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May 9, 2002—In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Microsoft Remedy Hearings: Allchin Explains Genesis and Scope of Trustworthy Computing
- Attend Our Free Webinar: Understanding PKI
- Cast Your Vote for our Readers' Choice Awards!
3. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin admitted something yesterday that I've suspected ever since I first read the "Trustworthy Computing" email, a missive that Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates sent to Microsoft employees and that the company purposefully leaked to the press (see the URL below for details). Under questioning during cross-examination at the Microsoft remedy hearings, Allchin said that it was he, not Gates, who originally came up with the Trustworthy Computing idea. Allchin also described the Windows products that the initiative covers.
"Was there a particular event that caused Microsoft to undertake this new security program?" asked Steven Holley, an attorney representing the nonsettling states and the District of Columbia. "Yes, there was a particular event," Allchin answered. "I was traveling, and there was a flaw discovered in what we call Universal Plug-n-Play \[UPnP\] and that was, I believe, December 21 \[2001\]. I remember because I was so angry to see it in the newspaper while I was traveling. And I had a conversation with one of my direct reports, \[Senior Vice President of the Windows Division\] Brian Valentine, and we decided that we were going to institute this new policy program."
Allchin described the process Microsoft underwent to move to Trustworthy Computing. "We decided to retrain the developers within the platforms group," he told the court. "We decided to institute new policies for looking at our code, new policies for determining whether there might be threats that could be done against our code, \[and\] prioritized corrections dealing with problems that were found as part of an overall review of the security. It was quite extensive."
When Holley asked Allchin which Windows OSs are involved in Trustworthy Computing, Allchin said the company's programmers reviewed only recent Windows releases. "We made a pass through the Windows XP code base, which is a very similar code base to \[Windows .NET Server\]," Allchin answered. "We also went back and reviewed—not as extensively—the code from past releases, like Windows 2000. But primarily it was the Windows XP code base and then the \[Win.NET\] Server family."
Allchin admitted that the initiative doesn't cover previous Windows releases. When Holley asked Allchin whether the initiative covers Windows 9x, for example, Allchin said that those OSs are "very, very old" and that customers concerned about security wouldn't want to use such products. "I think that's fairly well known," Allchin said. "Most of the customers, certainly in the corporate space, are moving to Windows 2000. \[Win9x\] is just a very, very old system."
At the Networld+Interop (N+I) 2002 conference this week in Las Vegas, Microsoft executives gathered to discuss the final development stage for the company's upcoming Windows .NET Server family of products. The family will include Win.NET Web Server, Standard Server, Enterprise Server, and Datacenter Server Editions when Microsoft releases it to manufacturing late this year. I spoke with Bob O'Brien, group product manager for Windows .NET Server, about some of the changes customers can expect in this release.
"First of all, I want to reiterate that we are on track to deliver \[Win.NET Server\] by the end of the calendar year," O'Brien said, referring to a previous mistaken disclosure that the product had slipped to early 2003. O'Brien noted that Win.NET Server is focused on three themes: abilities, getting connected, and productivity.
"Customers expect and are pleased with the dependability, reliability, and scalability we're delivering with the Windows Server products," O'Brien said. "We've set world records for performance and are now delivering products that are secured by default. Customers can turn on the functionality that they want after making a clear, conscious decision to do so." O'Brien pointed to Win.NET Server's locked-down version of Microsoft IIS as an example of this new approach.
Companies as diverse as JetBlue Airways and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are using Win.NET Server to stay connected with their customers internally and externally. "Krispy Kreme is already running on Win.Net Server and IIS 6.0 today," O'Brien said. "They're building a franchise system so that franchisees can access a secure network and report in with financials, advertising, and more—all over the Web. The vision is to build that network around Web services in the near future."
Win.NET Server will provide easy ways for customers to use Web services, media services, and other built-in capabilities to build richer client applications for a variety of uses, including Help desk and call center applications. Customers can use Visual Studio .NET (released earlier this year) to create the rich client applications that they'll deploy on Win.NET Server.
Unlike the jump from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000, the Win.NET Server upgrade is evolutionary, not revolutionary. With this release, Microsoft has fine-tuned the product, added features that customers requested, and provided simplification tools, such as wizards and best-practices overviews.
In addition to the 32-bit Win.NET Server products, Microsoft announced this week that it will support Intel's upcoming 64-bit Itanium 2 microprocessor with Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition 1.2. "The Itanium provides a 150 percent performance improvement over the \[original\] Itanium," O'Brien said.
Win.NET Server will also ship in an embedded version and as part of Small Business Server 2003, an integrated suite of server applications aimed at small businesses. The Win.NET Server family will reach the release candidate (RC) phase early this summer, Microsoft says. Microsoft will release the product family to manufacturing in late 2002, and customers will be able to purchase the products in early 2003.
Implementing public key infrastructure (PKI) successfully requires an understanding of the technology with all its implications. Attend the latest Webinar from Windows & .NET Magazine and develop the knowledge you need to address this challenging technology and make informed purchasing decisions. We'll also look closely at three possible content-encryption solutions, including PKI. Register for FREE today!
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