Ubuntu Hardy Heron Release

Rabu, 30 April 2008

Rabu, 30 April 2008

If there is a single complaint that is laid at the feet of Linux time and time again, it's that the operating system is too complicated and arcane for casual computer users to tolerate. You can't ask newbies to install device drivers or recompile the kernel, naysayers argue.

Of course, many of those criticisms date back to the bad old days, but Ubuntu, the user-friendly distribution sponsored by Mark Shuttleworth's Canonical Ltd., has made a mission out of dispelling such complaints entirely.

You can now download a beta of Ubuntu's 8.04 release, more commonly and affectionately known as Hardy Heron (the follow-up to Gutsy Gibbon and Feisty Fawn). Final release is set for April 24.

Hardy is what is known as an LTS (long-term support) release, meaning that patches and paid support will be available for at least three years after the release. Canonical has been dropping new releases about twice a year, ensuring that the kernel and software packages stay fresh. There are a lot of neat new features in Hardy, but let's start by talking about what makes Ubuntu such a great distribution to begin with.

Ubuntu is based on Debian, which enjoys wide developer support. Having a vibrant distribution such as Debian as Ubuntu's underpinning has resulted in a very stable and feature-rich distribution. Raw Debian has a reputation as being a bit geek-centric, and although it makes a good effort to be easy to use, it still can be a challenge to install for nontechnical users. Ubuntu has put padding on a lot of Debian's sharp corners, without removing any of the power of the underlying distribution.

One of the killer features of Ubuntu is that the installation media is also a "live CD." This means that you can boot it off the CD and try it out first before installing it. (You can also set Ubuntu up to boot off a USB drive.) In other words, you can make sure that all your hardware will work correctly and that you're happy with the look and feel of the operating system before committing yourself to anything permanent. You can also carry it around and use it to boot up a friend's computer under Ubuntu.

And when you do install it, you'll be asked a minimum of questions, and none of them are in the least challenging to anyone who has ever installed Windows. The install is even smart enough to help you resize an existing Windows partition (even Vista!) to set up a dual-boot system and set the boot menu to handle it.

Ubuntu 8.04, known as Hardy Heron.
Click to view larger image.

Ubuntu has also taken a flexible attitude toward proprietary drivers. Some distributions, philosophically opposed to letting companies "poison" the intellectually free Linux landscape, pretend these drivers don't exist. This can lead to poorly performing hardware or, in some cases, unusable Wi-Fi connections or audio hardware.

Ubuntu does segregate these drivers into a separate "restricted" repository, but it will install them automatically if the operating system detects hardware that could benefit from the driver. You'll get a little pop-up window letting you know what's happened, giving you the choice of either using them or removing them (if you are philosophically opposed to using the drivers).

Good looks and support

The base version of Ubuntu I reviewed uses a pretty standard installation of the Gnome graphical user interface. As opposed to some distributions, which ask you during installation whether you want Gnome or the K Desktop Environment (KDE), Ubuntu has a variety of distributions available, each one tailored to a specific window manager. For example, Kubuntu replaces Gnome with the KDE, while Xubuntu uses the lightweight Xfce window manager, which is perfect for underpowered devices. (I got Xubuntu to run just fine on my One Laptop Per Child XO laptop.)

A lot of the new features in Hardy Heron are really just version updates of things that are already there. The browser has been kicked up to Firefox 3 from Firefox 2 and is better integrated so that activities such as installing plug-ins occur more smoothly. The desktop now runs in 3-D mode by default.

If you're running a dual-boot system, you can read and now write to the Windows New Technology File System directly. You can now choose to have your file partitions created with encryption for greater security in case a laptop is stolen. Printers and graphics can now be configured with user-friendly graphical tools, and in many cases, you can just plug and play a new printer.

Canonical also provides first-class update support for Ubuntu, so you never need to fear that clicking for updates is going to break your current system, even when it's something as major as a new kernel version — something that some other distros aren't as graceful in handling. And along with Ubuntu's popularity has come countless forums and wikis that document just about anything you'd like to do.

Paid support is available from Canonical, starting at $250 per year for 9-to-5 desktop support. By comparison, Red Hat Inc.'s cheapest phone-support option for the desktop starts at $299. And unlike Red Hat and SUSE, the version of Ubuntu that is available for corporate support is the same version you can download and install for free.

