In case you have not heard, Microsoft is set to finally end support for Windows XP. With millions of computers still running XP, here are some upgrade options for users ranging from doing nothing (and hoping for the best) to choosing a new O/S to install on that machine to getting new machines and dumping the old ones.
I use Windows XP in most of my lessons. However, my students do occasionally use Linux (usually Ubuntu or Fedora) as part of their lessons. In the past, I have had a couple of dedicated Ubuntu computers for the students to use when they needed to work with Linux. I did not like having those computers sitting idle most of the time. I had tried using dual boot options when installing Ubuntu, but I did not like the complexity of the steps. Mostly due to my own fault, my dual-boot installations always had something that did not go just right. I don’t have to worry about this with Wubi.
I just came across the ReactOS Project. This is an ongoing Open Source project designed to be an alternative to Microsoft’s Windows Operating System. This is not the alternative of a completely different Operating System that runs completely different applications, like Linux. Instead, this is a project that uses freely available documentation from Microsoft to create an O/S that is compatible with Windows Applications. Since it is Open Source, this also means that it is Free.
The project is still in the developmental stage and not yet ready for daily use as the main O/S for your computer. However, from the information on their website, ReactOS requires much less processor and memory than Windows XP, Vista, and Win7. I am hoping by the time a stable version comes out, we will have a widely compatible O/S that can be installed on older machines that are laying around and collecting dust or being dumped in landfills.
I downloaded version 0.3.9 and tried it out on a couple of computers. The screen looked nice and loaded quickly, but then hung up. There might be a quick solution for this, but since the project is still not quite stable yet, I will wait until a future release before putting too much time into it. However, if you want to try it out yourself, ReactOS has several download options available, including an installation ISO and LiveCD ISO.
Ubuntu 9.04 is out and looks better than ever. I am in the process of installing it and setting up a Virtual Machine for Windows XP. As I have time to complete this project, I will post more details.
If you are unsure what Ubuntu is, go here. One day, I plan on writing an article about Ubuntu (just don’t know when).
Most venders have been working steadily on the recently revealed DNS Security Hole.
If you are not aware of the DNS Hole, here is an except from PC World.
In brief, the flaw relates to how DNS requests are made to servers and fulfilled. The weak point in DNS is that when a computer asks for the translation of a name into a number, malicious parties can try to "poison" the response, by feeding out inaccurate information. The current DNS system uses some random components to made it hard to poison, but Kaminsky discovered that due to an overlooked hole, a peristent malicious party could ultimately succeed.
It appears that most vendors have released and deployed security fixes for the problem. The surprising holdout is Apple. As of the publishing of this article, Apple has yet to release the fix for their servers. According to the Tidbits website, this could pose a huge problem for uses of Apple servers.
All users who connect to Mac OS X-based servers for DNS lookups are at risk: Apple has not yet provided a patch, unlike dozens of other companies that make or distribute operating systems or DNS server software.
Hopefully Apple will address this issue soon.
This summer, Intel announced that it would not be installing Windows Vista on its internal computers.