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Mailbag: Why Sun, More Thoughts on IE 8

Last week, Doug expressed his misgivings about IBM's possible acquisition of Sun. But Marc thinks he knows what's behind Big Blue's reasoning:

I agree that IBM may not be gaining a lot in a buy-out of Sun, but Sun would certainly benefit from IBM's considerable clout in the marketplace.

What Sun does have to offer IBM, though, is considerable intellectual property rights to Unix, which IBM lacks. As a co-developer of Unix System V (along with AT&T), Sun's IP rights to Unix are equal to Novell's. Buying Sun could free IBM from threats of any future potential Unix litigation. Sun also has considerable x86 assets with Solaris x86, as well as open source x86 assets with OpenSolaris.

Bruce thinks virtualization has its uses, but issues a word of caution:

I think virtualization can be a valid tool in IT. What it can be used for is what I call "junk servers" -- those servers that run a small application or handful of users you don't want interfering with the file, database, mail server, etc. It keeps the cost of both rack space, hardware and power costs down.

The problem comes in when too many servers or hardware-intensive services get put on one system. This may work fine under "normal" conditions, but have the usage on three of four VMs spike and watch them all slow or crash. Don't think you're safe having two VM servers and putting half on each one, depending on failover to keep things running. Make sure one VM server can handle the load of two. Care must be taken to not over-virtualize servers and maintain the balance between cost-effectiveness and reliable, usable server environment.

And here are some more of your takes on IE 8:

IE 8 is dog sloow. How can you seriously call it fast?

I did not use the beta or RC versions of IE 8 but installed the RTM version last week when released. I seems much faster than IE 7 and at least as fast as Firefox. I did just have a tab crash but only that tab (my homepage, believe it or not). I'll give IE 8 a "thumbs up" for now.

IE 8 needs a good ad blocker. IE 7 Pro is inferior to Adblock Plus when it comes to ad blocking. Occasionally, there are Web sites that are completely incompatible with Firefox and for those, we'll have to use IE, but it's Firefox for everything else until further notice. I wonder if Steve B. at Microsoft understands that issue.

I would have to agree that IE 8 is very stable, and much better and faster than IE 7. I have been evaluating the release version since its release on several different machines, and so far I am very happy with it, and prefer it to Firefox or Chrome. IE 7 used to freeze up frequently for no known reason and I had to constantly end the IE process. So far, IE 8 has not frozen up, but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

While IE 8 seems quite solid on my Vista SP1 system at home, it was dying on virtually every URL I clicked on my work XP Pro SP3 system. I quickly removed it. As a beta tester of Win 98, XP and Vista, as well as VS 2005 and VS 2008, and VFP 7.0, 8.0 and 9.0 -- and an MS MVP for four years -- I know beta software when I see it, and IE 8 on XP just doesn't appear to be ready for primetime!

You surely must have heard about the sidebar clock provoking a serious hang-up of the processor after IE 8 installation. But I experienced on another machine screensavers refusing to start -- in particular the Microsoft American flag screensaver and most of the Microsoft Plus screensavers. There was also the sudden appearance of unwanted full-page pop-ups (that did not happen at all in IE 7).

I am so scared now that I stopped installing IE 8 on my grandchildren's computers.

I found IE 8's performance to be excellent -- better than IE 7. I found two incompatibilities, though: eRoom would not execute and one of our Web applications would not function as expected.

IE 8 is not compatible with a number of real estate programs, e.g., When you go to pictures, it comes up with errors.

As it becomes more important to tighten spending everywhere, there will be more emphasis both at homes and in the marketplace to reduce costs. I am hearing more interest in Linux than I have heard in some time. While that doesn't affect IE directly, show me a Linux distribution that comes with a copy of IE on it.

While I have downloaded IE 8, I am too busy working with Linux to even look at it.


Finally, Paul ran into a snag when installing IE 8. Any explanations from Redmond Report readers in the know are welcome:

I tried to download IE 8 to my Windows Ultimate machine, and it said I do not have a compatible OS for it. What can you tell me about this?

Got an answer for Paul? Or have another comment you'd like to share? Leave it below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on March 25, 2009


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