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Windows: Not Doomed Yet

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the cash-on-hand-is-a-wonderful-buoy dept.

Windows 737

Nerval's Lobster writes "Earlier this week, ZDNet columnist Steven Vaughan-Nichols wrote an article, 'Windows: It's over,' that sparked a lot of passionate online debate. His thesis was simple: Microsoft's dominance of the computing market is coming to an end, accelerated by the incipient failure of Windows 8. Make no mistake about it: there's no way to fudge the numbers in a way that suggests Windows 8 is proving a blockbuster. But maybe it's not doomsday for Windows or Microsoft. After all, the company still has a lot of really smart developers and engineers, a whole ton of cash, and the ability to let its projects play out over years. So here's the question, Slashdotters: Is Windows really doomed? And, if not, what can be done to turn things around? (No originality points awarded for a 'Fire Steve Ballmer' response.)"

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Shrug... (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43496779)

Of course Microsoft isn't doomed, and neither is Windows. In the enterprise world, Exchange-Office will still dominate for many years to come.

The problem is on the consumer end, where Windows is heading quickly to irrelevance.

nope (4, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43496831)

the only reason they became accepted into the enterprise is because that is what consumers were familiar with, But now that model is going to rot from the ground up, at least three other major players have good inroads to eat Microsoft's lunch. Windows 8 marks the beginning of the fall of Microsoft.

Re:nope (4, Informative)

tbannist (230135) | about a year ago | (#43496885)

I suspect it was Vista that marked the beginning of the fall. Quite a few people got burned on new computers that weren't actually "Ready for Vista". People expect new versions of Windows to be bloated pigs on old hardware, but when it runs like a pig on brandnew hardware? That's an unforgivable sin.

Re:nope (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496987)

the only reason they became accepted into the enterprise is because that is what consumers were familiar with, But now that model is going to rot from the ground up, at least three other major players have good inroads to eat Microsoft's lunch. Windows 8 marks the beginning of the fall of Microsoft.

I think it's a some what accurate statement to say that Microsoft got into the enterprise because of home users. But they don't just have a PC as a foot hold in small to medium enterprises like they do in consumer homes. They have Active Directory, Exchange, MS SQL, SharePoint etc. The organizations build their business processes around these technologies and while there are replacements for all of them it could be very difficult to get business to buy in.

Re:nope (2)

HBBisenieks (2884173) | about a year ago | (#43497003)

Until developers stop writing enterprise software for Windows, enterprise settings are going to continue to be dominated by Microsoft. Couple this with the fact that many large businesses are only just migrating to Win7 now, and only because XP's time is almost up--even if the every-other-OS-flops model isn't particularly sustainable, I think it's likely that Windows 9, or whatever they decide to call it, will arrive as the Win7 to 8's Vista and continue the cycle for some time to come. Also, regardless of how it came to be accepted in enterprise, I don't think that consumer familiarity is going to gain ground against the Windows status-quo in enterprise any time soon.

Re:nope (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43497125)

Until developers stop writing enterprise software for Windows, enterprise settings are going to continue to be dominated by Microsoft.

Mind you, this is already starting to happen. While most normal office drones can't quite do it yet, I can do all of my ordinary sysadmin stuff without the use of Windows... and that includes managing Exchange, AD, what-have-you (usually via RDP if there's no direct equivalent).

Re:nope (5, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43497093)

This, right here.

The original rationale for Windows in the enterprise began when companies wanted cheap "personal" computers in the workplace. They wanted those computers with a drop-stupid UI and a cheap OS on them. Windows was perfectly poised to fill that need (Apples cost too much, GEM had issues, and Amiga was too much like an appliance to be flexible.)

Nowadays, if W8/Metro is what Microsoft expects the planet to use, they may be in for a shock. No serious enterprise will touch it (outside of certain "Platinum Partners" who drink Redmond-flavored koolaid by the tanker-truck), since it (currently) hampers the hell out of work. When home users buy a PC, they want a frickin' PC - and not some over-spec'd tablet with a keyboard lashed onto it.

While I won't say that Microsoft is dead meat, I will say that they're making one hell of a potentially fatal mistake here. They don't have room to bork things up like they used to (see also Steam's decision), and Apple is smart enough to stay expensive enough to make a serious profit, but just barely cheap enough to be within reach of anyone who could be considered a decision-maker.

Re:Shrug... (3, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#43496845)

I kinda remember similar stories of MS and all that being posted on /. back in '00. Didn't seem to happen then either, but MS does need to get it's head out of it's ass and actually listen to what consumers want. They seem to be suffering from the "Big3" mentality of the 70's, where in the auto industry they simply stated: "Consumers will drive what we tell them to drive, and love it." Of course that was pretty damn close to the collapse of the entire North American auto industry, and imports took off.

Re:Shrug... (5, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year ago | (#43497013)

This is all the result of some pageview whores looking to stir up some hits in an otherwise pretty dull period. Yeah, people are buying tablets and smartphones. No doubt about it. Not buying Windows 8 because they're not strongly compelled.

So, they do the death watch, change the CEO trick, pile on the the horrible histories, bring up the traditional rivalries, and rake the muck.

That's you, ZDNet. You listening? Gonna put on the fishnet stockings and red lipstick again? You can do the same thing on Slashdot just by dissing all or any of the Sacred Cows here. The Google Ad revenues must have been stupendous.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Re:Shrug... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#43497277)

Its not a 'death watch', its a 'how far can MS deflate' watch. A huge part of Microsofts success is owed to a strength they no longer possess.

Re:Shrug... (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43497101)

As long as Microsoft has the strongest commitment to backwards compatibility, they'll retain their market position.

Most people don't care about the operating system, they just use it to launch their apps. Businesses don't want to rewrite all their custom software just because they are upgrading to a new OS. Microsoft revenue is still going up.

Shrug...stories of my demise ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496851)

Says the guy probably posting from a Windows PC.

Re:Shrug... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496867)

And years from now (maybe 10 or so) when all the kids using non-Windows/Microsoft devices enter the work force and demand that Microsoft go away to make room for their preferred work devices...then Microsoft will fade into the realm of the IBM's and such.

I work in a school district and I see it happening here already. They will be raised on and taught non-Microsoft which will influence their choices later on as well.

Re:Shrug... (4, Insightful)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about a year ago | (#43496975)

I wouldn't mind fading in to a business which made $16 billion profit last year and still employs over half-a-million people.

Re:Shrug... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496961)

With BYOD even MS Office use will start shrinking significantly

Re:Shrug... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497087)

There will be no BYOD in my shop! You'll use what we give you and like it or find employment else where.

Actually I was told by my boss (who is not in IT) that I can't just hook up what ever I want to the network. Paranoia over security and sensitive data will always trump BYOD.

Not any more than HP (4, Insightful)

MickLinux (579158) | about a year ago | (#43497105)

Gotta remember when Carly came to HP. It didn't doom HP. What it did do, was turn HP into a typical fortune-500 company: that is, the compost heap of companies failed.

HP is still around, and will still continue to take over failed companies, and compost them, losing value the whole way. Moreover, they will still be the "standard" for government agencies and colleges, regardless of value.

And yes, they will continue to have bright people, and waste their prime years in irrelevance.

Microsoft will be the same. Shoot, I expect Google to become that, too. After a certain size, good management is highly improbable; bad management is highly probable.

But that doesn't mean they won't have occasional blockbusters again, and won't be a "force to be reckoned with". They are, and will be. They'll just be of marginal value to anyone who deals with them.

Re:Shrug... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497237)

In the enterprise world, Exchange-Office will still dominate for many years to come.

Correction: The Exchange-Office protocols and formats will still dominate for many years to come.

The way things are headed, we'll have plausible FOSS replacements for Exchange and Office for the enterprise within the next 5 years.

And for less demanding environments, we already have plausible FOSS replacements for them today.

Fire Steve Ballmer (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496799)

Fire Steve Ballmer

Re:Fire Steve Ballmer (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#43497083)

Fire Steve Ballmer

Monkey God says no. Steve will rule until he passes, then a taxidermist will pose him in a display like in Planet of the Apes. A feral pose would be funny. Grrrr!

There is only one possible course of action. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496813)

Fire Steve Ballmer.

Re:There is only one possible course of action. (0, Offtopic)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43496821)

In Soviet Russia, Steve Ballmer fires you!

Re:There is only one possible course of action. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497095)

I'm pretty sure that's what happens in capitalist America...

Lack of necessity (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496843)

The only thing that could doom Microsoft (not Windows) is the lack of necessity for a new operating system. Microsoft makes money selling Windows, so they NEED to release new versions every few years. The need for a new operating system might not be a pressing issue for the end user and this will slow down the demand for new versions of Windows, not Windows itself.

Re:Lack of necessity (3, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43497265)

The only thing that could doom Microsoft (not Windows) is the lack of necessity for a new operating system.

Which is, well, what's going on now. Most folks would use XP until the universe's heat death if they could, and there's little reason for them not to. If they have Windows 7, that sentence ends with the phrase "no reason at all."

Unless Microsoft starts getting stupid with making artificial barriers for old OS versions, it's lose-lose, and they don't have that kind of ability anymore - at least not in any meaningful, purchase-influencing way.

Re:Lack of necessity (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#43497297)

Why? Microsoft runs the show, no one else has any rights whatsoever to Windows. No one else can release an operating system with Windows in the name, and no one can use any Windows code to make any sort of a spiritual competitor. If Microsoft wants to sit on one Windows version for a decade like they did with XP and charge $300 a pop for new licenses just as they did when it was brand new, then what's stopping them? They are the sole provider of Windows and they still have a monopoly for the most part if you exclude ARM systems (which are generally totally different forms of computing systems to begin with). Sure, you'll have people like me jumping ship--but I only did that once I realized what a clusterfuck Vista was going to be. Still, the masses stuck around--and now it's Round 2 with Windows 8 being the dud.

Fire Steve Ballmer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496847)

I repeat: Fire Steve Ballmer.

