Microsoft Ceases AutoPatcher Project: future of RyanVM pack?

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XIII
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Microsoft Ceases AutoPatcher Project: future of RyanVM pack?

Post by XIII » Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:45 am

Microsoft ceases the AutoPatcher project; see Neowin.net and AutoPatcher homepage :evil:

What does this mean for the future of the RyanVM pack?
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Post by thunderrooster » Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:23 am

Was wondering the same thing. It has already been brought about this site and others.

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Post by Kelsenellenelvian » Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:30 am

OH shit mates this could be trouble...

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Post by Zyx_Maiden » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:01 am

:shock: Does this means "take what you want while you still can!" kels?

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Post by PsiMoon314 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:29 am

Hi Guys,

I have to have to say it but if AP is being canned buy MS for redistributing *intact* and *unaltered* hotfixes and patches then I don''t give much for the RVM pack (or any similar ones) continuing for much longer.

Re-engineering the patches into a pack which can be slipstreamed into a base OS install must be a worse violation of MS's intellectual property than patch re-distribution.

Regards

Simon

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Post by ronmanp » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:49 am

omg I hope microsoft doesnt try to take down this site !!

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Post by boktai1000 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:14 am

Quick! August Edition >_>

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Post by n7Epsilon » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:19 am

Their objection seems to because of the MS Updates being downloaded not from MS servers...

Well a possible solution for that would be to transform update packs into complex scripts that download the updates from MS servers and build things locally...

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Post by Mrs Peel » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:37 am

I've been expecting to hear some news like this for a long time and surprised it was such a long time coming.

No matter what M$ decides, there will always be a way we can find around it, whether that be an enterprising coder who designs an "addon builder" (like has been done for systernals and foxit packs).... or there is always the option of distributing by "underground" means like they already do for the modded Xbox stuff that I use ;)

I had a thought after reading one of the articles posted above, and it seems that M$ is concerned about authenticity of its files so that exploits cannot be delivered by these autopatcher utilities....

I wonder if they would object so much if there was an update method which verified all the md5 sums during slipstreaming and matched them up with an online database of hotfix MD5's.

That would be an interesting possibility to explore, but would of course require M$ to do something bloody useful - like list their checksums onsite. :rolleyes:

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Post by newsposter » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:05 am

I disagree. The packs available here are really 'discrete' files, nothing that isn't available anywhere else on the net on those 'find my file' web sites.

Autopatcher was re-distro-ing MSFT patches whole. MSFT had no way of QA-ing those files in terms of digital sigs, etc, etc. Their position with MU/WU is very clear.

This is why projects like jCarles WUD and Boooggys sliptreamer will probably survive. Both of them are really very sophisiticated automated downloaders that goes after MSFT directly.

As long as no KBxxxx*.EXE files are distro-d here, I don't think that we will be very high on MSFTs hit list.
Last edited by newsposter on Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by thunderrooster » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:28 am

If anyone is keeping up on the neowin forum they just posted the letter AutoPatcher got. Here is the post.
Removed the quote look at the link please.
Last edited by thunderrooster on Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by code65536 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:28 am

newsposter wrote:MSFT had no way of QA-ing those files in terms of digital sigs, etc, etc.
/me gestures towards the digital signatures embedded in each and every hotfix installer

Look, MSFT has much better control over patches that are redistributed by their own hotfix installers than they do over some collection of repackaged hotfixes. There is no way that they would find the latter to palatable if they object to the former.
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Post by newsposter » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:33 am

yah, the sky is falling, everyone run, RUN I say...........

What I *really* want to know is how do I get to be an "Internet Investigator" with the kind of juice it takes to write letters like that.

No lawyer, no letter. It appears as though MSFT has 'outsourced' their so-called anti-piracy efforts to some freelancer in the UK who for all we know gets paid pennies for each and every 'letter' they send out.

