Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Microsoft Software The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Charging Businesses $4K for DST Fix 395

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Charging Businesses $4K for DST Fix

Comments Filter:
  • Screw 'em (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:24PM (#18220018) Journal
    Manually adjust the clock. Just write a small script to take care of it for logins or as a scheduled task for servers.
  • Go Linux! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:26PM (#18220060) Homepage Journal

    It's hard to say this without sounding like a zealot, but these kinds of things are nothing but good for Free Software. This patch should be nothing more than an edit to a single configuration file (and if it's not, then that's another problem), but you can't download that change freely or give it to your friends? I can understand - even if I disagree - with not giving away your applications. I cannot be made to understand, though, not giving away trivial bugfixes.

  • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:31PM (#18220134) Homepage Journal

    The real question: Do you like George Bush [...] Or do you hate Bush [...]?

    No, the real, real question is: why are you so desperate to drag political bullshit into every story? Love him or hate him, GWB has absolutely nothing to do with how much Microsoft charges for a patch.

  • by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:47PM (#18220258)
    This just in - company charges money to do work for companies who are using an unsupported suite of products! Film at 11!

    I know in Soviet Russia that work was done for free for the betterment of ones comrades, but this isn't Soviet Russia quite yet. Companies charge you when they provide a service for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:49PM (#18220270)
    If you read the article you'll see the $4K is for unsupported (obsolete) software.
  • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:51PM (#18220286)
    It's a little different. You're comparing a fix for a defective product to a patch to change behavior to fit an unforseeable change in timekeeping logic. And, please note that these products aren't even officially being supported anymore (thus, the service charge).

    I'm not trying to defend MS, but there's no need to make dodgy comparisons... One can surmise that open-source users will likely have an easier time making this change, seeing as they don't have to rely on a corporation to update their binaries.
  • by Windcatcher ( 566458 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:54PM (#18220296)
    I understand that they're charging $4000 for all of the patches, and on all of an enterprise's machines. I also understand that they're choosing to not offer the patch to private users for a nominal fee, nor are they offering the option to buy just this one patch for a lesser price. My response is that this is what you get when you have a monopoly: they can offer whatever they wish -- or, to not put too fine a point on it, choose to NOT offer whatever they wish -- and charge however many limbs they want for it. It's disgusting, and to me particularly offensive. I'm sure there will be rants about the evils of capitalism and such here -- this IS Slashdot, after all -- and I can't really disagree here. I'm about as far to the right as they come and as rabid a capitalist as you'll ever see but this just makes us look bad. Capitalism REQUIRES adequate levels of competition to function properly and what you're seeing here is what happens when that competition is absent.
  • by kripkenstein ( 913150 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @04:59PM (#18220330) Homepage
    That congress-Microsoft DST conspiracy theory seems a tad... overboard, to me at least. They do plenty of corrupt things we know about, theorizing about something as odd as this is unnecessary.

    As for the summary saying "it seems a bit pricey for a patch to a product you've already paid for." - well, no, that isn't true. Customers paid for a product and for support for it; the support for Windows 2000 is over, as per the original agreements. They got what they paid for. This is the same issue with any proprietary, closed-source software - the client is left to depend on a single vendor for patches once the official support is over, and can effectively be taken hostage (I wouldn't trust patches from anyone who doesn't have access to all the source code). Microsoft isn't doing anything 'special' here beyond typical closed-source tactics. But those are enough to show the importance of using FOSS.
  • Re:Go Linux! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by InsaneGeek ( 175763 ) <slashdot@NOspaM.insanegeeks.com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:01PM (#18220334) Homepage
    Is there actually a patch from Redhat/Suse/etc for systems that are as old as Win2k available? This really is about getting one from the original vendor, there are a number of different free ones available for Win2k but they don't come from MS which tends to be the kicker for some highly touchy organizations (ones that tend to be audited quite often, etc). Regarding Linux, it's basically in the exact same position; only I don't believe that can get a fix for Redhat 7.2 from the vendor, I could download/write my own which would be the equivalent of installing one of the non-MS provided Win2k DST fixes.
  • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Philip K Dickhead ( 906971 ) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:05PM (#18220352) Journal
    This is for OS that are out of support.

    If you bought an extended support contract, at the time of expiration, you get this for free.

    If you thought "I won't have any W2K in 6 months, so why bother" and 24 months later, the DST issue caught you - well, pay up.

    Or what value did those who paid for extended support get?
  • Re:Go Linux! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kernelpanicked ( 882802 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:10PM (#18220386)
    You would be wrong. If you check the last few updates fedora-legacy made to RedHat 7.2 and 7.3's glibc, the fix is already there. I work for a web host, where there are still quite a few of these old machines left kicking so yes I had to verify this.
  • by Christopher_G_Lewis ( 260977 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:21PM (#18220462) Homepage
    This fee is all inclusive. That means any product in extended support, and any DST related patch.

    So that includes:
        Windows 2000 Server straight DST patch
        Windows 2000 CRT DST patch (Never heard of that one? See here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932955/en-us/ [microsoft.com] and here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932590/en-us/ [microsoft.com]
        Exchange running on W2K
        Visual Studio 6.0 patches (I believe...)

    So $4000 to cover *all* unsupported systems, and to have a human to call and say "Your patch screwed up my server" and have them fix it, is to be cliche, Priceless
  • Re:Go Linux! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by InsaneGeek ( 175763 ) <slashdot@NOspaM.insanegeeks.com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:22PM (#18220470) Homepage
    Your post tells me you didn't really even read it.

