Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Google wants U.S. help fighting censorship
June 24, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) — Once relatively indifferent to government affairs, Google Inc. is seeking help inside the Beltway to fight the rise of Web censorship worldwide.

The online search giant is taking a novel approach to the problem by asking U.S. trade officials to treat Internet restrictions as international trade barriers, similar to other hurdles to global commerce, such as tariffs.

Google sees the dramatic increase in government Net censorship, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, as a potential threat to its advertising-driven business model, and wants government officials to consider the issue in economic, rather than just political, terms.

“It’s fair to say that censorship is the No. 1 barrier to trade that we face,” said Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s director of public policy and government affairs. A Google spokesman said Monday that McLaughlin has met with officials from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office several times this year to discuss the issue.

“If censorship regimes create barriers to trade in violation of international trade rules, the USTR would get involved,” USTR spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel said. She added though that human rights issues, such as censorship, typically falls under the purview of the State Department.

While human rights activists are pleased with Google’s efforts to fight censorship, they harshly criticized the company early last year for agreeing to censor its Web site in China, which has the second-largest number of Internet users in the world.

The company defends its actions, saying the Chinese government made it a condition of allowing Chinese users access to Google Web pages. China has an Internet firewall that slows or disrupts Chinese users from accessing foreign uncensored Web sites.

Censorship on the rise

Censorship online has risen dramatically the past five years, belying the hype of the late 1990s, which portrayed the Internet as largely impervious to government interference.

A study released last month by the OpenNet Initiative found that 25 of 41 countries surveyed engage in Internet censorship. That’s a dramatic increase from the two or three countries guilty of the practice in 2002, says John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, who helped prepare the report.

China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore and Thailand, among others, are increasingly blocking or filtering Web pages, Palfrey says.

Governments “are having more success than the more idealistic of us thought,” acknowledges Danny… Read the full story at the source: CNN

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Mandriva: We Won’t Sign Microsoft Pact
June 23, 2007

Mandriva has become the latest Linux vendor to publicly refute speculation that it will join Novell, Xandros and Linspire in signing a patent covenant with Microsoft, in which the Redmond company agrees not to sue for potential intellectual property infringement.

The statement from Mandriva CEO Francois Bancilhon follows a similar refusal from Canonical chief executive Mark Shuttleworth; Canonical makes the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution. Red Hat also said it would not sign any patent pledge with Microsoft.

Microsoft’s agreement with Novell, inked last November, formed a rift in the Linux community. Some companies felt they could use the patent covenant to help protect their customers, while others felt Microsoft was simply spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt to push businesses to Windows instead.While the deal between Microsoft and Novell included work on interoperability between the two platforms, it primarily focused on intellectual property. Novell agreed to make royalty payments to Microsoft in exchange for lawsuit protection, although Microsoft has yet to specify what patents Linux may infringe upon.

“Interoperability between the Windows and Linux world is important and must be dealt with, and anything that helps this interoperability is a good thing,” wrote Mandriva’s Bancihon. “We also believe what we see, and up to now, there has been absolutely no hard evidence from any of the FUD propagators that Linux and open source applications are in breach of any patents.”

Red Hat said it would not pay an “innovation tax” to Microsoft. Like Ubuntu’s Shuttleworth, Banchion characterized Microsoft’s offer as a protection racket, similar to that employed by the mafia.

“We think that, as in any democracy, people are innocent unless proven guilty and we can continue working in good faith,” he continued. “So we don’t believe it is necessary for us to get protection from Microsoft to do our job or to pay protection money to anyone.”

Written by: Nate Mook, BetaNews

YouTube Live on Apple TV, iPhone
June 21, 2007

Apple said Wednesday that its update to Apple TV to allow viewing of YouTube videos was available, along with announcing similar functionality for iPhone. But the lack of 3G connectivity will limit the feature’s usefulness.

iPhone users will likely not be able to stream their videos across the mobile network as EDGE is often too slow to support higher-quality full motion video. Thus, the functionality would only be usable via Wi-Fi.

