Steve Ballmer retires. What does his legacy look like?
I had to check the date on the article when I saw the announcement that Microsoft was going to provide some level of support for Linux. However, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke; it’s the real thing and has serious implications. In order to understand the impact, one has to understand how Microsoft used to work. In the past, Microsoft was all about protecting two key platforms: Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. As both tools represent the bread makers of the company, ensuring strong revenue while they try to go after markets, the Redmond giant was loath to do anything that could potentially help competitors in any way. As a result, they closely protected their own ecosystem and worked hard on spreading a message that essentially said that using other operating system was bad for your business. With this announcement, we may see a new Microsoft: one that is open to the realities of the marketplace. Linux is not going away and Microsoft knows it so, instead of trying to fight it head on, the company has decided to take its embrace and extend attitude and wrap its arms around the operating system. This is both a blessing…Read More
So far, we’ve talked about the impact of a modular approach on existing business models outside of the software industry. Today, we delve in on the industry most associated with modular design: software. Certain software companies have been suffering from the advance of modularity in software design. The main one, to date, has been Microsoft with its Windows software platform. In the mid-nineties, Microsoft decided to integrate a number of Internet components tightly with its operating systems offering. The two most critical ones of those components have been a web server (IIS) and a web browser (Internet Explorer). Leaving aside discussions relating to the antitrust issues this kind of integration has raised, the integration of those tools with the operating system have left openings for alternative approaches that were more modular. On the server end, IIS has been the subject of many attacks by hackers. Because it is hooked deeply into the operating system, an attack against the web server can have an impact that goes much further that the web front-end. In most cases, the attacks succeeded not only in taking machines down but also turning them into zombie armies that could then turn around and attack other servers.…Read More
There has been considerable discussion over the last few days about Wired Magazine’s decision to publish a story detailing the inner workings of the Slammer worm. As more and more traffic moves over the Internet, the network is increasingly becoming a key element of the overall global telecommunication infrastructure, especially now that companies are starting to move telephone traffic over the net. Yet, most of the conversation relating to Internet security seems to focus on computer operating systems, pitting Windows vs. Linux, generally ignoring some of the potential issues relating to the lower levels of the network, namely routers. While I applaud Wired for distributing information that will be useful in securing windows servers in the future (their analysis of the Slammer worm showed how an attack can be performed), I was disappointed that the story did not include any details as to how we can secure those important components of the net. When cell phone networks start coming off the map, we know we’ve got problems. As more and more telecom traffic moves over the net, what will be done to secure it? As we all know, the net has been based on a long-time system of open collaboration…Read More
Over the past year, it has seemed like TNL.net had gone quiet. Few updates were made to the site and fewer newsletters were being published. Behind the scene, however, I was busy rebuilding the site from the ground up. The new TNL.net was relaunched in late January 2003, about a month behind the schedule I had originally set. In this newsletter, I will explain why I relaunched it and how I went about it. The Genesis Since 1995, TNL.net was running on Microsoft Windows. Initially, the site was running on Windows NT, using Microsoft IIS to serve pages on the web. Prior to that, TNL.net had been running on a shared Linux box but none of the administration of that server was in my control. When it moved to its own environment, I looked at a number of options that would allow me to spend time developing the site, not necessarily administering the box. In late 2000, the site was upgraded to Windows 2000 and continued to run on this until recently. So why did I decided to change things? Unhappy with Microsoft The world in 1995 was very different from today’s world. In those days, administration of unix system…Read More