers. I don't want to take the time to resolve who has the problem because the common denominator is IE8. -- John G.

In terms of performance, Google Chrome is in front now. -- Anonymous from Australia

Becoming a security expert can only be a good thing for your career, as Paul can attest:

Involved with patching on the desktop side, grew with me as I started supported servers. Got a head start before Blaster & SQL Slammer, but that only put more of my time focused on preventing these kinds of issues. Liked security items so much, made it a specialty in my grad school program and have picked up a lot of security work since.

I have to say it's part of gaining a greater appreciation and understanding of how the operating system works. Given the complexities of a modern OS, you can never understand it all - but consistant practice and development makes you a better system admin. It's even lead me to be more involved in computer forensics - in which I found out there is so much hidden from what most people know. A system admin can always learn something new and patching is a good way to find out more!

BTW, I'm with this Christopher B. on the iPhone 4 prototype "investigate vs. return" dilemma:

Let's see: (1) Stealing by finding, (2) Breaking and Entering, (3) Criminal damage, (4) Wilful distribution of protected trademarked information. That's about three years in the jug I'd say.

I could pretty much figure out what he meant by "jug," but I Googled (not Binged) it anyway to see if there was any other meaning he intended.

In "Xbox Controllers Made with Hard Labor?", Charles F. would drag Microsoft to court:

I feel that when an American corporation works with any company, be they overseas or domestic, that violates human rights or manufacturing standards--that corporation SHOULD BE HELD LEGALLY LIABLE for that company's practices. I believe that when something like this is dicovered by the American corporation they should immediatly offer reparation and sever any and all ties to the subcontractor. I will not purchase or use Apple products due to their business practices and their treatment of employees, especially subcontractor employees.

Bubba Joe Jim Bob (not his real name, I take it) tells Charles in so many words not to be so naive:

Unfortunately due to the cross-cultural barriers and exclusive legal domain issues surrounding labor norms in other countries, you cannot categorically state that ANY product maker should be held legally accountable for mistreatment of it's workers. In fact, if an employer, whether subcontractor or the brand owner outsources, the responsibility for managing legal scrutiny is bourn on the actual owner (or owners) of the offending company. At least, that's how it works on US soil. Change locations, change customs and legal liabilities to the law of the land. At least, that's the way a little birdie told it to me... Best of luck, Chuckie with your 'I won't buy Apple' attitude. Hope you don't eat fruit picked by child labor either. Or drink coffee brewed from beans sorted by children. Or sit on furniture stitched by children. It's a big world buddy.

Support for Windows 2000 may have gone bye-bye, but some readers still have it running some servers at their companies. The short answer is:

Money. -- Anonymous, Vancouver

The same answer, only a bit longer, times two:

...because the people whose apps run on them don't want to migrate to a newer version of Windows. In some cases they don't want to go through the downtime and the reconfiguration. In other cases, they would have to buy a newer version of the app and don't want to spring for the $. Still, Windows 2000 is down to about 2 or 3 percent of our Windows server inventory. There may be a few Windows 2000 workstations out there, but if there are I don't know about them. This is mainly because our rollouts were 3 years apart, and since the spread was 1999 to 2002, we went from Win NT/98 to XP. -- Anonymous

Agree with Vancouver: money. Though it gets worse the longer they put it off. Recently had an update project scrapped because some of our legacy technologies were not supported. It's already become a domino effect. Yet we continue on, likely until things die, then it will be even more expensive to fix. "Penny wise and dollar foolish" execs who think that delaying technology upgrades is the same as delaying your office supplies purchase. -- Maggie-G

For others, the answer might be "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" in so many words:

Been using W2K as a router for two separate domains for the last ten years without a glitch. Tried using Windows 2003 and 2008 and BOTH will completely come to a halt, no mem dumop, no event log, NOTHING, only a cold boot brings them up. No rhyme o reason, no pattern, can go weeks without alting, then it starts and continues for days, several times a day. How aboout 2008 being the Vista of servers? I hate it, I can't even backup the system state backup to a netwrok resource, and by the way, the backup utility is a "resource", not installed by default. Sorry, they take a great tool and make it worse. -- Fernando, Detroit

Yeah, in 2008, how about the read only attribute is not "read only", cannot be cleared, etc, etc How about Authenticated Users group no longer there, believe is replaced by Domain Users,....whoopee,.....not to mention the flipping user control nagging at you every time you want to do something, this is a SERVER for crying out loud. W2k may have some shortcomings but it's done the job for me since 2001. -- Frank, Michigan

If you're Fernando, Maggie-G or Richard G., send me an e-mail (by May 21)! I want to ask you what your shirt sizes are...

Posted by Michael Domingo on 05/20/2010 at 11:59 AM


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