Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE—brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies.
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August 13, 2002—In this issue:
- More on the Folly of Licensing 6.0
2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
- Microsoft Issues Second .NET Framework Service Pack
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
- KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
- Real-World Tips and Solutions Here for You
- The Backup and Recovery Solutions You've Been Searching For!
5. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)
- Free Download - Solve PC Problems 70% Faster!
- Free Security Webcast from Microsoft and NetIQ
6. INSTANT POLL
- Results of Previous Poll: Security-Related Purchases
- New Instant Poll: Licensing 6.0
- Featured Thread: Windows XP Explorer Closes When File or Folder Clicked
- Tip: How Can I Remove the Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows 2000 SP3 "Set Program Access and Defaults" Item from the Start Menu?
8. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Document Your Company's Assets
- Take Your Storage with You
9. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, email@example.com)
Last week's commentary about Microsoft Licensing 6.0 divided Windows & .NET UPDATE readers, with some resignedly throwing up their hands at Microsoft's new policies and others beginning the arduous—and frequently fruitless—task of finding alternatives to Windows and Microsoft Office. Surprisingly, a large number of respondents expressed confusion about Licensing 6.0, noting that they're not sure how the program works, how much it will cost, and why Microsoft made the changes. Many respondents were upset with Microsoft for raising licensing costs, a concern the software giant needs to take to heart. Certainly, my look at Licensing 6.0 is highly unscientific, but it's probably representative of the feedback Microsoft has received to date about the program. And Microsoft isn't yet talking publicly about customer reaction to Licensing 6.0 or the adoption rate.
First, I need to clear up an oversimplification I made last week, when I described Licensing 6.0, essentially, as a software subscription service. Actually, Microsoft's new volume-licensing scheme, which the company calls Software Assurance (SA), consists of four programs. The difference between SA and previous volume-licensing schemes is that the SA programs offer free product upgrades during the term of the agreement. For example, if you purchase an Office XP volume license now, you'll receive a free upgrade to Office 11 next year. This approach is why I used the term "subscription." Although to be fair, Licensing 6.0 offers four SA programs, and only one of these is a true subscription model. The SA programs are arranged according to customer size and needs, as follows:
- Open License 6.0. Customers with five or more PCs, including corporations, educational institutions, charities, governments, and other institutions can use Open License to purchase a one-time volume license. This form of volume licensing includes discounted product prices and a one license-reorder minimum over a 2-year period.
- Select License 6.0. Corporations, educational institutions, governments, and other institutions that can accurately forecast purchasing needs and have 250 or more PCs might choose the Select License program. This program includes discounted product prices, the ability to pay for licensing and SA costs over the length of the 3-year agreement, and access to multiple license-purchasing locations for geographically dispersed institutions.
- Enterprise Agreement 6.0. The Enterprise Agreement program is a 3-year agreement designed for medium, large, and multinational corporations with more than 250 PCs. This program offers deep price discounts with a fixed, annual price based on the number client licenses you purchase; the ability to pay for licensing and SA costs over the length of the agreement; and 1- and 3-year license-renewal opportunities.
- Enterprise Subscription Agreement 6.0. Almost identical to the Enterprise Agreement program, this program is for institutions with 250 or more PCs that want to acquire nonperpetual licenses for one or more Microsoft enterprise products on a subscription basis. In this case, the enterprise doesn't purchase software licenses, but subscribes to them for a 3-year period.
Aside from the free product upgrades during the SA term, how do these programs compare with earlier volume-licensing schemes? For starters, SA is simpler than previous plans. The passage of time has led to very heterogeneous environments, even for companies that have standardized or largely standardized on Windows and other Microsoft software. With a wide mix of Windows .NET (Win.NET), Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, and Windows 9x products out there, not to mention Microsoft's other server products and various versions of Office, and the multitude of licensing methods, many organizations have had a difficult time understanding upgrade paths and discounts.
Today, you have several different choices. You can purchase Microsoft software through a reseller, although this route would be prohibitively expensive in volume. Alternatively, you can purchase an SA-based program and be assured of free upgrades over the course of the agreement. And large corporations can opt into the true subscription plan, which can vary widely in cost, according to your upgrade needs. As several readers noted, this scheme could be much more expensive or slightly less expensive than previous volume-licensing schemes.
You have other options as well. A surprising number of respondents simply decided to opt out of Licensing 6.0 altogether. Some are leasing desktop PC equipment with whatever Windows and Office versions are currently available and recycling the software along with the hardware when the leases expire. This approach addresses one of the hidden costs of Licensing 6.0—new product versions often require a hardware upgrade to work efficiently. And in situations in which the company is always a revision or two behind Microsoft's most current software, SA doesn't make a lot of sense. Some readers argued that getting a free upgrade to Longhorn in 3 years isn't so attractive when you're using today's XP license for a Win2K Professional installation anyway. So if your company upgrades infrequently, you might save money by purchasing or leasing PC hardware and foregoing Microsoft's volume-licensing altogether.