However the 'letter' could also be a search engine bot that keys on some topics/words and knee-jerks things out like this. One might want to find a way to block the MSN and WindowsLive web crawlers as a first response to the nonsense.

BTW, here is their domain registration. Note that it looks like their registration expired two months ago. Someone with a spare 50 bucks might want to go and poach the domain and park it or just redirect it to openoffice.org.

Domain Name: MICROSOFT-ANTIPIRACY.COM

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
Nildram Ltd hostmaster@NILDRAM.NET
Ardenham Court
Aylesbury, Bucks HP19 8HX
UK
01296 319100 fax: 01296 319101


Record expires on 09-Jun-2007.
Record created on 09-Jun-2000.
Database last updated on 16-Sep-2006 22:36:34 EDT.

Domain servers in listed order:

DNS0.NILDRAM.CO.UK 195.112.4.14
DNS1.NILDRAM.CO.UK 195.112.4.7
DNS1.NILDRAM.COM 193.218.99.3
DNS0.NILDRAM.COM 193.218.99.4

And just for fun, here is a counter-point to the alleged MSFT letter:

http://www.ipaction.org/

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Post by code65536 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:58 am

Um, it's quite common for companies to outsource this sort of Internet watchdog stuff to third-party investigators. What is important is that they are indeed operating on behalf of Microsoft.
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Post by end3rkid » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:22 am

Maybe they're forcing us to upgrade to Windows Vista on a different ways, and this is one lol.

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Post by ronmanp » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:33 am

I hate Microsoft so much! They really don't care about their customers. I hope one day everybody will switch to open source.

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Post by end3rkid » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:46 am

When game developers start to making games for Linux, then will happen, otherwise I doubt it.

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Post by ricktendo64 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:43 pm

What a bunch of $H¡T

Heres an Idea on how to get around it, how about using 2.1.11 as a base and just posting the new entries.ini and the inf then post links for the updated hotfixes from MS

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Post by PsiMoon314 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:36 pm

Hi,
newsposter wrote:I disagree. The packs available here are really 'discrete' files, nothing that isn't available anywhere else on the net on those 'find my file' web sites.

Autopatcher was re-distro-ing MSTP patches whole. MSFT had no way of QA-ing those files in terms of digital sigs, etc, etc.

This is why a project like jCarles WUD will probably survive. It's really nothing more than an automated downloaded that goes after MSFT directly.

As long as no KBxxxx*.EXE files are distro-d here, I don't think that we will be very high on MSFTs hit list.
I disagree with your disagreement! :)

It is very easy to check that the digital signatures on the KB*.EXE files which AP was distributing are intact. Any tampering with the files and they won't pass authentication. MD5 checksums are not needed.

The AP releases as a whole are also protected in a similar way. Any tampering or bad downloadss would show up as an unofficial AP release.

Given that the RVM and addon packs might be re-enginerring the hotfixes and thereby destroying the digital signatures then there is more scope with RVM to introduce rogue code.

Not that either party wishes to do so I am sure! :)

MS has been more than happy with AP for over 4 years so their change of hart is very difficult to understand, even if they have the right to do what they have done.

In any event I am hopeful that AP will continue in a "direct from MS download form" similar to WUD or 3C XP Updater for the hotfixes if need.

Kind Regards

Simon

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Post by RogueSpear » Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:28 pm

It really wouldn't be that difficult to make an Update Pack creation utility and then have someone simply release an entries.ini file for it to use. I'm sure that's what it will come to at some point in time. In fact I would be willing to bet that someone is already working on a similar utility to replace the functionality AutoPatcher has (had).

Given the proper motivation and enough time, nearly anything can be overcome. I have a feeling that there are plenty of others who share my complete and absolute disdain for Vista - and so will be motivated.