(Oh, and then fix the corporate culture in order to more effectively mobilize legions of smart engineers and piles of cash.)

Fire Steve Ballmer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496859)

I'll collect my null originality points now please.

It's still breathing ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496861)

Oh crap, have to run out and get my Win8 PC (again) from the trash can

How relevant is the PC, still? (4, Interesting)

morcego (260031) | about a year ago | (#43496875)

The regular desktop PC, and even notebooks, are becoming more and more irrelevant. Yes, there is still a long way to go, but we are seeing more and more of a convergence between platforms, what with cell phones, tablets and whatnot becoming more prevalent and main business tools.
Heck, I'm an IT geek, and I rarely carry my notebook around anyway. I do most of my work from my cell phone (hardware qwerty keyboard).
I keep seeing more and more people ditching their notebooks for tablets.

And I sincerely don't think Windows can survive outside the PC market.

Re:How relevant is the PC, still? (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43496993)

I still do 100% of my in-office work on a PC. I do pretty much 100% of my casual and recreational computing on my tablet and my smartphone. The work I do from home can be divided between "emergency" work (ie. bind daemon crashed, VM Exchange server went down), and I'll use my tablet about 50% of the time if it's just a matter of "virsh start exchange", and if it's more involved I'll pull out my notebook, and the the other 50% being working from home, where I pretty much use my notebook all the time.

So while an outright majority of my computing is in fact still on PC, that PC usage is almost completely work-related. If I'm surfing the web, writing an email to a friend or watching video, I simply don't use my PC anymore. My usage has changed substantially.

If you look at someone like my wife, whose computing is almost entirely recreational, she uses her tablet about 90% of the time (well, okay, she uses the Wii to watch Netflix, does that count?). She does do some graphic design for her hobbies, and she will pull out the notebook for that, but that's a small fraction. For the overwhelming majority of her computing needs, Microsoft and Windows are completely unimportant.

Re:How relevant is the PC, still? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#43497309)

It's true, my i7 I built has basically just sat (turned off) upstairs for nearly its entire lifetime so far. (An no, it's an xubuntu install, not windows.)

However, for me, the issue isn't the big iron. The issue is the interface devices.

I don't want to come home, from a long day of sitting in a desk, to spend even MOAR! Time sitting in a desk.

I want to sit on my couch. I want to turn on some soothing music, kick back and have some fun and relax. Console gaming is good for that, but I don't always want to play a video game. I actually DO do other things with computing devices, besides work and play games.

The stickler is the mouse. I need something like a mouse, that doesn't require me to wave my arms around, or point something incessantly at the TV/Big monitor. Reclining on the couch precludes using a normal mouse.

The other is the keyboard. I kinda like the tiny form factor of slideout keypads on phone devices, but hate the missing buttons. (Seriously, if I want to sit back on the couch and make a "just for fun" program, I actually kinda DO need all the buttons, M'kay?)

So, I have 2 simple ideas.

The first, is basically just a 3 axis accellerometer, and 2 EEG-like sensors, that gets worn on the right hand like a fingerless glove. (Leftie version for lefties). It uses the 2 electrical impulse sensors to capture a finger "tap" movement for the index and middle fingers, to determine mouse button press. The 3axis accellerometer sits on top of the hand, (low formfactor please.) And is used for tracking.

Couple this with an NFC in the small phone sized keyboard so that the "mouse" knows when it should shut up about gestures and finger movements (eg, you are holding the keyboard, s the NFC between the two devices let's them know to turn off the mouse temporarily.) So that you can just stab away with those thumbs.

Give me something like that, and then I can lounge on my couch without a big bulky keyboard, strained finger movements, and without fighting poorly placed buttons on a touchpad. Do that, and the PC will be very relavent in the livingroom.

No but Chechen bagger NRA bible thumper is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496889)


Hey Douchebags!

Sudden Jihad Syndrome. Google it fuckwads.

Re:No but Chechen bagger NRA bible thumper is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497019)

Barack Obama is a stuttering clusterf*ck of a malignant traitor.

Simply adjust Metro vs Desktop to remove pain (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496891)

No big move required, but they need to do a few things
- Allow the return of the Start Button for those who prefer it.
- Allow start to desktop
- In multi monitor setup, allow one sreen to be locked to Start Screen and/or metro applications
- Make it easy for developper to target Metro and Desktop within the same .exe
- Make apps that with great value in metro, but they need to still show a status icon when in desktop
    - ex: if in desktop mode, the skype app need to show the alert if there is an unread message, particulary when we get back from a game

All about corporate users now (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496893)

From what I see in friends and family, the consumer section of Windows is really doomed. I know the next time I buy a computing device for say my parents, it won't be a Windows PC. Maybe a tablet, maybe a Chromebook, but the average consumer...moms, dads, students, kids, etc. has probably had enough of Windows. Microsoft has effectively ceded the consumer market. They had a chance with Surface, but blew it on bad (expensive) pricing. Nokia and windows for the phone is their last, slim chance to reignite the consumer, but prospects are dim.

On the corporate side...the horizon for Windows is much longer. All it takes are one or two key windows apps and the entire company is locked into the platform. Even if those apps are only used by only some of the employees, the IT staff are loathe to run a mixed desktop environment. So it would take a big shift, a real progressive initiative to move from Windows, at least at my Fortune 50 company. And Fortune 50 companies are not generally known to do that sort of thing...

Re:All about corporate users now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497261)

So the real question is, who cares about the consumer? The number of companies making consumer products is shrinking almost as fast as the middle class that can afford to buy them.

Re:All about corporate users now (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | about a year ago | (#43497293)

They haven't ceded the market, they were blown out of it by superior competition. No one using a computer casually for email or surfing ever needed Windows. It was just the only practical option, "practical" being a debatable term. It was and always has been tortuously inefficient and ill-suited for consumer use, basically junk but the only junk most people had.

      As soon as you could get something like a properly-designed system with decent user interface and interaction like a Mac, for a price that was affordable, the game was up. It took a few years for people to realize it but it was essentially inevitable.

      BTW, CmdrTaco aside, this all started with the *iPod*. People got them, they worked remarkably well, and people started realizing how junky Windows was.


Find out what we need to get work done! (2)

djdanlib (732853) | about a year ago | (#43496897)

It would be nice if they would just ask us professionals what we need, and then proceed to deliver that, instead of doing all this trend-surfing.

Who cares if people say Mac did feature X/Y first, or if it looks like a phone, or has / doesn't have some sort of fancy transparent chrome? Make it modern-looking but don't let that be the major selling point. I have to get work done on it.

All I care about is that I can sit down and work efficiently, and that my computer doesn't interrupt me with idiocy. I don't care if I have to learn how to use something new - I'll do that - but efficiency means that I want it to stay out of my way, present the current state of operations clearly to me (something both Windows 8 and MacOS/X fail at), and not demand that I use it like a phone! I already have a phone, I'll use that if I want to use a device like that, but I want to use a desktop computer more productively.

I know, I know... I'm using a Web browser and posting on Slashdot. Meanwhile I have a VS2012 situation happening on another screen and it is not pleasant.

Re:Find out what we need to get work done! (3, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | about a year ago | (#43497091)

They asked professionals what they wanted. The answer was "Windows 7, fuck another upgrade".

Windows 8 is aimed at consumers, not professionals. It's not even aimed at making consumers happy, it's aimed at training consumers in Microsoft's touch UI, so the consumers will consider getting a Surface Pro / RT, or a Windows phone.

Microsoft realised, after about 10 years of Apple kind its ass, that touch devices are here to stay. So they are trying to leverage their PC dominance to drive the sales of post-PC devices.

Will this upset professionals? Most of them won't upgrade anyway. Windows 7 is good enough for them.

Re:Find out what we need to get work done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497209)

Dude, if clicking on the lower left hand corner of the screen to get to your desktop prevents you from getting work done, may I suggest that the problem may not be Windows 8...?

Windows has no competition on the desktop (0, Flamebait)

cinarus (902731) | about a year ago | (#43496899)

So it will never die. GNU/Linux just doesn't cut it and you can't run OSX if you don't buy Apple hardware. It's been like 20 years since the first Linux release and still we're having problems with sound cards, wireless networking and bluetooth adapters crashing down the whole system. Until somebody steps up and writes a stable-API OS alternative for the common PC, Windows will never die. It might lose some sales due to the nature of computers being sold (i.e. more people use tablets because they didn't need a desktop in the first place), but as long as desktop/laptop computers are being produced, I don't see how it can die.

Re:Windows has no competition on the desktop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497215)

See? Trolls are still alive and well. There is nothing in parents post that wasn't a line. Linux has ruled the supercomputing space for a generation. Its owning the tablet/phone space, and would have slaughtered the desktop were it not for the predatory monoploy (the Sherman act failed to break in 2000, even though it worked successfully broke AT&T in 1982, and Standard Oil in 1892). I have never had a problem with sound on Linux (its always worked fine) since I started using it in 1994. Likewise, wireless networking, bluetooth and other devices have worked fine for years. Oh, and this is Linux, nothing brings the whole system down, except the power switch. Windows blows over in the wind. Linux (running on Army tanks, Navy Ships, and Air Force Jets), doesn't die even when shelled, bombed or sunk. As for the story, we were all happily waiting for windows to die. For some of us, it died decades ago.

Re:Windows has no competition on the desktop (0)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43497271)

True, but it's the desktop that is at risk. Last year Apple alone sold more iPads than the entire PC industry sold desktops. That's why Windows 8 is going tablet, because desktops is going away right now.

Windows 8... might not be important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496913)

If we look at the past versions of Windows, particularly the recent versions, Windows 8 may well not be that important in the grand scheme of things.

At the moment, Windows 7 is 'the new XP'. Few companies went/are going for Vista, so Windows 7 is likely to be the corporate choice for quite some time.

Windows 8 could be the new Vista from the corporate point of view, so MS could quite happily take a risk with Windows 8, in the full knowledge that from the corporate viewpoint, Windows 9 (or whatever the next version becomes) may well be the version of choice.

