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Microsoft Software The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Charging Businesses $4K for DST Fix 395

Posted by Zonk
from the pricey-way-to-tell-time dept.
eldavojohn writes "Microsoft has slashed the price it's going to charge users on the daylight saving time fixes. As you know, the federal law that moves the date for DST goes into effect this month. Although the price of $4000 is 1/10 of the original estimate Microsoft made, it seems a bit pricey for a patch to a product you've already paid for. From the article: 'Among the titles in that extended support category are Windows 2000, Exchange Server 2000 and Outlook 2000, the e-mail and calendar client included with Office 2000. For users running that software, Microsoft charges $4,000 per product for DST fixes. For that amount, customers can apply the patches to all systems in their organizations, including branch offices and affiliate.' The only thing they can't do, said a Microsoft rep, is redistribute them."
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Microsoft Charging Businesses $4K for DST Fix

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  • by ceresur (945388) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:27PM (#18220076)
    We are using this patch at my organization for all our Win2k and Win2k Server boxes out there (running legacy apps that we don't need to upgrade). http://www.intelliadmin.com/blog/2007/01/unofficia l-windows-2000-daylight.html [intelliadmin.com]
  • by pythas (75383) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:27PM (#18220086)
    It's not $4000 per product, it's $4000 for ALL the products

    They also provide a variety of workarounds (registry files you can apply, and scripts to apply to a large number of machines remotely) for Windows 2000. If you don't like that, there's unofficial patches as well (http://www.intelliadmin.com/blog/2007/01/unoffici al-windows-2000-daylight.html)

    Yay for overblown stories!
  • Re:Bastages. (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:28PM (#18220102) Homepage
    This is just for Windows 2000 and products from that same era. XP and stuff for it shouldn't be a problem.
  • Re:Screw 'em (Score:5, Informative)

    by iPaul (559200) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:29PM (#18220116) Homepage
    Kerberos auth has problems if the clocks are > 300 sec out of sync. It's not that you couldn't do it manually, you just run the risk of a "hickup", like no one in the domain is allowed to log in.
  • Re:Screw 'em (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anml4ixoye (264762) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:31PM (#18220132) Homepage
    Hahaha.

    As an engineer who is right in the middle of helping our customers make the changes necessary for the DST fix, it is much more complicated than that.

    First, you have all of the servers and clients which rely on one another. The biggest effect is on mail - Exchange/Outlook/OWA.

    Second, you have to do it in the right order, at about the same time. If you update the server, then clients who schedule appointments will be off until they update.

    Third, you've got software which calculates various things based on that date. Think financial transactions, etc.

    I've blogged about the tool [cornetdesign.com] we have to help customers figure out what has to be done.

    I wish it was as easy as just updating a script, but when you have to coordinate that change across 10s or 100s of thousands of servers, clients, etc, it's not an easy task.

    And let's not forget Microsoft isn't the only one having to make changes. Lotus Notes, Groupwise, Blackberries - they all have changes that have to be made. I'll personally be glad when this is all done. Ugh.
  • Re:Bastages. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:42PM (#18220216)
    Windows XP is still a fully supported system, while Windows 2000 isn't.
    (MS only releases security-related fixes)
  • by jjeffries (17675) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:43PM (#18220220)
    There's a free patcher here [intelliadmin.com] that I've used on a few 2k machines and one NT4 machine and nothing has blown up thus far.

    First link under "freeware downloads".
  • Re:Bastages. (Score:3, Informative)

    by master0ne (655374) <emberingdeadN05P4M @ g m a i l .com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:47PM (#18220252)
    XP was released about the same time they considerd changing DST im not sure if XP (orignal unpatched version) was DST compliant, however by the time SP1 was released, they had already decided to change DST in 2007, so many companies have had tons of time to prepair, and now that its upon up, people are just NOW rushing to patch (which could have been done YEARS ago) and making a scene about not being able to get patches, products prior to XP are out of the "primary support" cycle from Microsoft, and as such patches are no longer provided, MS has said they will patch previous products for a price, which is what they are doing (cheeper than they orignally stated too!) none the less, this is a good point for open sorce software, as another poster here said, it should be a simple config file change, easy to patch, if it isnt thats MS's bad coding practices, and as such im sure pretty much all OSS software still being activly developed already has patches avalable...
  • TZEdit (Score:4, Informative)

    by HeyBob! (111243) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:55PM (#18220306)
    I've been using tzedit.exe (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/914387 [microsoft.com]) for manually updating a few old pc's
  • by Fezmid (774255) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:56PM (#18220308)
    If you want them to update Solaris 7 or earlier, it'll cost you $10,000/server with a cap of $150,000. Highway robbery if you ask me.

    We're just modifying the timezone files with zic.

