Microsoft to Make XP SP2 Free for All

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Since we were complaining about it so bitterly a few weeks ago, we’ll take a moment to note with some satisfaction that Microsoft has, for at least this week, agreed that Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) will be available for all users, including so-called “pirates” who use unlicensed copies of Windows:

“It was a tough choice, but we finally decided that even if someone has pirated copy of Windows, it is more important to keep him safe than it is to be concerned about the revenue issue,” was the word from Microsoft group product manager Barry Goffe in an interview with ComputerTimes Asia.

“Keep him safe” is a nice bit of spin, since we’d guess that Microsoft would, if it could, reach out and make all the “pirated” XP installations spontaneously combust. But it can’t, or at least can’t without risking catching up a lot of innocent bystanders, so it’s settling for a show of concern for everybody. For our part, we don’t care what language the SP2 giveaway is couched in: If even a few unauthorized copies gain the security enhancements promised by Redmond, we’re all better off.


» An interesting editorial over at ClickZ regarding e-mail authentication says that measures like SPF and Caller ID for E-Mail are only part of the battle:

Authentication must be adopted by all parties as quickly as possible. Whatever the final specification, it’s a much needed toolset for receivers to differentiate legitimate messages from spam. Yet authentication is only a gateway resource. Accreditation, reputation, content, and permission will continue to function as server- and client-level filters, requiring extensive management and dispute resolution.

The average net admin isn’t going to worry about much beyond the strictly technical solutions, but we’re also fairly sure when we see words like “extensive management” and “dispute resolution” that we’d better start figuring out how to keep our logs in order.

» Speaking of logs and such, EMC is releasing compliance-oriented software aimed at helping companies with their messaging archives in light of tougher requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley:

The new EMC Proven Content Archiving and Retrieval Solutions (CARS) automate compliance by centralizing online document and records management with software that stores and retrieves content in any format from any source.

EMC CARS with Documentum enables customers to manage the content lifecycle for compliance, while EMC CARS with Mobius enables customers to transform and archive bills, statements, check images and other content.

EMC Proven Solution for E-mail Archiving stores and retrieves e-mail in a cost-effective manner, tightly integrating the LEGATO EmailXtender e-mail archiving application with EMC’s tiered storage and services to archive e-mail content from Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes.

» A Michigan wardriver entered a guilty plea in a case that involved grabbing credit card numbers from insecure WLANs run by Lowe’s stores. The wardriver is looking at 12-15 years in prison, but he’ll be helping make the case against his accomplices.

» One weekend item we were sorry to see was a report from Netcraft that said overzealous search engine optimizers have taken to spamming wikis (reported on here at Crossnodes a while back as an easy way to get the links needed to build up Google juice. There are things you can do to prevent this if you happen to be running a wiki on your own net, it’s a shame you have to.

» Wi-Fi Planet has a WiMax overview that gets to the bottom of a lot of the issues surrounding the upcoming standard and notes, as we did briefly last week, that companies are already rolling product out in anticipation of the finalized standard.

The Week in CrossNodes

Simple Configuration Tips Put Squid on the Menu

If you need to get a handle on your bandwidth with Web caching, but several thousand lines of configuration files make you queasy, here’s a step-by-step guide to making Squid more appetizing.

» Three
LDAP Browsers for the Asking

Getting your information in a directory is just half the
battle: The other half is finding it. Here are three LDAP browsers,
free of charge and up to the task of digging through your data.

» FaceTime
Makes IM as Safe as Talking Face-to-Face

With IM use at critical mass and growing, security and privacy
challenges abound. FaceTime’s enterprise-grade server suite monitors,
archives, and analyzes IM traffic for thousands of users without
requiring thousands of admin hours.

» Scripting Clinic: Dissecting a Live Python… Script

By examining a working script line by line, this edition of the
Scripting Clinic shows you how to put your own scripts together and
exposes a few Python quirks along the way.

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