Windows 8 therefore perhaps doesn't matter as much as many people think. It is likely to be the next version of Windows that has to be better received.

Well we know one thing at least (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43496935)

After all, the company still has a lot of really smart developers and engineers, a whole ton of cash, and the ability to let its projects play out over years.

It's all about the developers, developers, developers...

It depends on Xbox. (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | about a year ago | (#43496937)

Microsoft isn't making Windows 8 the blockbuster OS that we want... they are making the ecosystem a blockbuster, with Xbox, their cloud offerings and integration, TV, entertainment, and desktop computing.

Honestly I don't know if it's going to be a hit, but MS has the time and patience to see this play out, and as much as I like to think them incompetent, they have some really, really smart folks working there. Ballmer might be a bit of a tard, but realistically I think that we will see Windows Blue and the new Xbox really tie together the ecosystem. I already like my Windows Phone (I know I am in a small minority of people who have it), and if it works well across the ecosystem as Apple has had success in, then I think there's success waiting for them in the future.

Re:It depends on Xbox. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43497207)

The XBox is a niche product. For this scheme to work, they need people on PCs and portables to buy into it. Thus far, this is where it's failing. Maybe it will turn around, but if an app ecosystem is what Redmond is trying to create, then they're back to competing against the very mature (and very populated) iOS and Android app ecosystems.

If Microsoft folds and allows users to upgrade to Windows 8.1 with the familiar Start menu launcher, then they will undermine this goal, and yet, it's looking increasingly like they have no choice. If they don't Windows 7-ize Windows 8, they risk exactly the same situation that screwed Vista; everybody just parking at the early release. If they do Windows 7-ize Windows 8, then risk undermining the very ecosystem project they're trying to go after.

No... (1)

AndrewX (680681) | about a year ago | (#43496973)

...the obvious reason is the enterprise market. Another reason is everyone that uses Windows based tools for their hobbies and projects of all kinds. Touch screen laptops will become a lot more popular eventually, I think... However Windows is far from dead. People just already have Windows PCs that work for them.

I have a few other reasons that their market dominance isn't threatened by their not so stellar wWindows release... They are Vista, ME, '95, etc...

Same old song, second verse same as the first (5, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | about a year ago | (#43497025)

Yeah, Windows is dying. Just like this is the year that Linux takes over on the desktop. Or is this the year that Apple takes over? Or CP/M makes it comeback? OS/2? I forget, I've heard them all so often.

Separate operating systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497041)

For starters they could stop treating the PC like a glorified tablet.

The PC isn't dying (5, Insightful)

RobinH (124750) | about a year ago | (#43497043)

Anyone who thinks the PC is in any sense dying hasn't worked in an office that does business with other companies. There is a *huge* amount of work that consists of physically typing stuff into databases (purchase orders anyone?) and retrieving stuff from databases, and all of this work is done with a keyboard and mouse. Spreadsheets. Forms. Stuff still gets printed out and filed! Nobody wants a tablet to do this. I think there might be room for tablets out in the warehouse, but even those are likely to be Windows based. Mac? Sorry, businesses look at the price difference and can't stomach paying nearly twice as much for the hardware. I'm certain that home PC sales are diving, and that's probably a good thing, but in our office we're expanding the number of PCs because we want access to information everywhere, and more data entry everywhere, and they're cheap! PCs are the work-horse of enterprise data. So what if we're buying them with Windows 7 Pro on them instead of Windows 8? MS still makes money.

Reminds me of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497045)

Vista. OMG MS is dead, they'll never recover. Morans.

Not doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497053)

Of course Microsoft isn't doomed. Their software is installed on virtually every PC sold, they have their hands in multiple markets, including mobile, console gaming, servers and desktop computers. They are a hugely profitable company. Why in the world would the board fire Ballmer? Microsoft is making giant piles of money, that is what Ballmer's job is, making the company profitable. He's obviously doing a pretty good job because Microsoft still has the lion's share of the PC market, a respectable share of the server market, a good position in the console market and nearly every big business buys their Office software. They aren't doomed, they are doing very well and people who think otherwise obviously aren't looking at Microsoft's bottom line.

Steven Sinofsky Was Probably Fired for This (1)

RudyHartmann (1032120) | about a year ago | (#43497057)

Steven Sinofsky was the head of the Windows division of Microsoft. He was probably fired. But he says he left for his own reasons. Yeah, sure. That should tell us that even Microsoft realizes they pooched this deal. Everybody I know that got a computer with 8 on it has begged me to put 7 on it for them. But I actually put OpenSuse 12.3 on a bunch of machines lately. UEFI is a pain in the a$$ too.

AD? (1)

Ubi_NL (313657) | about a year ago | (#43497063)

Please name an alternative for AD that is suitable for small businesses and that can be administered by junior admins ( i.e. the ones that small businesses can afford). Afpd is a joke, and linux ldap is just too complex for a small office. Im not trolling, I'd really like to know what i can switch to. ( samba is not an answer. I do not mind paying for the software, i just do not like the smb protocol and the windows acl system)

Re:AD? (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | about a year ago | (#43497119)

Get small business server. AD is not going to change, and if a junior admin can't figure out how to do basic tasks in AD then he's an idiot and should be fired.

AD is not hard for a small office, though it can be complex (as can LDAP) for larger enterprises.

Re:AD? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497213)

How small?

Samba4 is a real option

Standard kerberos can also get you server based auth,
if that's all you really need.

Not doomed yet, but . . . (1)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about a year ago | (#43497097)

As the platform it is right now, I can imagine it losing more and more ground as better alternatives come to market. Window's main problems are that it's just not a secure platform, it doesn't update or patch without reboot or disruption (so people avoid patching it altogether) and frankly it just likes to stop working whenever it feels like it. After about 15 years, it's the same list of problems. It needs to be scrapped and redisigned. Windows 8's interface is a wreck and if MS is going to create a walled garden approach, they really need to ask the end users and developers if they like the idea first. They're steering the ship on stock price, not product quality or vision.

News for Windows - Stuff that Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497117)

Windows 8.1 May Restore Boot-To-Desktop, Start Button
ZDNet Proclaims "Windows: It's Over"
Why PC Sales Are Declining
Windows 8 Killing PC Sales
Set Your Watches For the End of Windows XP
Apple Devices To Outsell Windows For First Time Ever In 2013
Major UK Retailers Mislabel Windows RT As Windows 8
Falling Windows RT Tablet Prices Signify Slow Adoption
Windows Blue 9364 Screenshots Show Feature Enhancements
Ubuntu Tablets: Less Jarring Than Windows 8?
Report: Windows Blue Reaches Its First Milestone Build

with the number of XP machines out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497143)

no... for better or worse, windows is the devil you know.
corporations that are still using xp, are stuck usually by thier own red tape.
i've been using 8 for a while now. and i see the metro interface as a great one to give the users access to only the applications they need.
90% of our users have only 2 applications open, and one of them is email.
(i even run my applications full screen, ok i have 3 screens...)
and yes M$ missed the point of the start menu, especially for those how really USE the computer. and push it as far as it can go
you use what ever program(s) you need to either produce artwork or programs the way you want it to. (make it work)

the "metro" interface, yes when i want to sit back and watch a movie on my pc, (and allway full screen) makes sence.

they also missed the idea of NOT having mystery meat navigation

Innovation does not come from a company (2)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about a year ago | (#43497149)

Innovation does not come from a company it comes from competition!

The issue here is that Microsoft has killed the competition, No longer does innovation flow through competition.

Back before windows 95 we had Windows 3.1 and Dos. Dos was produced by Microsoft (MSDOS), IBM (IBM DOS), and Digital Research (DrDOS).

As one would come up with an innovative feature and gain some market share, the others would follow and add a new feature of their own. Each to try to regain the lost share and expand their market. When Microsoft combined Windows and DOS to create Windows 95 they killed the other dos manufactures. Thus creating there market dominance. From that point on they continued to flounder with few major innovations and more and more redesigned of the GUI or adding features that no one wanted or used.

The money they have along with the "really smart developers and engineers" do not matter, they have no real competition. Linux is the closest thing they have had to competition in years and it has never really grabbed enough market share on the desk top to spur the innovation and product life cycles that Microsoft would need to keep going. Dont get me wrong, Linux is stellar and I run it everywhere I can but without the pressure there is no market force to force the innovation.

On the server side, you can see Linux forcing innovation with Microsoft's announcement that admins should learn command line as Windows server GUI will be going away, as well as many of the server advancements that Linux has and Microsoft is implementing.

Do I think Microsoft desktops will survive, no. I see a slow erosion to obscurity. What replaces them may be Linux, Mac, or something completely new designed to use the new technologies that are emerging. I do however see Microsoft continuing for many years, struggling with the desktop and pushing more and more to servers and the cloud.

Windows == COBOL (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year ago | (#43497157)

Windows is dead in the same way COBOL is dead. Windows 7 and earlier have too large an installed base. Even if Windows 8 flops and Microsoft can't recover from it, the Windows and Office and IIS and SQL Server installed base will insure they've got a revenue stream for years to come. And Windows 8 isn't going to be an unrecoverable blunder, Vista proved that. At worst MS will tweak and fine-tune Win8 and Metro and turn it into a phone/tablet OS, with Win7 continuing as the desktop OS and Windows Server 2008 and 2012 as the server OS.

This of course is where MS's emphasis on integrating everything hurts them. Taking Windows 8 and slapping the same UI as Windows 7 on it would solve a lot of their problems. But because of the tight integration, they can't just do a forklift upgrade of the Win8 UI.

Win8 trumps Mac OS, linux or Chrome (1)

whirlin (1700146) | about a year ago | (#43497163)

Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7 and it runs on tablets. It's a win for everyone except a few disgruntled tech journalists. By the Christmas shopping season, everybody who is buying, will be buying touch laptops, leaving old style laptops looking quaint. Even iMac like computers in the near future will be touch by default and Microsoft will be on the forefront. Fewer and fewer people are buying computers and laptops, but Microsoft has the best OS out there (compared to Mac OS, linux or Chrome).

