Windows 2048?

I’ve noticed a lot of attempted break-ins on our servers during the last week. Mostly trying to use the rpc.statd buffer overflow. Looks like another wave of massive, automated cracking going on. Might be a good idea to disable or block access to rpc.statd where possible.

Meanwhile, we’ve been upgrading one of our few Windows boxes from NT to 2000. The first half dozen installs didn’t quite work but we’re begining to get closer. One of the problems in installing 2000 seems to be that you have to completely wipe out any traces of previous version of Windows or it will try to merge bits and pieces of the old installation in with the new one and the result is not pretty. Formatting the install drive will take care of that problem but it appears to not be possible to actually format the hard drive using the 2000 installer. If you select the target partition and ask 2000 to format it, you get a screen that seems to show the drive being formatted (complete with bar-graph and percent-done indicator). However it doesn’t actually format it if it’s already formatted as NTFS from a previous install, it just scans it and then installs on top of whatever was already on the disk. We finally had to use Partition Magic to wipe out the existing contents, and then wiped the MBR manually with FDISK by booting from a floppy with DOS on it. After all that, we got a clean install and things started working right.

What I really found amazing is that the last couple of Red Hat Linux installs I’ve done were actually quite a bit easier. I think we’re getting real close to the cross-over point where Windows is going to start falling behind Linux in ease-of-use.

And one more thing. I keep seeing Windows 2000 referred to as Win2K – but wouldn’t that equate to Windows 2048?

Mozilla Alpha and Windows Bugs

I’m trying out the new alpha release of mozilla. So far, it seems reasonably stable. The interface is really awful looking but apparently you’ll be able to swap out the “skins” like you can on winamp and xmms. Speaking of new software, Windows 2000 ships in matter of days. According to an article on zdnet, an internal Microsoft memo reveals that Windows 2000 will have over 65,000 known bugs in the final version. Fortunately, Microsoft claims that less than 28,000 of these are serious, the rest are unfinished code, partial functionality, “long-forgotten” problems (whatever that means), or merely “potential issues”. Hmmm… Sounds like more good news for Linux to me.

Running Apache on Windows Sucks

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the Apache/Perl project. I now have Apache 1.3.9 and ActiveState Perl running on a Dell Inspiron 7500 laptop. I sure wouldn’t want to run NT as a real web server but it looks like it’s stable enough and fast enough for this job with only the local web browser as a client. One annoyance was having to go through all the scripts to fix little things like path delimiters to work the Microsoft way instead of the right way. If you’ve been fortunate enough not to have encountered a Microsoft OS before, the weird thing about them is that Microsoft chose to use ‘\’ as a path delimiter (instead of ‘/’ like everybody else) and many programming languages (like Perl) use ‘\’ to mark an escape sequence. So a path like /home/http/index.html has to be rewritten as something like e:\\apache\\html\\index.html. It’s good to be nearly finished with this one.

Making Apache Run on Windows

As NCC’s alpha geek, I never turn down a challenge and I’ve got an interesting one this week. I have to take a collection of perl scripts designed to run on a Linux/Apache system and get them running on a Dell Laptop running Windows NT. The preferred method of simply defenestrating the Laptop and installing Linux isn’t acceptable because it will be used in demostrations requiring the use of a Netscape Navigator client that looks like the Windows version. In particular the drop-down boxes as rendered by Motif seem to confuse people who’ve never used a computer with a real OS. So the only choice appears to be running the whole system on NT.