So, where does Ubuntu falter? If it has a weakness, it's as an operating system for servers. Ubuntu has put a lot of effort into the desktop experience and doesn't ask a lot of questions about security and firewalling.

Ubuntu automatically installs printers.
Click to view larger image.

Other distributions ask a plethora of questions about password schemes, Kerberos encryption, LDAP servers and so on. This is nothing but confusing for a novice desktop user, but it's important stuff when you're installing a server.

There is a "server edition" available, but it's still not as robust as SUSE Linux or Red Hat Enterprise. This isn't to say it's not a decent server distribution, but it isn't where Ubuntu's strength lies. In addition, the server edition isn't widely supported by enterprise software vendors, for whom Red Hat and SUSE tend to be the only game in town.


When I choose a distribution to install on a desktop or laptop system, it's always Ubuntu. It has the most trouble-free installs and usually the best support for the hardware on my systems. Some of the other distribution makers have taken the success of Ubuntu as a wake-up call and are focusing more on creating an easy-to-use desktop experience, but for the moment, Canonical has the lead by several horse lengths. Anyone who tells you Linux is hard to install or use has clearly not seen Ubuntu lately.

Hardy Heron honors the Ubuntu tradition and carries it forward, freshening things up and making the install experience even simpler to get through. If there's a distribution ready for your neighborhood newbie, this is it.


Microsoft delays release of Windows XP SP3

Rabu, 30 April 2008
Microsoft Corp. has delayed the release of its third service-pack update for Windows XP, blaming a "compatibility issue" between the software and its point-of-sale application for small and midsize retailers.

Microsoft said last week that it had completed development of Service Pack 3 (SP3) and released the update to computer makers and its volume licensing customers. The new release was scheduled to be made available via Windows Update today.

But incompatibilities discovered in the past several days between Microsoft's Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) application and both Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 are forcing the software vendor to hold off on releasing the XP update.

Microsoft said it is putting filters in place to prevent Windows Update from offering both the XP and Vista service packs to systems running Dynamics RMS. Once the filtering capabilities are turned on, Microsoft plans to release XP SP3 via Windows Update and its Download Center Web site for deployment by customers that aren't running Dynamics RMS.

The company didn't say how long it would be before the Dynamics RMS filters are ready to be activated.

A fix to the incompatibility problem between the application and the service packs is being tested and "will be available as soon as that process is complete," Microsoft said. But it didn't disclose a time frame for finishing the testing. Instead, the company recommended that users visit its TechNet forums for more information regarding XP SP3.

In the meantime, Microsoft is recommending that Dynamics RMS customers not install either XP SP3 or Vista SP1, which has already been released to users via Windows Update. For more information, customers running Dynamics RMS should contact Microsoft's customer support organization, the company said.

Microsoft Cuts off Hotmail Access via Outlook Express

Senin, 28 April 2008

Senin, 28 April 2008

In the latest death knell for Outlook Express, Microsoft Corp. announced last week that it will turn off access to its Web-based Hotmail service from the desktop e-mail software at the end of June.

Outlook Express users who want to continue to access their Hotmail accounts offline after June 30 are being encouraged by Microsoft to download its free Windows Live Mail software.

Users will still be able to use Outlook, the big brother of Outlook Express, to read their Hotmail messages offline, but first they may have to upgrade their Outlook Connector synchronization software, according to information posted online today by Scott Hammer, a Microsoft e-mail support manager.

Hammer said that Hotmail users also will still be able to use any other desktop e-mail client that is POP3-compliant, such as the open-source Thunderbird software. Macintosh users, meanwhile, can continue using Microsoft's Entourage e-mail client for the Mac to access Hotmail, which is the second-most-popular Web mail service in the U.S. behind Yahoo Mail, according to market research firm HitWise Pty.

Outlook Express first appeared in 1997, when it was bundled with Internet Explorer 4.0. At one point the most popular e-mail software for Windows users, the technology saw its usage start to decline after suffering major virus and malware problems early this decade. Microsoft's last update of the software, Outlook Express 6, was released in August 2004.

In a blog post at Microsoft's e-mail technical support Web site, Hammer said that Microsoft is disabling the DAV e-mail protocol used by Outlook Express to download messages because it is too slow for the larger e-mail in-boxes now in use. For instance, the Windows Live service offers Hotmail users 5GB in-boxes free of charge.