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Post by mr_smartepants » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:21 pm

RogueSpear wrote:It really wouldn't be that difficult to make an Update Pack creation utility and then have someone simply release an entries.ini file for it to use.
I agree. Just look at the success booogy and n7Epsilon have had with their WMP11 slipstreamer. :)
It will integrate bare hotfixes taken directly from M$ servers and integrate them with WMP11 just fine. Why wouldn't that approach work with XP? The all-in-one update pack approach was a good idea. If M$ kills this project, the hotfix integrator would be the next logical step.

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Post by ricktendo64 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:55 pm

I think the only reason they went after AutoPatcher is after they decided to start making a Vista version :lol:

Yea they mention XP, 2k3 and other OS's but I think its the Vista one that broke the camels back.

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Post by RyanVM » Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:07 pm

Well, nothing from them yet. You guys will obviously find out if that changes :lol:
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Post by runningfool87 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:49 pm

considering this site was a major influence in changing me from a warez punk to a mostly open-source software user, i would really hate to see this site shut down. ryan and the moderators have always been very good about keeping this site legal, informative, and spam-free...and while some people might complain about certain decisions (banning WGA hacks, etc) made here, i think i speak for everyone when i say we all really appreciate what you started here and what will hopefully continue to grow.

this is also one of the few places that utilizes torrents for 100% legal reasons, and im sure has swayed many people to using their own copy of windows to slipstream with rather than grabbing some half-assed illegal version.

heres to hoping this site stays around for a long time :)

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Amiga
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Can you pump an update out soon, pretty please!

Post by Amiga » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:52 pm

:? Ryan, not nagging you, just paranoid that your check (letter) is in the mail. Any chance you can pump out an update soon? I know you are busy and I have really appreciated your hard work.

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Post by redxii » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:56 pm

The letter says "on servers under your control".

No problem, delete the files from the server. They didn't say you couldn't upload it from your computer on bittorrent.

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Post by RyanVM » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:14 pm

runningfool87 - I think this site fills a useful niche with or without my pack being available. Would a C&D require changes? Absolutely. Would they be fatal to the project? Nah.

Amiga - code65536's addon works quite well ;). Heck, I used it myself on an install CD recently for a friend.

redxii - I think as far as MS concerned, that's no different that uploading anything else of their work. If they drop the hammer on this pack, I probably wouldn't publicly make any more under any type of distribution. I can't stop what others may do, though.
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Post by n7Epsilon » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:29 pm

I already have the necessary foundation (cabinet extraction, hotfix extraction both types, ini parser, ...etc.) to build a update pack builder if the need arises.

In fact I will start preparing for this event.

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Post by runningfool87 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:53 pm

n7Epsilon wrote:I already have the necessary foundation (cabinet extraction, hotfix extraction both types, ini parser, ...etc.) to build a update pack builder if the need arises.

In fact I will start preparing for this event.
great news, its always good to be prepared :) im assuming if this was necessary, that all needed hotfixes would appear on bittorrent?

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Post by dumpydooby » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:02 am

Ryan, MSFT knows about you, right? If I recall correctly, you mentioned that they have been in contact with you in the past. That certainly suggests that you're on their radar. If they haven't sent you a C&D by now, I doubt they ever will. It's not like you've changed anything about your site.

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Post by RyanVM » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:58 am

Meh, the same could be said of Autopatcher. MS is a big company. Just because a programmer of theirs knows about my site doesn't mean their legal department does.
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Post by 5eraph » Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:55 am

Ars Technica posted a journal article yesterday with a little more information.

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Post by m-p{3} » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:49 am

Yeah, pretty sure this is to enforce control over WGA protected downloads from their website. Again, DRM remove useability for security.
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Post by thunderrooster » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:01 pm

Here a update Microsoft Remains Silent on AutoPatcher and they have a petition now.

