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Microsoft Charging Businesses $4K for DST Fix

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the pricey-way-to-tell-time dept.

Microsoft 395

eldavojohn writes "Microsoft has slashed the price it's going to charge users on the daylight saving time fixes. As you know, the federal law that moves the date for DST goes into effect this month. Although the price of $4000 is 1/10 of the original estimate Microsoft made, it seems a bit pricey for a patch to a product you've already paid for. From the article: 'Among the titles in that extended support category are Windows 2000, Exchange Server 2000 and Outlook 2000, the e-mail and calendar client included with Office 2000. For users running that software, Microsoft charges $4,000 per product for DST fixes. For that amount, customers can apply the patches to all systems in their organizations, including branch offices and affiliate.' The only thing they can't do, said a Microsoft rep, is redistribute them."

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Bastages. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220012)

I am with a small 'start up' company just in its infancy. One of the tasks that I have to do is to purchase about 17 desktop machines (Windows required).

With a small budget, an extra $4K will really hurt us.

Will Microsoft offer this fix for free with new customers?

I know that it sounds obvious, but M$ certainly isn't getting any more business than what I have to give them. I have already recommended we won't purchase the Office Suite of products and I really regret that we don't have an alternative to using Windows as an OS. (Software training)

Re:Bastages. (3, Informative)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220102)

This is just for Windows 2000 and products from that same era. XP and stuff for it shouldn't be a problem.

Re:Bastages. (1)

otterpop81 (784896) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220192)

Maybe I don't read enough /., but I don't know why that's the case. Logic would say that all products released before this law was put into place would be affected. XP was released before this law (the law is really recent, right?). By what mechanism (Windows update maybe?) is XP not affected?

Re:Bastages. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220216)

Windows XP is still a fully supported system, while Windows 2000 isn't.
(MS only releases security-related fixes)

Re:Bastages. (3, Informative)

master0ne (655374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220252)

XP was released about the same time they considerd changing DST im not sure if XP (orignal unpatched version) was DST compliant, however by the time SP1 was released, they had already decided to change DST in 2007, so many companies have had tons of time to prepair, and now that its upon up, people are just NOW rushing to patch (which could have been done YEARS ago) and making a scene about not being able to get patches, products prior to XP are out of the "primary support" cycle from Microsoft, and as such patches are no longer provided, MS has said they will patch previous products for a price, which is what they are doing (cheeper than they orignally stated too!) none the less, this is a good point for open sorce software, as another poster here said, it should be a simple config file change, easy to patch, if it isnt thats MS's bad coding practices, and as such im sure pretty much all OSS software still being activly developed already has patches avalable...

Re:Bastages. (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220650)

It's affected, but it's covered. Microsoft isn't covering W2K because it's a legacy product.

Exactly (4, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220352)

This is for OS that are out of support.

If you bought an extended support contract, at the time of expiration, you get this for free.

If you thought "I won't have any W2K in 6 months, so why bother" and 24 months later, the DST issue caught you - well, pay up.

Or what value did those who paid for extended support get?

Re:Bastages. (1)

master0ne (655374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220208)

all products releast post windows XP SP1 are already for the DST change, the only products that need to be patched are those released at or before the change was announced... aslong as you stick with XP (or god forbid VISTA) than you wont be double tax'ed by microsoft..... Also, as others have mentioned, there are sevral "unofficial" patches that should work just fine, as a it guy, you should be able to test them aganst they system's your planning on implimenting (if they are pre XP) to make sure they wont cause any problems...

Screw 'em (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220018)

Manually adjust the clock. Just write a small script to take care of it for logins or as a scheduled task for servers.

Re:Screw 'em (4, Informative)

iPaul (559200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220116)

Kerberos auth has problems if the clocks are > 300 sec out of sync. It's not that you couldn't do it manually, you just run the risk of a "hickup", like no one in the domain is allowed to log in.

Re:Screw 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220318)

"hiccough". Remember it as a kind of cough.

Re:Screw 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220392)

Hiccup is also a word. []

Nothing worse than a retarded grammar nazi.

Hickup? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220558)

Is that the sound of a Southerner making a mistake?

Re:Screw 'em (2, Funny)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220570)

Hey Jobe, Wake the 'Hick Up'!!!

Re:Screw 'em (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220128)

What happens if I make an appointment now for sometime in the period of adjustment?
Will everybody know that the 9am I told it should really be 10am or vice versa?