Some users are actively researching open-source alternatives, such as Linux and OpenOffice.org, on the desktop and various Linux-based server solutions. In fact, from a purely statistical perspective, the feedback from this article represents a high point for technologies that don't often appear in UPDATE, such as BSD UNIX, Macintosh OS X, Apache, SAP, Java, and OpenOffice.org. This trend should give Microsoft pause, as these technologies are maturing at an alarming rate.
But what about customers who did opt into Licensing 6.0? Surely some customers are happy, right? Not according to my email. Respondents used terms such as "forced," "coerced," and "strong-armed" to describe their decision to adopt one of the Licensing 6.0 programs. Some are adopting the program half-heartedly by eliminating licensing for certain products, such as Office, that will later be reevaluated and perhaps replaced with something different. Many discussed plans to actively decrease their use of Microsoft server and desktop products over time, solely because of Licensing 6.0.
If my Inbox is any indication, Licensing 6.0 is leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many decision makers, and that's not the way you treat your best customers. Thanks to everyone who provided feedback about this crucial topic.
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2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Microsoft has issued the second Microsoft .NET Framework service pack, which the company recommends all users download and install. The .NET Framework Service Pack 2 (SP2) release focuses on security concerns and other problems Microsoft has found since SP1's release. This release also includes all the fixes from .NET Framework SP1. For the complete story, visit the following URL:
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
(contributed by Paula Sharick, email@example.com)
One of the new features in Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) is the Automatic Updates client. If you use the Windows Update site to keep your system current, you'll appreciate the fact that the update client performs this task automatically. Unlike the Windows XP version of Automatic Updates, the Win2K version downloads and installs only critical updates, most of which are security related. The SP3 installation offers no option to easily exclude this feature, so unless you get creative, this component will be part of every Win2K SP3 system.
All update client files in the system root begin with wuau, which stands for Windows Update AutoUpdate, and the main executable is \%systemroot%\system32\wuauclt.exe. If you check the services list, you'll discover a new native service called Automatic Updates. The default startup type is automatic, but the update feature remains dormant until you configure its operating parameters. You configure the preferred update mode by using either the Control Panel Automatic Updates applet or by adding the Automatic Update template to Group Policy. You must be logged on with an Administrator account to use either method. To learn the details for configuring Automatic Updates, visit the following URL:
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6. INSTANT POLL
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Does your organization plan to make any security-related purchases with the money budgeted for the rest of 2002?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 92 votes:
- 42% Yes
- 43% No
- 14% I don't know
The next Instant Poll question is, "Will Microsoft's new Licensing 6.0 program cause your organization to evaluate alternative enterprise software solutions?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) No, Licensing 6.0 will actually lower our upgrade costs, b) No, we don't like Licensing 6.0, but we'll stick with Microsoft products, c) Yes, we're looking at alternative solutions, or d) I don't know yet.
Stephen has a problem with Windows Explorer on his Windows XP system. If he right-clicks My Computer and selects Explore, the Windows Explorer window opens. But if he clicks on a folder or file to open it, the Windows Explorer window closes with no error messages. Do you have any suggestions for him? Join the discussion at the following URL:
( contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com )
To remove the XP SP1 and Win2K SP3 "Set Program Access and Defaults" feature from the Start menu, simply right-click the item, select Delete, then click Yes in the confirmation dialog box.
8. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Microforge.net announced Network Auditor 3.0i, network auditing and monitoring software. The software helps you document your company's IT assets, track changes, and ensure software legitimacy. You can detect and monitor the hardware and software on your network. You can remotely determine information about physical devices and services and software. The software runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, and Windows 9x systems. Network Auditor isn't licensed per user because with one license you can install and use as many copies of the software as you need. However, you'll require a separate license of Network Auditor for each inventory database that you maintain. Contact Microforge.net at 603-462-6959.
Evergreen Technologies announced the fireLINE USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive, which provides 40GB of high-speed external data storage for PC and Macintosh users. You can plug the device into your USB port to use at your desktop or laptop. You can back up data to share among multiple systems. The fireLINE USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive is hot-swappable and features daisy-chaining capability. Pricing for the 40GB unit is $259.99. Contact Evergreen Technologies at 541-757-0934 or email@example.com.
9. CONTACT US
Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:
- ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — firstname.lastname@example.org
- ABOUT KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT — email@example.com
- ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — firstname.lastname@example.org
(please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)
- TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.winnetmag.net/forums
- PRODUCT NEWS — email@example.com
- QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
Customer Support — firstname.lastname@example.org
- WANT TO SPONSOR WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE UPDATE?
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