    As much as I dislike MS, they're not alone in the highway robbery department here.
  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:05PM (#18220356)
    Microsoft themselves also offer a free solution [microsoft.com] for Windows 2000 servers. Perhaps this takes a bit more work than an official patch would, but if you've got so many 2000 servers that you'd consider dropping $4k on a patch, chances are you've got Active Directory or at least an admin with the skills to script a rollout of a reg file with this fix.
  • ..or just DIY (Score:4, Informative)

    by ph43thon (619990) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:27PM (#18220510) Journal
    This is absurd. Just go here [microsoft.com] and follow the instructions.

    Three steps.

    1. Create .reg file by copy/pasting from that page.
    2. Create .vbs file by copy/pasting from that page.
    3a. Create GPO to import reg key and run VBScript on Win2k machines at Startup.
    or
    3b. In absence of AD, modify script to copy itself and .reg file to all Win2k machines and apply fix.

    If you're such a small organization that you don't have an I.T. group.. then.. it's probably simple to use TZEdit to update your piddly network.

    For fun, you can trick out the script to make sure it only runs once.
  • Re:Screw 'em (Score:5, Informative)

    by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:39PM (#18220618)
    Its basically a Microsoft WTF. While every sane operating system keeps the hardware clock on universal time (UTC/GMT), Windows keeps the hardware clock on local time. This affects things like the date format stored on disk in the filesystem.
  • Not so Crazy... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:53PM (#18220754)
    Remember the batch of F-22 stealth fighters the lost everything but their flight-control computers when they crossed over the international dateline earlier this month? [slashdot.org]

    Well, that's certainly not the first time F-22's have flown across the pacific, and they never had that problem before. It was because of the DST patch to their systems, the engineers skipped the regression tests that involved the dateline because it was just a patch for the US timezones. Look what happened.

    So, while it may seem simple enough to change the DST handling in MS Windows, don't count on it.
    Whenever you mess around with time, it is easy to create unexpected results. (cue time-travel jokes)
  • by kbielefe (606566) <karl.bielefeldt+ ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:00PM (#18220818)

    Talk about tinfoil hats, how paranoid do you have to be to tie a daylight savings change to the Iraq war?

    The daylight savings time change is one tiny paragraph of a huge energy policy bill [loc.gov], and by the way provides for a study in 9 months to see if it actually helped, and a potential of reverting back to the 2005 schedule if it didn't help. You may not agree with the policies put forth in the bill, but it certainly wasn't prompted by a desire to avoid appropriating money --- my senators and representative (all republicans) voted against it for anti-pork reasons.

  • by JonnyO (119156) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:05PM (#18220840) Homepage
    Actually this wasn't unforeseeable, it was announced back in 2005. Why the vendors only recently got around to addressing this issue is a mystery. The countless e-mails I have gotten from consulting companies about it have gotten real old too. Here's some legendary support for ya: ADIC (now Quantum) told my storage engineer that they are too busy to deal with the change until after it has already occurred! It will be a cold day in hell before I buy something from these guys again.
  • FREE Update (Score:3, Informative)

    by BanjoBob (686644) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:27PM (#18221006) Homepage Journal
    You know that M$ is totally ripping you off when you can go to www.IntelliAdmin.com [intelliadmin.com] and get a FREE patch. I've used their patches in the past and often times they are a LOT cleaner and easier to use than those from the GREEDY M$.

    Always worth a try!

  • Re:Down with DST! (Score:3, Informative)

    by ffsnjb (238634) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:32PM (#18221462) Homepage
    ntp doesn't help here. ntp only fixes time skew from utc. Your OS is responsible for determining local time and presentation to the user according to their prefs.
  • Re:Screw 'em (Score:2, Informative)

    by Keaster (796594) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @08:08PM (#18221724) Homepage
    The steps it took for me to patch an MS Exchange server were the same steps it took to get to a RHEL 4 box patched, the only difference was that the RHEL patch took and needed no reboot.
  • Re:Screw 'em (Score:3, Informative)

    by toddestan (632714) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @12:29AM (#18223432)
    That's the way its done. It's a holdover from the old DOS days, back then DOS computers generally weren't networked, and thus setting them to local time made sense.
  • Re:Bastages. (Score:5, Informative)

    by OmnipotentEntity (702752) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:00AM (#18224046) Homepage
    $4K? How about this?

    Open up regedit and go to the following location:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\TimeZoneInformation

    Change DaylightStart to the following
    00 00 03 00 02 00 02 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
    (Simply we're changing 04 to 03 and 01 to 02)

    Change StandardStart to the following
    00 00 0b 00 01 00 02 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
    (Simply we're changing 0a to 0b and 05 to 01)

    Why those changes?

    DaylightStart rules:
    04 becomes 03 because we're going from "April" (04) to "March" (03). 01 becomes 02 because we're going from the 1st Sunday (in April) to the 2nd Sunday (in March).

    StandardStart rules:
    0a becomes 0b because we're going from "October" (0a) to "November" (0b). 05 becomes 01 because we're going from the Last Sunday (in October) to the 1st Sunday (in November).

    Consider that one on the house. It works for Windows 2000 at least.

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