R. Fink | Vista foreshadows help-ticket trouble

The Packet Rat

The Rat

The announcement of Microsoft Windows Vista's release to manufacturing came as something of a shock to the Rat, but not as much as the announcement of the new 'strategic partnership' between Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. involving ... Linux.

'OK, I guess that means I lost the Microsoft-Linux pool at work' the whiskered one said to his wife. 'That was way before the date I picked for them to cut a deal with a Linux company.'

'When did you pick, dear?' Mrs. Rat inquired.

'When pigs fly. Given the global warming trend, I figured that was a better choice than 'when hell freezes over.' '

Under other circumstances, the Rat might view this event as a sign that it's time to leave the country and hide out somewhere outside of fallout patterns. But given that the Homeland Security Department is now planning travel profiles on anyone leaving the country'and the fact that he's a six-foot-tall rat with a security clearance'travel to such places is probably off the menu of pre-apocalyptic options for now.

The choice of Novell as the patsy, er, partner for Microsoft's big hug for Linux servers wasn't exactly rocket science'although Microsoft is rumored to have made a similar offer to Red Hat Inc. in the past.

Need for cash

Novell, which owns the SUSE distribution of Linux, needs money and got a healthy cash injection from the deal. Novell's Miguel de Icaza is head of the Mono project, which is producing an open-source version of Microsoft's .NET platform.

And Microsoft already cut a deal with Sun Microsystems Inc., so Steve Ballmer's choices of new open-source partners was somewhat limited.

'I guess he could have chosen Ubuntu,' the wirebiter suggested. 'But then there's the chance he can't even say Ubuntu.'

Meanwhile, the impending rollout of Vista has guaranteed the Rat at least six months worth of inflated trouble tickets. While it will be months, or maybe years, before the cyberrodent will certify Vista for use within his agency's network, there's little doubt that it will find its way in. It could come in on new systems that his techs forgot to wipe clean while installing Windows XP or another blessed OS, or indirectly, as remote workers log in from brand-new Vista machines at home over the Web.

And that means that applications are bound to break in spectacular ways, since the software architect hasn't even begun to certify all applications to be run on Vista.

But some of those problems can be fixed by using virtualization to run those apps under a Windows XP session on a server, and accessed by Citrix or another thin-client package.

Which, for that matter, the Rat could have users do from Linux systems'and run the Windows session on a Linux server.

'Oh, so NOW I understand the Linux deal,' the Rat cackled.

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@postnewsweektech.com.

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