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Microsoft Acquires Winternals and Sysinternals 471

SJasperson writes "In a move that will be good for Redmond but may have consequences for the rest of us, Microsoft has acquired Winternals and Sysinternals. This gives them well-known developers Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell as well as dozens of well-loved and much-praised utilities, both commercial and freeware. Though Mark says on his blog that the Sysinternals site will remain 'for the time being,' this would be a good time to download the latest version of essential Windows tools like Process Explorer before they can go mysteriously missing or be locked up behind the wall of Windows Genuine Advantage."
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Microsoft Acquires Winternals and Sysinternals

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  • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rootofevil ( 188401 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:26PM (#15737395) Homepage Journal
    I have a legitimate windows installation, but i refuse to install WGA. Im not a big fan of spyware.
  • You're complaining that Microsoft expects you to use a purchased version of Windows?

    It's not the "purchased version" part that I'm worried about but the "of Windows" part. I'm complaining that I can't use the utilities with Wine (an independent implementation of Win32 spec, commonly used with *BSD and *Linux) or with ReactOS (an operating system consisting of Wine on top of a reimplementation of the NT kernel).

  • Interoperability (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Elektroschock ( 659467 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:37PM (#15737506)
    This has to be seen in the context of anti-interoperability action of Microsoft and orders from the competition authorities e.g. in the European Union. Still Microsoft fails to comply with the documentation orders of the European Union.

    Now Microsoft takes over tools which enable interoperability with its plattform and puts them under their licensing control. What we will see next is a restrictive Microsoft EULA for it which discourages use for reengineering or interoperability for Ms competitors etc.

    Worth to file a complaint at the responsible EU competition consumer liason office [europa.eu].
  • by rickkas7 ( 983760 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:39PM (#15737524)
    Does anyone else find it a little funny that Microsoft bought out Winternals to get Mark Russinovich? According to a Microsoft employee [com.com], "Mark is one of the top five or 10 people in the world when it comes to Windows internals." I'd believe that, but isn't it just a little funny that Microsoft had to go to a 3rd party company to find an expert in the internals of Windows?
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Geeko Roman ( 304803 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:41PM (#15737539)
    YES seriously. Not because the copy of Windows that happens to be running on the current machine is not paid for, but because it's lame to have to worry about copying utilities around from machine to machine and all of a sudden have some problem because Microsoft f'd with it.

    Microsoft doesn't get it. It's very obvious. They add features they would like, not what the rest of the world actually wants.

  • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 14CharUsername ( 972311 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:43PM (#15737558)
    Because now the tools won't support Win2000 anymore? No one is saying its bad for the companies involved, just bad for the users.
  • by Jimmy King ( 828214 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:43PM (#15737559) Homepage Journal
    The problem, as has been said thousands of times on slashdot and elsewhere, is that these measures don't stop piracy. They do, on the other hand, sometimes cause problems for legitimate users. On top of that, WGA is little more than spyware and treats me like a criminal checking everyday to make sure that my copy of windows is valid. If it was valid yesterday, why would it not be today? Add to the mix that when I purchased my copies (plural.) of XP, this WGA was not part of the software or even something that the public had been told would be in the future.

    Also, much of the complaint this time around, at least in regards to this, is not just that WGA sucks. It's that very good, useful, high quality software which has previously been available to anyone will likely be made available only to people who install useless DRM from MS. While MS may have the right to do whatever they want with the software now that they've purchased the company, it doesn't mean people have to be happy about it.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fordiman ( 689627 ) <fordiman.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:51PM (#15737642) Homepage Journal

    I think their full of it.

    The license dies (for me) with transfer of license ownership (ie: giving my disk / 4th generation pre-keyed backup to another person).

    Meanwhile, I wonder if there's a market for pre-keyed windows installations? ie: purchase a windows disk, create a pre-keyed / slipstreamed / no question / extra utility (say, ClamAV and Spybot S&D, set to run silently at regular intervals at low prio)/ extra app (say, Openoffice, Firefox and Thunderbird preinstalled as well) DVD version, and sell both for slightly more than the purchase cost of the original. Since the license accompanies the disc, and since I'm not removing anything from the user, I think it would be a sweet thing to be able to buy. Microsoft's making their money, so they've no reason to bitch. Everything else is OSS...

    Actually, lemme get started on the process for that; it should be relatively easy and potentially batchable (get a batch of WinXP discs of a set version, use one to create the base image, and change the key for each disc).