Re:Screw 'em (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220584)

Any competent software that has to deal with locations in multiple time zones uses UTC. The only thing that ever worries about DST is conversions to local time.

Re:Screw 'em (4, Informative)

Anml4ixoye (264762) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220132)


As an engineer who is right in the middle of helping our customers make the changes necessary for the DST fix, it is much more complicated than that.

First, you have all of the servers and clients which rely on one another. The biggest effect is on mail - Exchange/Outlook/OWA.

Second, you have to do it in the right order, at about the same time. If you update the server, then clients who schedule appointments will be off until they update.

Third, you've got software which calculates various things based on that date. Think financial transactions, etc.

I've blogged about the tool [] we have to help customers figure out what has to be done.

I wish it was as easy as just updating a script, but when you have to coordinate that change across 10s or 100s of thousands of servers, clients, etc, it's not an easy task.

And let's not forget Microsoft isn't the only one having to make changes. Lotus Notes, Groupwise, Blackberries - they all have changes that have to be made. I'll personally be glad when this is all done. Ugh.

Re:Screw 'em (3, Interesting)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220504)

But all Linux had to do was update its zone info stuff.

Why is Windows so much harder? Didnt they do it properly?

Re:Screw 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220560)

Why is Windows so much harder? Didnt they do it properly?

You're comparing Apples and a food production infrastructure. The includes SQL Server, Exchange, Office Applications, etc.

Re:Screw 'em (4, Informative)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220618)

Its basically a Microsoft WTF. While every sane operating system keeps the hardware clock on universal time (UTC/GMT), Windows keeps the hardware clock on local time. This affects things like the date format stored on disk in the filesystem.

Re:Screw 'em (1)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220524)

Second, you have to do it in the right order, at about the same time. If you update the server, then clients who schedule appointments will be off until they update.

Huh? How does that happen, assuming you're a good boy and using timestamps in UTC in the first place? You know, the ones that look like "Sat, 3 Mar 2007 08:06:08 -0800 (PST)", the ones you find in e-mail headers for example?

If Outlook can't cope with that, how can it cope with people in different offices with different timezones? Or people with laptops?

things that make you go hmmm... (0, Troll)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220044)

I wonder what would happen if you looked up which congresscritters Microsoft has given money to and correlated it with the ones who voted for the DST change?

Re:things that make you go hmmm... (1, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220080)

Put on your tinfoil hat. The more sane explanation is that Bush needed a way to say "he is saving the environment" without appropriating any money, and certainly not taking money away from an Iraq occupation. However, if you insist on brining Microsoft into every conspiracy, go ahead. But can I ask you give me the lithium you aren't taking? I can sell it for a few bucks.

Re:things that make you go hmmm... (3, Funny)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220126)

Hey - I don't have to believe in conspiracies in order to spread rumors about them. ;-)

Re:things that make you go hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220242)

Is that sorta like you don't actually have to squeeze out poop to be an asshole?

Re:things that make you go hmmm... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220358)

No, the converse.

Re:things that make you go hmmm... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220434)

You have to squeeze out Converse? That's gotta hurt.

Re:things that make you go hmmm... (0, Troll)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220120)

I would be rather suprised if MicroSoft didn't give to every senator's campaign. I wonder what would happen if this was extended to other things. "Dell charging only $300 for non-exploding batteries." "Nintendo Deluxe wrist strap for only $45"

Re:things that make you go hmmm... (5, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220286)

It's a little different. You're comparing a fix for a defective product to a patch to change behavior to fit an unforseeable change in timekeeping logic. And, please note that these products aren't even officially being supported anymore (thus, the service charge).

I'm not trying to defend MS, but there's no need to make dodgy comparisons... One can surmise that open-source users will likely have an easier time making this change, seeing as they don't have to rely on a corporation to update their binaries.

Re:things that make you go hmmm... (3, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220330)

That congress-Microsoft DST conspiracy theory seems a tad... overboard, to me at least. They do plenty of corrupt things we know about, theorizing about something as odd as this is unnecessary.