Re:Win8 trumps Mac OS, linux or Chrome (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43497303)

If it's so fucking wonderful, why can't they sell Surface and Surface RT devices? They're getting their asses kicked by iOS and Android devices. Hell, I'd say they're not even a meaningful competitor in the market place.

Clearly iPads and Android tablets (especially critters like the Nexus 7) do everything users want, because they're buying them in fucking droves.

Hell, I bet Kobo is selling more fucking Arcs than Microsoft is tablets.

No longer windows everywhere (1)

GreatDrok (684119) | about a year ago | (#43497169)

When you had to have windows and all the software and tools were on windows them they were unassailable. With multiple strong platforms, that monoculture is dying away and that's the real danger for Windows. Sites will continue to use it, but they won't have to so MS will have to compete on merit against alternatives that really can do the job. Sure, the office setting is probably still their strongest area but outside of that, what USP do they have? Oddly enough, Netscape presaged this day 20 years back and MS were scared enough to put all their customers at risk by bolting their own browser into Wndows and making it the defacto standard and cutting everyone else out to protect their monopoly. Windows 8 is just the same play but this time they don't have the dominance in the markets they're trying to shove their product into and everyone wants to have access to their data from all devices so that means the tools chosen can't just be windows tools. Since much of what MS does is so deeply tied to having windows all the way, sites look elsewhere. They need to play nice and be more open, and there are some signs of this but it may take them a long time to become a good citizen and the days of windows everywhere are definitely over.

Microsoft is much like Iambic pentameter (1)

Miketsmith (836404) | about a year ago | (#43497175)

I've been a windows user since the 3.1 days. What I have found is every other version of windows sucks pretty bad. So they make it work 50% of the time. The problem that they are having is people like familiar operations. Take the car for instance, you don't see people trying to innovate the basic controls of a car (for the most part) Most of the cars on the market operate in a similar fashion. You have a wheel that steers you, pedals that make you go faster or slower and if you are a car power user a stick or paddles to manually select a gear. I think that Microsoft saw that tablet sales were on the rise, and so they thought everyone wanted a tablet. Well, I have a tablet. I also have a computer. I don't want my computer to be a tablet, that's what the tablet is for. Contrasting a little bit, it would be like a car manufacturer seeing that motorcycles were on the rise, so they decided to swap the steering wheel of the car for something more akin to a handlebars. It's just not going to work. What I believe they need to realize is that their "innovations" with the operating system need to NOT do the following things: - Prevent people from adapting (I still get tripped up when I need to find things that are in control panel in windows 7) - Prevent people from being more productive in work cases (Look at the companies that still use windows XP) - Prevent (insert something here) Instead they need to focus innovation in areas that actually make it a better operating system such as - Memory management - Time it takes to load a program/whatever - Command line tools for people that actually know what they are doing. Come on Microsoft. Stop sucking, and start doing something useful.

Many of their long term strategies have been so-so (1)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about a year ago | (#43497181)

Other than Windows itself, they're still second or third place in pretty much every domain they've gotten involved in that I can think of off the top of my head. Apple's been eating their lunch in the home user and mobile space. They're still behind Google in search and mobile as well, and won't hold a candle to them in cloud services, at least for a while. The console market doesn't seem to be that hot, and they're second or third there too.

I mean, they've got Exchange/Office, as mentioned by a previous poster, but generally speaking it seems to me that many of their attempts in other segments will likely continue result in burning cash to continue to be behind the lead dog. How long can that last?

Messing up Windows is like killing one of their golden geese.

A future for Microsoft... (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#43497183)

But maybe it's not doomsday for Windows or Microsoft.

Of course it isn't! They always retain the option of releasing a Linux distro. :)

doomsday is exaggeration (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | about a year ago | (#43497187)

MS will still have its big niche in the corporate world, mainly because no one really touches this area yet. The thing is that before smartphones and tablets, this niche was the only game in town for all computing needs. Remember Apple before OSX? Now if Apple decided to try its hand with cost-effective, enterprise-wide software, ...hmmmm....

They were doomed when they nerfed HOST files...apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497189)

A corrupt slashdot luser has pentrated the moderation system to downmod all my posts while impersonating me.

Nearly 230++ times that I know of @ this point for all of March/April 2013 so far, & others here have told you to stop - take the hint, lunatic (leave slashdot)...

Sorry folks - but whoever the nutjob is that's attempting to impersonate me, & upset the rest of you as well, has SERIOUS mental issues, no questions asked! I must've gotten the better of him + seriously "gotten his goat" in doing so in a technical debate & his "geek angst" @ losing to me has him doing the:


A.) $10,000 challenges, ala (where the imposter actually TRACKED + LISTED the # of times he's done this no less, & where I get the 230 or so times I noted above) -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3585795&cid=43285307 [slashdot.org]


B.) Reposting OLD + possibly altered models - (this I haven't checked on as to altering the veracity of the info. being changed) of posts of mine from the past here


(Albeit massively repeatedly thru all threads on /. this March/April 2013 nearly in its entirety thusfar).

* Personally, I'm surprised the moderation staff here hasn't just "blocked out" his network range yet honestly!

(They know it's NOT the same as my own as well, especially after THIS post of mine, which they CAN see the IP range I am coming out of to compare with the ac spamming troll doing the above...).


P.S.=> Again/Stressing it: NO guys - it is NOT me doing it, as I wouldn't waste that much time on such trivial b.s. like a kid might...

Plus, I only post where hosts file usage is on topic or appropriate for a solution & certainly NOT IN EVERY POST ON SLASHDOT (like the nutcase trying to "impersonate me" is doing for nearly all of March/April now, & 230++ times that I know of @ least)... apk

P.S.=> here is CORRECT host file information just to piss off the insane lunatic troll:


21++ ADVANTAGES OF CUSTOM HOSTS FILES (how/what/when/where/why):

Over AdBlock & DNS Servers ALONE 4 Security, Speed, Reliability, & Anonymity (to an extent vs. DNSBL's + DNS request logs).

1.) HOSTS files are useable for all these purposes because they are present on all Operating Systems that have a BSD based IP stack (even ANDROID) and do adblocking for ANY webbrowser, email program, etc. (any webbound program). A truly "multi-platform" UNIVERSAL solution for added speed, security, reliability, & even anonymity to an extent (vs. DNS request logs + DNSBL's you feel are unjust hosts get you past/around).

2.) Adblock blocks ads? Well, not anymore & certainly not as well by default, apparently, lol - see below:

Adblock Plus To Offer 'Acceptable Ads' Option

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/12/12/2213233/adblock-plus-to-offer-acceptable-ads-option [slashdot.org] )

AND, in only browsers & their subprogram families (ala email like Thunderbird for FireFox/Mozilla products (use same gecko & xulrunner engines)), but not all, or, all independent email clients, like Outlook, Outlook Express, OR Window "LIVE" mail (for example(s)) - there's many more like EUDORA & others I've used over time that AdBlock just DOES NOT COVER... period.

Disclaimer: Opera now also has an AdBlock addon (now that Opera has addons above widgets), but I am not certain the same people make it as they do for FF or Chrome etc..

3.) Adblock doesn't protect email programs external to FF (non-mozilla/gecko engine based) family based wares, So AdBlock doesn't protect email programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows "LIVE" mail & others like them (EUDORA etc./et al), Hosts files do. THIS IS GOOD VS. SPAM MAIL or MAILS THAT BEAR MALICIOUS SCRIPT, or, THAT POINT TO MALICIOUS SCRIPT VIA URLS etc.

4.) Adblock won't get you to your favorite sites if a DNS server goes down or is DNS-poisoned, hosts will (this leads to points 5-7 next below).

5.) Adblock doesn't allow you to hardcode in your favorite websites into it so you don't make DNS server calls and so you can avoid tracking by DNS request logs, OR make you reach them faster since you resolve host-domain names LOCALLY w/ hosts out of cached memory, hosts do ALL of those things (DNS servers are also being abused by the Chinese lately and by the Kaminsky flaw -> http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/082908-kaminsky-flaw-prompts-dns-server.html [networkworld.com] for years now). Hosts protect against those problems via hardcodes of your fav sites (you should verify against the TLD that does nothing but cache IPAddress-to-domainname/hostname resolutions (in-addr.arpa) via NSLOOKUP, PINGS (ping -a in Windows), &/or WHOIS though, regularly, so you have the correct IP & it's current)).

* NOW - Some folks MAY think that putting an IP address alone into your browser's address bar will be enough, so why bother with HOSTS, right? WRONG - Putting IP address in your browser won't always work IS WHY. Some IP adresses host several domains & need the site name to give you the right page you're after is why. So for some sites only the HOSTS file option will work!

6.) Hosts files don't eat up CPU cycles (or ELECTRICITY) like AdBlock does while it parses a webpages' content, nor as much as a DNS server does while it runs. HOSTS file are merely a FILTER for the kernel mode/PnP TCP/IP subsystem, which runs FAR FASTER & MORE EFFICIENTLY than any ring 3/rpl3/usermode app can since hosts files run in MORE EFFICIENT & FASTER Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode operations acting merely as a filter for the IP stack (via the "Plug-N-Play" designed IP stack in Windows) vs. SLOWER & LESS EFFICIENT Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode operations (which webbrowsers run in + their addons like AdBlock slow down even MORESO due to their parsing operations).

7.) HOSTS files will allow you to get to sites you like, via hardcoding your favs into a HOSTS file, FAR faster than remote DNS servers can by FAR (by saving the roundtrip inquiry time to a DNS server, typically 30-100's of ms, vs. 7-10ms HardDisk speed of access/seek + SSD seek in ns, & back to you - hosts resolutions of IP address for host-domain names is FAR faster...). Hosts are only a filter for an already fast & efficient IP stack, no more layered b.s. (remote OR local). Hosts eat less CPU, RAM, I/O in other forms, + electricity than a locally running DNS server easily, and less than a local DNS program on a single PC. Fact. Hosts are easier to setup & maintain too.