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Post by code65536 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:26 pm

m-p{3} wrote:Yeah, pretty sure this is to enforce control over WGA protected downloads from their website.
That makes for a great story, but I really doubt that's what happened. After all, WGA is mostly a tool to educate normal users about piracy. Aside from the canonical grandma who gets a pirated OS from the local teenage computer geek, the real targets for WGA are places like China, where the vast majority of the computers that are sold out in the open in mainstream brick-and-mortar stores have pirated software and where finding legitimate software is like looking for a needle in a haystack because of the prevalence of pirated software and because of the quality of the counterfeiting of the package. WGA was never designed to hamper the tech savvy and the true pirates who have always been able to easily bypass it for themselves. Not to mention, there are many other ways to bypass the WGA check (for example, downloading the XP updates using Windows 2000).

And if Microsoft was really concerned about WGA, they could easily do what they did with IE7, WMP11, and Windows Defender: require WGA for the install.

My point is, having those updates do not really hamper the function and mission of WGA, and this is one case where I do believe the official line.

What is at stake, however, is support. I'd imagine that Microsoft would want greater control over their patches. They often re-issue patches, recall patches, or change the WU metadata to control and change whether a certain patch should go to a certain computer depending on that system's patch state and configuration. These are all controls that they lose with AP. And the fact of the matter is, in the Windows world, if something goes awry, Microsoft gets the blame, regardless of whether or not it was even their fault, which is why I wouldn't be surprised if they are wary of things like AP.

All that having been said, I think it's best to recall the saying, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." In this case, the stupidity isn't Microsoft's "decision", but rather the process by which a massive non-monolithic company like Microsoft comes to such a "decision." As already noted above, the complaint did not come directly from Microsoft, but rather from a third-party copyright infringement watchdog (the exact same company that also issues similar takedown notices on behalf of Apple Computer, movie studios, etc.; on that note, if you ever watch how Apple handles similar issues, you'll realize that Microsoft's legal department is downright saintly when compared to Apple's legal department). Microsoft has outsourced this task of Internet watchdog to this third-party company and has authorized it to take action on behalf of Microsoft and in Microsoft's name. What we don't know is what actually goes on between then. Did Microsoft direct them to go after AP? Or did this third-party, with their blank check, just decide one day that AP was not kosher? The point of outsourcing such activity is to relieve Microsoft of the burden of finding and investigating every case, so it is doubtful that there is that much communication between them, as that would defeat the purpose of the outsourcing (and if there were lots of communication and coordination, it's doubtful how much of that communication is with the decision-making brass at Microsoft or with various Microsoft underlings). Even within Microsoft proper, there are often cases of very poor communication (the latest incident with the WGA server failure also involved Microsoft Support erroneously telling everyone that it won't be fixed until Tuesday, which has now resulted in questions from the WGA team about why the heck Support said that, apparently without the WGA team's stamp of approval). Just as parts of our own government more often than not do things that are not representative of the will of the country (or of the will of other parts of the government), any big company would have similar synchronization and coordination issues. And much more so if outsourcing.

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway, my personal guess on the true cause of the issue, in order of likelihood, is:
Most likely: third-party company got overzealous and screwed up
Possibly: Microsoft is concerned about control over support issues
Unlikely: WGA/piracy concerns
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Post by newsposter » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:32 pm

I am still of the opinion that the "Internet Investigator" is a web-crawler bot that keys on a set of topics, no intelligence required.

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Post by PsiMoon314 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:59 pm

Hi,

It looks as if Raptor at least is keen to keep AP going.

Based on the comments to the news article on Autopatcher.com they will retool the project to avoid the issues with distributing MS's hotfixes and patches.

Hopefully they will provide direct download links to all of the patches and get folks to download them directly from MS.

MS can then pay for the download bills which were sometimes an issue for the AP project :)

Kind Regard

Simon

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Post by Jay » Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:24 pm

I am amazed Microsoft have taken this long to do this they knew all along that updates could be supplied via third party clients so whats changed to cause them to act suddenly.

I always maintained that what Ryan does with the update packs (allowing the option to integrate into the install disc) Microsoft should be offering as a free service.