As for the summary saying "it seems a bit pricey for a patch to a product you've already paid for." - well, no, that isn't true. Customers paid for a product and for support for it; the support for Windows 2000 is over, as per the original agreements. They got what they paid for. This is the same issue with any proprietary, closed-source software - the client is left to depend on a single vendor for patches once the official support is over, and can effectively be taken hostage (I wouldn't trust patches from anyone who doesn't have access to all the source code). Microsoft isn't doing anything 'special' here beyond typical closed-source tactics. But those are enough to show the importance of using FOSS.

Whoa (-1, Troll)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220050)

You mean Microsoft charges to actually do work? Microsoft has a central place for their patches. If you want to do it yourself, go for it. If you haven't hired an IT staff, Microsoft won't do it for you for free.

The real question: Do you like George Bush for making this law and keeping IT drones employed? Or do you hate Bush for this law because it is a feel good law with no real impact except to create yet another moronic series of IT projects?

Re:Whoa (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220134)

The real question: Do you like George Bush [...] Or do you hate Bush [...]?

No, the real, real question is: why are you so desperate to drag political bullshit into every story? Love him or hate him, GWB has absolutely nothing to do with how much Microsoft charges for a patch.

Re:Whoa (1, Troll)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220166)

Because IT staffs across the U.S. and Canada (imagine the rest of the world that does business here also) have to certify millions of servers and workstations for a feel good piece of legislation. Instead of real efforts to wean us off foreign oil, we settle for this joke. And a significant percentage of my coworkers think it is great -- keeps them employed.

Re:Whoa (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220564)

You do know that the law (final conference report) passed the House 275-156, the Senate 74-26, right? Not exactly party-line votes.

Go Linux! (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220060)

It's hard to say this without sounding like a zealot, but these kinds of things are nothing but good for Free Software. This patch should be nothing more than an edit to a single configuration file (and if it's not, then that's another problem), but you can't download that change freely or give it to your friends? I can understand - even if I disagree - with not giving away your applications. I cannot be made to understand, though, not giving away trivial bugfixes.

Re:Go Linux! (3, Insightful)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220334)

Is there actually a patch from Redhat/Suse/etc for systems that are as old as Win2k available? This really is about getting one from the original vendor, there are a number of different free ones available for Win2k but they don't come from MS which tends to be the kicker for some highly touchy organizations (ones that tend to be audited quite often, etc). Regarding Linux, it's basically in the exact same position; only I don't believe that can get a fix for Redhat 7.2 from the vendor, I could download/write my own which would be the equivalent of installing one of the non-MS provided Win2k DST fixes.

Re:Go Linux! (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220378)

I haven't checked, but I'm pretty sure there is.

On the other hand, if there isn't, any half-assed geek could write one and distribute it for free.

As the guy said, this is -good- for FOSS. It highlights the kind of BS that you'll never have to put up with from FOSS.

Re:Go Linux! (2, Insightful)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220470)

Your post tells me you didn't really even read it.

On the other hand, if there isn't, any half-assed geek could write one and distribute it for free.
You mean a situation exactly like free one for Win2K that a geek wrote up and distributes for free? l-windows-2000-daylight.html []

Re:Go Linux! (4, Insightful)

kernelpanicked (882802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220386)

You would be wrong. If you check the last few updates fedora-legacy made to RedHat 7.2 and 7.3's glibc, the fix is already there. I work for a web host, where there are still quite a few of these old machines left kicking so yes I had to verify this.

Re:Go Linux! (1)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220528)

Not to be argumentative but that isn't an official fix from Redhat. It came from a group outside of Redhat who took up continued support for it (until they closed down last month), basically just like the intelliadmin for Win2K.

Re:Go Linux! (0)

kernelpanicked (882802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220600)

And who exactly do you think those guys were? I'll give you a little hint. Most of the Legacy developers, as well as Fedora devs, are RedHat employees.

Re:Go Linux! (3, Insightful)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220662)

Do you think that it matters that it's unofficial support provided by Redhat employee's on the side to an audit company? Having dealt with auditors before I'm going to say no.

Re:Go Linux! (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220536)

No reason why you cant just stick the new zone info files in to the old OS.

Re:Go Linux! (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220566)

Is there actually a patch from Redhat/Suse/etc for systems that are as old as Win2k available?

Sun offers patches for Solaris 8 [] .