YouTube will encode videos in H.264 format for Apple’s handset, which requires about 50-60 KBps worth of bandwidth for mobile uses. Typical EDGE data rates fall below that range, therefore not offering the best performance in mobile applications.JupiterResearch analyst Michael Gartenberg, who could be considered one of the bigger proponents of the iPhone, also highlighted this problem.

“Key questions will be how well the experience transfers from the PC to these new screens and how well the video will perform, especially over the iPhone’s 2G network,” he remarked.

Apple left this important consideration out of their announcement of the new functionality, however CEO Steve Jobs still said it was “the best YouTube mobile experience by far.”

10,000 videos would be available for the iPhone’s launch, with the entire YouTube catalog being encoded in H.264 by fall, the companies said.

Users of Apple TV, meanwhile, are now able to download the new functionality and update their boxes by using the device’s Software Update feature. YouTube members would be able to save their favorite videos to the Apple TV, Apple said.

Written by: By Ed Oswald, BetaNews

14 Google Products Won Webware 100
June 20, 2007

webware 100 google

Rafe Needleman announced the Webware 100 winners.The list was compiled on votes cast by nearly 500,000 users, and Google is the biggest winner with 14 products on the list:

  • Browsing: Google Reader
  • Communication: Gmail
  • Data: Google
  • Media: YouTube
  • Mobile: Gmail Mobile, Google Maps Mobile, Google 411
  • Productivity and Commerce: Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, Google AdWords
  • Publishing: Blogger, Google Analytics, FeedBurner
  • Preference: Google Map
  • Hmm in fact Google users are the biggest winners 🙂

    No Microsoft-Ubuntu Deal in the Works
    June 19, 2007

    Don’t expect a patent deal between Microsoft and Ubuntu Linux distributor Canonical anytime soon.

    The company’s CEO said in a post on his personal Web log over the weekend that despite the rumors, there are no negotiations with the Redmond company. Furthermore, he took issue with Microsoft’s threats of patent lawsuits for unspecified patents.

    <script language=”javascript” src=”http://ads.betanews.com/adserve.iframejscript/www.betanews.com/MPU@Top?210140831″></script>

    Mark Shuttleworth, said that it was his position on the matter, and he was fairly certain that the members of Ubuntu Community Council and his company shared his views.”Allegations of ‘infringement of unspecified patents’ carry no weight whatsoever,” Shuttleworth wrote. “We don’t think they have any legal merit, and they are no incentive for us to work with Microsoft on any of the wonderful things we could do together.”

    He called Microsoft’s promise not to sue for unspecified infringement “not worth paying for,” and seemed to equate those taking the deal from Microsoft as living in a “false sense of security.”

    Microsoft has already struck deals with Linux companies Novell, Xandros, and Linspire. The deals promise that Microsoft would extend some patent protections to the customers of the companies, while also allowing for interoperability work.

    Shuttleworth apparently wants none of it. He also questioned Microsoft’s commitment to standards through its Open XML format, saying that it wasn’t good enough, and he didn’t think Microsoft would hold itself to the pledge of openness.

    “The Open Document Format (ODF) specification is a much better, much cleaner and widely implemented specification that is already a global standard,” he argued, saying OpenXML is far less open than ODF.

    Canonical wouldn’t be the first company to turn down Microsoft’s olive branch for patents. Red Hat has also declined to participate, saying it would not pay an “innovation tax” to Microsoft shortly after news of the Novell deal broke.

    Written by:  By Ed Oswald, BetaNews

    iPhone Delivers Up to Eight Hours of Talk Time
    June 19, 2007

    Apple® today announced that iPhone™ will deliver significantly longer battery life when it ships on June 29 than was originally estimated when iPhone was unveiled in January. iPhone will feature up to 8 hours of talk time, 6 hours of Internet use, 7 hours of video playback or 24 hours of audio playback.* In addition, iPhone will feature up to 250 hours-more than 10 days-of standby time. Apple also announced that the entire top surface of iPhone, including its stunning 3.5-inch display, has been upgraded from plastic to optical-quality glass to achieve a superior level of scratch resistance and optical clarity.”With 8 hours of talk time, and 24 hours of audio playback, iPhone’s battery life is longer than any other ‘Smartphone’ and even longer than most MP3 players,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve also upgraded iPhone’s entire top surface from plastic to optical-quality glass for superior scratch resistance and clarity. There has never been a phone like iPhone, and we can’t wait to get this truly magical product into the hands of customers starting just 11 days from today.”

    iPhone introduces an entirely new user interface based on a revolutionary multi-touch display and pioneering new software that allows users to control iPhone with just a tap, flick or pinch of their fingers. iPhone combines three products into one small and lightweight handheld device-a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod, and the Internet in your pocket with best-ever applications on a mobile phone for email, web browsing and maps. iPhone ushers in an era of software power and sophistication never before seen in a mobile device, which completely redefines what users can do on their mobile phones.

