Blog Post

Windows update

OK, a couple posts down I made light of the Windows vulnerability that is aimed at the animated cursors was fixed just a few hours after my post. Well so we thought. It seems the fix broke Windows XP SP2 systems. If you have Realtek HD Audio then you stand a good chance of not being able to open the audio control center after applying this patch. OH, and you will also be warned that an illegal DLL relocation has occurred. OK, no big deal you say, well guess what, the exploit is not only still there, but even wider now. So who cares? Well the crackers that will be sending out tons of nude Britney Spears images for those who click and get infected. That is an awesome deal!

“A Microsoft spokesman said in an e-mail that Microsoft was first aware of the issues around the update for Windows XP SP2 during the testing process for the patch. He also said the number of customers affected by the glitch appears “limited” at this point, but the company is recommending that users appply the hotfix.”

Interesting, it says that Microsoft was aware of the issue during testing, but because the glitch appears “limited” they went ahead and released it. Limited strikes me though, as Realtek audio chipsets are some of the most popular chipsets there are, and are in a majority of manufactured PCs as well as some custom built PCs where people didn’t upgrade to a Soundblaster setup or such. I guess causing this issue on more than 25,000 university machines is also considered limited as well.

OK, so I promise to not disrespect Microsoft in this post, as I really don’t have to. They have been doing a great job disrespecting themselves of late. So why all of this Microsoft stuff on your blog Mr. Rich? Well a number of people read this blog, not just Planet Ubuntu, but quiet a few other planets and aggregators. My job is to promote Free and Open Source, well it isn’t my job, but my hobby. No better way to promote it than by showing off the continuous flaws in Microsoft. Well Linux has flaws too, and you are correct. However in the world of Free and Open Source software, you usually don’t get the amount of stupid updates that you do elsewhere for one, and two who cares what the reports say, Linux is far more secure than Windows, if it wasn’t so secure, stable, and blazing fast, than can someone explain why it controls more than 60% of the worlds web servers?

The Linux desktop is getting better everyday, and no matter your skill level, Linux has more to offer than Windows will ever have, oh and lets not forget Apple who is over in the corner sitting pretty right now. You may not be able to game or do your AutoCAD like you can with Windows, but everything else is good to go. I have been using Linux forever and the only reason I had the need for a Windows box was to game and do some AutoCAD. Other than that I have been able to follow along in college with my trusty Linux setup producing projects and products that are on par with the rest of the class and at times even better, but of course that is more me than it is Linux ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is my offer to you, if you have been thinking about trying out this “Linux” thing, go for it. No matter your age, your race, sex, creed, religion, or knowledge, unlike Microsoft, we (Linux) do not discriminate! Give it a try right now!

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  • rinda

    Yeah that was sloppy. However the patch does not break audio. It is just the control panel that controls the more advanced things that broke judging from what I have read. There’s a hotfix for that issue as well available already, although it doesn’t seem to be yet in the automated distribution system.

    “OK, no big deal you say, well guess what, the exploit is not only still there, but even wider now.” ? Umm, the hole didn’t just change magically and become wider. What your sources talked about was that it will get abused more and more in the future. That’s likely too, it’s very nice vulnerability to for abusing.

    The hole itself is plugged by the present patch but it’s the people that never turned on the automated updates that are the problem. That’s mostly XP SP0/1 users, Vista gets really really whiny if you try and disable the automated updates – even more than SP2 XP or Server 2003 R2. Microsoft screwed up majorly with the original release of XP… Newer ones are doing a great deal better.

    I wish it was just Autocad. It’s a huge amount of software that is still missing.. And after that they would have to be more consistent. Then there’s the nearly complete lack of consistent and usable systems management tools for larger environments. The state of those is just plain appalling. That leads into awful TCO and greatly increased risks.

  • Well, ya there are a great deal of proprietary systems that people must work on, and I know it is difficult to avoid jobs that deal with that. What type of systems management tools are you referring to? Working with Sun we used the largest and never had issues really. You are correct about the wider now and I overlooked that during proofing. If you look at companies like IBM, AT&T, and QWest who offer the largest data centers in the world, they consist mainly of Linux and Sun machines, and only have Windows configurations for certain clients. WalMart is another one, their entire system in Linux based pretty much, everything from POS terminals all the way to their SAP/ERP systems.

    I am interested to see what kind of systems management or environment control systems are being used that are a) better than the ones that are either open source or available for *nix environments, or b) don’t offer *nix environment solutions. Trouble ticket systems, time and management systems, and such are offered for *nix environments that are faster and better than their Windows counterparts.