Instead of DAV, Windows Live Mail uses a new technology called DeltaSync to replicate e-mail, contacts and other data between Hotmail and a user's PC. Microsoft says DeltaSync is faster because it only downloads new or modified messages and headers from the Hotmail server, whereas DAV downloaded everything. But, Hammer wrote, "the new protocol unfortunately is not supported by Outlook Express, and support would require too many changes to the Outlook Express software."

Released last November, Windows Live Mail is a successor to both Outlook Express and the Windows Mail client that shipped with Windows Vista . New features above and beyond the improvements that were in Windows Mail include support for RSS feeds, improved photo-sharing and increased integration with other cloud-based Windows Live online services.

This reporter's main trepidation about moving to Windows Live Mail was how well it would import my existing Outlook Express messages and contacts. The experience was fine, though: after setup, Windows Live Mail automatically searched for and found the right folders. Importing more than 10,000 e-mails took about 15 minutes.

Malicious Microprocessor Opens New Doors for Attack

Kamis, 17 April 2008

KAMIS, 17 APRIL 2008

For years, hackers have focused on finding bugs in computer software that give them unauthorized access to computer systems, but now there's another way to break in: Hack the microprocessor.

On Tuesday, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign demonstrated how they altered a computer chip to grant attackers back-door access to a computer. It would take a lot of work to make this attack succeed in the real world, but it would be virtually undetectable.

To launch its attack, the team used a special programmable processor running the Linux operating system. The chip was programmed to inject malicious firmware into the chip's memory, which then allows an attacker to log into the machine as if he were a legitimate user. To reprogram the chip, researchers needed to alter only a tiny fraction of the processor circuits. They changed 1,341 logic gates on a chip that has more than 1 million of these gates in total, said Samuel King, an assistant professor in the university's computer science department.

"This is like the ultimate back door," said King. "There were no software bugs exploited."

King demonstrated the attack on Tuesday at the Usenix Workshop on Large-Scale Exploits and Emergent Threats, a conference for security researchers held in San Francisco.

His team was able to add the back door by reprogramming a small number of the circuits on a LEON processor running the Linux operating system. These programmable chips are based on the same Sparc design that is used in Sun Microsystems' midrange and high-end servers. They are not widely used, but have been deployed in systems used by the International Space Station.

In order to hack into the system, King first sent it a specially crafted network packet that instructed the processor to launch the malicious firmware. Then, using a special login password, King was able to gain access to the Linux system. "From the software's perspective, the packet gets dropped... and yet I have full and complete access to this underlying system that I just compromised," King said.

The researchers are now working on tools that could help detect such a malicious processor, but there's a big problem facing criminals who would try to reproduce this type of attack in the real world. How do you get a malicious CPU onto someone's machine?

This would not be easy, King said, but there are a few possible scenarios. For example, a "mole" developer could add the code while working on the chip's design, or someone at a computer assembly plant could be paid off to install malicious chips instead of legitimate processors. Finally, an attacker could create a counterfeit version of a PC or a router that contained the malicious chip.

"This is not a script kiddie attack," he said. "It's going to require an entity with resources."

Though such a scenario may seem far-fetched, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is taking the issue seriously. In a February 2005 report, the DoD's Defense Science Board warned of the very attack that the University of Illinois researchers have developed, saying that a shift toward offshore integrated circuit manufacturing could present a security problem.

There are already several examples of products that have shipped with malicious software installed. In late 2006, for example, Apple shipped Video iPods that contained the RavMonE.exe virus.

"We're seeing examples of the overall supply chain being compromised," King said. "Whether or not people will modify the overall processor designs remains to be seen."

A security problem with MySpace

KAMIS, 17 APRIL 2008

A security problem with MySpace has the potential to botch up law-enforcement efforts to track bad actors on the social-networking site.

An increasing number of MySpace profiles contain a few lines of code that automatically subscribe people to the profile's video channel, said Chris Boyd, security research manager for FaceTime Communications.

After the visitor has been added, the person running the profile can see the subscribers. For people who don't abuse MySpace, the problem may not appear to be a huge deal, Boyd said.

But hackers often are running dozens of "puppet" MySpace accounts, which are used for a variety of malicious acts such as spamming or trying to vandalize other profiles, not for social networking, Boyd said.

So when a visitor is added, it's a tip-off that someone could be tracking their movements in order to expose them for abusing MySpace, Boyd said.

