NT Security and the Internet
I'm concerned about the numerous NT servers people are connecting to the Internet. The Administrator password and the NT FTP service are a combination that is a serious security hazard.
The FTP service lets all NT accounts transfer files from anywhere! NT Server NT File System (NTFS) is great, but the Administrator user is everywhere on the disk. The Administrator password can be a maximum of 14 characters--not a big problem to hack. So, because the Administrator has access to the whole server, a hacker who breaks the Administrator password has access to the whole computer, regardless of the super NTFS security.
My request for NT Server 4.0: Do not let the Administrator log on to an NT Server through FTP! This way, if a hacker breaks the password, the FTP server will not let the hacker enter the server (via FTP), and no damage will occur. If the hacker breaks another user's password, the potential damage isn't as bad because other users have limited access.
I want Microsoft to take this request seriously so I can continue to use NT with peace of mind. Right now, I'm very worried. Thanks very much. I appreciate your assistance.
Microsoft and Banyan
Your June Trip Stiles column reported the rumor that Microsoft was interested in buying Banyan. I've been in the Banyan world for many years, and my company is now shipping a product for NT. Here's what I think about the Microsoft/Banyan deal.
OK, so Cairo isn't shipping yet, and Microsoft is stuck with LAN Manager 3.0--oops, I mean NT Server 3.51. Jim Alchin promised StreetTalk IV for NT within two to three years. He guaranteed a gazillion features far better than those in StreetTalk III. Two years later, things aren't going too well. The project is just a little too ambitious.
Microsoft's remedy? Following the company's rule of thumb, Microsoft first tried to create the solution, LAN Manager. It failed, and one day somebody at Microsoft said, "Wait a minute. This thing can't do what we really want it to do."
Then someone said something like, "OK, guys. I know we can do this, but we're late and out of time. Who can we buy?"
The reply was, "Banyan. Ten bucks a share and 18 million shares outstanding. Offer $18 to $20, about $360 million cash."
For Microsoft, $360 million is petty cash. Banyan owns the large networking customers, so Microsoft would get StreetTalk and own the Fortune 500 networking world with a nice growing piece of the Internet.
Everybody wants NT. Every magazine says VINES is hard to install and other network OSs aren't. Of course, nobody mentions what the product does once it's up and running. And nobody cares that a VINES server can stay up for a year without a reboot, while NT Server usually can't even do a week.
Well, NT is what everybody will get, and they'll get to keep StreetTalk. NT has the fancy autodetection and underlying file and print, and Microsoft doesn't have to make any effort to provide the most powerful directory service to tie everything together. Now we're talking.
Big Bug in Service Pack 4
Service Pack 4 for Windows NT 3.51 has a big bug. We have a Compaq Proliant 4000 with dual Pentium 90-MHz processors. Service Pack 4 did the upgrade, but it did not recognize that the machine had two processors.
We called Microsoft, and the Microsoft engineer said that reports of this problem were coming in from around the country. The fix is to install NT 3.51 in a separate directory and copy files for the correct kernel and HAL files from Compaq SSD 1.17. Thought you'd like to know.
Contrary to popular belief, Intel is not the only platform that runs NT software. We're on a Digital Equipment Alpha AXP XL 266, and is it hot!
We continually confront the question of which products are available for Alpha and other RISC systems that run NT. Finding product marketing and support people who can answer NT/Alpha product compatibility and availability questions is often fruitless. Even Microsoft people are confused. What happened to Bill and Bob's (Gates and Palmer) grand pronouncements about Microsoft and Digital Equipment teamwork and coordinated releases across platforms?
We recently bought Microsoft's Visual C++ compiler. The box clearly said "Alpha AXP." The compiler indeed generated Alpha-bits, but would execute only on an Intel platform!
Do other readers join me in wanting Windows NT Magazine's help? I'd like to see more emphasis on non-Intel product information, including readiness, release dates, and availability. Perhaps this magazine can encourage vendors to provide Alpha/RISC-ready dates and availability with all product announcements, advertisements, press releases, etc.
\[Editor's Note: All our software reviews include a box with a pointer to each applicable system type. We are committed to covering Alpha-based systems and software, so we run more non-Intel product reviews than any other PC-oriented magazine. We regularly include Alpha-based software listings on our Web site.\]
\[Editor's Note: Share your NT discoveries, comments, problems, and solutions and reach out to other Windows NT Magazine readers (including Microsoft). Email your contributions (under 400 words) to Karen Forster at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your phone number and a photo (.bmp) of yourself. We will edit submissions for style, grammar, and length. If we print your letter, you'll get a Windows NT Magazine t-shirt.\]