8.) AdBlock doesn't let you block out known bad sites or servers that are known to be maliciously scripted, hosts can and many reputable lists for this exist:


http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org]
  http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org]
  http://hostsfile.org/hosts.html [hostsfile.org]
  http://hostsfile.mine.nu/downloads/ [hostsfile.mine.nu]
  http://hosts-file.net/?s=Download [hosts-file.net]
  https://zeustracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php?filter=online [abuse.ch]
  https://spyeyetracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php [abuse.ch]
  http://ddanchev.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
  http://www.malware.com.br/lists.shtml [malware.com.br]
  http://www.stopbadware.org/ [stopbadware.org]
Spybot "Search & Destroy" IMMUNIZE feature (fortifies HOSTS files with KNOWN bad servers blocked)

And yes: Even SLASHDOT &/or The Register help!

(Via articles on security (when the source articles they use are "detailed" that is, & list the servers/sites involved in attempting to bushwhack others online that is... not ALL do!)).

2 examples thereof in the past I have used, & noted it there, are/were:

http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1898692&cid=34473398 [slashdot.org]
  http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1896216&cid=34458500 [slashdot.org]

9.) AdBlock & DNS servers are programs, and subject to bugs programs can get. Hosts files are merely a filter and not a program, thus not subject to bugs of the nature just discussed.

10.) HOSTS files protect you vs. DNS-poisoning &/or the Kaminsky flaw in DNS servers, and allow you to get to sites reliably vs. things like the Chinese are doing to DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

11.) HOSTS files are EASILY user controlled, obtained (for reliable ones -> http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] ) & edited too, via texteditors like Windows notepad.exe or Linux nano (etc.)

12.) With Adblock you had better be able to code javascript to play with its code (to customize it better than the GUI front does @ least). With hosts you don't even need source to control it (edit, update, delete, insert of new entries via a text editor).

13.) Hosts files are easily secured via using MAC/ACL (even moreso "automagically" for Vista, 7/Server 2008 + beyond by UAC by default) &/or Read-Only attributes applied.

14.) Custom HOSTS files also speed you up, unlike anonymous proxy servers systems variations (like TOR, or other "highly anonymous" proxy server list servers typically do, in the severe speed hit they often have a cost in) either via "hardcoding" your fav. sites into your hosts file (avoids DNS servers, totally) OR blocking out adbanners - see this below for evidence of that:


US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/16/0416238/US-Military-Blocks-Websites-To-Free-Up-Bandwidth [slashdot.org]

(Yes, even the US Military used this type of technique... because IT WORKS! Most of what they blocked? Ad banners ala doubleclick etc.)


Adbanners slow you down & consume your bandwidth YOU pay for:

ADBANNERS SLOW DOWN THE WEB: -> http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/11/30/166218 [slashdot.org]


And people do NOT LIKE ads on the web:

PEOPLE DISLIKE ADBANNERS: http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]


As well as this:

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It:

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]


Even WORSE still, is this:

Advertising Network Caught History Stealing:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/156225/Advertising-Network-Caught-History-Stealing [slashdot.org]


15.) HOSTS files usage lets you avoid being charged on some ISP/BSP's (OR phone providers) "pay as you use" policy http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] , because you are using less bandwidth (& go faster doing so no less) by NOT hauling in adbanner content and processing it (which can lead to infestation by malware/malicious script, in & of itself -> http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com] ).

16.) If/when ISP/BSP's decide to go to -> FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] your internet bill will go DOWN if you use a HOSTS file for blocking adbanners as well as maliciously scripted hacker/cracker malware maker sites too (after all - it's your money & time online downloading adbanner content & processing it)

Plus, your adbanner content? Well, it may also be hijacked with malicious code too mind you:


Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing display toxic ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/16/bing_yahoo_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]


Malware torrent delivered over Google, Yahoo! ad services:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/24/malware_ads_google_yahoo/ [theregister.co.uk]


Google's DoubleClick spreads malicious ads (again):

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/24/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]


Rogue ads infiltrate Expedia and Rhapsody:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/30/excite_and_rhapsody_rogue_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]


Google sponsored links caught punting malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/16/google_sponsored_links/ [theregister.co.uk]


DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]


Yahoo feeds Trojan-laced ads to MySpace and PhotoBucket users:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/11/yahoo_serves_12million_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]


Real Media attacks real people via RealPlayer:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/23/real_media_serves_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]


Ad networks owned by Google, Microsoft serve malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/13/doubleclick_msn_malware_attacks/ [theregister.co.uk]


Attacks Targeting Classified Ad Sites Surge:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/02/02/1433210/Attacks-Targeting-Classified-Ad-Sites-Surge [slashdot.org]


Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/01/20/0228258/Hackers-Respond-To-Help-Wanted-Ads-With-Malware [slashdot.org]


Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/11/doubleclick [wired.com]


Ruskie gang hijacks Microsoft network to push penis pills:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/12/microsoft_ips_hijacked/ [theregister.co.uk]


Major ISPs Injecting Ads, Vulnerabilities Into Web:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]


Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/12/13/0128249/Two-Major-Ad-Networks-Found-Serving-Malware [slashdot.org]



http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/06/15/2056219/The-Next-Ad-You-Click-May-Be-a-Virus [slashdot.org]



http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/09/13/2346229 [slashdot.org]



http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com]


ISP's INJECTING ADS AND ERRORS INTO THE WEB: -> http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]


ADOBE FLASH ADS INJECTING MALWARE INTO THE NET: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/20/0029220&from=rss [slashdot.org]


London Stock Exchange Web Site Serving Malware:

http://www.securityweek.com/london-stock-exchange-web-site-serving-malware [securityweek.com]


Spotify splattered with malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/25/spotify_malvertisement_attack/ [theregister.co.uk]


As my list "multiple evidences thereof" as to adbanners & viruses + the fact they slow you down & cost you more (from reputable & reliable sources no less)).

17.) Per point #16, a way to save some money: ANDROID phones can also use the HOSTS FILE TO KEEP DOWN BILLABLE TIME ONLINE, vs. adbanners or malware such as this:


Infected Androids Run Up Big Texting Bills:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/03/01/0041203/Infected-Androids-Run-Up-Big-Texting-Bills [slashdot.org]


AND, for protection vs. other "botnets" migrating from the PC world, to "smartphones" such as ZITMO (a ZEUS botnet variant):

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=ZITMO&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]


It's easily done too, via the ADB dev. tool, & mounting ANDROID OS' system mountpoint for system/etc as READ + WRITE/ADMIN-ROOT PERMISSIONS, then copying your new custom HOSTS over the old one using ADB PULL/ADB PUSH to do so (otherwise ANDROID complains of "this file cannot be overwritten on production models of this Operating System", or something very along those lines - this way gets you around that annoyance along with you possibly having to clear some space there yourself if you packed it with things!).

18.) Bad news: ADBLOCK CAN BE DETECTED FOR: See here on that note -> http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

HOSTS files are NOT THAT EASILY "webbug" BLOCKABLE by websites, as was tried on users by ARSTECHNICA (and it worked on AdBlock in that manner), to that websites' users' dismay:



An experiment gone wrong - By Ken Fisher | Last updated March 6, 2010 11:11 AM

http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

"Starting late Friday afternoon we conducted a 12 hour experiment to see if it would be possible to simply make content disappear for visitors who were using a very popular ad blocking tool. Technologically, it was a success in that it worked. Ad blockers, and only ad blockers, couldn't see our content."


"Our experiment is over, and we're glad we did it because it led to us learning that we needed to communicate our point of view every once in a while. Sure, some people told us we deserved to die in a fire. But that's the Internet!"

Thus, as you can see? Well - THAT all "went over like a lead balloon" with their users in other words, because Arstechnica was forced to change it back to the old way where ADBLOCK still could work to do its job (REDDIT however, has not, for example). However/Again - this is proof that HOSTS files can still do the job, blocking potentially malscripted ads (or ads in general because they slow you down) vs. adblockers like ADBLOCK!


19.) Even WIKILEAKS "favors" blacklists (because they work, and HOSTS can be a blacklist vs. known BAD sites/servers/domain-host names):


PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT (from -> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/16/wikileaks_mirror_malware_warning_row/ [theregister.co.uk] )

"we are in favour of 'Blacklists', be it for mail servers or websites, they have to be compiled with care... Fortunately, more responsible blacklists, like stopbadware.org (which protects the Firefox browser)...


20.) AND, LASTLY? SINCE MALWARE GENERALLY HAS TO OPERATE ON WHAT YOU YOURSELF CAN DO (running as limited class/least privlege user, hopefully, OR even as ADMIN/ROOT/SUPERUSER)? HOSTS "LOCK IN" malware too, vs. communicating "back to mama" for orders (provided they have name servers + C&C botnet servers listed in them, blocked off in your HOSTS that is) - you might think they use a hardcoded IP, which IS possible, but generally they do not & RECYCLE domain/host names they own (such as has been seen with the RBN (Russian Business Network) lately though it was considered "dead", other malwares are using its domains/hostnames now, & this? This stops that cold, too - Bonus!)...

21.) Custom HOSTS files gain users back more "screen real estate" by blocking out banner ads... it's great on PC's for speed along with MORE of what I want to see/read (not ads), & efficiency too, but EVEN BETTER ON SMARTPHONES - by far. It matters MOST there imo @ least, in regards to extra screen real-estate.

Still - It's a GOOD idea to layer in the usage of BOTH browser addons for security like adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ), IE 9's new TPL's ( http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] ), &/or NoScript ( http://noscript.net/ [noscript.net] especially this one, as it covers what HOSTS files can't in javascript which is the main deliverer of MOST attacks online & SECUNIA.COM can verify this for anyone really by looking @ the past few years of attacks nowadays), for the concept of "layered security"....