Hackers "are using every trick in the book they can to know who is watching them," said Boyd, who has posted more details on his blog.

That's particularly bad for law enforcement, which may invest weeks in "digital stakeouts" observing certain profiles as part of pedophilia investigations, Boyd said.

Hackers have been inserting the code on their pages since at least October 2007. MySpace was notified of the problem in late March but has yet to fix it, although Boyd said the company sent him a personal e-mail labeling the problem a "system error."

The code doesn't tell the person running the profile how many times a particular visitor comes to their site or when, Boyd said. But in combination with an IP (Internet protocol) address "tracker," a profile owner could compile a more complete picture of visitors.

MySpace prohibits tools such as IP trackers, which can narrow down to certain geographic areas where visitors are based. Many of the trackers advertised on dodgy forums simply don't work, Boyd said. Nonetheless, hackers keep finding ways to game MySpace.

There are a couple defenses against this latest problem. If you're automatically added to someone's video channel, you can simply unsubscribe and avoid going back to the profile until MySpace has fixed it.

Another defense is adding the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) "" to the "hosts" file, an internal PC file that matches domain names with Web sites. The file can be configured to block any domains a user specifies.

Why Windows is safer than the Mac

Rabu, 09 April 2008

Rabu, 09 April 2008

Mac users have long gloated that the Mac OS is safer than Windows. The gloating should stop: There's plenty of recent evidence that Vista is, in fact, a safer operating system than Mac OS X.

The most public piece of evidence is the recent "Pwn to Own" challenge, in which security pros were issued the challenge of trying to break into three laptops, a Mac, a PC laptop running Vista SP1, and a laptop running Ubuntu.

The first to fall was the Mac -- and it took a grand total of less than two minutes for security researcher Charlie Miller to break in.

Miller targeted the Mac for a simple reason --- breaking in was like taking candy from a baby.

"It was the easiest one of the three," he told Computerworld. "We wanted to spend as little time as possible coming up with an exploit, so we picked Mac OS X."

More than a day later, hackers were still trying to break into the Vista machine. It was cracked only when the organizers of the challenge changed the rules and made the machine easier to break into, by adding a variety of third-party applications, including Acrobat Reader, Flash Player, Firefox, and Skype. A vulnerability in the Flash Player led to the successful break-in. The Ubuntu machine was never successfully breached.

This latest faceoff only confirms what security researcher Dino Dai Zovi noted a year ago, when he successfully broke into a Mac in a previous version of this year's security challenge. In an interview, he had this to say to Computerworld when asked whether Mac OS X or Vista is more secure:

I have found the code quality, at least in terms of security, to be much better overall in Vista than Mac OS X 10.4. It is obvious from observing affected components in security patches that Microsoft's Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) has resulted in fewer vulnerabilities in newly-written code. I hope that more software vendors follow their lead in developing proactive software security development methodologies.

Here's more evidence that the Mac is less safe than PCs: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology researchers found that Apple patches vulnerabilities slower than does Microsoft. Researcher Stefan Frei said that "the number of unpatched vulnerabilities are higher at Apple" than at Microsoft.

There's other evidence that the Mac is far from safe as well, including the recent release of a Mac Trojan, called Troj/MacSwp-B. According to Computerworld, Sophos says the Trojan, "tries to scare Mac users into purchasing unnecessary software by claiming that privacy issues have been discovered on the computer."

The upshot in all this? If you want a safer machine, get rid of your Mac and get a Vista PC.

April Fool's Storm Worm Attack Hits

Sabtu, 05 April 2008

Sabtu, 05 April 2008

E-mail with an April Fool's Day theme is serving up the latest round of Storm worm attacks.

A new storm worm with an April Fool's Day theme is targeting the Web, according to security software firm PC Tools.

"The Storm worm gang has done it again. This time e-mails are being circulated, which are associated with the April Fool's Day theme," said PC Tools chief threat officer, Kurt Baumgartner.

The e-mail messages contain links that direct users to Web sites that contain malware. Once the files are downloaded and executed on the computer it sets a firewall exception rule and then attempts to 'phone home' using various outgoing ports.

According to Baumgartner, the packer and major sections of executable code have changed significantly, indicating that it could be another variant and AV detection for this threat is close to nonexistent.

"The most effective way users can protect against these new threats is with antimalware products that use behavioral technology. Traditional AV products, which use signature detection are simply not equipped with this behavioral technology and the threat is currently evading those users' defenses," he said.

