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Doug's Mailbag: Two Cents on Itanium, Sunbelt and Windows 7 Experiences

A couple of readers chime in on Doug's analysis of Microsoft's decision to discontinue Itanium versions of Windows Server 2008 R2:

As I recall, Intel did not have the x64 chips compatible w/ x86 -- AMD did.  That's what led to the Opteron rush -- they were still compatible, Intel's offerings were not.  And unless I am remembering incorrectly, Intel licensed that backwards-compatible technology from AMD...

Unfortunately, it's my anniversary, and I have husbandly duties to attend to, otherwise I would attempt my own fact-checking, but I think you're wrong about the history of Itanium and the x64/x86 chips…

Well, being a long time DEC customer, we moved through versions of Digital's/Compaq's/HP's Tru64 UNIX. So when the Alpha chip began reaching EOL, we had to move to another UNIX and HP made licensing very attractive, so we went to HPUX on Itanium. We had thought very hard about Linux on x64, but being used to solid operating system support underneath our ERP apps and because HP said Linux just wasn't mainstream enough for ERP, we choose HPUX (Itanium). It's been solid for us, but I believe if we have a chance to make a jump in the far future, we will probably opt for x64 and Linux.

I saw the writing on the wall for Itanium when it took too long for updates, Red Hat dropped support and now the Microsoft situation.

Microsoft is all about market share and having ran Windows NT on Digital's Alpha processor (Alpha 1000a and the NT only Alpha 5305, which was simply an Alpha missing the firmware to support Tru64 and VMS) and running Digital's Clustering for Windows NT,  I never really took Microsoft's support of Itanium seriously.

One reader comments on why he fully backs Sunbelt and its Vipre Antivirus program:

Saw your recent note about Sunbelt and their CEO, Alex.  Largely based on a leap-of-faith (and disgust with Symantec), I moved my 35-user SMB network to Vipre approximately six months ago and have never looked back.  Although there have been a few complications requiring tech assistance, I've found their support to be top-notch; their representatives even take accountability and seem genuinely concerned that your problem has been resolved -- a rarity among support these days.  The product has a small footprint and works as advertised.  As a result I have since recommended and installed Vipre for my handful of other SMB clients.  Sunbelt does, in fact, seem to take a different approach then other vendors.  I've noticed and applaud their efforts.

After the announcement of users being able to test-drive Windows 7 until the end of the year, here are one reader's thoughts:

I've been playing with Windows 7 on a VM via VirtualBox at work. I'm not too impressed but also not too disappointed either -- this coming from someone who is no MS fan.

A couple things I really don't like: they seem to like to change the looks of things just to make it seem different. I really don't get the change of add/remove programs to programs and features. Where did add/remove Windows components go? I can't find it.

 Also, I finally added the Windows 7 VM to my domain. When I logged in as a domain admin and try to install software it tells me to log in as a user with administrative privileges. I thought I am. I looked in the local user accounts as domain admin are automatically added to local admin group in XP when you add it to the domain. I searched a bit and found that the UAC setting were the cause. There should be an easier way where privileges can get elevated temporary then back to standard user. Something like sudo in Linux would be nice.

MS usually does like to make these things easy though. I'm thinking now maybe they just don't know how.

Posted by Doug Barney on April 12, 2010