    Call it "Windows XP - Not Lame Edition"
  • Re:Oh Boo Hoo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:00PM (#15737715) Homepage Journal
    I used to get a fat paycheck and great bonuses. Now I make less money and no longer touch Microsoft software. I'm much much happier. Money isn't everything.
  • Some Microsoftie marked the parent comment as flamebait. However, it seems likely that Microsoft bought SysInternals to silence a web site that provided software of far higher quality than software from Microsoft.

    Anything SysInternals did was the best, and made the sloppiness of Microsoft software obvious.
  • by Christopher_G_Lewis ( 260977 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:03PM (#15737747) Homepage
    Wget -R ???
  • Good news, bad news (Score:4, Interesting)

    by meburke ( 736645 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:07PM (#15737777)
    I've followed Mark's advice and used some of his utilities for years. I will be forever grateful for the things I learned by analyzing the source code to some of the utilities. I think Mark is entitled to cash in on his effort, but I'm not very optimistic about the quality of stuff that will come from Winternals from now on. Mark (and Winternals) was independent and worked at an independent pace, which is going to degrade now that there are layers of bureaucracy added.

    On the other hand, the Winternals utilities represent about 10% (IMO) of the utilities needed to really analyze and fix Windows when it malfunctions. I'm too old to do this myself, but maybe a group of ambitious analysts could step up and continue the good work. Even more important, maybe a good group of analysts could develop a methodology for analyzing the OS and then point the way toward needed utilities.

    I'm actually feeling a little grief over the demise of Winternals as an independent company.
  • by Sarusa ( 104047 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:11PM (#15737804)
    I've really been considering switching to Mac when the Core 2 Duos come out rather than deal with the looming hell of Vista for my desktop machine (my servers will still be running Debian). With Norton long gone to uselessness, Sysinternals was one of my top places for getting tools that MS should have provided and didn't. Just one more nail in the coffin.

    (Yes I realize that Apple is just a mini-MS as far as being evil where they can, but that seems to be mostly in the iPod stuff and going after the press. On the desktop side 10.5 looks far, far more appealing than Vista.)
  • Not quite... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:12PM (#15737810) Homepage Journal
    If your motherboard dies, you can replace it with a new motherboard without buying a new copy of Windows. That's according to Microsoft's licence.
    If you just want to upgrade, though, and your old motherboard is working fine, then it's considered that you bought a new computer, and need a new copy of Windows.

    That's assuming that said copy of Windows is an OEM version, rather than retail box.

    Retail box you can transfer to your heart's content, as there's no restriction to a specific computer.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cosminn ( 889926 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @01:19PM (#15737863) Homepage
    If WGA is wrong (Microsoft? Bugs? Never!) then a legit copy of Windows may go inactive with a major hassle to get it working again.

    Has that happened to anyone yet? I don't know anybody who had a legit copy of Windows and got screwed over with WGA.

    Also, I don't think MS will actually shut down Windows machines just yet, too many issues with that:

    1. They're scared of the situation mentioned above
    2. If they do it they have to make sure you can't get around it (easily)
    3. LOTS of their software is pirated in countries from Eastern Europe, Asia etc., and it's not clear what would happen if they all of a sudden can't run Windows. One thing is pretty certain, they're not going to actually purchase Windows.

    Guess it remains to be seen, but until people actually have real issues with WGA, I think it's just the "bitching of the moment" and is not warranted.
  • wget syntax (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:05PM (#15738258)
    make a file with the contents in that link
    if you haven't, set up your http_proxy environment variable for wget:
    export http_proxy=http://proxy.com:8080/
    wget --proxy=on -i yourfile.txt

    if you have no proxy, it's cake:
    wget --proxy=on -i yourfile.txt
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CogDissident ( 951207 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:15PM (#15738348)
    WGA doesn't recognize my version of XP Tablet Edition. Its stright off toshiba's store, never been wiped, and I'm unable to do windows update because WGA would cripple my machine.
  • Re:Amen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by birder ( 61402 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @02:42PM (#15738597) Homepage
    I hope he got more money than that kid that sold WinAMP to AOL for $100 million.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jon Luckey ( 7563 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @03:15PM (#15738827)
    Has that happened to anyone yet? I don't know anybody who had a legit copy of Windows and got screwed over with WGA.

    Well, at least the kill switch code has not been enabled yet.

    But check out this article [computerworld.com] In it we have this quote:

    Through its spokeswoman, Microsoft said that "80% of all WGA validation failures are due to unauthorized use of leaked or stolen volume license keys."
    So apparently there at 20% WGA validation failures that are not due to leaked or stolen codes. That seems to leave that they were actually valid.

    You might try googling for "WGA failure Dell"....

  • Re:I'm not so sure (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @03:42PM (#15739034) Homepage Journal
    I honestly don't see why people are so worried -- I really doubt this stuff will be integrated into Windows proper. Instead, most likely the sysinternal tools will be bundled into the free Resource Kit along with all the other random utilities that MS doesn't want to provide full support for.