"Always exercise caution and don't just click on random links sent to your account via e-mail. Exercise even more caution when that random link is attempting to download a file to your system," adds Baumgartner.

Bidding on VoIP systems is all about the details

Rabu, 02 April 2008

Rabu, 2 April 2008

VoIP systems vary in so many ways that businesses need to comb through the gory details of what vendors offer to make sure they get the features and functions they need, attendees were told at VoiceCon Orlando 2008.

Potential customers were urged to consider factors they might tend to overlook, including whether systems can be made resilient to failures, how many devices are needed to build the system, whether they are energy efficient, whether phones offer all the features customers want, and how well they support cell phones as PBX extensions.

These tips came out during a panel discussion of bids that were presented by a group of vendors on a hypothetical RFP put together by Allan Sulkin, president of TEQConsultant Group, who led a tutorial on the subject. (Compare IP PBXes.)

There are some basics such as redundancy of the IP PBX that businesses must seek, Sulkin said. "If you don't get dial tone, nothing counts," he said. The good news about such redundancy is that it's more affordable than it used to be. "It is a fraction of the cost it was 10 years ago," he said.

Businesses also should make sure phone service in a branch office will survive by failing over to another site if primary call-control gear or WAN links go down. Customers have to pay a lot for this type of bullet-proofing, Sulkin said, but it's worth it. "They're not going to save you money; in fact these systems cost you more money," he said. But not being able to continue business if a site fails is even more costly. The U.S. Department of Homeland security requires failover sites that can continue business in the case of disasters, he added.

Sulkin also recommended looking for consolidated functionality on VoIP servers. Some vendors put multiple functions on a single server, which saves on electricity when compared with vendors that split applications among multiple servers. The more servers, the more maintenance and the more energy used, Sulkin said. Gear is trending toward being more energy efficient, Sulkin said, so when buying, consider power consumption.

Certain network infrastructure also can help energy savings, the panel noted. Some Power-over-Ethernet switches, for instance, can shut down power to phones and wireless access points during off hours when nobody is at work to use them.

If tying cell phones into the PBX is important, look carefully at how this is done.

Third-party suppliers are needed in some cases to make cell phones extensions of the IP PBX, introducing one more vendor to the management and maintenance mix. In other cases, vendors support cell phones as PBX extensions but only for incoming calls, unless special client software is installed on them.

Businesses hoping to use VoIP as part of a unified communications (UC) deployment should shop carefully. Integration with popular Microsoft and IBM UC platforms is still on the road map for some vendors.

Some UC use requires customizing UC clients, which may fall to the user, Sulkin said. "You become your own UC programmer and IT department," he said.

Even handsets vary. (Compare IP phones.) Some vendors could not supply all the features sought in the RFP. Some could not provide whisper paging, which lets operators signal that another call is coming to a busy phone with a message saying who it is and what is wanted. Others could not provide a phone supporting Bluetooth for headsets or color displays.

One vendor, Mitel, even has phones that act as wireless access points for mobile handsets, a feature that can allow a gradual shift to wireless LANs if budgets are tight.

Lastly, businesses should check out how 911 calls are handled, Sulkin said. Vendors vary on whether and how they support information about the physical location of phones making 911 calls. Some vendors' gear automatically updates the information, but the data must be manually transferred to sites handling emergency calls.

Save DOS: The Ultimate Antidote to Vista's Bloat

Selasa, 01 April 2008

Selasa, 1 April 2008
More than a year after the release of Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, many users continue to spurn it, citing performance problems, compatibility issues, interface annoyances, steep upgrade costs, and general bloated excess.

The growing demand among consumers and business professionals for a leaner, meaner OS has made one thing clear to PC World: It's time to bring back DOS.

Yes, DOS--the operating system that hit the market with the first IBM PC in 1981, and powered the majority of the world's personal computers until the current fad for Windows began in the 1990s.

To deny the world's computer users access to DOS is to deny them a familiar, powerful, and affordable operating system. But that's precisely what Microsoft did when it discontinued sales of MS-DOS on November 1, 2001--foisting Windows onto corporate and home users alike, whether they wanted it or not. It isn't too late to right that wrong.

We hereby urge Microsoft to reinstate sales and support of DOS 6.22 immediately. The site for our Save DOS campaign, live at, includes a slide show of great moments in DOS history, video coverage of the DOS resurgence, a history of DOS's accomplishments to date, and a community for DOS disciples to share their opinions, memories, and most-loved batch files with one another.

