Microsoft’s Azure now supports Linux…Sort of..

Microsoft has announced that it wil now support Linux.  Well if you are running a few distros they will.  Those would be:

Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2

OpenSuse 12.01

CentOS 6.2

Ubuntu 12.04

If you didn’t notice there is one very large distorbution missing from that list.  Red Hat and Fedora are not there but CentOS is.  CentOS is a dirivitive work off of Red Hat.  So it’s not likely a driver issue.  It’s more likely that it’s a licensing and support contract thing.  We have another story about a contract they just signed so we know it’s also unlikely that they aren’t happy about working with each other.  Check out the podcast to hear us go into more detail about our thoughts on the whole situation.

Can Windows uefi stop Multiboot of Linux??

With the Windows 8 announcement there has been a lot of concern about comments made that Microsoft would require manufactures who want the “Optimized for Windows 8” sticker to use UEFI and key it to the MS installed OS.  So what would that mean?  Well the concern is that it would mean you couldn’t install Linux.  It would also mean that you wouldn’t be able to boot from any third party CD.  So no one, except maybe MS, would be able to create a bootable disk for repair, Antivirus, and disk partitioner will be able to create their disks or tools.   The there is the whole Monopoly issues.  Also the fact that MS has been spending all kinds of time and money to try and get the Open Source world off it’s back and this would just destroy all of that work.  Then there is the whole issue with people who won’t ever really install Linux but not buy the hardware just because they know they can’t.  A Bios switch is a great way to have this particular piece of tech and use it.  After all Microsoft really does have a positive reason for wanting this done for antivirus protection.


VMWare is planning on taking on Microsoft….

The Var Guy is reporting a follow up on VMWare’s plans to use Zimbra, the open Source E-mail/Groupware solution they purchased from Yahoo in January.  What is being discussed and reported is that VMWare will begin selling and supporting Applicances with the opensource software installed and configured.  They will not be starting their own hosting option but instead rely on the over 500 existing VMWare hosting focused companies.  The goal of this is go directly after Microsofts E-Mail product Exchange.  This should be interesting to watch.

When Experts aren’t Experts bad stories happen…

I came across this story about Windows vs. Linux Servers on the IT World Website.  The supposed expert states things like “Windows access control “blows Linux out of the water,” he claims. “In a Windows box, you can set access-control mechanisms without a software add-on.” ”  Since I setup access control on Linux servers on a regular basis.  I have never needed a software add-on to do it.  Several of the companies I have worked for have used tools that manage all of their servers in a unified and automated manner.  These tools however were used for all of the systems in their environment be they Unix, Linux, Windows and even the Mainframe.

The “Expert” also seemed to think it was harder to manage a Linux Server over a Windows Sever.  This is strictly a matter of what you are used to.  While there were times in my past where I did Administer Windows Servers.  Going back now and trying to do things is difficult because of how much has changed.  Learning and becoming an expert in any operating system takes time and requires work.

Companies need to evaluate the Linux vs. Windows choice based on what they are trying to do.  Everyone needs to not make this decision on a case by case basis.  There are no hard fast rules and staffing and cost will always be the biggest things to determine it.


How Linux saved a Microsoft based Fast Food Chain….

I came across a great story about how one Fast Food chain used Linux to fix the McAfee issue from a few weeks back. The really cool thing about it for me was that it was a Windows Admin talking a walk on the open side of life.  The story gives great background and detail on what and how they fixed the problem and also has some of the scripts they used to pull off the rescue.  Having been in the opperations side of the house my whole carrier I can really appericate what this team went through.  The story is a great example of how a good team with great open and free dialog can always find the best solution for any situation no matter how bad it looks.

MA law sparks people to worry….

Molly Wood from coined one of my favorite phrases when she described the as people reading anything on the internet and then assuming it’s true.  I recently faced a moment when I started receiving a flurry of E-Mail’s about concerns raised by this article at  It’s about a new Massachusetts Law that makes it a fine able offense to store even just a persons first and last name without encrypting it.  I love it when people write stupid laws so I started digging in expecting to read some really hard to follow legal jargon I could easily misunderstand.  So I started tracing back the article and others related to it.  The first place I went is to the article that was referenced by over at After reading it I was still missing where I needed to encrypt even first and last name came from.  So I went looking for the law itself with a quick google search.

What I found when I got there has to be one of the easiest to read laws I have ever seen.  It’s also much less scary once you have read it.  Here are some key points I think will help you understand why I am saying this.