Heck, last week I found some Documentation discussing manual workarounds for Java 1.1 (Written around 2005, when several nations first passed their DST changes); although I can't find the link now, and I think you need a Sun Support Contract to view the documentation .

free patches are available (5, Informative)

ceresur (945388) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220076)

We are using this patch at my organization for all our Win2k and Win2k Server boxes out there (running legacy apps that we don't need to upgrade). l-windows-2000-daylight.html []

Re:free patches are available (4, Informative)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220356)

Microsoft themselves also offer a free solution [] for Windows 2000 servers. Perhaps this takes a bit more work than an official patch would, but if you've got so many 2000 servers that you'd consider dropping $4k on a patch, chances are you've got Active Directory or at least an admin with the skills to script a rollout of a reg file with this fix.

Re:free patches are available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220452)

one of our customers applied this free patch (without applying it to their test server first, even though they insist on testing our software first when a new version is released) and it apparently broke one of our software pieces and they wanted *us* to fix it.

We continued to fall back on our "nope, we don't support windows 2000 anymore" and left it to them to clean up their mess.

There's limits to how much one should coddle customer stupidity.

Yes I'm posting this as an A/C to protect my company.

Re:free patches are available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220492)

You are the company that did that! Hey! thanks! we got a nice big account because we are not idiots and support windows 2000+server 2000 for our products.

Granted we hire real programmers instead of Visual studio jockeys like most places that make junkware that businesses rely on. Most of our customers are from companies that told them, "go to hell we dont support windows 2000 anymore"

Thanks! we tripled profits over the past 2 years because of companies like you!!

Really inaccurate story. (4, Informative)

pythas (75383) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220086)

It's not $4000 per product, it's $4000 for ALL the products

They also provide a variety of workarounds (registry files you can apply, and scripts to apply to a large number of machines remotely) for Windows 2000. If you don't like that, there's unofficial patches as well ( al-windows-2000-daylight.html)

Yay for overblown stories!

Re:Really inaccurate story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220196)

Incidentally not a month or two ago they cost $40,000. I'm not joking in the slightest. Additionally however, depending who you are they will give them out for free. The business I work at was fortunate enough to get them for free.

Re:Really inaccurate story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220466)

Why aren't ALL the products just using the system clock? Then you could make the change in one place.

Apple sent out a free patch for OS X a few weeks ago.

Re:Really inaccurate story. (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220630)

The problem is that the system clock doesn't automatically update for DST. The OS does performs the update to the clock. This is the first problem. The second problem is that yes, a majority of programs do just use the system clock. The problem comes in with scheduling software like Outlook and Exchange. These programs store the time based off UTC so that appointments are correctly displayed for different time zones. The problem is that when the appointment is created the time is calculated as UTC. So any old appointments for the new DST time period are now an hour late because UTC doesn't change your local time does. The patches for Outlook and Exchange first fix the issue so that any new appointments are scheduled for the correct time. Then they also update to the correct UTC for any appointments in the effected time period.

Finally Microsoft had a patch released for Windows a long time ago that fixed this issue just like Apple. (Un)fortunately(?) Apple doesn't have a tenth of the deployments of a Calendaring suite as Microsoft does. This is where the problem is. If the problem was just that the system clock was an hour slow until someone updated it, it would be a non issue.

Wow, thieves (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220096)

$4000 for a patch that modifies one line in the registry? That's gotta be the slickest scam ever, especially since there are a ton of manual fixes out there on the innurnet if you care to google a bit. People who are worried can always hire a computer professional to do it for a tenth of the price, I'm sure.

Re:Wow, thieves (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220190)

MS themselves provide a registry editing based fix for this - []

This service is not the same, this is actual patches to the applications for those that dont want to make the fixes any other way. By the sound of it, this is quite generous - the $4,00 charge only applies to applications out of their 5 year support period.

Re:Wow, thieves (1)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220266)

I was planning to charge only half of what Microsoft does you insensitive unprofessional clod!

Re:Wow, thieves (0, Troll)

iPaul (559200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220302)

The slickest scam ever was reproducing a lot of VMS with additional bugs, tied to a buggy Gui, with everything shipped late and with reduced features. Convincing the business community that you're an innovative technology company when you can barely reproduce the features/stability of systems based on Unix or OS/360. On top of that convincing customers that you comply with standards, except changing them in subtle ways to make it work with only your products. Convincing the US government that having 95% of all desktops is not a monopoly. The whole thing has been one long, continuous scam.

Re:Wow, thieves (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220514)

If you could post info about a professional admin willing to do this to all of our computers for $400, I'd be very grateful.

