Computing FreeBSD Windows

My Ideal Operating System

What would my ideal Operating System look like?

  • Really small minimal installation. You know, like OpenBSD.
  • Thorough and comprehensive help pages. You know, like OpenBSD.
  • The ability to simply administer the OS remotely. You now, like SSH on OpenBSD.
  • Excellent, easy to configure firewall. You know, like pf on OpenBSD.
  • Easy to configure network redundancy. You know, like CARP on OpenBSD.
  • All communications between servers to be on well-determined ports.
  • Easy to manage centralised authentication. You know, like Active Directory on Windows.
  • Redundancy of authentication servers. You know, like Active Directory on Windows.
  • Automatic replication between authentication servers. You know, like Active Directory on Windows.
  • Automatic discovery of authentication servers using a simple system like DNS. You know, like Active Directory on Windows.
  • The ability to configure settings on clients centrally. You know, like Group Policy on Windows.
  • The ability to manage disks in almost any way imaginable. You know, like Veritas Storage Foundation.
  • The ability to replicate disks between systems. You know, like Veritas Volume Replicator.
  • Easy to use clustering. You know, like Veritas Cluster Server.
  • The ability to simply install OS updates. You know, like freebsd-update on FreeBSD.
  • The ability to centrally manage OS updates across the organisation, downloading only once. You know, like WSUS on Windows.
  • Centralised logging.
  • Built-in monitoring of hardware sensors. You know, like sysctl hw.sensors on OpenBSD.
  • Everything monitorable by SNMP.
  • A clear support lifetime policy. You know, like OpenBSD.
  • And finally, I want it Open Source. You know, like BSD-type open.

Is that too much to ask?


My First UAC Encounter

I’ve been lucky enough to stay away from Windows Vista, having moved to the Mac at home. I’ve had several chances to play with Windows Vista, but I still prefer the look and feel of Windows XP. A friend who is a Vista user recently had to reinstall from scratch (due to a hardware issue, not a Windows issue), and I needed to use his PC (since reading NTFS filesystems on an old hard disk is something Windows is pretty good at).

The first time I used this PC, before the reinstall, my friend had disabled UAC, as he found it too annoying. However, after the reinstall he’d left it enabled to see if it was any less annoying. I’d not used Vista with UAC enabled before, so I didn’t know just how intrusive it was. I found out quite quickly.

I clicked Start, and entered mmc. I hit enter, and was immediately confronted with a dialog box, stating that mmc was trying to run, and should I allow it. I found this unbelievable, that I was being asked if I wanted a program that I’d explicitly asked to start to be started. I’d thought that UAC was to stop programs being started without your knowledge, not to ask you to confirm every single action!

I was left feeling like Vista’s interface was a step backwards from XP.

This post was brought to you by the “I like to blog about it two years after everyone else” department.


Vista versions

Microsoft has come in for some criticisms of Windows Vista for having several different versions available. But how many versions are there?

Common opinion is that there are between 4 and 6 versions available. Microsoft's consumer site indicates four versions – Basic; Home Premium; Business and Ultimate(, but there's also the Enterprise edition available, so that makes five.

But if you wanted to simply buy a copy of Vista for your existing PC, without going through licensing schemes, how many versions have you to choose from?

A quick look at online retailer's site shows 28 versions available.

 Some of those versions are upgrade, and 64 or 32 bit, but there are actually only the four consumer versions represented there. It's no wonder people are confused.