    Pricing and Availability

    iPhone will be available in the US on June 29, 2007 in a 4GB model for $499 (US) and an 8GB model for $599 (US), and will work with either a PC or Mac®. iPhone will be sold in the US through Apple’s retail and online stores, and through AT&T’s select retail stores.

    *All Battery claims are dependent upon network configuration and many other factors; actual results may vary. See http://www.apple.com/batteries for more information. Music capacity is based on four minutes per song and 128-Kbps AAC encoding; actual capacity varies by content.

    About Apple

    Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and will enter the mobile phone market this year with its revolutionary iPhone.

    © 2007 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh and iPhone are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

    Written by: PRNewswire

    Safari for Windows Tops 1 Million Downloads
    June 15, 2007

    Despite security concerns and Microsoft pundits like Paul Thurrott wondering “who would ever use” it, Safari 3 Beta for Windows was downloaded over 1 million times in the first 48 hours, Apple announced. The company continues to tout the speed and standards support of its browser, which was previously Mac-only.

    Even with 1 million downloads, however, Apple has its work cut out for it in order to retain those users. The initial Safari 3 beta was noticeably buggy on Windows, and many reported slower performance than both IE7 and Firefox 2. In addition, Apple is now facing the same security issues that have long plagued its rivals on Windows, with upwards of 10 vulnerabilities already discovered in the beta. Some analysts speculate that Safari for Windows exists primarily to aid development of applications for Apple’s upcoming iPhone, not to compete with IE or Firefox.

    Written by: BetaNews Staff

    SanDisk inks agreement to support DivX
    June 15, 2007

    DivX and SanDisk have announced a licensing agreement allowing SanDisk to include DivX technology in SanDisk’s Sansa line of video-enabled products.

    As a result of the partnership, future SanDisk video products can include interoperability with the DivX Stage6 video website. This partnership is designed to provide SanDisk consumers with seamless access to the growing library of professional and user-generated video content available today in the popular DivX format, according to the companies.

    Products that bear the DivX Certified logo have undergone a rigorous testing program to ensure a high-quality DivX media experience, including reliable video playback, interoperability with other DivX Certified devices and the visual quality users expect from DivX.

    SanDisk expects to announce plans later this year for DivX support in its product lines.

     

     News source: DigiTimes

    Sun offers an olive branch to Linux
    June 15, 2007

    Sun Microsystems chief executive Jonathan Schwartz is looking to make peace with the development community behind the Linux operating system.

    A day after Linux creator Linus Torvalds lashed out against the server vendor over its open source track record, the Schwartz posted an open letter on his blog and invited Torvalds to dinner at his home.

    Torvalds earlier this week denounced Sun as a dishonest open source player in a posting on the Linux Kernel Developer mailing list.

    Linux developers have been debating the forthcoming third version of the General Public Licence.

    Although Torvalds reiterated his view that there is no reason for the Linux kernel to switch licences, he added that he might change his mind if Sun picked GPLv3 for its Solaris operating system.

    Torvalds would be especially interested in adopting Sun’s ZFS file system, Torvalds said in an email on Tuesday.

    “Maybe ZFS is worthwhile enough that I’m willing to go to the effort of trying to relicense the kernel,” Torvalds wrote.

    “But quite frankly, I can almost guarantee that Sun won’t release ZFS under the GPLv3 even if they release other parts. Because if they did, they’d lose the patent protection.”

    Schwartz countered in his open letter that the company is “interested in seeing ZFS everywhere, including Linux, with full patent indemnity”.

    Torvalds made it clear in Tuesday’s email that he has little confidence in Sun’s motives with the open source community and in particalur with Linux.