DOS Is Still Boss

The benefits that DOS provides over Vista--and even over the relatively reliable and (admittedly) widely supported Windows XP--are as varied as they are undeniable.

For instance, for power users who require maximum efficiency on today's hardware and find overwrought graphical interfaces useless, DOS is the ultimate high-performance OS. (Check out our DOS vs. Vista features-comparison and performance-testing charts for more details.)

For high-end gaming, DOS takes a radical approach to supporting serious performance by placing minimal demands on system hardware, leaving the PC's memory and processor cycles free to render mind-blowing 256-color graphics.

Security, a major bugaboo for Windows users, is a nonissue with DOS, since hackers stopped writing DOS viruses years ago and every known piece of spyware in the wild is incompatible with the operating system. Another plus: The lack of graphical browsers for DOS completely eliminates Web annoyances such as pesky pop-up ads.

Even mundane tasks, such as displaying the contents of a directory, are quicker with DOS. Want to find and open a folder? In Windows, you must put your mousing wrist at risk of repetitive stress injury with several time-wasting mouse clicks. In DOS, all you have to do is type dir c:\foldername /p--engaging both of your hands (and therefore both hemispheres of your brain) and touching the same key twice in only three instances.

Yet another benefit: DOS vastly simplifies the tedious and complicated process of installing and removing software, which in Windows tends to choke system resources. Whereas Windows programs frequently leave miscellaneous files and configuration settings strewn around your PC, nearly all DOS apps uninstall completely when you delete the program's directory, leaving your PC with the digital equivalent of a freshly vacuumed carpet. In that regard, DOS offered Mac-like simplicity years before Apple ever thought of it. (Come to think of it, that makes DOS a viable upgrade path for disgruntled OS X "Leopard" users, too, since today's Intel-based Macs are, at their hearts, powerful and stylish DOS boxes.)

DOS vs. Vista: No Contest

Unlike Windows Vista, DOS doesn't waste precious resources displaying unnecessary eye candy. In fact, most versions--from IBM's PC-DOS to Microsoft's MS-DOS to newer open-source variants such as FreeDOS--can run extremely well with a few hundred kilobytes of RAM and less than 10MB of hard-drive space. That frees the rest of your PC's disk space and RAM to perform more-important tasks.

Windows Vista, of course, requires a minimum of a 1-GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and a DirectX 9 graphics card just to boot the OS. To handle all of the operating system's baroque flourishes, users need 1GB of RAM and a discrete graphics card armed with more than 128MB of video memory.

DOS could hardly be more different.

DOS and Vista features; click to view full-size image

As you can see in the accompanying chart (click the thumbnail at left to view the full-size image), DOS's full complement of user-friendly features handily beats Windows Vista's complex set of tools. Feature for feature, DOS offers a simpler, more efficient way to accomplish your computing tasks.

In today's world, highly mobile world, Vista's demanding specs leave many laptops--even relatively new models--out in the cold. DOS, however, can turn an aging laptop into a performance powerhouse faster than you can say "Where do I want to go today?"

In PC World tests, DOS was faster in every category.

In our tests, DOS outperformed Windows Vista in every task we threw at it, as shown in the second accompanying chart (click the thumbnail at right to view). From its astonishingly brisk boot times to its snappy shutdowns, DOS does everything faster and less fussily. As for the things it can't do at all, well, none of them actually matter.

Hey, What About Windows XP?

Despite cries of outrage from sober, diligent, and thrifty users, Microsoft says that it intends to stick with its plan to end most sales of Windows XP on June 30, 2008, effectively steamrolling (or stampeding, depending on the visual that captures one's fancy) consumers into adopting Windows Vista from that point forward, willy-nilly.

Sensing the burgeoning wave of dissatisfaction with Vista, our colleagues at InfoWorld earlier this year initiated a Save Windows XP campaign. More than 100,000 users have signed an InfoWorld petition addressed to Microsoft so far.

InfoWorld argues that, with its smaller footprint, simpler interface, and lower system requirements, Windows XP has numerous and substantial advantages over Vista. We concur. But taking the same reasoning even further, we believe that a DOS revival would solve even more problems associated with Windows-era gewgaws and fripperies--thereby essentially eliminating the need for continued XP sales into the bargain.

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