  • And people pay for those problems?!
    Recently my project group at school had a weird windows/microsoft issue. My friend had problems… her document, which was our final, started to become bigger and bigger in file size the longer she used it. I’m not talking a little bigger, I am talking 75mb by the time she had the next problem. She would type the document but after 2 or 3 letters, it would crash and the file would continue to get bigger until she killed it.
    Weird huh? Well, the group was franticly trying to find the newest backup. I just took the file and loaded it with openoffice and was able to make all the changes needed.
    Now mind you, I don’t like OOo but it’s better then microsoft simply because it is open source. Ends up I could save the file and the file shrank to normal size about 2 mb. She could then edit the document with windows again.
    Had it not been for my running linux with OOo we could have lost everything.

  • Jason, nice one. Good save. I am not a huge fan of OO.o as well, I tend to use KOffice more and more if and when I need to use an office solution. I have experienced that issue in the past though where files would just grow using MS Office, it is a known issue as well, one that never really had a valid solution. That was some good thinking on your part to try and save the day with OO.o, and you did. Good job!

  • rinda

    It’s most likely a bug in the file versioning functions, cleaning that metadata will make it go away. It’s likely fixed in newest Office versions anyways.

  • I agree with your post… mostly.

    There is one thing that is missing from Linux. A glaringly obvious miss.

    Linux has no commercial-grade accounting/finance software that is open source. Don’t you dare mention GnuCash. That is NOT commercial-grade. The interface (even with the latest upgrades) still lacks an intuitive design and the entire system is far from polished.

    Yes, I know there are other packages available… even web-based ones, but none of them meet the criteria of being commercial-grade as a replacement for Intuit’s Quickbooks (or Quicken) or Microsoft Money… not that I like any of those options either.

  • I wouldn’t have even said GnuCash for consumer grade. Microsoft Money is far from commercial-grade, it is only consumer-grade last I checked. Quickbooks and Peachtree are your 2 commercial-grade apps, and actually there is Oracle, not all that open-source, however it is available for *nix boxes. Quickbooks and Peachtree are the 2 most popular accounting apps for a small business. They are rather crude, however they do the job for the small business. For accounting, I always recommend Oracles T&E modules. It does everything you can think of and then some. It even ties in with your SAP/ERP systems. So there really is a commercial-grade accounting solution, just not a very good consumer-grade version to battle Quicken or Microsoft Money. KMyMoney is OK, but I have had nothing but issues trying to import my account shit.

  • No better way to promote it than by showing off the continuous flaws in Microsoft.

    What’s better? ‘Use Linux because Windows is crap’, or ‘use Linux because it’s good’?

  • I would have to go with the latter of course in this one, however showing off the continues “spotlighted” flaws is about the only marketing going on in the Linux world. Everything from MSNBC to CNN, they have been “spotlighting” the Vista flaws here almost on a daily basis during them tech talks, and they keep bringing up Linux as the alternate choice.

    Until some great person comes along and creates a marketing plan for Linux, I am affraid that proving that Microsoft is crap (which they do well on their own), and that Linux is better, is about the only marketing out there for Linux. Linux has never been marketed well, and if the community wants it to be mainstream, well maybe it is time they get some marketing giants on board, otherwise Linux will continue being that operating system for hackers and the hardcore, which we all know is not true.

  • Rob J. Caskey

    I’m with Redmond on this one, security first. Fix the security problem now, worry about the rest. I got that warning, and yes it was “scary,” but mom & pop benefit from this stuff.

  • Did this fix the Windows XP security problem though? I know it fixed Vista, but I thought XP still had the problem. According to the system administrators here at the university the issue still exists with the 25,000+ XP SP2 machines. Then again they are typical sys admins so I take what they say with a grain of salt anyways.

    Security first is a bad ideal to carry. It should be user first. If you put the user first, security, functionality and quality will fall into place. You don’t release a patch that breaks stuff. I know Ubuntu did it a few months back and it broke X, granted that is larger than the sound panel issue, but still there were a lot of upset individuals. Test, test it again, have other test it, then test it some more before you release it to your most important business asset, the customer, in this case the end-user. Microsoft has been hounding their new QA and security teams, and yet they still release the patch. I know the teams are young in their invention with Microsoft, but that really isn’t an excuse. I don’t care what OS you use, before they release a fix to anything 1) make sure it fixes the problem, and 2) make sure it doesn’t create others.

  • What amazes me is that Wine is actually more compatible with your obscure Windows crapware than Windows Vista is. And it’s the obscure Windows crapware – the one five-year-old app they utterly rely on for which you can’t find the programmer or company at all, let alone convince them to open it – which keeps people stuck on Windows. I’m more surprised these days when Wine doesn’t work than when it does.

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