    Written by: Tom Sanders in California, vnunet.com

    After hacker dissection, Safari beta is patched
    June 15, 2007

    Three days after releasing Safari 3.0, Apple has issued its first patch of the beta software.

    The 3.0.1 update, released early Thursday morning, fixes three flaws in the browser including bugs that were discovered earlier this week by researchers Thor Larholm and Aviv Raff.

    Apple released the 3.0 beta on Monday, and hackers started digging up bugs within hours. In fact, some researchers suggested that Apple should have done a better job of checking the browser for vulnerabilities before releasing the beta code.

    But even Apple’s critics give the company credit for pushing out a quick update to its browser.

    “Let’s give Apple a round of applause for the quick response,” wrote researcher Tom Ferris on his blog Thursday. He says he’s discovered 10 vulnerabilities in the browser.

    Earlier this week, Ferris said that Apple had done a “horrible” job of testing the Safari beta for bugs, prior to its initial release.

    Larholm agreed that the quick update was a good sign. “I want to congratulate Apple for fixing a serious security vulnerability in such a short time frame,” he wrote in a blog posting. “Their usual response time can be counted in weeks to months.”

    This is the first time that Apple has released a version of Safari for the Windows platform. Because it now can be run on a much larger number of systems, the code has been getting more attention from the security community.

     

     

    News source: InfoWorld

    Developers Eye Microsoft’s Silverlight As Potential Flash Alternative
    June 8, 2007

    Adobe’s ubiquitous Flash has never had serious competition, which allowed it to become the dominant technology for Web multimedia, even though its complexity causes some headaches for developers. Yet Microsoft’s Silverlight stands to give Flash a run for its market share.Now available in beta, Silverlight is slated for a 1.0 release this summer and is already drawing strong interest from developers.

    Attendees at Microsoft’s TechEd 2007 conference in Orlando, Fla., crowded into a packed Silverlight overview session Monday evening, led by Developer Division General Manager Scott Guthrie. A recap of slides and demos first shown at Microsoft’s Mix07 show last month, the Silverlight session showcased the technology that Microsoft is relying on to bring its technology platform beyond the operating system and into the Web browser.

    Silverlight is a subset of the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) system that powers Vista. It aims to best Flash in two ways: By offering better-looking, more advanced display and interactive functionality, and by featuring better tooling support.

    Silverlight’s programming model supports Visual Basic, C# and a number of dynamic languages, including Python and Ruby, while Microsoft’s Visual Studio and Expression IDEs will allow .Net developers to work with Silverlight using tools they’re already familiar with.

    “I’m itching to get started,” said Jon Nowick, a systems engineer with logistics software maker Coyote Logistics in Lake Forest, Ill. A self-described “old-school Flash programmer,” Nowick would prefer to never deal with Flash again. From what he’s seen of Silverlight tool and programming model, he expects it to be easier to use than Flash’s.

    “One of the things I didn’t like about Flash was the debugging and scripting. It was painful,” Nowick said. “It looks a lot easier to do things with Silverlight than in Flash. I’ve been a .Net developer for the last five years, so it would be great to be able to apply those skills. Since we’re a Microsoft shop, I can see us redoing our entire Web site in this.”

    But other Flash programmers won’t be so easily converted. Flash’s greatest strength is its universality: More than 95 percent of Internet-enabled PCs worldwide include the Flash Player, according to Adobe research. Flash also runs on aging browsers and on Linux, a platform Microsoft isn’t planning to support for Silverlight, which will work on Macs and PCs running Internet Explorer 6 or 7 or modern versions of Firefox or Safari.

    “This is a tougher sell than Flash,” said freelance developer Michael Chabot, who stopped by to check out a Silverlight demo on the TechEd show floor. “One hundred percent of the people they’re targeting with this use Flash. Right now, zero percent of them use Silverlight.”

    Chabot said he’s eager to see competition for Flash, but what he’s seen so far of Silverlight and the Expression toolset supporting it doesn’t impress him. For designers accustomed to programs like Adobe’s Dreamweaver and Photoshop, Expression feels clunky and isn’t intuitive to use, he said.

