11th > March > 2006 Archive

fingers pointing at man

Virus names likely a lost cause

In early February, anti-virus firms warned customers about a computer virus programmed to delete files on the third of each month, but almost every company called the program by a different name.
Robert Lemos, 11 Mar 2006

You're taking the p*ss, Europe tells Microsoft

Microsoft continues to flout its anti-trust order, the European Commission said on Friday in two strongly worded statements. The EC has again written to Redmond explaining where it's failing to comply with a 2004 decision by the competition office. Further study of Microsoft's submissions - it's obliged to document its protocols and interfaces - revealed them to be "entirely inadequate". For good measure, the EC compared Microsoft's protocol documentation to bloatware, and implied that Microsoft hadn't read the decision it was legally obliged to obey. The EC said Microsoft had fundamentally misunderstood the role of its monitoring trustee Neil Barrett. His role (and here the EC draws m'learned friends' attention to paragraph 1045 of the March 2004 decision) "should not only be reactive, but should play a proactive role in the monitoring of Microsoft’s compliance". Microsoft had accused Barrett of colluding with competitors by meeting with them regularly. In fact, that's just his job. Rather tartly, the EU also reminded Microsoft that Barrett had been proposed by … er, Microsoft. The commission also quotes from an independent analysis of Microsoft's protocol documentation conducted by Taeus. Taeus compared Microsoft's submissions to a car manufacturer selling a car without wheels, handbrake, or steering wheel, and only fitting each begrudgingly after the customer complains. Microsoft hadn't changed the submission between 29 December 2005 and meetings on 30 and 31 January, despite being asked to do so. Taeus concluded that what documentation Microsoft had provided was "devoted to obsolete functionality", "self-contradictory" and was written "primarily to maximize volume (page count) while minimizing useful information". Ouch. Microsoft's fighting hard to get its documentation obligations muted. As well as trying to get Barrett thrown off the case, Microsoft has published 200 or so pages of rebuttal based on analyses it's commissioned itself. Microsoft's strategy is designed to ensure free/open source software can't interoperate with Windows, says the Free Software Foundation Europe. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Mar 2006

Supermicro stuns with four-socket, 1U Opteron bad boy

Supermicro has crammed about as much processing power as possible into a 1U x86 box by delivering a four-socket Opteron-based system. Customers can purchase a the H8QC8+ quad server board that holds up to four of AMD's dual-core 800 Series chips and supports a 1GHz Hypertransport link. Samples of the system have already started shipping and volume shipments should occur in the next few weeks. The board - without CPUs - starts at $1,300, while a server system without CPUs will start at $2,200. Check the board out here. This is an OEM-only product, which is probably good because it's not for the faint of heart. Supermicro demands a 1,000 watt power supply to get this bad boy humming. We're guessing that most customers will slot the 55 watt versions of Opteron (860, 865 and 870 HE) in this server. Supermicro also sells a 4U version of the box. A Supermicro source rushed to claim some of the glory tied to rumors that Google has become a large Opteron shop. "There's some truth to the rumors" about Supermicro supplying gear to Google, the source said. "It was happy days around here." The source, however, declined to say how many systems Supermicro has shipped to Google. Supermicro continues to hide its Opteron-based gear. You won't find any mention of the boxes on Supermicro's homepage or product page. It's an all Xeon affair.To dig deep on the Opteron front, you need to head here. A-plus, ya'll. The four-socket 1U system would be impossible to build with today's Xeon chips. Supermicro has delivered a real workhorse, and we'll be curious to see the demand for such hardware. This should woo a few in the HPC market. ®
Ashlee Vance, 11 Mar 2006