From the PDF of the law found here:

Let’s start with the purpose of the regulation:

“This regulation implements the provisions of M.G.L. c. 93H relative to the standards to be met
by persons who own or license personal information about a resident of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts. This regulation establishes minimum standards to be met in connection with
the safeguarding of personal information contained in both paper and electronic records. The
objectives of this regulation are to insure the security and confidentiality of customer
information in a manner fully consistent with industry standards; protect against anticipated
threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information; and protect against
unauthorized access to or use of such information that may result in substantial harm or
inconvenience to any consumer. “

Sounds pretty normal and generally a great thing for consumers right?  I thought so at least.  I dug in to find out what “M.G.L. c. 93H” meant and found the really hard to read stuff I thought I would find with the first link.  It sounds like this document is the explanation of how to comply with the law.  So I kept reading and looking for where it said even a persons first and last name, assuming it is the only information you are keeping, needs to be encrypted.  What I found was this in the definitions section:

Personal information, a Massachusetts resident’s first name and last name or first initial and
last name in combination with any one or more of the following data elements that relate to
such resident: (a) Social Security number; (b) driver’s license number or state-issued
identification card number; or (c) financial account number, or credit or debit card number,
with or without any required security code, access code, personal identification number or
password, that would permit access to a resident’s financial account; provided, however, that
“Personal information” shall not include information that is lawfully obtained from publicly
available information, or from federal, state or local government records lawfully made
available to the general public.  “

So according to this extremely clear statement all of the usual suspects are covered and not just First and Last Name as the article suggests.  All of the rules of what is PI is listed here are consistent with the rules used by almost every industry and Government Agency in the US.  So as per usual if you are storing information that a hacker can use to cost a person money you need to at least attempt to encrypt it and reasonably physically protect your assets that hold the data either electronic or paper.

The only thing that is different, though not burdensome, is that you must have a written security plan.  If your company has or uses this type of data and doesn’t have a plan already written then you should.  It’s the first thing most auditors will ask you for when doing an audit.  It’s also going to be in the first discover request if you get hacked and then sued by your customers. is a blog focused on, if not funded by, Microsoft SQL Server.  Microsoft’s latest release now offers what it calls transparent encryption.  Sounds really useful in this case right?  The Author even points this new feature out in the article.

What’s the moral of this story?  Before you start getting worried about new rules or laws and how they affect you take a little time to do your homework.  With your friend and mine Google, or Yahoo, or even Bing, you could have done the research I did in less than 30 minutes.  If I were running a business that this affected I would I would never trust a blogger, not even me, on the internet for Legal Advice unless he was a Lawyer blogging about the law.  So run the question past my Legal Council before spending my development or system administration resources time implementing it.  Your Legal Council is there to help you protect yourself from exactly this type of threat.

In case you missed it please do not believe that I am an expert in any way.  Seek Legal Council if you store any data about your customers and some of the live in MA.  They are truly the best source you have about this possible threat.

Is Microsoft really trying to compete with FLOSS?

So Microsoft announced this week that it would stop updating it’s core “enterprise” search product on Linux and Unix.  So when you have a mixed environment, like most medium and large corporations do, how is a solution without a linux or unix option still an enterprise solution.  Really how do you call this an enterprise search solution?  Easy you promise to support though not update the existing code for the next ten(10) years and help people setup Windows options.  If you are wondering why your Microsoft stock never seems to go up this would be a prime example.

By comparison to this most search solutions in the FLOSS world do offer and support Windows.  So does this mean that Microsoft has just decided it can’t compete?  Hard to believe that the folks in Redmond can’t seem to figure out there is money in software for Linux and BSD.  Controlling the entire stack just isn’t that important anymore is it?  I guess they think so.

So does FLOSS get the win in this competion?  What do you think?

Moonlight get’s Microsofts approval….

While we can’t seem to get the Podcast onto the Zune Store, Microsoft is showing other areas of the Linux world much more love.  In this article on Linux Planet they talk about the blessing of Moonlight is part of the ever expanding deal between Novell and Microsoft. This means that you can now watch all your favorite SilverLight based shows on the internet.  I know this is supposed to exist but I have yet to see anything that wasn’t flash based but it’s supposed to be out there.  This will, if nothing else, help to keep the issues with IE only sites Linux and Mac users are used to from continuing as Microsoft tries to establish SilverLight as an Adobe Flash killer.  This is great to hear let’s how this recent change of heart at Microsoft keeps going.  Someday maybe even an open source version of Windows. (I can dream can’t I?)