Re:Wow, thieves (1)

paganizer (566360) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220674)

Depending on your location, and type of network, I would be happy to.
of course, I would be using the unofficial patch ( al-windows-2000-daylight.html) that costs nothing, but hey! free money is nice.
If you have a problem with win2k because of microsoft's efforts to kill it (like not releasing patches like this, making software that is allegedly incompatible (like AOE3), you can count on there being a free patch out there to fix the problem.
Some of the designed-in hardware incompatabilities don't have a workaround yet, but....

Big argument for using libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220142)

You may think it's fun to write code to handle dates, but really you should use GMT internally and rely on OS libraries to convert to and from local time. That way if there's a change, only the OS libraries have to change. Obviously that's not how Microsoft did it and now they (we?) are paying for it.

Re:Big argument for using libraries (0, Troll)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220244)

It *is* how Microsoft did it, however they goofed at writing the conversion routines and made them much more primitive than posix timezone handling like in Linux.
That is what you are paying for now.

Re:Big argument for using libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220336)

dates, but really you should use GMT internally and rely on OS libraries to convert to and from local time

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG.

The entire problem here is that what the time in GMT means to the user changed. So now, you have an appointment in the system for 8PM GMT... when you created that appointment, was 8PM GMT 3PM or 2PM local time? Unless you also have a timestamp of the creation date, and a timestamp on your timezone rules so that you can figure out whether that was 8PM on the old rules or the new rules, you're doomed to failure. And then someone sends you an appointment from their computer. Is their GMT calculation right or wrong?

Store the time in local time, and everything will just work. Your appointment for 3PM will still be at 3PM regardless of how the time changes. If you go another step and store the time zone, you'll even be able to convert to any other timezone flawlessly.

Re:Big argument for using libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220578)

It's clear you've never used Unix.

Manual Change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220146)

What's wrong with amnually changing the clock?
Registry fix? What the hell for? I don't get it...

Hang on a second.. (1)

testednegative (843833) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220172)

Why are they charging that amount for a patch? What gives them the right to charge that price to fix a problem with a product that a consumer has already bought and should have support for. Why is this not just distributed on windows update as a patch/fix ? Am I missing something here ?

Re:Hang on a second.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220254)

Hey Dumbass! Its not a bug in the software, it is a patch for DST changes made by the gov't. You dont like it, stop voting morons in.

Re:Hang on a second.. (0, Troll)

iPaul (559200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220264)

I think this illustrates the myth of "software support." How often have you openend a ticket with a vendor only to see it drag on for weeks, exchanging log files for untested patches, only to find the work-around yourself? Having worked with well respected (Gartner approved, but not Microsoft) "enterprise" products from a major "enterprise" software and hardware vendor, I was stunned by how often I was essentially left holding my ... er... pencil in my hand. For the most part they were closed source. Nothing beats having competant administrators and some degree of source code access. Yet I see clients demanding that someone offer paid support for anything - even if we all know the support is worthless.

Re:Hang on a second.. (1)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220446)

Yet I see clients demanding that someone offer paid support for anything - even if we all know the support is worthless.

Without support, the buck stops there. With support, there is another link higher up in the chain of blame.

A company's software support may leave you high and dry, but then you can blame them when the boss asks why something doesn't work. Without it, it's just you.

Re:Hang on a second.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220270)

If you read the article you'll see the $4K is for unsupported (obsolete) software.

Re:Hang on a second.. (1)

master0ne (655374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220314)

what gives THEM the RIGHT? did you by chance read the EULA While installing windows, the line that states ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US! MAKE YOUR TIME! gives them the right... but seriously, when you purchased windows OS, you purchased it with the understanding they would support the OS untill a spefic time frame, products prior to XP are now out of the parimary support timeframe, and into extended support, meaning only SECURITY patches will be issued, as this has nothing to do with security it isnt coverd, and they can charge extra for providing that support, or not provide ANY support for it at all, and FORCE many customers to UPGRADE to XP or Vista... (if you can call Vista a upgrade...) so yes they HAVE the right to do it, and you need to read the software licences better before you accept them, or atleast before you complain about what rights they have...