    “I would say that, by far, Flash is the hardest technology I’ve ever had to learn. It’s not a good product, but it’s the only one that does these things,” Chabot said. “This is really the first rival, but I don’t think it’s going to be successful. I don’t think it does anything more than Flash does, and it excludes old browsers.”

    Another potential hurdle for Silverlight is that it requires users to download and install the Silverlight client runtime. Microsoft has made the process as painless as possible: TechEd’s opening keynote included a Silverlight installation demo that took less than 20 seconds and didn’t require a reboot.

    Still, corporate users in secured environments may not have the option of installing new browser add-ons, according to solution providers.

    “A lot of our users don’t have security permissions to change their configurations, and our clients aren’t ready to install yet another runtime,” said Matt Jurgensen, lead infrastructure architect for financial services software developer DST Systems in Kansas City, Mo.

    Jurgensen’s firm aims to redevelop its desktop software for browser-based access and is beginning to explore options. Flash’s steep learning curve is daunting, and Jurgensen likes the idea of using Silverlight and putting his .Net expertise to work. He plans to keep an eye on Silverlight as it launches and works to gain traction over the next year.

    To read the full Post and page 2, see the source: ChannelWeb

    TechEd 2007: Vista’s Priorities Now Favor Media Player, Russinovich Demos
    June 8, 2007

    ORLANDO – Perhaps the closest thing to a rock star you find at a technology conference is a guy whose talks are so good, that the same attendees will attend their encore performances. If anyone makes a list of three “rock stars” at TechEd, one of them would have to be Mark Russinovich, the former SysInternals security engineer, now a Technical Fellow with Microsoft.

    Russinovich’s “Kernel Changes” talks are among the “must see” items on attendees’ schedules, and is often the only place where you can find them walking up to the podium to shake the presenter’s hand and introduce themselves…before the session begins. Each time, Russinovich mixes the talk up a bit. This time around, he used virtual XP and Vista sessions to demonstrate an interesting new set of priorities on the part of the operating system, as provided by Multimedia Class Scheduler Service.
    XP users are familiar with the situation where the playback of media files is slowed down when the CPU comes under stress by other processes. This happens to me all the time: I’m transcribing an audio file, I’m running Word and my photo editor and perhaps Visual Studio, and I have to hit Stop and Play pretty frequently. Each time I do, the playback gets a little bit slower…and slower…and slo…

    With a musical demonstration, Mark showed a Vista CPU Performance Monitor graph (another of the many performance tools people don’t realize it has), depicting the priority level Vista continually gives to the Media Player 11 thread while the CPU is under stress.

    When one of Russinovich’s many tools (many have compared him to Peter Norton in the late ’70s) places artificial stress on the CPU, instead of slowing down the music playback…MCSS kicks in and boosts MP11 to priority level 21 or thereabouts.

    What slows down? The mouse pointer, curiously enough. Sure, your input gets a little bogged down, but you can still tap to the beat. In fairness, MCSS is a vitally necessary service in the wake of Windows Home Server, whose principal feature is the centralized storage and streaming of media. If the server’s busy doing backups, you don’t want the dance party going on in the basement to slow down.

    More from Russinovich and the rest of TechEd 2007 throughout the week in BetaNews.

    By Scott M. Fulton, III, BetaNews
    June 7, 2007, 2:56 PM

    EMI and YouTube shake hands and hips
    June 2, 2007

    EMI has signed an agreement with Google’s video-sharing website YouTube to allow its users to view “authorised” videos and recordings from the music firm’s roster of artists.

    It’s the last of the Big Four to do so, with Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner having already jumped on the bandwagon in an attempt to claw back control of multifarious online digital content.

    The firm has been directing much of its attention in recent months towards its business relationship with Apple and was the first of the Big Four to sign a DRM-free music deal with the computer giant.

    EMI said it is working closely on business models with YouTube with the ambitious aim of fulfilling customer demand, pushing up revenue, and keeping artists satisfied.

    “Through this agreement EMI Music and its artists will be fairly compensated for their work,” said the firm’s CEO Eric Nicoli.

    Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

    User-generated content is a grey area being heavily explored by all the majors right now.