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Post by mr_smartepants » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:06 pm

Jay wrote: Microsoft should be offering as a free service.
Well they do, in a round-about way.
They offer SysPrep for free as part of the "WindowsXP-KB838080-SP2-DeployTools-ENU.cab" download.

And, if your XP install is legit, you can download and slipstream the hotfixes and security patches into your source folder yourself with a little work. Not nearly as elegant a solution as Ryan and Siginet's, but workable.

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Post by Jay » Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:29 pm

mr_smartepants wrote:
Jay wrote: Microsoft should be offering as a free service.
Well they do, in a round-about way.
They offer SysPrep for free as part of the "WindowsXP-KB838080-SP2-DeployTools-ENU.cab" download.

And, if your XP install is legit, you can download and slipstream the hotfixes and security patches into your source folder yourself with a little work. Not nearly as elegant a solution as Ryan and Siginet's, but workable.
Of course but it has to be user friendly - and not in a round-about way.

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Post by JRosenfeld » Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:26 pm

PsiMoon314 wrote:Hi,

It looks as if Raptor at least is keen to keep AP going.

Based on the comments to the news article on Autopatcher.com they will retool the project to avoid the issues with distributing MS's hotfixes and patches.

Hopefully they will provide direct download links to all of the patches and get folks to download them directly from MS.

MS can then pay for the download bills which were sometimes an issue for the AP project :)

Kind Regard

Simon
How would that differ, for the end user, from just using Microsoft update?

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Post by Siginet » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:28 pm

If microsoft tries to shut us down... it will never completley happen. Just as n7 said... if it's an issue with having the files being downloaded from a site other than microsoft... then we'll just script something that downloads them from microsoft and builds the updatepack. It wouldn't be hard at all. I have actually talked about simular ideas with ryan in the past anyways.

If microsoft was kind... and smart... They would just buy us out and then offer the same (or simular services) to their customers. ;) I wouldn't mind getting a huge check from MS! :D lol

I bet their reasoning behind this is... when you use an updatepack like we have here or autopatcher and update windows xp... Your updated Windows XP is a much more stable and better OS than Vista. So it is probably keeping people using XP instead of bloated & buggy vista. So they are making less money. Vista could have easily just been an update to XP. But they wouldn't make money that way. They have made all the money they can from XP cause XP has saturated the market. So... now they can make tons of more money saturating the market by convincing people to buy vista. I mean let's face it... what really did they add to vista? All I see is the useless User Account Control that everyone should disable... and they moved things around. They didn't really add many benefits to it. All vista is to me is a pretty... XP. That I had to purchase... even though my XP was allready pretty. The only reason I purchased Vista was to make the integrator compatable with vista.

That is the real reason MS suddenly has a problem with these types of projects. That's my 2 cents.
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Post by mr_smartepants » Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:23 am

If what Siginet says is true, then wouldn't releasing XP_SP3 be the WORST thing M$ could do? Even if it just turns out to be an update-rollup, it wouldn't give people straddling the fence to upgrade to Vista, it would just keep them on the fence.
I think we can all agree that XP not only saturated the global market, but is still a viable and strong OS not only for the home user, but also in the enterprise as well.
Releasing SP3 would just solidify that position. As well as negating the need for AP or the updatepack (which are just update rollups themselves).
This website won't die if the updatepack is removed as it provides a valuable service for users in the addon department.