    On the other hand, if there isn't, any half-assed geek could write one and distribute it for free.
    You mean a situation exactly like free one for Win2K that a geek wrote up and distributes for free? http://www.intelliadmin.com/blog/2007/01/unofficia l-windows-2000-daylight.html [intelliadmin.com]
  • Re:Go Linux! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by InsaneGeek ( 175763 ) <slashdot@NOspaM.insanegeeks.com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:43PM (#18220662) Homepage
    Do you think that it matters that it's unofficial support provided by Redhat employee's on the side to an audit company? Having dealt with auditors before I'm going to say no.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @05:45PM (#18220696) Homepage Journal

    all Linux had to do was update its zone info stuff. Why is Windows so much harder? Didnt they do it properly?

    As an end user, it was even easier. All I did was apt-get update/upgrade.

    The difference between the free and non free worlds is never more glaring than when you "upgrade". Because non free companies don't trust each other or their users, they can't really co-operate. When they have to co-operate, things get sticky. Mechanisms, like the Windows registry, are so bad that it's easier to wipe and reload than it is to actually update software. What's a pain for individual users is multiplied by thousands for businesses and then compounded by the number of applications updated. A whole industry exists to help banks and other businesses do trivial things like change out versions of text editors and mail clients on ordinary workstations. It's a process that's excruciatingly manual, bandwith intensive and slow, with each person able to do less than ten machines a night. Add some smoke an mirrors timing "security"* into the mix and you have something even worse.

    *-there is no security on a platform with a one in four botnet ownership. The pain and expense are all for nothing.

  • Re:Screw 'em (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dotfile ( 536191 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:09PM (#18220858)

    Umm, that's not really the problem. It doesn't matter what the hardware clock is set for, UTC or local time. In any sane installation you're only going to use the hardware clock until you sync with the NTP servers anyway. The local time is still going to change on a different date than the OS is configured for. If you have Linux or UNIX boxes and keep the hardware clock set for UTC, you're STILL going to need to fix the time zone setings for the correct DST changeover dates, otherwise all local times will be off by an hour between the new changeover date and the old one. It's not a clock thing, it a time zone thing. We're having to apply patches to every single box in our infrastructure -- that's around 15,000 systems, not including desktops. Those add another 100K or more. We've had to patch Slowaris, Linux, HPUX, AIX, and a few flavors of Windoze, and that's just the servers. Then there are patches required for Java and a host of other crap, don't ask me why they don't just use the damn system clock.

    The issue here is not the DST patch, it's the fact that Micro$loth was charging $40K for the Windoze 2000 patch. They justified it because W2K is officially out of support for patches - it's EOL or EOSL, I don't remember which becuase I pay very little attention to Windoze server issues.

  • Re:Screw 'em (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:23PM (#18220972) Homepage Journal
    it's EOL or EOSL, I don't remember which becuase I pay very little attention to Windoze server issues.

    Nah. It's SOL.

    I love Microsoft. First Vista, now this. They're making Sony look skilled at navigating the shoals of corporate error. Of course, it is important to remember who really fucked up: Congress, with this whole idiotic idea.

  • by TheAwfulTruth ( 325623 ) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:30PM (#18221026) Homepage
    Where is the free patch for Apple's OLDER OSes?

    MS has free patches for all current OSes as well.

    MS wins this round.

    And "System Clock"? You mean the thing on the motherboard that ususally knows knows NOTHING about times zones or DST? And if it does then ALSO requires a patch to work right now? How will that help in any way? :(
  • Re:Exactly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) * on Saturday March 03, 2007 @11:01PM (#18222750) Homepage Journal
    Oh, for fuck's sake. They're charging $4000 for an update to two registry values. I'm all for charging to support end-of-life products, but only a complete retard would be able to justify what Microsoft's doing here.
  • Re:Screw 'em (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VertigoAce ( 257771 ) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @12:20AM (#18223368)
    I should have been more clear. The problem is that people don't schedule appointments in UTC. I don't send a meeting request for March 20th at 15:00 UTC. I want my meeting to happen at a particular local time. If the definition of local time (including DST dates) changes between when I set the meeting and when it actually happens, the UTC time for that meeting also needs to change.

    To add to the problems, different computers and programs have been patched at different times. What if someone with a patched computer sent out a meeting request that had the UTC time and I received it on a computer without it? My computer shows the meeting an hour off from the sender's computer. When I now patch my computer, I don't know whether to adjust the meeting time or not (assuming I didn't know the patch status of the sender's computer). There's not much you can do to avoid these issues, so people are trying to get the word out that you should confirm times for the next few weeks instead of assuming the program is displaying the intended time.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @01:16AM (#18223796) Homepage Journal

    Old troll Bungi doubts me:

    "It's a process that's excruciatingly manual ... with each person able to do less than ten machines a night "
    Bullshit. Do you even *believe* this crap you write? You've never had a job in a real company with more than 100 machines, so do us all a favor and just don't share your opinion on things like these. OK? Thanks.

    Yes, Bungi, I've actually been on a Windoze upgrade slave gang for a fortune 100 bank and what I describe is how I remember it. They had some of the automated upgrade tools you mentioned, but they did not work. Instead, they wiped and reloaded with boot floppies that grabbed images from a server running linux. Most of the programs had to be installed anyway so that the registry would be consistent.

    Did you really? You're so leet. By any chance would you happen to be running an eight-year old version of Linux?

    Ha ha, I'm a normal desktop user and no, I don't have to run eight year old versions of software that have been continually upgraded and improved. The longest chain of upgrading I can remember is potato to woody to sarge. It got tricky once but everything usually worked. Mostly, it's easier to install binaries fresh. Leet is a concept that only applies in the non free world of secrets and bullshit.

Veni, Vidi, VISA: I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.