Microsoft malady

Written by Wil Harris

October 23, 2006 // 11:01 a.m.

Tags: #64-bit #bst #exchange #gmt #microsoft #security #time #vista

Microsoft is facing flack from multiple directions this week, as it attempts to patch up the holes in two fairly important bits of software.

Those working for big corporates are being warned this week that Microsoft Exchange will be stealing an hour from them before the month is out. On the last Sunday of October, British Summertime ends and the clocks go back an hour. However, this year, October is slightly abnormal in that there are five Sundays in the month, rather than four. Unfortunately, Microsoft Exchange - the backend that powers corporate email around the world - is hard coded to go back in time on the fourth Sunday. So, for a week, everyone's emails, calendars and PDAs will have the wrong time on.

The kicker is, there's no fix. Tempus Fugit!

The second line of MS woe is the criticism it is now facing from European anti-trust bodies over the lack of support for security software in Vista. The 64-bit version of the new OS doesnt allow any programmes access to the kernel, a system designed to stop viruses getting at the nitty-gritty of the system. However, it also locks out popular anti-virus and anti-spyware programmes success as McAfee and Norton.

Microsoft has previously told these companies that they can sing for their supper. However, last week, authorities in Europe told Microsoft that they had to open up the kernel to third party security providers or face a rash of legal action.

It's not all great news for the security firms, however. On the back of that EU ruling, Microsoft has said it fully intends to comply, and will allow security programmes to jack in - but only when Vista SP1 arrives in 2008.

In response, Gartner - a well respected analyst firm - has warned businesses off using 64-bit Vista for the foreseeable future, suggesting that if they upgrade at all, it should be to 32-bit Vista, which has none of these issues.

It's all rather convoluted, and it's sad, in a way, to see Microsoft's vision for Vista compromised more and more every month as it gets watered down for pragmatic reasons. Let us know what you're thinking about the whole debacle over in the forums.
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