Re:Hang on a second.. (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220410)

These products are no longer supported by microsoft, I believe Microsoft will support Windows 2000 for a price. You can't think that microsoft will support a product forever for free, I mean could you name me one company that does. This isn't much of a story and only a rather bad attempt at spreading FUD. Microsoft stops free support for seven year old product, new american law requires change to get the correct time to display. Microsoft sees a chance for money, makes a patch then sells patch for a profit.

I also think the price might be a little higher than necessary to try and move people onto XP or Vista, think about it for $4000 you can get a patch for all your systems. If you only have one or two Windows 2000 or Outlook 2000 systems then you could probably upgrade them for less than the cost of the patch (microsoft gets additional revenue) if you have a large number of machines using outlook 2000 or windows 2000 then the cost per machine for the patch is probably a few dollars and so worth it as it maintains your legacy systems despite unexpected changes (in this case the alteration of DST.) In that case you win as you don't have to either spend ages getting the network sorted out for DST change, pay to upgrade your infrastructure and microsoft gets some extra revenue for providing a service.

Re:Hang on a second.. (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220498)

It's not a problem with their software. Congress passed a law that nobody, save Nostradamus, could have prepared for that fucked with DST. This isn't a "fix" for a problem that they created. It's a "fix" for a problem that Congress created. People upset should contact their Congresspeople as to why we're still dealing with this ridiculously archaic DST system that was designed for an agrarian society, which the US has stopped being a long time ago.

Current Products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220174)

It would be nice if Microsoft could get their current products to work correctly with the DST for any amount of money.

Outlook 2003 requires all your meetings to be cancelled and recreated. Even if patched.

innovation (5, Funny)

Epiphenomenon (977580) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220182)

I for one think that $4000 for innovation like this is a small price to pay.

Down with DST! (4, Funny)

astrosmash (3561) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220184)

That was one expensive piece of pointless legislation.

I've always felt that if we could harness all of the time and energy software developers and IT departments have spent over the years working on DST-related issues in software and apply it to some other purpose of good, we'd all be driving around in flying cars and taking vacations on the moon by now. It is 2007, after all. You know, the future?

That's right. I'm blaming the state of the world on DST.

Re:Down with DST! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220256)

It is a fun tradition though.

I have trouble believing it accomplishes much at this point; people use lights all day anyway, so that isn't it, stores keep whatever hours they keep so there isn't any huge reason to keep everybody synchronized, I guess maybe heating. Ah well.

Re:Down with DST! (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220444)

Bah, it's not DST's fault. It's that everyone's too lazy to set their computer's time the same way they set their other clocks that this sort of thing happens. Better still, why not just have a single NTP server that pulls atomic time off the internet ( anyone?) and lets the other computers on the network pull time from it? Much simpler, and accurate, too. Network time FTW.

Re:Down with DST! (1)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220502)

Probably all that extra programmer time would have resulted in WoW being released earlier and then all progress would have stopped even earlier.

Seriously, all development in the world has stopped since WoW was released, even if we are slow to notice it. Just look at Vista.

Programming practices (1)

unchiujar (1030510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220206)

"That's left companies scrambling for software fixes that change the pre-set DST changes hard-coded in operating systems and applications, including every version of Windows except for the just-released Vista."
You would think that programmers that hard code (Bad Thing(TM)) would have a hard time getting/staying hired...
Go figure...

Re:Programming practices (1)

Thundersnatch (671481) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220520)

This is a load of BS. Time zone rules are not hard-coded in Windows; the DST rules are just in the registry. The registry is an editable configuration file, just like the zoneinfo configuration files on a Linux system. On Windows, you can edit the time zone rules yourself, and microsoft even provides instructions (and a GUI tool) for doing so if you don't want to deploy a patch.

MS did not release supported exectuable patches for its out-of-support products, because they don't want to do the QA and support required. I don't think that was a customer-friendly decision, and thier patching process for still-supported products is a horribly documented nightmare. But it is certainly not Microsoft's fault this DST legislation came up inthe first place.

Other vendors are doing the same sort of thing as Microsoft. I think if you look at Oracle, IBM, etc. you'll see that many of their older out-of-support products don't have DST patches available either. Mobile phone and PDA vendors are amongst the worst offenders in this area.

there are free utils to patch this (5, Informative)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220220)

There's a free patcher here [] that I've used on a few 2k machines and one NT4 machine and nothing has blown up thus far.

First link under "freeware downloads".