    Perhaps you do not realize that they also offer a pro tools kit, which has all of these tools and then some, and which has support. Until the support contracts run out, because Microsoft will not be supporting them.

    Having the tools folded into the resource kit would be about the worst possible outcome for these customers, because not only would they be unsupported, but no one else would bother to provide tools that do the same stuff that are supported, because "official" microsoft tools would already do the same job.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:25PM (#15739340)
    I think that is kind of a short sighted analysis. 20% does not mean they were valid, it means that they were not stolen VOLUME keys. That means they can be false positives certainly, but also retail keys, MSDN keys, etc. Never mind fraudulent reports of "stolen keys" in order to scam a free copy of windows for "reporting the person you got it from".
  • by teeker ( 623861 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @04:57PM (#15739572)
    I just took a peek at the EULA.TXT included in a fresh download (PsTools .zip file) vs. a copy that came with the same download a couple months ago (file dated Jan 11 2006), and it's *completely* changed. The new version is a "free for personal use only" sorta thing whereas the previous EULA was free for all uses short of infringment and void of warranty. Have to see how well those EULAs hold up. IANAL of course, but it looks to me like if you're a sysadmin at a commercial entity, you can't use their previously-free tools for free any more. Pretty sad. Somebody please tell me I'm reading it wrong....
  • by imemyself ( 757318 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @05:30PM (#15739745)
    I use a WSUS server (basically a local server for automatic updates), and it hasn't even appeared as an option. With WSUS I can have updates downloaded once onto my server and then distributed out to clients from there, as well as select which updates should be applied to what computers. I can also see what updates computers have/need installed.

    Not totally on-topic, but, one "critical update" that showed up on my server a few weeks ago was to remove the swastika from a font. If Microsoft thinks that something of that nature is critical, then I'm sure they would be OK with calling WGA a "security update". <sarcasm>After all, they are doing all of this because they are really concerned about malware coming with pirated copies of XP.</sarcasm>
  • I am certainly aware that Microsoft employees have been recommending SysInternals free utilities [sysinternals.com] over Microsoft's sloppily coded and primitive utilities that do the same thing.

    I am also very aware that Microsoft has no utilities at all for some of the Windows functions people need, and Microsoft employees have long been recommending SysInternals utilities for those functions.

    Remember, the Windows Command Line Interface and command line utilities are upgraded DOS programs. DOS is shockingly primitive compared to the Linux command line interfaces, for example. And not all of the DOS utilities have been converted completely to 32-bit Windows; they fail in weird ways that have not been fixed even though the failures have been discussed thoroughly over the years.

    The SysInternals programmers are some of the finest Windows coders in the world, if not THE finest, in my opinion. However, I don't think the SysInternals employees will stay long in the abusive and adversarial and socially backward and ignorant Microsoft climate.

    I think what will happen is that Microsoft will embrace and extend and poison the SysInternals software, as they have done for the dBase language, or, much more recently, for Giant's AntiSpyware [giantcompany.com].

    Microsoft began tinkering with Giant AntiSpyware, which became Windows Defender. Giant was considered the best in its field. Now the Microsoft version has problems. Sometimes, for example, it will fail, and re-installing will not fix the failure.

    Of course, Giant AntiSpyware was only a bandaid for problems that exist because of Microsoft's sloppy coding that leaves huge numbers of vulnerabilities. Remember that Microsoft makes more money if there are more vulnerabilities, because people buy new computers as their old computer become slow because of infestation.

    Anyone who thinks that an OS is complicated, and therefore must have vulnerabilities, should buy a secure OS like OpenBSD for $5,000 per copy. The really expensive operating system organizations can hire extremely skilled programmers who know how to eliminate vulnerabilities. Oh, wait, sorry, OpenBSD is FREE [openbsd.org], and is coded by volunteers.

    Microsoft is a socially backward and adversarial organization, in my experience, but they aren't so dumb they don't know how to hire people who can write secure software. The reason for the huge number of vulerabilities seems to be that, when a company effectively has a temporary monopoly, more vulnerabilities make more money.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @09:52PM (#15740893)
    Note that the EULA.txt in the archive isn't the same license agreement that's displayed when starting the program. So... which one are you supposed to believe?
  • by Kiaser Zohsay ( 20134 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @11:33AM (#15743633)
    I took a peek at the new Rootkit Revealer. README.TXT dated 22 Feb 2005, 825 bytes is replaced with EULA.TXT dated 18 July 2006 at 10:22AM and 19,974 bytes. Content changes are similar to the others posted.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.