...in my opinion. :)

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Post by TechnoHunter » Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:31 am

like it or not XP is soon to be not sold by MS.. even in the royalty OEM side of things.. total support removal/non-sale of XP is scheduled for 2009 if i recall.. and as of now the only way to get open licensing for XP is to buy vista business and "downgrade" to XP.. whata crock.. i can get open licensing at a cost of what? 185 a seat? when i can go out and buy RETAIL xp pro now for round 109 a seat.. only diff.. more crap to track (serials activations and what have you)

i dont mean to rant but i HATE whats going on with xp/vista right now.. why in the WORLD am i/my customers being FORCED to beta vista for em? it truly does have waaaaay to many bugs/crashes/non support for hardware to be considered ready for sale..

oh well.. rant over

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Post by dumpydooby » Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:48 am

Siginet wrote:If microsoft tries to shut us down... it will never completley happen. Just as n7 said... if it's an issue with having the files being downloaded from a site other than microsoft... then we'll just script something that downloads them from microsoft and builds the updatepack. It wouldn't be hard at all. I have actually talked about simular ideas with ryan in the past anyways.

If microsoft was kind... and smart... They would just buy us out and then offer the same (or simular services) to their customers. ;) I wouldn't mind getting a huge check from MS! :D lol

I bet their reasoning behind this is... when you use an updatepack like we have here or autopatcher and update windows xp... Your updated Windows XP is a much more stable and better OS than Vista. So it is probably keeping people using XP instead of bloated & buggy vista. So they are making less money. Vista could have easily just been an update to XP. But they wouldn't make money that way. They have made all the money they can from XP cause XP has saturated the market. So... now they can make tons of more money saturating the market by convincing people to buy vista. I mean let's face it... what really did they add to vista? All I see is the useless User Account Control that everyone should disable... and they moved things around. They didn't really add many benefits to it. All vista is to me is a pretty... XP. That I had to purchase... even though my XP was allready pretty. The only reason I purchased Vista was to make the integrator compatable with vista.

That is the real reason MS suddenly has a problem with these types of projects. That's my 2 cents.
Windows XP is just a pretty version of Windows 2000. I would not say that Vista is just a pretty XP. There are fundamental differences in their architecture. The differences are the same as those between Windows ME and Windows 2000. The jump in the parent version is the same (1pt).

No offense, but I don't agree that Vista is merely a prettier XP. If that were the case I'd be using Vista. I don't use Vista because it significantly differs from XP.



But I think I get your point. :oops:

PsiMoon314
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Post by PsiMoon314 » Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:35 pm

Hi.

@signet
If microsoft tries to shut us down... it will never completley happen. Just as n7 said... if it's an issue with having the files being downloaded from a site other than microsoft... then we'll just script something that downloads them from microsoft and builds the updatepack. It wouldn't be hard at all. I have actually talked about simular ideas with ryan in the past anyways.
How difficult would it be to create such an application to download all of the required hotfixes and patches directly from MS and use them to update an existing XP installation (perhaps when offline) and/or integrate them into an XP CD? :)

Me thinks that such an application would be very useful to lots of folks.

How much do I need to pay you to make a start? ;)

Kind Regards

Simon

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m-p{3}
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Post by m-p{3} » Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:24 pm

I don't think it would be that difficult. You could even do it with a couple of scripts that would automatically download patches and extract their contents.
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roweezy
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Post by roweezy » Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:54 pm

there's always http://wud.jcarle.com/

GreenMachine
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Post by GreenMachine » Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:48 am

PsiMoon314 wrote: ... How difficult would it be to create such an application to download all of the required hotfixes and patches directly from MS and use them to update an existing XP installation (perhaps when offline) and/or integrate them into an XP CD? :) ...
Geeez, I guess the Original XP CD Creation Utility has really gone under the radar lately. I did not continue with the automatic downloading of hotfixes as I had no desire to regularly update the download list, let alone provide all the localized version links. I felt like THe Little Green Hen.

Guess it's time to check the XPCREATE Mailbox, and see if Microsoft hasn't been trying to contact ME as well !

GreenMachine
Author of the infamous XPCREATE

http://www.xpcreate.com

roweezy
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Post by roweezy » Sat Sep 01, 2007 7:21 am

looking at the google cache of http://www.autopatcher.com/order, that was probably the final straw to bring it down. compare a few dollars for a dvd to $$$ for wsus or shavlik

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