It's just that HOSTS files offer you a LOT MORE gains than Adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ) does alone (as hosts do things adblock just plain cannot & on more programs, for more speed, security, and "stealth" to a degree even), and it corrects problems in DNS (as shown above via hardcodes of your favorite sites into your HOSTS file, and more (such as avoiding DNS request logs)).

ALSO - Some more notes on DNS servers & their problems, very recent + ongoing ones:


DNS flaw reanimates slain evil sites as ghost domains:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/16/ghost_domains_dns_vuln/ [theregister.co.uk]


BIND vs. what the Chinese are doing to DNS lately? See here:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]



http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/26/secunia_back_from_dns_hack/ [theregister.co.uk]

(Yes, even "security pros" are helpless vs. DNS problems in code bugs OR redirect DNS poisoning issues, & they can only try to "set the DNS record straight" & then, they still have to wait for corrected DNS info. to propogate across all subordinate DNS servers too - lagtime in which folks DO get "abused" in mind you!)


DNS vs. the "Kaminsky DNS flaw", here (and even MORE problems in DNS than just that):

http://www.scmagazineus.com/new-bind-9-dns-flaw-is-worse-than-kaminskys/article/140872/ [scmagazineus.com]

(Seems others are saying that some NEW "Bind9 flaw" is worse than the Kaminsky flaw ALONE, up there, mind you... probably corrected (hopefully), but it shows yet again, DNS hassles (DNS redirect/DNS poisoning) being exploited!)


Moxie Marlinspike's found others (0 hack) as well...

Nope... "layered security" truly IS the "way to go" - hacker/cracker types know it, & they do NOT want the rest of us knowing it too!...

(So until DNSSEC takes "widespread adoption"? HOSTS are your answer vs. such types of attack, because the 1st thing your system refers to, by default, IS your HOSTS file (over say, DNS server usage). There are decent DNS servers though, such as OpenDNS, ScrubIT, or even NORTON DNS (more on each specifically below), & because I cannot "cache the entire internet" in a HOSTS file? I opt to use those, because I have to (& OpenDNS has been noted to "fix immediately", per the Kaminsky flaw, in fact... just as a sort of reference to how WELL they are maintained really!)


DNS Hijacks Now Being Used to Serve Black Hole Exploit Kit:

https://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/dns-hijacks-now-being-used-serve-black-hole-exploit-kit-121211 [threatpost.com]


DNS experts admit some of the underlying foundations of the DNS protocol are inherently weak:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/12/08/1353203/opendns-releases-dns-encryption-tool [slashdot.org]


Potential 0-Day Vulnerability For BIND 9:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/11/17/1429259/potential-0-day-vulnerability-for-bind-9 [slashdot.org]


Five DNS Threats You Should Protect Against:

http://www.securityweek.com/five-dns-threats-you-should-protect-against [securityweek.com]


DNS provider decked by DDoS dastards:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/16/ddos_on_dns_firm/ [theregister.co.uk]


Ten Percent of DNS Servers Still Vulnerable: (so much for "conscientious patching", eh? Many DNS providers weren't patching when they had to!)

http://it.slashdot.org/it/05/08/04/1525235.shtml?tid=172&tid=95&tid=218 [slashdot.org]



http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/02/06/2238225.shtml [slashdot.org]


TimeWarner DNS Hijacking:

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/23/2140208 [slashdot.org]


DNS Re-Binding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]


DNS Server Survey Reveals Mixed Security Picture:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/11/21/0315239.shtml [slashdot.org]


Halvar figured out super-secret DNS vulnerability:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/has-halvar-figured-out-super-secret-dns-vulnerability/1520 [zdnet.com]


BIND Still Susceptible To DNS Cache Poisoning:

http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/08/09/123222.shtml [slashdot.org]


DNS Poisoning Hits One of China's Biggest ISPs:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/08/21/2343250.shtml [slashdot.org]


DDoS Attacks Via DNS Recursion:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/06/03/16/1658209.shtml [slashdot.org]


High Severity BIND DNS Vulnerability Advisory Issued:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/02/23/156212/High-Severity-BIND-Vulnerability-Advisory-Issued [slashdot.org]


Photobucketâ(TM)s DNS records hijacked:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=1285 [zdnet.com]


Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]


DNS Problem Linked To DDoS Attacks Gets Worse:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/11/15/1238210/DNS-Problem-Linked-To-DDoS-Attacks-Gets-Worse [slashdot.org]


HOWEVER - Some DNS servers are "really good stuff" vs. phishing, known bad sites/servers/hosts-domains that serve up malware-in-general & malicious scripting, botnet C&C servers, & more, such as:

Norton DNS -> http://nortondns.com/ [nortondns.com]
  ScrubIT DNS -> http://www.scrubit.com/ [scrubit.com]
  OpenDNS -> http://www.opendns.com/ [opendns.com]

(Norton DNS in particular, is exclusively for blocking out malware, for those of you that are security-conscious. ScrubIT filters pr0n material too, but does the same, & OpenDNS does phishing protection. Each page lists how & why they work, & why they do so. Norton DNS can even show you its exceptions lists, plus user reviews & removal procedures requests, AND growth stats (every 1/2 hour or so) here -> http://safeweb.norton.com/buzz [norton.com] so, that ought to "take care of the naysayers" on removal requests, &/or methods used plus updates frequency etc./et al...)

HOWEVER - There's ONLY 1 WEAKNESS TO ANY network defense, including HOSTS files (vs. host-domain name based threats) & firewalls (hardware router type OR software type, vs. IP address based threats): Human beings, & they not being 'disciplined' about the indiscriminate usage of javascript (the main "harbinger of doom" out there today online), OR, what they download for example... & there is NOTHING I can do about that! (Per Dr. Manhattan of "The Watchmen", ala -> "I can change almost anything, but I can't change human nature")

HOWEVER AGAIN - That's where NORTON DNS, OpenDNS, &/or ScrubIT DNS help!

(Especially for noob/grandma level users who are unaware of how to secure themselves in fact, per a guide like mine noted above that uses "layered-security" principles!)

ScrubIT DNS, &/or OpenDNS are others alongside Norton DNS (adding on phishing protection too) as well!

( & it's possible to use ALL THREE in your hardware NAT routers, and, in your Local Area Connection DNS properties in Windows, for again, "Layered Security" too)...




"Ever since I've installed a host file (http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm) to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday December 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

"I use a custom /etc/hosts to block ads... my file gets parsed basically instantly ... So basically, for any modern computer, it has zero visible impact. And even if it took, say, a second to parse, that would be more than offset by the MANY seconds saved by not downloading and rendering ads. I have noticed NO ill effects from running a custom /etc/hosts file for the last several years. And as a matter of fact I DO run http servers on my computers and I've never had an /etc/hosts-related problem... it FUCKING WORKS and makes my life better overall." - by sootman (158191) on Monday July 13 2009, @11:47AM (#28677363) Homepage Journal

"I actually went and downloaded a 16k line hosts file and started using that after seeing that post, you know just for trying it out. some sites load up faster." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday November 17, @11:20AM (#38086752) Homepage Journal

"Better than an ad blocker, imo. Hosts file entries: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] " - by TempestRose (1187397) on Tuesday March 15, @12:53PM (#35493274)

"^^ One of the many reasons why I like the user-friendliness of the /etc/hosts file." - by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 05, @09:26PM (#35393448)

"They've been on my HOSTS block for years" - by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday August 05 2010, @01:52AM (#33147212)

"I'm currently only using my hosts file to block pheedo ads from showing up in my RSS feeds and causing them to take forever to load. Regardless of its original intent, it's still a valid tool, when used judiciously." - by Bill Dog (726542) on Monday April 25, @02:16AM (#35927050) Homepage Journal

"you're right about hosts files" - by drinkypoo (153816) on Thursday May 26, @01:21PM (#36252958) Homepage

"APK's monolithic hosts file is looking pretty good at the moment." - by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 17, @10:08AM (#38085666)

"I also use the MVPS ad blocking hosts file." - by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday January 19, @03:04PM (#34931482)

"I use ad-Block and a hostfile" - by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 01, @10:11AM (#35346902)

"I do use Hosts, for a couple fake domains I use." - by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 11, @09:34AM (#34523012) Homepage

"It's a good write up on something everybody should use, why you were modded down is beyond me. Using a HOSTS file, ADblock is of no concern and they can do what they want." - by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday December 12, @10:07PM (#38351398) Homepage Journal

"I want my surfing speed back so I block EVERY fucking ad. i.e. http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org] and http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] FTW" - by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday December 13, @12:04PM (#38356782)

"Let me introduce you to the file: /etc/hosts" - by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday December 19, @05:03PM (#38427432)

"I use a hosts file" - by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 13, @01:17PM (#38357816)

"I'm tempted to go for a hacked hosts file that simply resolves most advert sites to" - by bLanark (123342) on Tuesday December 13, @01:13PM (#38357760)

"this is not a troll, which hosts file source you recommend nowadays? it's a really handy method for speeding up web and it works." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday March 22, @08:07PM (#39446525) Homepage Journal

"A hosts file certainly does not require "a lot of work" to maintain, and it quite effectively kills a LOT of advertising and tracking schemes. . In fact, I never would have considered trying to use it for ddefending against viruses or malware." - by RocketRabbit (830691) on Thursday December 30 2010, @05:48PM (#34715060)


Then, there is also the words of respected security expert, Mr. Oliver Day, from SECURITYFOCUS.COM to "top that all off" as well:


http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/491 [securityfocus.com]

Some "PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS" to back up my points with (for starters):


"The host file on my day-to-day laptop is now over 16,000 lines long. Accessing the Internet -- particularly browsing the Web -- is actually faster now."

Speed, and security, is the gain... others like Mr. Day note it as well!


"From what I have seen in my research, major efforts to share lists of unwanted hosts began gaining serious momentum earlier this decade. The most popular appear to have started as a means to block advertising and as a way to avoid being tracked by sites that use cookies to gather data on the user across Web properties. More recently, projects like Spybot Search and Destroy offer lists of known malicious servers to add a layer of defense against trojans and other forms of malware."