    EMI said it plans to use YouTube’s content management tools to identify, track, and monetise copyrighted content. The tools will also give the firm powers to remove material from the video-sharing website.

    For Google, the deal demonstrates yet another tightening of the screws to legitimise the digital content it provides via YouTube.

    It’s hardly a surprising move given the level of copyright infringement lawsuits currently hitting the hugely popular website.

    EMI band Ok Go caused a mild sensation on YouTube last year with its music video that featured running machines on which band members busted some interesting moves.

    By Kelly Fiveash

    Google Maps hits the streets
    June 2, 2007

    Google yesterday announced the immediate availability of “Street View” – ground-level, photographic panoramas of Denver, Las Vegas, Miami and New York which allow Google Maps surfers to “navigate around a city, ‘virtually’ walking the streets, checking out restaurants and landmarks and even zoom in on bus stops or street signs to make travel plans”:

    A Street View image of the Brooklyn Bridge on Google Maps

    As well as trumpeting the new facility, Google pointed developers in the direction of Mapplets, “mini-webpages that are served inside an IFrame within the Google Maps site”.

    According to the blurb, you can “put anything inside this mini-webpage that you can put into a normal webpage, including HTML, Javascript, and Flash”.

    While the code jockeys get busy knocking together illuminating Mapplets content, the rest of us will soon be able to enjoy extended Street View coverage of “other metropolitan regions”, a Google statement promised. ®

    By Lester Haines

    The perfect PC
    May 26, 2007

    Here in KSA stealing software is nothing… and even I don’t like that, I can’t stop it. And because of that I start a year ago the search for good alternatives, to be honest I always knew about the free and open source programs but I didn’t try it. I didn’t know how good those software but as a result of the searching I can say that some of the free software is far better than the ones that we pay for 🙂

    And this is list of the best programs (this is my opinion) :

    1- VLC* and Gome for playing all media ( it doesn’t play real media ).

    2- for malware protection Antivir* (it has one of the best detection rate for last months but it doesn’t protect from spyware), Active Virus Shield ( it use Kasersky engine, umm you can call it Kaspersky lite), Avast and Clamwin.( I don’t like AVG )

    3- Windows Defender*, Spyware Terminator and Arovax AntiSpyware* for anti spyware.

    4- Comodo and Ashampoo for Firewall protection.

    5- Paint.NET* for photo designing.

    6- OpenOffice* for Office and spreadsheets work.

    7- Firefox* and Opera for surfing Net (I like Firefox more and it’s the default Browser).

    8- Notepad++* notepad replacement and for PHP editing

    9- Deep Burner* and CDBurnerXp for Burning CDs and DVDs

    10- Google Desktop* for desktop search.

    11- “7-Zip“* to open and make Zip, 7z and Rar and other type of archives ( 7-zip doesn’t make rar files and only open it ).

    12- Thunderbird is an Email Clint like Outlook.

    13- Utorrent* and Azureus for downloading Torrent files.

    13- Orbit* ,Fashget and Freedownloadmanager as download managers that supports resumable downloads and multiple simultaneous downloads.

     

    Any progarm in thel list with the sign * is installed in my PC.

    Note: even the free programs is good but that doesn’t mean the paid programs is over, no the paid ones still have the some advantages campared to the alternatives, because it has many tools and options the free programs doesn’t have and you can take Nero as an example.

    If you have a better List please tell me as a comment

    Written By: Murtadh

    No end in sight for Vista’s Long Goodbye
    May 24, 2007

    Looking for yet another reason to hold off buying Vista? Read on

    Seven weeks ago, when we first reported Vista was causing many machines to stall indefinitely while deleting, copying and moving files, we were sure the problem was caused by a bug that would be fixed relatively quickly. After all, Vista is Microsoft’s flagship product. It’s also an operating system. And everyone knows deleting, copying and moving files are among the most basic tasks any operating system can set out to do.

    Now we don’t know what to think. Vista’s Long Goodbye, as we’ve come to call this bizarre phenomenon, continues unabated. No amount of diagnosing by the untold number of confounded sysadmins sheds any light on the problem’s cause, and Microsoft has yet to acknowledge its full extent.

