|I never feel to have enough time to catch up width the tech news. To compensate, I find myself listening more and more often to pod-casts when I walk, drive, cook or do other practical matters. Of course, you may say, I wold be better off doing zazen or practicing mindfulness. I do that also, depending on my state of mind. Anyway - today I tried a new show; "Windows Weekly" episode 445. It was hilarious! I have not listened to the whole show yet - but for sure - I have a new favorite comedian! His name is Jeffery Snover, and he works for Microsoft. He was the guest of this show - or the "Special Guest Star" as Kermit the Frog would have phrased it.
This is the guy who committed power-shell against us all. It's not the most awful program Microsoft has launched - but it's bad. Like a Visual Basic command-line replacement of bash. In this show he talked about several amazing new things coming from Microsoft.
** Openssh is finally being ported to windows! Wow. That's great. But not exactly a new idea. I did that myself 16 years ago and released the binaries and code for free. (The openssh code 16 years ago was a /real/ mess. I mean, really, really a huge spaghetti-monster grade of dark matter. The port was simple enough. I spent most of the time doing the same code changes again and again and again and again because openssh and openssl consisted of mostly of repeated code (It was written in C - I still don't understand why they repeated code in stead of grouping the popular blocks into functions)).
** Improved security: Time. One big new thing is to be able to limit when a user has admin rights. The idea is that if Dilbert's credentials are stolen by Albanian hackers, they cannot hack all the weekend because Dilbert's credentials will be worthless outside his work hours. Do you see a problem with that? What happens if Pointy Haired boss calls in terror Friday afternoon and wants the data-center back online during Black Friday?
** Improved Security: What and where. Another approach that the comedian was really exited about, was a means to lock down an admins admin rights to exactly what he needs on the different servers. Sounds good to me. Finally some good, old fashion innovation from Microsoft. If they try to patent it, there is however prior art. I think it's called sudo.
** No more Side Loading on servers. In order to facilitate micro-servers (they are popular in Hairy Boss territory these days) - Microsoft will not load all their installation images on the local disk. That way a server image can drop from 12 gigabytes to a roughly 400 megabytes. (They removed some other stuff as well, such as the UI stack, but the side loading takes up a huge chunk of disk space - something that has annoyed me more than once. A Linux VM takes a few GB with full desktop. A 32 bit Windows 7 instance, without anything but a Cisco VPN program, takes up 9GB SSD disk-space on my laptop ). On the micro-servers they will instead offer everything, patched and updated to the latest version, from the "cloud". This is really great! You only use disk space for what you really need. Unfortunately, if they plan to patent this, there are prior art. In my favorite Linux distribution it's called apt. Pretty much all popular Linux distributions have simple commands to download and install the latest/updated version of /a lot/ of software on demand.
** The last thing he talked about (I believe, at this time my dog barfed for attention) was how they had ported a FOSS project, "Pester" I think, to make it easy to test new deployments. He phrased it as it would check if everything was running as expected after rolling out a new version. So that the operator could go and get drunk, in stead of waiting in horror for Pointy Haired Boss calling about the dead data center... If it's just monitoring, I made such a system 15 years ago (agents for Linux and Windows, server and console as a native Windows program)...
Great show! Hilarious! If you have the time, search it up and listen to it.
The question that stuck me when the Special Guest Star left was if Microsoft is doing any real innovation anymore. Most things I have seen form them in recent years are either aimed at copying Google or Apple (without really understanding what Google's or Apples customers appreciate about what they are copying - just look at the total failure of Windows Phone), following (catching up) with trends (containers, micro-services, cloud), or catching up with very old Unix/Linux technology (virtual desktops, sudo, ssh, apt).