Per my points exactly, no less... & guess who was posting about HOSTS files a 14++ yrs. or more back & Mr. Day was reading & now using? Yours truly (& this is one of the later ones, from 2001 http://www.furtherleft.net/computer.htm [furtherleft.net] (but the example HOSTS file with my initials in it is FAR older, circa 1998 or so) or thereabouts, and referred to later by a pal of mine who moderates NTCompatible.com (where I posted on HOSTS for YEARS (1997 onwards)) -> http://www.ntcompatible.com/thread28597-1.html [ntcompatible.com] !


"Shared host files could be beneficial for other groups as well. Human rights groups have sought after block resistant technologies for quite some time. The GoDaddy debacle with NMap creator Fyodor (corrected) showed a particularly vicious blocking mechanism using DNS registrars. Once a registrar pulls a website from its records, the world ceases to have an effective way to find it. Shared host files could provide a DNS-proof method of reaching sites, not to mention removing an additional vector of detection if anyone were trying to monitor the use of subversive sites. One of the known weaknesses of the Tor system, for example, is direct DNS requests by applications not configured to route such requests through Tor's network."

There you go: AND, it also works vs. the "KAMINSKY DNS FLAW" & DNS poisoning/redirect attacks, for redirectable weaknesses in DNS servers (non DNSSEC type, & set into recursive mode especially) and also in the TOR system as well (that lends itself to anonymous proxy usage weaknesses I noted above also) and, you'll get to sites you want to, even IF a DNS registrar drops said websites from its tables as shown here Beating Censorship By Routing Around DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/09/1840246/Beating-Censorship-By-Routing-Around-DNS [slashdot.org] & even DNSBL also (DNS Block Lists) -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSBL [wikipedia.org] as well - DOUBLE-BONUS!


* POSTS ABOUT HOSTS FILES I DID on "/." THAT HAVE DONE WELL BY OTHERS & WERE RATED HIGHLY, 26++ THUSFAR (from +3 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

BANNER ADS & BANDWIDTH:2011 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2139088&cid=36077722 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1907266&cid=34529608 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1490078&cid=30555632 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1869638&cid=34237268 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1461288&threshold=-1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=30272074 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1255487&cid=28197285 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1206409&cid=27661983 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1725068&cid=32960808 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1743902&cid=33147274 [slashdot.org]
  APK 20++ POINTS ON HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1913212&cid=34576182 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1862260&cid=34186256 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 (w/ facebook known bad sites blocked) -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1924892&cid=34670128 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS FILE MOD UP FOR ANDROID MALWARE:2010 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1930156&cid=34713952 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP ZEUSTRACKER:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2059420&cid=35654066 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP vs AT&T BANDWIDTH CAP:2011 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2116504&cid=35985584 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP CAN DO SAME AS THE "CloudFlare" Server-Side service:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2220314&cid=36372850 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS and BGP +5 RATED (BEING HONEST):2010 http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1901826&cid=34490450 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS & PROTECT IP ACT:2011 http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2368832&cid=37021700 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457766&cid=37592458 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP & OPERA HAUTE SECURE:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457274&cid=37589596 [slashdot.org] in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1197039&cid=27556999 [slashdot.org] IN HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1143349&cid=27012231 [slashdot.org] in HOSTS:2009 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1198841&cid=27580299 [slashdot.org] in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1139705&cid=26977225 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1319261&cid=28872833 [slashdot.org] (still says INSIGHTFUL)
  HOSTS MOD UP vs. botnet: 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2603836&cid=38586216 [slashdot.org]


Windows 7, VISTA, & Server 2008 have a couple of "issues" I don't like in them, & you may not either, depending on your point of view (mine's based solely on efficiency & security), & if my take on these issues aren't "good enough"? I suggest reading what ROOTKIT.COM says, link URL is in my "p.s." @ the bottom of this post:

1.) HOSTS files being unable to use "0" for a blocking IP address - this started in 12/09/2008 after an "MS Patch Tuesday" in fact for VISTA (when it had NO problem using it before that, as Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 still can)... & yes, this continues in its descendants, Windows Server 2008 &/or Windows 7 as well.

So, why is this a "problem" you might ask?

Ok - since you can technically use either:

a.) (the "loopback adapter address")
b.) (next smallest & next most efficient)
c.) The smallest & fastest plain-jane 0


You can use ANY of those, in order to block out known bad sites &/or adbanners in a HOSTS file this way??

Microsoft has "promoted bloat" in doing so... no questions asked.

Simply because

1.) = 9 bytes in size on disk & is the largest/slowest
2.) = 7 bytes & is the next largest/slowest in size on disk
3.) 0 = 1 byte

(& HOSTS files extend across EVERY webbrowser, email program, or in general every webbound program you use & thus HOSTS are "global" in coverage this way AND function on any OS that uses the BSD derived IP stack (which most all do mind you, even MS is based off of it, as BSD's IS truly, "the best in the business"), & when coupled with say, IE restricted zones, FireFox addons like NoScript &/or AdBlock, or Opera filter.ini/urlfilter.ini, for layered security in this capacity for webbrowsers & SOME email programs (here, I mean ones "built into" browsers themselves like Opera has for example))

MS has literally promoted bloat in this file, making it load slower from disk, into memory! This compounds itself, the more entries your HOSTS file contains... & for instance? Mine currently contains nearly 654,000 entries of known bad adbanners, bad websites, &/or bad nameservers (used for controlling botnets, misdirecting net requests, etc. et al).

Now, IF I were to use My "huge" HOSTS file would be approximately 27mb in size... using (next smallest) it would be 19mb in size - HOWEVER? Using 0 as my blocking IP, it is only 14mb in size. See my point?

(For loads either in the local DNS cache, or system diskcache if you run w/out the local DNS client service running, this gets slower the larger each HOSTS file entry is (which you have to stall the DNS client service in Windows for larger ones, especially if you use a "giant HOSTS file" (purely relative term, but once it goes over (iirc) 4mb in size, you have to cut the local DNS cache client service)))

NO questions asked - the physics of it backed me up in theory alone, but when I was questioned on it for PROOF thereof?

I wrote a small test program to load such a list into a "pascal record" (which is analagous to a C/C++ structure), which is EXACTLY what the DNS client/DNS API does as well, using a C/C++ structure (basically an array of sorts really, & a structure/record is a precursor part to a full-blown CLASS or OBJECT, minus the functions built in, this is for treating numerous variables as a SINGLE VARIABLE (for efficiency, which FORTRAN as a single example, lacks as a feature, @ least Fortran 77 did, but other languages do not))!

I even wrote another that just loaded my HOSTS file's entirety into a listbox, same results... slowest using, next slowest using, & fastest using 0.

And, sure: Some MORE "goes on" during DNS API loads (iirc, removal of duplicated entries (which I made sure my personal copy does not have these via a program I wrote to purge it of duplicated entries + to sort each entry alphabetically for easier mgt. via say, notepad.exe) & a conversion from decimal values to hex ones), but, nevertheless? My point here "holds true", of slower value loads, record-by-record, from a HOSTS file, when the entries become larger.

So, to "prove my point" to my naysayers?

I timed it using the Win32 API calls "GetTickCount" & then again, using the API calls of "QueryPerformanceCounter" as well, seeing the SAME results (a slowdown when reading in this file from disk, especially when using the larger or line item entries in a HOSTS file, vs. the smaller/faster/more efficient 0).

In my test, I saw a decline in speed/efficiency in my test doing so by using larger blocking addresses ( &/or, vs. the smallest/fastest in 0)... proving me correct on this note!

On this HOSTS issue, and the WFP design issue in my next post below?

I also then questioned MS' own staff, even their VP of development (S. Sinofsky) on this here -> http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/02/09/recognizing-improvements-in-windows-7-handwriting.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage [msdn.com] & other places in their blogs, to get them to tell me WHY this seemingly intentional inefficiency was implemented... & I have YET to get a solid LOGICAL answer on this as to why it was done - THUS, @ this point?

I am convinced they (MS) do NOT have a good reason for doing this... because of their lack of response there on this note. Unless it has something to do with IPv6 (most folks use IPv4 still), I cannot understand WHY this design mistake imo, has occurred, in HOSTS files...


2.) The "Windows Filtering Platform", which is now how the firewall works in VISTA, Server 2008, & Windows 7...

Sure it works in this new single point method & it is simple to manage & "sync" all points of it, making it easier for network techs/admins to manage than the older 3 part method, but that very thing works against it as well, because it is only a single part system now!

Thus, however?

This "single layer design" in WFP, now represents a SINGLE POINT OF FAILURE/ATTACK for malware makers to 'take down'!

(Which is 1 of the 1st things a malware attempts to do, is to take down any software firewalls present, or even the "Windows Security Center" itself which should warn you of the firewall "going down", & it's fairly easy to do either by messaging the services they use, or messing up their registry init. settings)

VS. the older (up to) 3 part method used in Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003, for protecting a system via IP Filtering, the Windows native Firewall, &/or IPSEC. Each of which uses diff. drivers, & layers of the IP stack to function from, as well as registry initialization settings.

Think of the older 3 part design much the same as the reason why folks use door handle locks, deadbolt locks, & chain locks on their doors... multipart layered security.

(Each of which the latter older method used, had 3 separate drivers & registry settings to do their jobs, representing a "phalanx like"/"zone defense like" system of backup of one another (like you see in sports OR ancient wars, and trust me, it WORKS, because on either side of yourself, you have "backup", even if YOU "go down" vs. the opponent)).

I.E.-> Take 1 of the "older method's" 3 part defenses down? 2 others STILL stand in the way, & they are not that simple to take them ALL down...

(Well, @ least NOT as easily as "taking out" a single part defensive system like WFP (the new "Windows Filtering Platform", which powers the VISTA, Windows Server 2008, & yes, Windows 7 firewall defense system)).

On this "single-part/single-point of attack" WFP (vs. Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003's IP stack defense design in 3-part/zone defense/phalanx type arrangement) as well as the HOSTS issue in my post above?