Nothing to see here. (3, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220258)

This just in - company charges money to do work for companies who are using an unsupported suite of products! Film at 11!

I know in Soviet Russia that work was done for free for the betterment of ones comrades, but this isn't Soviet Russia quite yet. Companies charge you when they provide a service for you.

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220422)

Hey hey hey. This is Slashdot. There is zero room for common sense and logic. However, knee jerk reactions, Microsoft FUD, and pure speculation is always welcomed.

Re:Nothing to see here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220486)

THANK you, it's about time someone noticed. This story has been posted as a False Alarm at [] .

Regedit Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220278)

My employer, which I shall not mention, has several hundred Win 2000 machines and we're just patching the registries to include the updated DST information. A few hundred dollars in man-hours makes more sense than $4k to Microsoft.

Re:Regedit Anyone? (1)

iPaul (559200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220316)

Part of it is also the testing. The reason people are being suckered (or "see the value") in spending 4k, is hopefully it was tested on a variety of configurations.

This is what happens when you have a monopoly (2, Insightful)

Windcatcher (566458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220296)

I understand that they're charging $4000 for all of the patches, and on all of an enterprise's machines. I also understand that they're choosing to not offer the patch to private users for a nominal fee, nor are they offering the option to buy just this one patch for a lesser price. My response is that this is what you get when you have a monopoly: they can offer whatever they wish -- or, to not put too fine a point on it, choose to NOT offer whatever they wish -- and charge however many limbs they want for it. It's disgusting, and to me particularly offensive. I'm sure there will be rants about the evils of capitalism and such here -- this IS Slashdot, after all -- and I can't really disagree here. I'm about as far to the right as they come and as rabid a capitalist as you'll ever see but this just makes us look bad. Capitalism REQUIRES adequate levels of competition to function properly and what you're seeing here is what happens when that competition is absent.

TZEdit (3, Informative)

HeyBob! (111243) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220306)

I've been using tzedit.exe ( [] ) for manually updating a few old pc's

Sun's worse - $10k/server, $150k/max (2, Informative)

Fezmid (774255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220308)

If you want them to update Solaris 7 or earlier, it'll cost you $10,000/server with a cap of $150,000. Highway robbery if you ask me.

We're just modifying the timezone files with zic.

As much as I dislike MS, they're not alone in the highway robbery department here.

Re:Sun's worse - $10k/server, $150k/max (1)

devaudio (596215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220426)

hmm they quoted us 400 a server for solaris 2.6

Accuracy? (1)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220342)

I know this is Slashdot and all, but you might want to mention this 'fix' is only needed for products that came out in the 2000 batch. So for people running XP, 2003 stuff, this is no issue at all. $4000 is still alot for a product that hasn't reached his end of life status though...

Folks, this is for OLD, UNSUPPORTED products (1)

czmax (939486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220346)

From the article, "Microsoft products still getting mainstream support -- meaning software within the first five years of its release -- have received free patches. But operating systems and applications now getting what Microsoft dubs extended support receive only security fixes for free; Corporate customers who want non-security patches must fork over large fees to Microsoft."

The question here is not if they should charge for this patch; it is reasonable to do so. The issue is how much? Clearly there are costs involved with opening up old development branches, recreating build environments, developing fixes, doing test, and then distribution. Additionally this is for a relatively small segment of the market who are primarily running old software who haven't paid anything to Microsoft in years. From that perspective their argument that 'if you want a non-security fix you must pay good $$ for it' kinda makes sense. I suspect they're trying to push smaller organizations with 10s or 100s of machines to consider an upgrade to a newer, supported, operating system.

Of course this isn't a totally solid argument. Clearly they do already have some infrastructure in place for doing fixes; because they're still turning out security patches. And who could honestly argue there aren't security issues in these older products? So, why aren't they charging for security patches? Is a time issue no less important?

This is a grey area and my personal opinion is that a more 'customer focused' organization would do this fix for free or for a minimal fee. The original $40K charge was clearly highway robbery and this $4k still seems inflated; especially since they know it will be amortized across every user of the older systems. I think this behavior is yet another sign that Microsoft is complacent in their monopoly status; much the same way they've embraced DRM. They assume everybody will, of course, use their products and therefore their primary focus is about making the most of their monopoly. In this case keeping people locked into the current product and/or charging them for using older products; in the DRM case forcing DRM on people so they can woo the content providers.