    “I just wanted to say…that I have tried everything…in this section..till yesterday (May 13 2007) and none of it worked,” a user who goes by the name SR_1976 posted today in a Microsoft TechNet forum discussing the glitch. “I have tried my best to work with Vista ….did not work…so, gone back to XP…and all my problems are gone. Vista was more stable than XP (for me…)and does have some good features…but enough is enough..” (The discussion, by the way, is the longest TechNet thread we’ve ever seen.)

    Another posting made today relates the experience of a certain groden, who spent four hours trying to copy 3.8GB of data off a Windows 2003 server using a Sony Vaio with 2GB of RAM. It took him a couple of minutes to copy the same files using a similar set up that was running XP.

    To recap, an untold number of Vista users are unable to delete, copy and move files without interminable waits, in which the OS appears to be calculating the time the job will take. While most vexing for people working with files on a remote server, the glitch is also present when working with local files. Microsoft issued a hotfix, but it appears it was designed to repair a problem other than the one at hand. Or at least we hope, because it sure hasn’t fixed Vista’s Long Goodbye.

    We asked Microsoft for an interview with a product manager who could shed some light on the difficulty that’s vexing so many of the company’s most important customers. What we got was an emailed statement that gave no new information. It read:

    Finding the root cause of issues like this and identifying a solution is of the utmost priority for Microsoft. That said, crafting a fix and fully testing it – to be sure we are not introducing other problems – takes time. This is why Microsoft makes hot fixes available, and while we understand that hot fixes are not a perfect solution, they can help people get by while we perfect the long term solution. We will keep you updated with specific plans to this issue as soon as we have confirmation.

    Microsoft’s inability to fix a defect in such a basic feature has led to its share of conspiracy theories that would be quickly dismissed as kooky, were it not for the company’s steadfast refusal to provide any details about what’s causing the problem. The top contender: The inability to copy files without stalling isn’t a bug at all, but rather the result of a digital rights management feature designed to protect Hollywood (even if the rest of us have to cuss our way through four hours deleting a few gigs worth of crap).

    To prove the point, one user found the problem went away when he ran an XP Pro Virtual Machine that was running on top of Vista. Mysteriously, it took him about eight seconds to delete the 23GB of files he wanted to get rid of. Using Vista on the same machine took him more than 25 minutes.

    Hmm, maybe the DRM conspiracists are right after all. ®

    By Dan Goodin in San Francisco

    Microsoft to beat Symantec to corporate release punch
    May 17, 2007

    With Forefront due out soon, Symantec’s latest release suffers further delay.

    Microsoft has announced the release to manufacture of Forefront Client, the corporate implementation of its anti-virus technology, with full sales release expected within weeks. Current market leader in the corporate AV market Symantec, meanwhile, has announced further delays to the release of its long-expected next-generation corporate software, originally scheduled for release in the first quarter of this year but now expected to make the public Beta stage sometime in the next few months.

    IT Underground button

    Delays in the release of Symantec‘s new product are thought to be down to issues with integrating software from a range of sources acquired by the security giant in recent years. The new product will include anti-rootkit technology from Veritas, behavioural detection from WholeSecurity and NAC functionality from Sygate. A Symantec spokesman has said the public beta schedule, along with expected final release dates, will be announced next month.

    Microsoft‘s Forefront, a corporate implementation of the anti-malware technology used by the home-user OneCare product with added functionality for the business network, is scheduled to hit the shelves by the end of May. The release will put to rest earlier speculation that Microsoft would stay out of the corporate anti-virus market and concentrate on protecting their home users.

    The product has already been criticised by some commentators, who point to OneCare‘s difficult release with several significant problems emerging from independent testing, including the product’s failure to achieve VB100 certification, cited by a Symantec spokesperson as ‘the benchmark test for AV engines’.

    ‘New products often suffer teething problems, and need a while to settle into a solid routine of development,’ said John Hawes, Technical Consultant at Virus Bulletin. ‘Microsoft has been working hard at improving its detection, expanding its analysis teams with high-profile hiring and improving its network of labs. We’re expecting a lot of new products for the next VB100 comparative, as well as a wide range of offerings from the more established players, and the June issue of VB should include some interesting insights into how products for the Windows XP platform compare.’

     

     

    The writer: VB’s