Starting this week, Microsoft will update the way its Windows Genuine Advantage behaves. The first change will come in how WGA keeps itself updated, with MS saying "in this release we've also added the ability for future updates to WGA Notifications to have both the validation logic, as well as new forms of notifications, installed without additional steps."
But the biggest change comes to how WGA handles installations that fail to pass validation. Taking somewhat of a cue from Vista, users sporting a copy of Windows flagged as non-genuine will be greeted to a plain black background. Users will still be given the ability to change the background to whatever it was before, but every 60 minutes the desktop will go back to black until Windows passes validation.
In addition, Microsoft plans to add a "persistent desktop notification." Similar to a watermark, the non-interactive notification will appear permanently over the system tray as a reminder that the copy didn't pass validation. Users won't be able to click, move, or otherwise manipulate the notification, but it will be translucent over desktop items, and stay hidden under open windows.
Will this latest effort curb software piracy, or is WGA a bad idea to begin with?
Some Linux users are getting a feel for what it's like to be one of the Windows faithful, as the open source community looks to be under siege. The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) has issued a warning for "active attacks" against Linux-based infrastructures using compromised SSH keys.
Specifics remain scarce, but the attacks appear to use stolen SSH keys to gain access to a system, after which time the attacker uses local kernel exploits to gain root access and install a rootkit called phalanx2.
"Phalanx2 appears to be a derivative of an older rootkit named "phalanx". Phalanx2 and the support scripts within the rootkit, are configured to systematically steal SSH keys from the compromised system. These SSH keys are sent to the attackers, who then use them to try to compromise other sites and other systems of interest at the attacked site."
The US-CERT has outlined ways Linux users can reduce the risk of attack, as well as what steps should be taken if a compromise is already confirmed.
We can all agree that the Mac commercials blasting all things PC (most of which revolve around Microsoft's Vista OS) aren't always accurate, but few outside the PC loyal would argue they're not funny. Or at least they used to be - there are only so many times you can watch Justin Long remind the world what a supposed hip computer user looks and dresses like.
Now it's Microsoft's turn, but rather than try to redefine 'cool,' it's reportedly going back in time a decade to snag an instantly recognizable spokesman who's most recent celebrity role involved a voice over for a talking bee. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jerry Seinfeld will be one of the key celebrity pitchmen for Microsoft's new $300 million advertising campaign, in which Bill Gates will also appear. Also fresh from the rumor mill, look for the new slogan "Windows, Not Walls."
The new ads are likely to debut on September 4th. Lulz?
Vista has garnered a plethora of bad press – not a commiseration - and continues to be in the news for all the wrong reasons. Yet another survey has discovered yet another Vista failure. Although it is common knowledge that Vista has to its credit an abysmally dismal adoption rate, a survey by Devil Mountain Software has found that even the ones with Vista are prone to downgrading.
Yesterday Google announced on its Android Developers Blog that it is releasing the Android 0.9 SDK beta. A crude SDK build was made available in November, 2007 to give a dekko into the Android mobile platform. The Android 0.9 SDK gives developers a better chance to unravel the OS before the release of version 1.0. The release of 1.0 shouldn’t be far off as the first Android-bearing phone will be soon launched by T-Mobile, a member of the Open Handset Alliance. It is called the Dream and has been developed by leading smartphone manufacturer HTC, another key member of the consortium behind Android. To get your hands on the 0.9 SDK beta and Google’s development roadmap head over to the official blog.
Vista almost seems to be an anathema, for about 3/4th of the enterprises are so unequivocal in their dislike for Vista that they don’t even intend to adopt the OS three years down the line. Around 28% envisage a move to the OS anywhere between late 2008 and 2010. Half of those surveyed are not fazed by the end of XP’s retail sales and OEM distribution.
Lesson for Microsoft: The Mojave Experiment hasn’t been able to fool incredulous enterprises and it's time that MS devoted more time to addressing Vista’s glaring performance issues. Address their grievances, the tide will surely turn.
When Vista launched over a year ago we had many compelling reasons not to upgrade. But as time progressed and Microsoft silently addressed our woes, it seems clear; the Vista of today could be somewhat misjudged. That doesn’t make it perfect however, and Microsoft has owned up to this by releasing a 14 page guide with tried and tested tweaks that improve overall performance and boost notebook battery life. This free and easy to follow PDF guide walks you through native tools built into the OS which allow you to optimize Vista’s performance.The contents are especially helpful if you are new to Vista, having just come from XP, but even Vista veterans are bound to find a few things of note. If you manage to make your way through the Microsoft guide and are still looking for more, a host of other tweaks and tips can be found in both our online archives and Maximum PCs March 2008 print issue.
Despite Microsoft's claims of having sold 180 million Windows Vista licenses since the OS's launch, there are plenty of XP owners who have to decided to skip this round and wait for Windows 7. Some of them aren't even willing to give Vista a first look, let alone a second one, and these are the one Microsoft is targeting with Mojave.
What exactly is Mojave? As far the XP faithful are concerned, it's the code name for a brand new OS Microsoft has been working on. And to them, it is brand new, but for the rest of us, it's simply Vista with a new name. That's right; Microsoft is trying to dupe Vista's skeptics into not only giving the OS a test run, but get them to admit they like it. And it's working. Microsoft last week rounded up several XP users who had negative impressions of Vista and showed them Mojave. According to Cnet, over 90 percent gave positive feedback on what they thought was a new OS, with Microsoft recording their reactions after being told Mojave is really Vista.
" We have a huge perception opportunity, said Windows unit business chief Bill Veghte. "We are going to try a bunch of stuff."
The idea got started just two weeks ago in an email from Microsoft's David Webster to several higher ups, including Veghte, and it didn't take long for the cameras to start rolling. Footage could start airing publicly as early as next week, but will it be enough to convince staunch XP users into upgrading?
Ubuntu's Hardy Heron (8.04) operating system has been flapping its wings in full-release form since late April, and now the latest Linux distro lands on pre-configured Dell systems. This isn't the first time Dell has offered Linux as an OS option, but up until now, OEM shoppers looking for a Windows-alternative were stuck using Feisty Fawn (7.04), bugs and all.
So why the nearly three month-long delay? Dell claims it spent that time in development to ensure a smooth rollout with the new OS, as well as testing for peripheral support, including ATI graphics, fingerprint readers, HDMI, and other odds and ends. Linux support has increased leaps and bounds from the pre-Vista days, but the emergence into the mainstream segment has been a relatively recent development, so it comes as little surprise that pre-configured systems using the latest distro release wouldn't be as quick to market as a Windows PC.
Dell currently offers Ubuntu on its Inspiron 530N desktop, Inspiron 1525N laptop, and XPS M1330 laptop machines, and is expected to add its XPS M1530N and new Studio 15N laptops to the lineup by early August.