I also then questioned MS' own staff, even their VP of development (S. Sinofsky) on this here -> http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/02/09/recognizing-improvements-in-windows-7-handwriting.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage [msdn.com] & other places in their blogs, to get them to tell me WHY this seemingly intentional inefficiency was implemented... & I have YET to get a solid LOGICAL answer on this as to why it was done - THUS, @ this point?

I'll stick to my thoughts on it, until I am shown otherwise & proven wrong.


Following up on what I wrote up above, so those here reading have actual technical references from Microsoft themselves ("The horses' mouth"), in regards to the Firewall/PortFilter/IPSec designs (not HOSTS files, that I am SURE I am correct about, no questions asked) from my "Point #2" above?

Thus, I'll now note how:


1.) TCP/IP packet processing paths differences between in how Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 did it (IPSEC.SYS (IP Security Policies), IPNAT.SYS (Windows Firewall), IPFLTDRV.SYS (Port Filtering), & TCPIP.SYS (base IP driver))...

2.) AND, how VISTA/Server 2008/Windows 7 do it now currently, using a SINGLE layer (WFP)...


First off, here is HOW it worked in Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 - using 3 discrete & different drivers AND LEVELS/LAYERS of the packet processing path they worked in:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb878072.aspx [microsoft.com]

The Cable Guy - June 2005: TCP/IP Packet Processing Paths


The following components process IP packets:

IP forwarding Determines the next-hop interface and address for packets being sent or forwarded.

TCP/IP filtering Allows you to specify by IP protocol, TCP port, or UDP port, the types of traffic that are acceptable for incoming local host traffic (packets destined for the host). You can configure TCP/IP filtering on the Options tab from the advanced properties of the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) component in the Network Connections folder.

* "Here endeth the lesson..." and, if you REALLY want to secure your system? Please refer to this:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=%22HOW+TO+SECURE+Windows+2000%2FXP%22&go=&form=QBRE [bing.com]

APK [mailto]

P.S.=> SOME MINOR "CAVEATS/CATCH-22's" - things to be aware of for "layered security" + HOSTS file performance - easily overcome, or not a problem at all:

A.) HOSTS files don't function under PROXY SERVERS (except for Proximitron, which has a filter that allows it) - Which is *the "WHY"* of why I state in my "P.S." section below to use both AdBlock type browser addon methods (or even built-in block lists browsers have such as Opera's URLFILTER.INI file, & FireFox has such as list as does IE also in the form of TPL (tracking protection lists -> http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] , good stuff )) in combination with HOSTS, for the best in "layered security" (alongside .pac files + custom cascading style sheets that can filter off various tags such as scripts or ads etc.) - but proxies, especially "HIGHLY ANONYMOUS" types, generally slow you down to a CRAWL online (& personally, I cannot see using proxies "for the good" typically - as they allow "truly anonymous posting" & have bugs (such as TOR has been shown to have & be "bypassable/traceable" via its "onion routing" methods)).

B.) HOSTS files do NOT protect you vs. javascript (this only holds true IF you don't already have a bad site blocked out in your HOSTS file though, & the list of sites where you can obtain such lists to add to your HOSTS are above (& updated daily in many of them)).

C.) HOSTS files (relatively "largish ones") require you to turn off Windows' native "DNS local client cache service" (which has a problem in that it's designed with a non-redimensionable/resizeable list, array, or queue (DNS data loads into a C/C++ structure actually/afaik, which IS a form of array)) - mvps.org covers that in detail and how to easily do this in Windows (this is NOT a problem in Linux, & it's 1 thing I will give Linux over Windows, hands-down). Relatively "smallish" HOSTS files don't have this problem (mvps.org offers 2 types for this).

D.) HOSTS files, once read/loaded, once? GET CACHED! Right into the kernelmode diskcaching subsystem (fast & efficient RAM speed), for speed of access/re-access (@ system startup in older MS OS' like 2000, or, upon a users' 1st request that's "Webbound" via say, a webbrowser) gets read into either the DNS local caching client service (noted above), OR, if that's turned off? Into your local diskcac

Said it before.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497223)

Win 8 is a disaster. And the problem with the end client fading - is that fundamentally its been a client server relationship. If MS make an end point and it won't hook up to AD (RT) and others are buying different end points to windows 8, then why have IIS, MSSQL, MS server, Exchange.

Today, if you are looking at a big sharepoint, IIS, MSSQL, Exchange, MS server, AD - and the bring your own disaster is sweeping the business, and the offer from MS is here, you can have RT, and 8, You might well look on and wionder what fucking planet the MS board are sat on, cos it's hard to imagine they have a clue here.

I can fix 8, with some modding, and retrofitting a start menu, and take it back to an OS that actually runs 99% of windows software vaguely as it should. But the question is - why? If MS are being so cretinous about their own platform, I'm not gonna try and fix and bodge it back into shape because of vendor idiocy.

I spent some time talking across mail with Sinofsky. The man was clearly driven, and he was able to complete projects. The problem is that you have to make sure good projects are well run by such people. Bad projects driven to completion and heralding your own destruction well projected by such people are dyabolically bad news.

Frankly its as if MS has lost engineering. Its replaced it with unix heads (Hi mr snover) and with grads who are hopelessly clueless and come up with metro and RT garbage.

And its not just metro that sucks donkey balls. The example applications are almost always WORSE than what people had before.

The board should be rol;ling heads NOW, because if they don't get a grip, this is likely to grow out of control quickly. If the end client flatlines, the rest of their server and application products that depend on it follow. Its synbiotic.

Turn things around? (1)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about a year ago | (#43497231)

Why do you assume things need to be turned around? By which I mean they might not be headed in the wrong direction completely, just going off on a tangent.

Here are some facts: more and more people will have at least one "consumption" device such as a tablet, as well as a smartphone. A section of the population will have a full-fledged development device (laptop/desktop) for work and/or at home. People will prefer that all the devices have a uniform interface and are part of one ecosystem.

Right now, I have a Windows 7 laptop, a Windows 8 desktop, a Linux desktop, Android phone, and a Kindle e-reader (with a Kindle Fire on the way). It is not as nice as a single-ecosystem environment CAN be. No single OS is great for all platforms yet - for me (I count Android and a Linux Desktop OS as different).

I believe every OS company will push for a unified experience, and that is the right way to go. Is Windows 8 the solution? No, but I don't think it is as horrible as most people make it out to be. On my dual-monitor setup, I prefer it to Windows 7.

The concept of a unified experience cannot and should not die. They need to take their user feedback, and act on it - specifically make the switch from desktop to tablet smoother. Have a start button that brings up the start screen, put in an edit box on the top of the start screen for desktops (making it more obvious - though if you just start typing on the start screen, it works), make it easier to find the shut-down and restart options on PCs/dekstops: little things like that.

IMO, Windows 7 is a great GUI-based desktop environment. For command line/remote access OS, I'd choose Linux any day. Windows 8 is a bit too tablet for desktops - they have the right idea, they just removed some stuff that people expect to have on desktops in their haste to make it tablet-ey. Scale back a bit. Don't try a single generation leap to a unified OS. Baby steps.

Let see.. running windows 8, yup. (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about a year ago | (#43497235)

Yeah I'm sorry but anyone saying windows is doomed is just not paying attention. Most of computers out there are running windows and people like it.

There is no fantasy world where suddenly no one is running windows. Everyone is running windows. All is fine.

You are asking SlashDot about MS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43497269)

You may as well ask jackals about the prospects of an old lion.

Not doomed. (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#43497275)

Windows 8 may be a failure but windows itself, as in the platform is far from dead. And Microsoft is more than just Windows. These ass hat authors write these controversial FUD articles to draw in readers and spark flame wars. Its simply to get Ad revenue.

Yes, fire Steve Ballmer (3, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43497283)

So here's the question, Slashdotters: Is Windows really doomed? And, if not, what can be done to turn things around? (No originality points awarded for a 'Fire Steve Ballmer' response.)"

Just because "fire Steve Ballmer" isn't a particularly original insight doesn't mean it is not correct. He's been a lousy CEO, and the manner in which he has jeopardized the company's vital enterprise business in a fit of Apple envy proves that he's the wrong man for the job.

A large number of home users with modest IT needs (web surfing, social networking, simple games) have already switched to iOS and Android for most of their computing needs. That horse has left the barn; that ship has sailed. These users are not coming back to Windows. And the truth is that Microsoft can survive without them. What Microsoft cannot survive is the loss of business users. This is where the bulk of their revenue comes from, and it's also the least threatened area of their business. Legacy lock-in, the fact that most people are already trained on Windows/Office, and the interdependence between various MS enterprise products (Windows, Office, Exchange, SharePoint, MS SQL Server, etc.) means that businesses will find it difficult and expensive to leave the Windows platform. And most of them don't really want to, since it serves their needs where a smartphone/tablet OS would not. This is why Windows 8 was such a strategic blunder. Microsoft alienated the people whose support it needs in a failed attempt to reclaim low-margin, low-volume customers who already left.

Microsoft needs to accept that it's a mature company now and that it isn't going to post stunningly high profits or make major innovations on the OS front. It should focus on incremental improvements to the Windows platform. If they bring back the Start menu and the option to boot directly to the Desktop in Win8.1 as has been rumored, it will help mitigate the damage.

Companies in general ought to focus on their core competencies, and under Steve Ballmer, this basic rule of business has been forgotten at Microsoft.

but who are they competing with? (4, Interesting)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43497295)

Windows might be in trouble, but who is going to replace them? Android and iOS are pretty limited platforms and not exactly fun to program. OS X is getting very long in the tooth, has very limited hardware offerings, and Objective-C is less pleasant to develop for than C#. And just as Gnome/X11 looked like it was going to provide a fairly stable desktop platform, the Gnome, Wayland, and Ubuntu developers have screwed things up big time again. Much as I loathe Windows 8, I think it's still going to win by default on the desktop.

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