Historically they've done well with these tradeoffs. Even mostly running linux & mac systems I still find myself occasionally needing windows (currently via parallels). It will be interesting to see how if their focus shifts over the years. It takes a long time to change a large organization.

- max

Still cheaper (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220574)

What you say may be valid, but it doesn't change the fact that many MS products are significantly cheaper than the competition. I'm getting ready to move my small business to MS Dynamics because even with all of the fees, and ongoing support, their product is much cheaper (and better) than comparable competing products. So, while sure, it's not free, I know that many companies, large and small, still look at the bottom line, and aren't just buying MS products because they're Microsoft.

The whole "lock-in" thing is really just a straw man. Data is data. If you don't like whatever product you're using for whatever application, just move the damn data to a new product. MS is certainly not holding guns to anybody's head to keep them using their products, and they don't hold data hostage. Heck, another part of the major software move I'm about to do is because MS Dynamics actually provides much easier, more transparent access to the raw data than competitors products allow.

DST patching costs too much (1)

rtphokie (518490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220360)

I personally think that businesses should be able to write off the time and money they spend on DST patching. It was the government that wants this DST change.

The amount of downtime we've endured in our company is horrendeous because of this DST change. We have no choice but to install these poorly tested patches.

Pricy? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220412)

Although the price of $4000 is 1/10 of the original estimate Microsoft made, it seems a bit pricey for a patch to a product you've already paid for.

Well, it's not a bug fix. The products work to spec and have done so throughout their product life and general support, and right now they're in a "security/critical fix only" extended support. If I had to put programmers to update anything else, I'd want to get paid. I don't know how many takers they'll have on this offer, but to a large corporation $4000 for the whole company is a pittance so it hardly sounds like a big money maker...

Simple answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220454)

Save your company the money, use OpenBSD's OpenNTP and sync your windows server(s)/client(s) to it and you're set... Simple as that - same with Cisco, why use it when there's OpenBSD.

Re:Simple answer: (1)

upside (574799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220636)

NTP uses UTC and has nothing to do with DST.

Relatively Inexpesive (5, Insightful)

Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220462)

This fee is all inclusive. That means any product in extended support, and any DST related patch.

So that includes:
    Windows 2000 Server straight DST patch
    Windows 2000 CRT DST patch (Never heard of that one? See here: [] and here: []
    Exchange running on W2K
    Visual Studio 6.0 patches (I believe...)

So $4000 to cover *all* unsupported systems, and to have a human to call and say "Your patch screwed up my server" and have them fix it, is to be cliche, Priceless

..or just DIY (3, Informative)

ph43thon (619990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220510)

This is absurd. Just go here [] and follow the instructions.

Three steps.

1. Create .reg file by copy/pasting from that page.
2. Create .vbs file by copy/pasting from that page.
3a. Create GPO to import reg key and run VBScript on Win2k machines at Startup.
3b. In absence of AD, modify script to copy itself and .reg file to all Win2k machines and apply fix.

If you're such a small organization that you don't have an I.T. group.. then.. it's probably simple to use TZEdit to update your piddly network.

For fun, you can trick out the script to make sure it only runs once.

Still Microsoft BUG. Servers should use GMT/UTC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220530)

What timezone you are in is purely a cosmetic feature (or it should be).
One should be able to change my timezone/dst settings at will, without affecting any behavior of a system:
    calendar/appointments, emails, servers, should all be running effectively independent of local time zone/daylight settings.

It is a bug of Microsoft that defaults to using Local time in the bios.
There is an unsupported option in Win2K and WinXP to change to GMT...

Only GMT/UTC times should be used it these cases:
  - over networks.
  - in files.
  - in databases.
  - in hardware. ...

Otherwise, your stored dates could be at error when:
  - you move your computer
  - when you change your timezone.
  - when you talk to another computer in another timezone.
  - when the government changes DST. ...

Yes, Email uses local time, but an UTC offset is given, so UTC is effectively given too.

I know of no real reason to use localtime in hardware.

Someone said "but users may get confused editing BIOS".
1. what beginner users edit the BIOS.
2. the time should be set from the OS, not in the bios config.
3. you could store timezone in bios too, if you really want it idiot proof.

I was really hoping this DST change would cause Microsoft to fix the bug, but apparently not.

I, for one (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220664)

I, for one, welcome our Microsoft DST-changing overlords!
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